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New Zealand to become the first Asian-Pacific Country to legalize medicinal marijuana

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Medical marijuana

The world is shouting out loud for legalization of cannabis for medicinal purposes! From the western skies of the United States to the royal United Kingdom’s and every member in between is deciding whether to make cannabis legal or not.

New Zealanders will be voting on cannabis legalization in a referendum next year. The draft law under consideration would permit people over the age of 20 to legally purchase the drug. The referendum will be held during the 2020 general election, the government announced on Tuesday.

Justice Minister Andrew Little said that the vote would be binding, but it will ultimately be in the hands of the next administration whether they want to enact the legislation or not.

 

Outline of the leaked cannabis paper for 2020 referendum

Andrew said that the voters would be asked a simple ‘Yes/No’ question on the basis of a draft piece of legislation. Questions in the draft would include some important things that will be considered after the legalisation of cannabis like-

  • The minimum age for using and purchasing recreational cannabis.
  • Regulatory framework and commercial supply controls, maintaining a balance in cannabis use and sales to licensed premises.
  • Marketing reforms about cannabis-based products and their advertising.
  • Checks on home-grown and private cultivation of cannabis.
  • A public education program to discuss about the safe use of cannabis for medical purposes and reduce the stigma associated with it.

These points were drawn from what seems to be the leaked cannabis paper which will be discussed in the referendum. It outlines the crucial points for discussion and voting, and also talks about the questions that will be asked in the referendum.

Paula Bennett, National’s Drug Reform spokesperson said that the cabinet will consider all the 4 questions laid out in the Cannabis paper, however it seems that irrespective of what option is chosen by the legislative, it will have huge loop holes. These loop holes will need to be filled in and taken care of before they adversely affect the consumers.

The leaked paper is quite light on the details and discusses about cannabis legalization briefly. It doesn’t talk about taxation imposed on marijuana, fiscal revenues related to the drug, consumption and distribution regulation and many other important things.

If the reform fails next year, cannabis legalization would be put on hold for another good amount of years making users wait and patients suffer.

 

Biggest opportunity for cannabis legalization reforms

Andrew said that the coalition government was committed “to a health-based approach to drugs, to minimize harm and take control away from criminals.” The referendum would bring more clarity on the subject. In fact, it was part of a confidence and supply agreement the Green party negotiated with the governing Labour party.

Green Party MP, Chloe Swarbrick said that the vote presented the “greatest opportunity for cannabis law reform our country has seen in 40 years.” She further added that the draft legislation will outline concise and clear regulatory regime to avoid any potential of a ‘Brexit’ situation because people will know how their actions would change the future course of action and how these changes will be implemented in their lives.

 

What if a the majority votes are a ‘yes’?

The situation about cannabis legalization is quite dicey in New Zealand, even if the motion gets majority votes to legalize cannabis, it is not imperative that the laws would be implemented right away. It could probably take years before the laws are enacted and come into action.

Andrew said that the voters choice would be binding because all the parties that form up the current government have committed to respect the outcome from the voting. Butthe poll is scheduled to take place during the 2020 election, which means it will be a new parliament that will finally decide whether to legalize cannabis or not. The opposition centre-right National Party has not yet said whether it will honor the referendum for cannabis legalization or not.

After the federal law which created a statutory defense for terminally ill patients to use cannabis without the fear of getting arrested or charged, New Zealand is also on its way to incorporate cannabis in their structure. A majority of ‘Yes’ votes in the next year’s referendum could make New Zealand the first Asian-Pacific country to approve of marijuana for recreational purposes.

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Policy

The Arizona Police Department is Now Clear to Use CBD

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Arizona Police can use CBD

When it comes to the laws regarding CBD, Arizona has been the most flexible amongst the US. It endorsed the farming of hemp and was among the first to have their production legalized through the Texas Farm bill. In fact, even the farmers are considering replacing their cotton with hemp. And now, Arizona comes back yet again with new laws regarding the use of CBD for police recruits.

The Usual Suspects

During the exams for the entrance to the Police Department, potential recruits have to go through drug tests in order to qualify for the position. “The usual suspects” among the drugs that are tested for are:

  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) commonly found in Marijuana
  • Cocaine (COC)
  • Opiates
  • Phencyclidine
  • Amphetamine

When we take a look at the first item on the list, it’s obvious at a glance that Marijuana is out of the question and any candidate who is tested for it and failed would be disqualified. However, it’s important to note that CBD is also a component found in Marijuana and can also lead to a failed drug test. However, with Arizona’s new laws, the cops will still be qualified even when tested positive for CBD.

Impacts of the Decision

Persecutors of CBD would definitely argue against this new law and consider all the negatives of such a decision, such as the harmful consequences of a beat cop “high” on “weed”. However, for the recruits who are taking CBD oil as a medical treatment for their different conditions are sure to be glad for this to have happened.

It is definitely going to give the general public, the supporters of CBD and the users of CBD amongst the cops to know that they would no longer be judged and disqualified for taking medication for their condition.

The Arizonian Front

After this latest law, it is clear that if the legalization of CBD is a war, Arizona is definitely on the frontlines. And this isn’t the first time Arizona has been an active frontline for this battle. Over the past few months, Arizona state laws have legalized the cultivation of hemp, legalized the research on hemp and above all, legalized the selling and production of CBD-infused products.

Being one safe haven for CBD in all of US, Arizona is attracting its farmers to cultivate more hemp, going as far as to even making them consider replacing their cotton with hemp crops. And now, with the police being allowed to use CBD openly, even the law enforcement agencies of Arizona is now officially on the CBD Bandwagon.

What all these means is that CBD is here to stay and in Arizona, it’s here to flourish and grow. Even if the US could not take a huge bite off the projected Hemp market of 24 Billion Dollars by 2024, Arizona State laws’ stance on the matter secures at least a spot in that revolution. One small step for Arizona, one giant leap for Cannabidiol. 

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THC Limit Has Been Set, But are Yet to be Monitored

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THC Limits set

There’s no doubt about Cannabis’ psychoactive properties, but what is it that truly brings out that “high” among its users? Well, the answer is simple: Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC for short. This substance is a form of cannabidiol oil from among the hundreds of different forms of cannabinoids. Naturally, the amount of THC that can be contained within any food or beauty products has been limited by the FDA.

The Studies on Cannabinoids

According to a paper published by Molecules, amongst many different kinds of cannabinoids, Cannabidiol Oil or CBD, by itself, poses no health risks or psychoactive properties. However, many other of the components in Hemp and Cannabis does work as a stimulant and a psychoactive drug, which makes it difficult to incorporate CBD into food products without adding in some of the negative effects within it.

Further research shows that CBD might actually have benefits that NIDA actually wants to endorse in order to find better medicinal alternatives. For that specific reason, it’s difficult to actively discount the use of CBD in food and beauty products despite the possible harmful effects of it for the human body.

The FDA and THC Limitations

Since the worst of the Cannabinoids is the THC, The Food and Drug Administration of America has limited the use of THC in any kind of food or beauty products to be less than 0.3%. This is to ensure that no harmful doses of THC can be found from the ingestion or the use of these products while incorporating CBD into them.

Unfortunately, these “doses” are not properly monitored and tested by any government agencies to ensure the THC limit and that it doesn’t cause any “high”s in its users, let alone prevent them from failing a drug test.

Effects of Negligence

We’re not claiming that all of these products are inherently evil, as there have been some extraordinary successes in creating topical products beauty products with medicinal properties. Furthermore, with the advent of newer technology, we can expect to see a lot more of such beneficial products in the market.

Despite all that, the lack of proper monitoring is leading to many of the users of these said beauty and health products with more harm than good. Negligence in testing these products properly is leading harmful products to reach the shelves of even the largest of Pharmacies like CVS. To make matters worse, the use of these products are increasing their popularities, influencing other nations following our pop culture, making them invest more and more into these beauty products.

So, it is our earnest request to the proper authorities and channels to take good care of your own laws and do text all the products out in the market properly before deciding to allow them to be openly available at every gas stations and pharmacies without proper administration. Doing so will not only help the unfortunate users of these products who are unknowingly harming themselves but also reduce the amount of negativity and skepticism that CBD sees in the process.

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FDA Strikes Again: “Not all CBD Products are Beneficial”

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FDA Policy CBD

While the American public has been pushing for the legalization of using CBD products, the U.S FDA still believe that although CBD is non-intoxicating, it might not be as safe, healthy and effective for wellness as they have been told. Very recently, the FDA published an update on its website to address some of the claims made by people surrounding CBD, in an attempt to disapprove that CBD is risk-free and can cure certain illnesses miraculously.

The FDA is currently gathering enough evidence from health experts, patients, and cannabis industrialists to gain insight into how CBD might be helping them. The update mentioned that there are still many questions about the safety and quality of CBD products. So, before the public push for relaxed use of CBD, the FDA want to clarify some points regarding CBD.

CBD May Cause Liver Damage And Other Serious Side Effects

Although the FDA admitted that there still isn’t enough evidence to outweigh risks against benefits, it did uncover that CBD could cause liver damage in a small study. In the clinical trials of Epidiolex, a CBD-based drug approved for epilepsy treatment, some patients showed liver toxicity. The symptoms displayed potential liver injury. Epidiolex does not entirely contain CBD but has much higher concentrations of it compared to the hemp products flooding in the market. The CBD in the medicine is 98% purified and oil-based extracted directly from the cannabis plant. Thus, it is highly unlikely that other components of the medicine could cause liver damage.

A study at the University of Arkansas also found that high doses of CBD caused liver damage in mice in 24 hours. Many animals died or almost died within four days. Critics mention that the dose was extremely high, however, according to the study, it was equivalent to the maximum recommended dosage for human maintenance mentioned in Epidiolex. Thus, the mice were given amounts comparable to the amount of Epidiolex ingested by epileptic patients. Doctors are advised to monitor liver enzymes in these patients. Doctors in Colorado, where weed is legal for any reason, monitor liver enzymes for patients ingesting CBD or marijuana.

The most common side effects of Epidiolex is sleep disorder, lethargy, low appetite, weakness, suicidal thoughts, agitation, depression, and panic attacks. Although CBD products in the market may not contain as much as CBD as Epidiolex, the risk of these side effects cannot be underestimated.

CBD Is Not A Cure

The FDA has made it clear to the public that none of the CBD products currently sold in shops, stores, and dispensaries have been approved. So far, only Epidiolex was granted approval, which took several years. FDA also mentioned that Epidiolex is useful as a treatment for children with two rare forms of epilepsy– Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and not any other condition. Epidiolex is not a sure cure anyways. It was found effective in only 32% of patients. The cannabis industry has used this as leverage on the public and convinced some that CBD can provide remedy from anxiety, depression and even cancer. The FDA refutes such claims and urges people to beware of false hope so that they resort to proper diagnosis and treatment, not baseless claims. The agency warned companies from advertising CBD as a cure for serious diseases like anxiety and depression.

However, the FDA also has its own record of flaws. A 2017 study found the third of all drugs approved by FDA were flagged as threats from 2001 to 2010. FDA states that what might be safe today may not be safe in the future. A poll showed that 44% of Americans believe that the FDA is trustworthy regarding the truth about medicine.

More Research On CBD Needed

Very little is known about CBD and its benefits and risks, which is the main reason behind the FDA’s skepticism towards CBD. Further research is definitely required to weigh out options and to really trust cannabinoid.  For someone who is considering using CBD to treat a serious condition, it is better to consult with a physician and specialists in medicine to ensure that their well-being is not at risk. It is best not to buy CBD products blindly now despite their grand claims of curing stress, anxiety and sleep problems.

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