This Week: Cannabis Use Not Associated with Dopamine Alterations; More Broken Policies Funded in Obama’s New Drug War Budget; Passage of Medical Marijuana Laws Correlates to Lower Suicide Rates; Congress Approves Drug Testing America’s Unemployed; Colorado Petitioners Turn In Final Signatures for Legalization Ballot Measure; California Legalization Initiatives Starving for Cash; Seattle Mayor Says Legalize Marijuana to Cut Crime; Robin Thicke Arrested for Marijuana Possession; New Marijuana Reality Show on Nat Geo Channel; and more!
Unless you are a member of the “choir” (my affectionate name for the hard core cannabis activists who live this movement day in and day out), chances are you’re going to miss a lot of cannabis news. It’s not that there isn’t any, things are happening in the word of marijuana all the time. But the mainstream media never seems to make it a priority to report on it.
So, since I follow these things, and am on every cannabis mailing list imaginable, I thought it might be a good idea to do a weekly round-up of the compelling stories that came across my desk the week before. Sometimes I might discover stories older than a week old but still timely, so I’ll pass them on too. If you have suggestions for stories to be considered for inclusion in next week’s round up, use the Contact Us form here and let me know.
Cannabis Use Not Associated with Dopamine Alterations — The consumption of cannabis is not associated with residual alterations in the release of dopamine in chronic users, according to trial data to be published in journal Biological Psychiatry.
Passage of Medical Marijuana Laws Correlates to Lower Suicide Rates — The enactment of statewide laws allowing for the limited use of cannabis therapeutically is associated with reduced instances of suicide, according to a discussion paper published recently by the Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn, Germany. They reported that this downward trend in suicides in states post-legalization was especially pronounced in males. “Our results suggest that the passage of a medical marijuana law is associated with an almost 5 percent reduction in the total suicide rate, an 11 percent reduction in the suicide rate of 20- through 29-year-old males, and a 9 percent reduction in the suicide rate of 30- through 39-year-old males,” they determined.
More Broken Policies Funded in Obama’s New Drug War Budget — The Obama administration this week released its Fiscal Year 2013 National Drug Control Budget, and it wants to spend nearly $26 billion on federal anti-drug programs. Despite all the talk about the staggering federal debt problem and current budget deficits, the administration found nothing to cut here. Instead, the proposed budget increases federal anti-drug funding by 1.6% over fiscal year 2012! The proposed budget is remarkable for how closely it hews to previous years, especially in regard to the allocation of resources for treatment and law enforcement.
Colorado Petitioners Turn In Final Signatures for Legalization Ballot Measure — Sponsors of a proposed 2012 statewide measure to regulate the personal use of marijuana turned in14,000 signatures on Friday in an attempt to qualify the measure for the November ballot. The measure’s proponents, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, had previously turned in over 160,000 signatures several weeks earlier. However, the Secretary of State’s office on February 3 responded that petitioners still needed an additional 2,500 valid signatures from registered voters to place the initiative on the November ballot.
California Legalization Initiatives Starving for Cash — Proponents of four out of five of the California marijuana initiative campaigns came together to tout the merits of their various measures at a public meeting in Mill Valley, just across the Golden Gate Bridge and up the road from San Francisco, Tuesday night. But the take away message from the confab was that every single one of the initiatives is in serious trouble if it doesn’t get a large cash injection — and soon.
Seattle Mayor Says Legalize Marijuana to Cut Crime — In his “State of the City” address, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn made an impassioned plea today for the legalization of marijuana saying in the illegal trade in drugs was fueling crime in the city.
Congress Approves Drug Testing America’s Unemployed — Congress approved a deal which will broadly expand drug testing. As part of the deal to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits, Democrats caved in to Republican demands to allow states to drug test people applying for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits.
Haarlem Cafes Reject “Dutch-Only” Ruling — All 16 cannabis coffee shops in the city of Haarlem have united in opposition to the Dutch government’s “Weed Pass” program, which would bar foreigners from entry to the coffee shops and make the coffee shops “members only” for Dutch citizens. The plan foresees placing a cap on the number of members each coffee shop could have.
Nepal Cracks Down on Cannabis at Hindu Festival — Police in Nepal say they have cracked down on public marijuana use at a major Hindu religious festival where the herb is smoked legally by thousands of holy men to honor the Hindu god Shiva.
Robin Thicke Arrested for Marijuana Possession — Award-winning R&B singer Robin Thicke was arrested for marijuana possession after he was spotted smoking pot in a car on a New York City street last week, police said.
American Weed Series Premiers on National Geographic Channel — A new TV series called “American Weed” is premiered on the National Geographic Channel last week. According to NatGeo, the show “goes inside Colorado’s pot culture and explores the legal world of medical cannabis from various perspectives, including the growers, patients and dispensary owners, cops, caregivers and opponents.”