News On The Green

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American Pro-Cannabis Numbers Grow

n mid-July, around a month after America’s neighbor to the north, Canada, became the second nation to pass a law legalizing adult recreational cannabis (aka marijuana) use, Harris Insight & Analytics conducted an online poll of 2,020 American adults about their thoughts on cannabis use and regulation in the United States. That recently published poll found that 85 percent of surveyed Americans think marijuana should be legal for medicinal use and 57 percent support regulating it for anyone 21 or older.

This Harris poll exhibited a generational gap in cannabis legalization support. And it appears that younger Americans are more certain about their use of the plant. When it came to legalizing cannabis, respondents in favor included: 38 percent of the 65-plus set; 57 percent of 55-to-64-year-olds; 68 percent of 35-to-44-year-olds; and 67 percent of 18-to-34-year-olds. Further, 53 percent of those polled affirmed the opinion that legal cannabis could alleviate the country’s current opioid abuse crisis by preventing deaths by opiate overdose.

Legal cannabis can be a potent painkilling alternative to opioid medications. And when it comes to overdose by cannabis, there are no documented fatalities. The worst-case scenario with excessive cannabis use is anxiety or panic attacks, and that risk increases with use of cannabis edibles and extracts and resulting higher THC consumption levels.

Across-the-Aisle Support for States’ Rights

Bipartisan legislation recently introduced by US Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) titled, “
The Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act,” aims to ensure that every US state has the right to decide the best approach to regulating marijuana use within its borders for itself. It also extends the same protections to US territories, federally recognized tribes and Washington, D.C. and contains “common-sense guardrails to ensure that states, territories, and tribes regulating marijuana do so in a manner that is safe and respectful of the impacts on their neighbors.”

The bill adds to and amends the nation’s Controlled Substances Act, and as such, is an expression of “State’s Rights’ when it comes to determining marijuana law for each respective member of the union.” Additionally, the bill clarifies how cannabis laws created by the federal government are to be applied to entities like federally recognized Indian tribes, persons under the age of 21 and in cases that involve civil asset forfeiture or the growing legal and recreational cannabis industry. This new act, if passed, will also serve to redefine the word “marihuana” to exclude industrial hemp from the umbrella term. In effect, this would mean that industrial hemp is no longer considered a controlled substance. The law would only apply to states that currently have a method of regulating cannabis for either recreational or medical purposes on the books.

Cory Gardner

Gage Skidmore

Elizabeth Warren

kelly bell photography

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