Marijuana Legalization 2016 Ballot: Which States Are Voting On Cannabis Laws On Election Day?

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** Marijuana Legalization 2016 Ballot: Which States Are Voting On Cannabis Laws On Election Day? (http://www.ibtimes.com/marijuana-legalization-2016-ballot-which-states-are-voting-cannabis-laws-election-day-2421044)

More than 82 million U.S. residents will have the chance to cast ballots on marijuana measures when they go to vote for president come Election Day in November. Marijuana laws – whether it be to legalize or decriminalize – have been added to the ballot in nine states. Here's everything you need to know about the marijuana proposals voters will decide on come Nov. 8.

Arizona – Under the guidelines of Proposition 205 (http://apps.azsos.gov/election/2016/general/ballotmeasuretext/I-08-2016.pdf) , or Arizona’s Marijuana Legalization Initiative, adults 21 and up would be allowed to possess and recreationally use one ounce or less of marijuana. Marijuana advocates would also be allowed to grow up to six plants in their home under the law. Arizona already permits the use of medical marijuana.

Arkansas – The Natural State is set to vote on two marijuana measures: Arkansas Issue 7 Medical Cannabis Statute (http://www.arcompassion.com/read-the-amca) and Arkansas Medical Marijuana Issue 6 (http://ag.arkansas.gov/opinions/docs/2016-007.pdf) . If the majority of residents vote “yes” for Issue 6, then medical marijuana will be legal and a dispensary and cultivation license fees will receive a cap. Patient card fees would not have a limit. A Medical Marijuana Commission would also be established and sales taxes would be spread across three funds.

The law would also require the Arkansas Department of Health to create rules for patient cards, marijuana producers and sellers. Lastly, the department would be responsible for determining the qualifications of medical conditions.

California – Medical cannabis has been legal in California since 1996. Proposition 64 (http://www.oag.ca.gov/system/files/initiatives/pdfs/15-0103%20%28Marijuana%29_1.pdf) , also called the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, would legalize recreational weed and hemp for people 21 and older. The law mandates a cultivation tax on flowers and leaves, as well as a 15 percent retail tax on marijuana.

Florida – Amendment 2 (http://dos.elections.myflorida.com/initiatives/fulltext/pdf/50438-3.pdf) legalizes medical marijuana for patients suffering from specific debilitating diseases including cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, PTSD, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. It the measure passes, licensed state physicians would be able to prescribe medical marijuana to those suffering from comparable debilitating conditions. This is the second time Amendment 2 popped up on the Florida ballot. The state voted against a similar measure back in 2014.

Maine – Question 1 (2016) (http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/citizens/index.html) would legalize recreational use of marijuana throughout the state, which has allowed legal medical marijuana since 1999. Should the majority of voters check “yes” for Maine Marijuana Legalization, adults 21 and up will be allowed to use and possess cannabis. The state’s Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry would regulate retail stores, and a 10 percent tax will be placed on all marijuana sales.

Massachusetts – Question 4 (http://www.mass.gov/ago/docs/government/2015-petitions/15-27.pdf) would fully legalize marijuana with regulations similar to the state’s approach to alcoholic beverages. Massachusetts allows medical marijuana.

Montana – Montana Medical Marijuana Initiative I-182 (http://sos.mt.gov/Elections/2016/BallotIssues/assets/I-182.pdf) is an amendment to the already-passed Montana Medical Marijuana Act. Should the new measure pass, the current medical marijuana laws will be adjusted to allow more patients access to medical marijuana. The law would also permit providers to hire workers to cultivate, dispense and transport medical marijuana to patients.

Nevada – People 21 and older would be able to possess and use up to one ounce of marijuana for recreational purposes under Nevada’s Question 2 (http://nvsos.gov/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=3294) .

North Dakota – Initiated Statutory Measure 5 (https://vip.sos.nd.gov/pdfs/measures%20Info/Petitions%20Being%20Circulated/11.30.2015.NDCCA.Final.wPetitionTitle&Changes.pdf) gives patients suffering from cancer, AIDS, Hepatitis C, ALS, and glaucoma and epilepsy access to medical marijuana with a specific identification card. Called the North Dakota Compassionate Care Act, the amendment would also institute specific procedures and regulations for growing and dispensing medical marijuana.

** Blockchain Startups Want to Solve Cannabis' Banking Problem (https://www.merryjane.com/news/blockchain-startups-cannabis-banking)

Industry insiders estimate approximately 15% of cannabis businesses have a bank account with a traditional financial institution, while most others operate with the risk (https://www.merryjane.com/news/dangers-of-the-all-cash-weed-business) of running an all cash business. Entrepreneur’s in distributed finance contend there’s another option.

“The blockchain’s ledger is a great communication tool for regulators,” Tokken (http://www.tokken.com/) founder, and former regulator, Lamine Zarrad told MERRY JANE. “If we can transfer the cash flow to an electronic format, you eliminate most the risk of money laundering.”

Tokken, a “blockchain agnostic” startup whose executives have decades of experience working in government, uses cutting edge technologies to usher in an era of distributed and digital payments in the cannabis industry.

Tokken’s core business is providing sustainable and transparent solutions in the cannabis industry using blockchain technology. Working with companies like Blockscore and Tierion, Tokken believes blockchain technology will allow the cannabis industry to flourish.

A former San Francisco dispensary, Trees, recently pivoted towards becoming a payment processor. Founder Hayner dubbed this project, MetalPay. Trees made headlines last year when it announced it’d like to deliver marijuana by drone.

Once having offered a luxurious cannabis kit including vaporizers, dabs and other medical cannabis products with Trees, Hayner's MetalPay (http://www.tokken.com/) is now part of the Gateway Incubator in Oakland, where the startup further develops the business model. He believes Bitcoin is exactly what the cannabis industry needs.

“There is going to be a change in the banking industry,” Hayner told MERRY JANE. “It’s hard for banks and consumer behavior to change overnight. And, cannabis is still a gray market without banking partners and processing partners. So, the technology to solve this problem is quietly growing in the background. You won’t need to have a bank account.” You can be your own bank, and you can hedge crypto-currencies through the US dollar or Chinese Yen, Hayner adds.

CHEX (http://chex.tech/) wants to create a formal exchange for cannabis related products, including ticker symbols representing a specific cannabis commodity. “Processors of cannabis infused products, such as edibles, could use more commodity sourcing options, for sourcing commodities like flower, trim, oil, and dispensaries as wholesale buyers could use more options and suppliers of their product,” Eugene Lopin, CHEX co-founder, told MERRY JANE. An exchange would go a long way towards promoting regulatory compliance in the cannabis industry, Lopin reasons.

Could Cannabis’ Young CEO’s Adopt Bitcoin?

Cannabis CEO’s are young. They might be more inclined to adopt a cutting edge payments technology like Bitcoin than their older counterparts. The two industries have yet to embrace each other.

“The bitcoin community is apprehensive in extending its services or creating affiliations with cannabis, because bitcoiners don’t want to be predominantly stereotyped by the Silk Road,” Zarrad, a former regulator within the Treasury Department, told MERRY JANE, referencing the darknet marketplace where cannabis traded hands over bitcoin while oft using public mail services. "And the cannabis industry feels the same way about associating itself with bitcoin."

** How Does Cannabis Affect Your Memory? (https://www.leafly.com/news/health/how-does-cannabis-affect-your-memory/)

Dude, where’s my car? Cheech & Chong. Jeff Spicoli. Harold & Kumar. Popular culture is littered with references to lovable – yet, usually forgetful – “stoners.” Cannabis and poor memory seem to go hand in hand, right? But, what does the science really say about cannabis and its effect on the ability to remember?

To better understand how cannabis affects memory, it’s important to first recognize that memory is not a construct that can be easily measured. Why? There are many different types of memory, each of which we test in different ways. Secondly, there are acute, or short-term, effects on memory (e.g., while under the influence), and possible long-term effects. And, finally, dosing, frequency, and strains play a big role in how cannabis affects memory.

What are the Short-Term Effects of Cannabis on Memory?

THC, the primary constituent in cannabis that gives users a euphoric effect, appears to impair memory in two significant ways: 1. Difficulty encoding memories: While cannabis users don’t experience “blackouts” like drinkers do after a big binge, it’s more difficult to form new memories while under the influence. 2. Short-term recall difficulties: Recalling events while high, and often for a period after the high wears off, can be a challenge.

Interestingly, studies show that frequent cannabis users may develop a tolerance to these effects (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3931635/) . In other words, they become less sensitive to these effects and have less difficulty encoding memories or recalling events after use.

The good news is that in most consumers, memory impairments appear to be temporary. One study (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12373420/) found that THC significantly impaired recall two hours after consumption, but no residual effects persisted after 24 to 48 hours. Also,cannabis doesn’t appear to affect one’s ability to recall existing memories (http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/126/6/1252.long#sec-10) . For example, even if you’re really stoned, you’re unlikely to forget your birth date, where you live, or what school you graduated from.

What are the Long-Term Effects of Cannabis on Memory?

Higher doses of cannabis taken frequently can have an adverse effect on long-term memory. In one study published by JAMA Internal Medicine,researchers concluded (http://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/study-says-heavy-marijuana-use-can-damage-short-term-memory/) that people who consume a lot of cannabis over a long period of time (five or more years) developed poorer verbal memory recall than people who consumed less or not at all.

But how much was their memory impacted?

Reto Auer, a professor at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland and the study’s main author, said they looked at nearly 3,400 Americans over a 25-year period. Testing verbal recall, they found that users who smoked every day could, on average, recall 8.5 out of every 15 words. In contrast, those who smoked much less or didn’t consume at all could recall 9 out of every 15 words.

While the difference of half a word doesn’t seem like much, Auer suggested that the longer one consumed chronically, the worse their memory might get. But, of those who participated in the study, only 8 percent considered themselves frequent users.

Notably, they didn’t find that heavy users had other adversely impacted cognitive abilities, such as focus and processing speed.

Can Cannabis Protect Memory?

Some studies suggest that higher levels of CBD (https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/whats-the-deal-with-these-high-cbd-strains) – a non-psychoactive cannabis constituent – may offset THC’s memory impairment (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20884951/) . Better yet, CBD (https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/whats-the-deal-with-these-high-cbd-strains) may have therapeutic potential (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3931635/#b61-sar-4-011) to reverse or prevent certain cognitive impairments.

Early research shows that CBD could protect against brain damage caused by binge drinking or alcohol abuse. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reported that CBD reduced alcohol-induced cell death in the brain (http://norml.org/news/2005/05/26/pot-compound-protects-against-alcohol-induced-brain-damage) by up to 60 percent.

Other studies have shown that CBD could act as a neuroprotectant and help prevent the onset of diseases like Parkinson’s, dementia, or Alzheimer’s (https://www.leafly.com/news/health/the-medical-minute-5-ways-cannabis-could-be-helping-alzheimers-pa) .

Cannabis May Help Fight Bad Memories

Generally, we don’t think of memory impairment as a good thing. However, when it comes to individuals with PTSD (https://www.leafly.com/news/health/cannabis-and-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd) , it’s a different story. One of PTSD’s defining symptoms is the inability of sufferers to extinguish memories from the traumatic event (or events) that caused the PTSD such as abuse, sexual assault, or combat.

Veterans regularly complain (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/veterans-complain-ptsd-symptoms-dont-improve/) that pharmaceutical treatments prescribed to them by doctors – such as the highly addictive anti-anxiety medications Xanax and Valium – don’t work well and sometimes worsen symptoms.

Many veterans turn to cannabis claiming it’s the only thing that works;preclinical research shows (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25799920) that THC and CBD can “disrupt the reconsolidation of negative memories.” Translation: as Dr. Mike Hart from Marijuana for Trauma (http://mftgroup.ca/) explains, “Cannabis helps people forget painful and intrusive memories.”

Further Research is Needed

We’re just beginning to understand how cannabis use affects the brain and memory, but encouragingly, it seems the adverse effects are exaggerated. Yes, cannabis can make you forgetful while using (or shortly thereafter). And, yes, it can have a modest impact on verbal recall in chronic, long-term users. But, in most people, after a short period of abstinence, memory function returns to normal.

Moreover, we are discovering potential therapeutic benefits. Of course, the old cop-out rings true: further research is needed, especially when it comes to studying cannabis to treat disorders like PTSD, or to prevent conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and dementia that affect millions of people. However, we can hope that as public opinion shifts, the federal government will follow suit and ease restrictions that enable scientists to take research out of the lab and conduct more clinical studies on human subjects.

** Do You Know These Stoner Superstitions About Cannabis Rules and Etiquette? (https://www.leafly.com/news/pop-culture/stoner-superstitions-cannabis-rules/)

For thousands of years, plants have been used in primitive worship, creating a tradition of lore and superstition. In perpetual awe of the supernatural environment growing around them, ancient cultures intrinsically linked the euphoric and invigorating effects of plants to their own human spirituality and medicine. Similar to tobacco, cannabis has always held its own mythology. Even Jesus himself was said to pack strong anointing oil with cannabis extract called kaneh-bosem when he performed healing miracles. Today cannabis consumers continue these inherited practices. Good or bad, here’s a list of common and not-so-common cannabis superstitions many enthusiasts have believed and continue to abide by lest they want to be cursed with bad luck (or, worse yet, bad bud). Take two hits at most and pass it on. That’s it. Smoking or vaping cannabis with your friends and/or family is not the time to be selfish. The first puff is polite, the second shows you really enjoy the herb, but a third puff means you’re a glutton and don’t respect the cannabis; therefore, you’re susceptible to bad luck. Sharing is caring, and there’s been plenty of warning in contemporary western culture about this cannabis smoking ritual.

The cannabis smoker’s circle is sacrilegious and should always start to the left, meaning whoever lights the joint or starts the bowl must pass to the left or face horrible hardship. This superstition to pass to the left may have been started by American hippies in the 1960’s because most Deadheads continue to honor the tradition today.

However, another motive could stem from the Victorian-era butler service in which butlers notably present a platter of food choices from the left of their master or guest. Also known as silver service, food is always served to the left to make guests feel less crowded by someone hanging over them with both arms suddenly coming at them left and right.

Pass to the right and be condemned or mocked by the elite old school cannabis club. It’s bad etiquette and is known to bring disruptive energy into the circle.

Whether you’re packing a pipe or loading bong loads for a few smokers, never hit the bowl first. Be the host with the most. Be gracious.

This attitude of gift giving is not new; it’s reflected in many cultures. The Japanese are known for giving presents to their guests and business associates. Never be a tightwad when it comes to your cannabis community, or you’ll be labeled a hoarder and find yourself in a smoking circle where the bowl turns ash before it even gets to you.

No surprise to most cannabis heads, 420 is the magical “meeting of the minds” number, the communal worldwide time to smoke out. As the saying goes, “it’s 420 somewhere!”

The myth behind 420 (https://www.leafly.com/news/pop-culture/420-myths-and-origins/) is attributed to a Northern California police code for marijuana smoking in progress, which dates back to the 1970’s, but the actual origin (https://www.leafly.com/news/pop-culture/beginners-guide-to-420-cannabis-holiday/) comes from a group of high school students in Northern California who would meet at 4:20 to smoke up and search for a fabled lost cannabis grow.

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