POT TOPICS: Canadian lawmakers legalize pot, NYC to stop arresting public tokers
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Trudeau says marijuana will be legal nationwide in October
Canada’s Senate gave final passage Tuesday to a bill that legalizes cannabis across the country.
Canadians will now have to wait a few months to legally buy recreational marijuana as the country becomes the second in the world to legalize the drug after Uruguay. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Wednesday that pot will be made legal nationwide on Oct. 17.
Trudeau’s government had initially hoped to fully legalize marijuana by the start of July, but provincial and territorial governments will instead be given additional time to prepare for retail sales.
“It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana – and for criminals to reap profits,” Trudeau tweeted Tuesday. “Today, we change that. Our plan to legalize & regulate marijuana just passed the Senate.”
NYC to stop arresting people for smoking pot in public
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday that the New York Police Department will stop arresting people later this year for smoking marijuana in public.
Starting Sept. 1, people with no criminal record will receive a ticket instead of being arrested for lighting up publicly, according to de Blasio, who first hinted at the policy change last month. The Democrat estimated that the move will result in 10,000 fewer arrests over the next year.
“We know there is a bigger discussion happening across the nation and at the state level on legalization of marijuana,” de Blasio tweeted. “But until that debate is resolved, we’re doing what we can to make our city safer and fairer to all New Yorkers.”
Another announcement this week appears to show that the state is moving toward legalizing cannabis for recreational use. Howard Zucker, commissioner of the New York State Department of Health, said Monday that a study conducted by the agency would recommend that the state allow adults to legally use marijuana, according to the New York Times.
“We looked at the pros, we looked at the cons, and when we were done, we realized that the pros outweighed the cons,” Zucker said, noting, “we have new facts.”
The findings of the study — commissioned by New York’s Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo — could result in the state joining a growing list of states that have legalized the drug for recreational use.
Cuomo, who called marijuana a “gateway drug” as recently as last year, will face actress Cynthia Nixon in November’s gubernatorial primary. Nixon has already made pot legalization a cornerstone of her campaign.
Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico, joins High Times board
Former Mexico President Vicente Fox will join the board of directors of the vaunted cannabis publication High Times in an effort to advance his pro-pot agenda.
Fox foresees a robust legal pot marketplace that will create new jobs and medicines while reducing cartel violence in Mexico. He also sees cannabis being a part of the North American Trade Agreement between Mexico, Canada and the United States.
“I don’t think that governments will ever have the capacity to impose behaviors, to impose conduct, to human beings,” Fox said. “At the very end, prohibitions don’t work. What works is your own free decision.”
“The war on drugs has been a total failure” since the days of former President Richard Nixon, he added.
Teen with Crohn’s disease returns to Illinois after years as a cannabis exile
Coltyn Turner smiled effusively as he discussed his family’s recent move back to downstate Illinois from Colorado, where the 18-year-old spent four years seeking cannabis-based treatment for a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease that hampered much of his young life.
Turner, who has become a fixture at cannabis-related events, was welcomed home June 8 by attendees of the Midwest Cannabis Education Conference in northwest suburban Itasca.
“If it wasn’t for cannabis, I would be in the state of Colorado, but I’d be six feet under,” he told the crowd. “I wouldn’t have survived without it. And because of that, I’ve been able to get my life back.”
More than 40 percent of cannabis consumers in recreational states identify as medical users
Nearly half of the cannabis users in states with recreational pot laws on the books self-identify as using the drug for medicinal purposes, according to a new report from High Yield Insights, a Chicago-based firm that conducts market research on the cannabis industry.
The results of the study found that 69 percent of respondents use cannabis to relieve pain, while 65 percent consume pot as a sleep aid and 54 percent use the drug to manage anxiety.
The report also found that medical cannabis users are twice as likely to check how much cannabidiol is in the weed they purchase. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a nonpsychoactive cannabis compound with significant health benefits. According to the report, 47 percent of medical users verify CBD concentrations compared to 25 percent of recreational users.
Medical users also express demand for convenient or discrete cannabis products, like edibles, topicals, oils and tinctures, the report said. Notably, medical users are twice as likely as recreational consumers to use topicals, and over three times as likely to use tinctures.
Upcoming cannabis events in the Chicago area:
• Midwest Compassion Center hosts a medical marijuana education event at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Fossil Ridge Public Library, 386 W. Kennedy Road in Braidwood.
• Breeze Counseling, 4300 Commerce Court in Lisle, hosts an event at 9 a.m. Thursday to discuss how medical cannabis can be used to treat mental health conditions.
• Kane County Democratic Women host an event at 1 p.m. Saturday at Batavia Public Library, 10 S. Batavia Ave., to promote putting an end to the prohibition on recreational marijuana.
• The DRI Marijuana Law Seminar starts at 6 a.m. on June 26 at the Gleacher Center, 450 N. Cityfront Plaza Dr. The conference runs through June 27.