The news on cannabis developments is coming fast and furious these days. Frankly, we can't keep up with everything, so we offer a weekly roundup of issues and events that should be on your radar, with links to stories that cover the issues in greater depth.
1. Former NFLers Want to Fight Drug Addiction with Cannabis
Nate Jackson, image: huffingtonpost.com
For professional football players, injuries aren't an occupational hazard; they're part of the job description. And while helmets and pads help, no amount of protective gear can eliminate the physical abuse of the game. As Nate Jackson - former Denver Broncos tight end - says, "There's no safe way to get hit by a truck." But teams have no patience for injuries.
To get players back into the lineup as quickly as possible, team doctors dispense opiate-based painkillers and other pharmaceuticals that have led to retired NFLers being four times more likely than the general public to become addicted to prescription drugs. To prevent more players from becoming addicted, Jackson and a group of other retired players want the NFL to start using medical marijuana to treat injuries.
Cannabis is on the NFL's list of banned substances, but Jackson and others say many players take it anyway by working around the league's annual drug test. And they say it works. But the retirees don't think players should be forced to juke around the rules. They want the league to lift the ban and invest in research into the benefits of cannabis for players. Check out the full story from The Guardian.
2. Health Canada delays lead to dropped charges
Procrastination has lightened the legal hassle faced by the staff of the Saskatchewan Compassion Club, a Canadian "gray market" dispensary that was raided last November. Owner Mark Phillip Haulk and three of his employees were charged with a number of crimes related to trafficking marijuana and possessing the proceeds of crime. But the charges involving marijuana derivatives (e.g. oils and tinctures) have been dropped due to a loophole.
Derivatives were legalized by the Supreme Court of Canada last June. But Health Canada didn't issue licenses for legal growers to sell derivatives until December. Therein lies the loophole. As Crown prosecutor Janelle Khan told reporters earlier this week, "Currently, the federal Crown takes the position that anyone with a medical marijuana authorization should be going to a licensed producer. But at the time of the arrest of the defendants, there was no licensed producer that had a license to sell medical marijuana derivatives."
Apparently, there have to be legal distributors in order to establish which ones are illegal. So had the Compassion Club been raided one month later, they would've been guilty of more crimes.
But the trafficking and possession charges still stand.
3. Congress Did Not End Medical Marijuana Prohibition
Over the Christmas break, there was some confusion about Congress' latest budget bill, which extended the rider preventing the DEA from using any money to crackdown on state-legalized medical marijuana programs. The LA Times and Inquisitr reported on the story by claiming that Congress had quietly lifted the federal ban on medicinal cannabis, which isn't the case.
4. Illinois Is Seeing Green
The medicinal marijuana market in Illinois just became a millionaire. The state's new medical program made $1.7-million in legal sales in November and December. That amounts to approximately $107,000 in tax revenue. Not bad considering the market, which launched Nov. 9, is less than two months old.