They Said It On Marijuana, Quotable Saturday, Part CLXXXI

Representative Blumenauer provides a great overview here on the current political climate regarding opioids and cannabis. The Trump Administration claims to be working on solutions for the opioid crisis, but seems to be too blinded by the stigma of cannabis to consider it a viable solution. Research increasingly shows that cannabis is indeed a solid solution to opioid addiction and citizens of over half the country have voted to legalize medical marijuana in their states, but the federal government remains immovable on cannabis.

It’s time for this to change. We have to keep driving until the politicians get on board.

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Peru Legalizes Medical Cannabis

Peru’s Congress has legalized cannabis for medical use in a 67-5 vote with three abstaining, according to a report from Al Día News. The measure legalizes cannabis and its derivatives as a cancer, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease therapy.

Congressman Alberto de Belaunde, who championed the legislation called the bill’s passage a “historic moment” for the nation’s Congress. Once the bill is signed into law, officials will have 60 days to craft the program’s regulations.

The approval came following a National Police raid on an illegal cannabis oil manufacturing laboratory in February. According to the report, the lab was making the cannabis oil for sick children.

Congressman Ricardo Navaraez, president of the Congressional Health Commission which had granted its approval for the legislation earlier this month, indicated that the measure will allow importation of medical cannabis products as well as research and production. However, he said that production was “the most controversial” issue in the legislation.

“For us it is a great satisfaction, it is a law that is going to revolutionize, in a country with many prejudices, concerns and fears, I believe it is a good message,” he said in the report.

The overwhelming majority vote allowed the measure to be enacted without going through a second vote as is customary in Peru.

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Maine GOP Leaders Seek to Extend Adult-Use Moratorium into 2019

Republican lawmakers in Maine are attempting to push back the rollout of the adult-use regime until Jan. 2019 after already delaying the market launch three months following the referendum’s passage last November, the Portland Press Herald reports. The move is backed by House Republican Leader Ken Fredette and Gov. Paul LePage.

According to the report, the suggestion has irked several members on the legislative committee that has been crating the rules in preparation for the Feb. 2018 start date; but Fredette said lawmakers shouldn’t be expected to rush a 76-page bill that passed by a small majority. He said extending the moratorium “is the least lousy option.”

“I’m not saying we’re not going to do this, but we need to slow it down and do it right,” he said in the report. “You can’t just plop a bill this big down and say pass it right now or we’ll have chaos. That is not how you make laws here in Maine.”

Leaders of the committee, Republican Sen. Roger Katz and Democrat Rep. Teresa Pierce, criticized both Fredette and LePage for not being more active in the rule-making process and that state agencies they invited to work with them on the rules had not provided any assistance.

“The 11th-hour attempt to wreak havoc is obstructionism for no good reason,” Katz told the Herald. “Their unwillingness to problem-solve is irresponsible to the voters, the businesses and the communities of Maine.”

Even if lawmakers pass Fredette’s moratorium, Maine residents can still cultivate up to six mature plants and possess 2.5 ounces of cannabis for personal use.

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New Zealand PM Considering Referendum to Legalize Cannabis

New Zealand’s newly elected Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she is considering putting the cannabis legalization question to voters, suggesting in a CNBC report that she would like the nation to hold a nationwide binding referendum on the issue before 2020.

“During the campaign I’ve always been very vocal about the fact that I do not believe people should be imprisoned for the personal use of cannabis,” she said in the report. “On the flip-side, I also have concerns around young people accessing a product which can clearly do harm and damage to them.”

The reforms in the nation are being spearheaded by the Green Party, who want to remove all penalties for individuals growing cannabis for medical use and implement age-restricted adult use.

Ross Bell, New Zealand Drug Foundation executive director, indicated he regularly sees polls favoring cannabis law reforms in the country and said that previous government “have not wanted to engage on this issue.”

“Lo and behold the Green Party come along, and allows the country to have the sort of conversation we should have had for a long time,” he said in an interview with CNBC.

Presently, Uruguay is the only nation to have a federally-approved cannabis market; Canada is expected to implement its own legalization scheme by July 1, 2018.

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