The Digital Dime: 1/31/2020

By Samantha Wahl

Following important cannabis news articles every day can be a real burn-out, we know. That’s why the Emerald rolls up a chronicle of the headiest news hits, and passes them to you at the end of each week. We Bring You: The Digital Dime.

 

The Golden State of Psychedelics

California pioneered the movement of normalizing psychedelics when Oakland became the first city to decriminalize. But it would appear that the Land of Milk and Honey is still hungry for mushrooms. According to Marijuana Moment, Oakland activists have goals to proceed with full on legalization nationwide. The process would mimic cannabis legalization, starting with decriminalization across the country, then leaning toward recreational authorization in cities that have best accepted their psychedelics’ wellness properties. Unlike U.S. cannabis programs, these same activists hope to approach this goal while prioritizing health benefits over profit potential. 

P.S. Santa Cruz just became the third U.S. state to decriminalize magic mushrooms. This legalization plan could be in the cards.

Medical Weed Blooms in the Utah and Arizona

Meanwhile, the medical marijuana ball is rolling in the Southwest. Utah’s medical dispensaries will open in March. But, there’s still work to be done, according to MJBizDaily. Most doctors are limited in doling out prescriptions, which could inhibit patients from seeking a license. But, as we’ve seen throughout history in the U.S., acceptance takes time. 

Arizona is a good example of a state that slow process. While recreational use was turned down in 2016, medical use is currently at an all-time high. Since 2018, the state has seen a near 36% increase in medical sales. This is good news for supporters of recreational use. More sales means residents are developing a greater recognition of cannabis’ benefits, putting the state in line for legalization as early as this year. 

Studies Show Cannabis Could Reduce Drinking in College Students

As the country legalizes, scientists are able to look deeper into cannabis’ effects on consumers. According to Medical News Today, two recent studies suggest legalization could mean less drinking in colleges.

The first, published in Addiction studied students who used cannabis from legal states and compared them to illegal states. They found that subjects from recreational-use states reported a greater and more frequent use than the other group. 

The second study, published in Addictive Behaviors used the same data to compare cannabis users to users of other recreational drugs, with alcohol included. The results showed a significant decrease in reported binge drinking amongst cannabis users.

Only seven states had legalized when researchers collected these stats in 2018. By now, four more have confirmed legal status, with potential for more this year. With information from these two studies combined, we can start to predict long-term health effects that come from using our beloved bud. If a reduction in dangerous drinking habits is one, that’s all the more reason to legalize nationally. 

Jay-Z Sues Mississippi Authorities

Violence in Mississippi’s Parchman State Prison last month caused 13 inmate deaths. Now rapper Jay-Z is suing the prison’s authorities for disregarding prisoner rights, says Cannabis Today. A letter by Jay-Z and rapper Yo Gotti describes the toxic conditions set by prison officials, and the blatant lack of respect for its inhabitants. Many of Parchman’s inmates have been convicted of possession, and other pot-related charges. Over three-fourths of those imprisoned for non-violent crimes were people of color. Lack of security–or even human decency–in these prisons are clear examples of the systematic racism which also plagues cannabis culture in this country.

Emerald contributor since September 2019

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