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Cannabis Revolution from New England to Oklahoma

Happy 4th of July!

The poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a poem in 1861, called, “Paul Revere’s Ride,” and there is one famous line that reads: “One, if by land, and two, if by sea.” Longfellow is referring to the horse ride Paul Revere took in 1775 from Boston to Concord, Massachusetts letting the colonial militia know that the British were coming by ordering local patriots to hang two lanterns at the North Church tower in Concord. The lanterns were a secret code used to let the militia know to get ready to fight the British before the battles of Lexington and Concord, which began the American Revolution.

I visited the Concord Museum in Concord, Massachusetts this winter and on display was one of the lanterns from that night in 1775. I went to Quincy Market in Boston and had dinner at the Green Dragon Tavern, “Headquarters of the Revolution” est. 1773. It was a loud bar with a mural painted on the wall of the Sons of Liberty who met at the Tavern. A statue of Samuel Adams is nearby as is the site of the Boston Massacre. It was great being in the vibe of the revolutionary spirit.

Massachusetts is a recreational Marijuana state and in the parking lot of the dispensaries in Massachusetts, you will see vehicles with license plates from out-of-state. People travel from nearby Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania to purchase recreational Marijuana and pay 20% tax. Remember, the Boston Tea Party? Do you think Marijuana will be thrown into the Boston Harbor because people are going to be fed up with paying so much tax? I doubt it.

Connecticut became the 18th state to legalize recreational marijuana on June 16th. When it will become effective is not known but perhaps in May of 2022. The law includes social equity rules to make amends for the disaster of the war on drugs and the communities affected. The rule basically states that anyone with prior marijuana arrests and convictions, as well as their parents, children or spouses, may qualify for social equity status when applying for a marijuana business license. So, people who were once in prison on marijuana charges, (or their loved ones), have the opportunity now to be marijuana business owners because the politics has changed.

What a turn around! What are past Presidents Nixon and Reagan thinking about this? All their effort with the War and Drugs and “Just say No” and now the tides are turning and the War on Drugs is crumbling and doctors are telling their patients who have been taking prescribed opioids for years to get their Medical Marijuana card.

Texas this week also added some changes to their Marijuana Program. Texas now added PTSD and cancer as qualifying conditions to get a MMJ card. Chronic pain did not make it as a qualifying condition. Epilepsy, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, ALS and autism are all qualifying conditions. The other change to the MMJ program in Texas is that the amount of THC allowed in products was doubled – from 0.5% to 1%. That is not much THC when compared to the amount in a product such as RSO (Rick Simpson Oil) with THC percentages of 60%-90%. RSO is a product routinely used in people with cancer. You won’t be finding any RSO in dispensaries in Texas until the law changes and higher amounts of THC are allowed in the Lone Star state.

Oklahoma has a Medical Marijuana program and its program is such that there are NO qualifying conditions. People see a doctor and tell the doctor how cannabis helps them and whether it is for better sleep, helps their anxiety, pain or just plain helps them relax, then that can be enough to get a Marijuana card. Oklahoma and Texas border one another but the two states are light years apart from each other in their Medical Marijuana programs.

And what is New Jersey up to? The state has a Medical Marijuana program and in February of this year, the Governor legalized the possession of up to 6 ounces of Cannabis or 17 grams of hashish for adults age 21 or older. Jersey does not have any recreational dispensaries operating yet, however. This has opened up the market for businesses to “gift” Cannabis which the Attorney General of New Jersey does not approve. Some businesses offer delivery of snacks with a choice of a “gift” of Cannabis. You might pay around $250 for some Oreos, Twix bars, Pringles and a soda, but you can also get “gifted” with an ounce of Cannabis.

We are in the middle of a revolution of Cannabis.

Kimberly Landino has been a Naturopathic Physician for over 20 years. She has been recommending Medical Marijuana to patients in Arizona for the last four years. Prior to this, she used the modalities of nutrition and diet, counseling, acupuncture, meditation, yoga, botanical medicine and more in her Naturopathic Family Practice in South Phoenix, Tempe, Flagstaff and in Tuba City, Arizona.


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