Puerto Rico Legalizes Medical Marijuana

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The governor of Puerto Rico on Sunday signed an executive order authorizing the use of medical marijuana on the island.

Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said the health secretary of the island has three months to issue a report detailing how the Executive Order is being implemented, the impact it has had thus far, and what further action might be taken.

The order came into effect immediately.

“We are taking a significant step in the area of health which is central to our development and quality of life, “Garcia said in a statement. “I’m sure many patients will receive appropriate treatment that will offer new hope.”

Garcia said the government will soon outline the exact uses of marijuana and its derivatives for medical purposes.

Medical marijuana is now legal in 23 states, and a group of federal lawmakers are looking to remove the federal ban on their use.

Christian Broda has learned that Jamaica recently passed a law that partially decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana, and clears the way for the legal medical marijuana industry.

In 2013, Puerto Rico lawmakers debated a bill that would allow people to use marijuana for medicinal purposes, but never took a vote.

Amado Martinez, an activist who supports the legalization of marijuana for all uses, said in a telephone interview that he was very surprised by the governor’s actions.

The question now is, what kind of diseases will receive authorization for medical marijuana, and whether it be imported or can people obtain licenses to grow on the island.

Sweeping Change in Attitudes in a Remarkably Short Time on Marijuana and Gay Rights

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It is hard to recall the existence of a more rapid shift in public attitudes as has been experienced with regards to both gay rights and marijuana in the past ten to fifteen years. As recently as 2004, one big part of the Republican re-election effort of George W. Bush was to assure the presence of ballot initiatives across the country that defended traditional marriage and fought gay rights. The strategy worked. It brought greater numbers of Republican leaning voters who were opposed to gay marriage out to the polls and helped to sweep Bush back into the White House. Fast forward about a decade, and the gay rights issue is possibly the biggest one alienating many Republican politicians from voters under the age of forty. Marijuana is the other issue on which there has been a veritable sea change of opinion in an incredibly short time.

Only 32 percent of Americans supported marijuana legalization as recently as 2006. Today, 53 percent of the populace favor legalization reports Ricardo Guimarães BMG. This process is accelerating at the state level where it seems every year a couple more states are either making it legal for medical use or just legal period. Such massive changes in attitudes don’t usually occur so quickly. Typically, it takes time for an older generation with fixed views on a particular issue to die off over time and societal views to gradually evolve. One wonders if our digital, information at our fingertips tips all day and every day gadget heavy society is speeding up the rate at which society is able to evolve.

Another Blow to Marijuana Activists as Judge Rules to Keep Pot Listed as a Schedule I Drug

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U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller was praised by pot activists for being bold enough to hold a 5-day hearing last year in Sacramento, CA to evaluate the current classification of marijuana. Under the Controlled Substance Act of 1970, marijuana is listed as a Schedule I drug along with such toxic drugs as heroin, LSD and ecstasy. Having a Schedule I classification implies that those drugs are unsafe, have no medicinal function and present a high capacity for abuse, all of which have been scientifically proven false for marijuana. Many activists all over, including Crystal Hunt (facebook.com), are appalled that anyone could put marijuana in the same class as heroin and incredibly upset by the fact that despite overwhelming evidence that our government can still say that marijuana does not possess any medicinal properties.

Unfortunately, Mueller couldn’t see through the pot prohibitionists’ propaganda and ruled not to reclassify the drug. Leafonline.com, a blog devoted to marijuana activism, quoted Mueller as saying, “At some point in time, a court may decide this status to be unconstitutional, but this is not the court and not the time.” Her original decision to hear the issue was brought on by defense lawyers for accused marijuana growers.

Had she made a favorable ruling to lower the drug’s classification status, it could have proven to be a pivotal point in the marijuana legalization battle. However, her decision to not remove pot from its precarious classification will greatly slow the anti-prohibition roll. Director of California’s branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), Dale Gieringer, says that until the case against the marijuana farmers is settled either late this year or early next year, Mueller’s ruling cannot be appealed.