If you somehow didn’t know that US midterm elections were last week… can you recommend the rock you’ve been sleeping under? I could use some rest. Here are some election stories InsightCity readers will find interesting: Healthcare was on voters’ minds more than any other issue, as shown by exit polls and money spent on advertising. Antivax PACs funded candidates to retaliate against politicians who push vaccination requirements in their districts. Former Celgene head Bob Hugin lost to incumbent Bob Menedez in the battle of the Bobs New Jersey’s senate race. Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah voters decided to expand Medicaid in their states, while Montana voters said ‘no, thanks.’ Michigan and Missouri waved a green flag for recreational and medical marijuana, respectively. Need more? You can find a more detailed healthcare-related election round-up here (just without InsightCity’s signature snark.)
Put on some Snoop Dogg (do we even have to say NSFW) and your favorite Bob Marley shirt, Canada is now the world’s largest legal marijuana market. Canada is the second country in the world behind Uruguay to legalize recreational use of cannabis, but unlike Uruguay, it won’t have to deal with the financial restrictions of using US dollars to sell the stuff. The safe regulatory environment means Canada will likely turn into the world’s center for agricultural research into the plant, on everything from increasing the potency of its compounds, to the genetic sequencing of its different varieties like “CBD God Bud” and “Cold Creek Kush.” If you want to get in on the reefer madness and make the trip up to the Great White North for some weed tourism, just make sure you do your own research beforehand.
Talk about unintended consequences. With the American public’s increasing acceptance of recreational marijuana use has come an increase in stoned pets. While this jpeg is funny, it’s actually a serious issue for dogs because, according to one veterinarian, they have larger concentrations of cannabinoid receptors than people, making them more sensitive to the effects than either of these two guys. NBC News reports that accidental ingestion of marijuana by pets has increased nearly 550% over the past 6 years alone. Cats are apparently less susceptible than dogs because they’re not as likely to just eat anything in front of them. Besides, cats are pretty chill already. Until they’re not. The moral of the story? Do a better job hiding your weed. Fido’s nose is better than your teenager’s.
This week, two studies in Addiction took aim at some arguments medical marijuana supporters and detractors use when fighting for and against that “dank chronic” (dope list of marijuana slang here.) Medical marijuana supporters argue that opioid abusers would substitute marijuana for pain relief, leading to fewer opioid overdoses. While studies do identify a correlation between a decline in overdose deaths and the passage of medical marijuana legislation, the first study determined that the evidence doesn’t support the laws causing the drop. On the flip side, detractors warn that one of the evils of passing this legislation is more adolescents picking up a pot habit. While that could be bad, the second study couldn’t identify that trend actually occurring in legal weed states.
Should the US federal government control policy on individual marijuana use?
Last week Jeff Sessions, the United States Attorney General (and the country’s least cool Dad) issued a memo that overturns the Obama-era practice of not interfering in states where marijuana use is decriminalized. Remember, states aren’t allowed to pass laws that conflict with federal laws (Article 6 of the US constitution) and the feds have been anti-pot for a long time. Not only does shift this justify the weed-induced feelings of paranoia for recreational users in “legal” states, but it also places in limbo the consumer-facing businesses and the resulting state tax revenues in those states. While the redirection does seem unlikely to affect medical use of the drug—at least for now—publicly traded pot stocks took a hit on the news. Yep, there’s a marijuana stock index.
We hate to be the news source to break it to you, but you can’t use “it’s curing my cancer” as the reason for your marijuana consumption. With the loosening of US laws that prosecute marijuana sales and consumption has come the upstart of many businesses and products, some of which, the FDA finds, are making claims that would classify them as “new drugs.” And of course, if it’s a new drug, the FDA will have something to say about it. According to NBC News, the regulators are putting the kibosh on 4 companies in particular that market products with pot or hemp claiming to treat cancer. Culprits include: CW Botanicals; Natural Alchemist; Greenroads Health; and That’s Natural Marketing and Consulting. They responded—probably—with a collective, “Stop bringing me down, bro.”