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Marijuana Legalization Versus Decriminalization

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Over 40 states have some form of legal weed – either full recreational or a form of medical marijuana.  Plus, almost 90% of the country believes it should be legal in some form.  But it gets confused about decriminalization.  Marijuana legalization versus decriminalization, what is the difference and how does it affect consumers?

But if there is one confusion in this day and age concerning the methods of marijuana reform this country has been experimenting with, it’s precisely what the difference between legalization and decriminalization is. And which one is better in the grand scheme of longevity and public health and safety.

Which State Will Legalize Marijuana First In 2020- Kentucky, Ohio Or Indiana?
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When a state legalizes marijuana, what it’s really doing is eliminating the laws it has associated with the possession and personal use of cannabis. It means people (typically adults 21 and older) can no longer be punished by the county, city or state for most marijuana-related offenses. 

These laws often come with possession limits, allowing adult individuals to hold up to an defined weight without getting into trouble. In many cases, these laws also allow adults to engage in home cultivation. Depending on the state, the rules essentially give adults the freedom to grow a certain number of plants in their home (or outside garden) for personal use.

RELATED: The Most Popular Marijuana Flavors

Legalization also gives the state government the power to establish a taxed and regulated market, allowing pot consumers to purchase cannabis products from a retail environment. Usually, the state gives local municipalities the freedom to decide whether they want to cater to pot shops or not. Just think of marijuana legalization in terms of how the alcohol trade works. Booze is fully legal, and adults 21 and older can buy it from liquor stores and other licensed retailers. But there are still some “dry” counties in parts of the country. Marijuana isn’t any different.  

State and local jurisdictions benefit from the legalization model, too, as they all collect tax revenue allotted for road construction, schools and combatting drug addiction. It turns out cannabis revenue is more valuable than alcohol or tobacco.

Which State Will Legalize Marijuana First In 2020- Kentucky, Ohio Or Indiana?
Photo by RobinOlimb/Getty Images

Decriminalization, however, is a different beast. These laws basically allow low-level marijuana offenders to escape jail and criminal charges. The rules are just a little less restrictive than in a full-blown prohibition regime and there is no retail market. Anyone caught for pot in a place where decriminalization is in effect can expect to receive a small fine (typically, between $50 and $200), and they may have to make an appearance in court. It just depends on the state or local authorities. But as long as small-time possession is involved, there is never a situation where an offender has to worry about spending time in jail, losing their vehicle or dealing with a criminal record.

RELATED: Does Legalizing Marijuana Help Or Harm Americans? Weighing The Statistical Evidence

Go over the possession limit, though, and it’s a different story altogether. Think of decriminalization as similar to a seat belt violation. It’s still against the law to drive around without a seat belt, but the cops aren’t going to cuff you for it. They’re going to hand you a citation, tell you to be careful and move on. But don’t expect to keep your weed. Police will usually seize it even though it is decriminalized. After all, it’s not legal to be in possession of marijuana, it’s just not a criminal offense. Several states and cities have gone this way rather than entertain a fully legal system.

With HHD, FDA and the DEA looking at rescheduling, it will add another wrinkle in how marijuana is classified in the nation and states.



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The Navy Softens Their Stance On Marijuana

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With recruitment down, the US Navy is taking a softer approach to marijuana

Their motto used to be “see the world, join the Navy”, but enticing young people to be part of the armed forces have been tough the last few years. Only 23% of young people between 17 and 24 even qualify to join the military. Even fewer have expressed the desire to enlist, officials said.  Also, Gen Z is changing what they want in a career, they would rather see the world on their own terms.  Additionally, Gen Z has a different approach to life regarding drinking and drugs.  They have drifted away from alcohol and embraced marijuana – especially gummies and vaping. They are a key part of the California sober movement.

RELATED: The Most Popular Marijuana Flavors

In response to changes and to be competitive with every almost every other business/opportunity, it seems the Navy softens their stance on marijuana. The are no longer immediately kicking out recruits who arrive at boot camp at Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Illinois, with detectable amounts of marijuana in their system.

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The Navy increased drug positives 68% from 3,367 in 2021 to 5,661 in 2022. This increase is due to the rise in THC use (nearly 80% of all positives): including both the delta-8 variant (CBD; testing began in 2021) and the traditional delta-9 variant (cannabis).

Rear Adm. James Waters, director of the Navy’s military personnel plans and policy division made a statement. “The service has expanded the authority to grant waivers for any recruits who initially test positive for THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana.”

“If they fail the test and own up — ‘Yes, I smoke marijuana ‘– we do an evaluation of the young person to make sure there’s not something else going on,” Waters said. “But we trust that through the process of boot camp that we have an opportunity to bring them along with our culture.”

RELATED: How To Be Discreet When Using Weed

The Navy maintains a zero tolerance policy for active duty drug use. They state it is based on both federal law and no test can adequately test someone’s fitness for duty based on the amount of THC in their system.

The currently philosophy is THC consumption is not a moral issue (right or wrong). Instead, it  is incompatible with the Navy’s mission to prepare to fight and win anytime, anywhere.

In September of 2022, the Air Force and Space Force announced a new pilot program that would grant certain applicants who test positive for THC, the main psychoactive component in marijuana, a chance to retest and possibly join the ranks.  By December, the Air Force Recruiting Service granted waivers to 43 applicants who tested positive for THC.  This was a larger than expected.



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Why Marijuana Smells Skunky

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It is the telltale sign someone is having fun. Whether walking down the street or stepping into a crowd, you know exactly what is going on. Marijuana has a distinctive oder to clue you in when fun is going on.  But as cannabis goes mainstream and becomes legal, the smell is increasing fading. Here is why marijuana smells skunky and why is it disappearing.

RELATED: The Most Popular Marijuana Flavors

Smoking weed was the original way to consume.  But today, thanks to data from BDSA, we know most newer and younger partakers use vapes or gummies to enjoy the benefits.  The aroma is less prevalent, but it still as potent. Smoking still produces the smell, but why does some weed reek of skunk or dirty socks and other times it has the aroma of lemons or pine? The answer is terpenes.

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Terpenes are essential oils providing the fragrance in foods and herbs. When you take a whiff of basil, for example, what you are smelling are the terpenes. Cannabis strains also have unique terpenes producing the aroma. Some strains smell lemony (limonene) or spicy (caryophyllene) or floral (linalool) or piney (alpha-pinene).

Terpenes not only provide the smell, they have essential therapeutic benefits, as well. Some of the most prevalent terpenes and their medicinal value:

  • Alpha-pinene (essential pine oil), the most common terpene in the plant world and one often found in cannabis, is a bronchodilator potentially helpful for asthmatics. Pinene also promotes alertness and memory retention by inhibiting the metabolic breakdown of acetylcholinesterase, a neurotransmitter in the brain stimulates these cognitive effects.
  • Myrcene, another terpene present in numerous cannabis varietals, is a sedative, a muscle relaxant, a hypnotic, an analgesic (painkiller) and an anti-inflammatory compound. This musky terpene contributes mightily to the infamous “couch-lock” experience and is the one which gives off the skunky aroma.
  • Limonene, a major terpene in citrus as well as in cannabis, has been used clinically to dissolve gallstones, improve mood and relieve heartburn and gastrointestinal reflux. Limonene, an anticonvulsant, has been shown to destroy breast-cancer cells in lab experiments, and its powerful antimicrobial action can kill pathogenic bacteria.
  • Linalool, a terpenoid prominent in lavender as well as in some cannabis strains, is an anxiolytic compound which counters anxiety and mediates stress. In addition, linalool is a strong anticonvulsant, and it also amplifies serotonin-receptor transmission, conferring an antidepressant effect. Applied topically, linalool can heal acne and skin burns without scarring.

RELATED: How To Be Discreet When Using Weed

  • Beta-caryophyllene is a sesquiterpene found in the essential oils of black pepper, oregano and other edible herbs, as well as in cannabis and many green, leafy vegetables. It is gastro-protective, good for treating certain ulcers, and shows great promise as a therapeutic compound for inflammatory conditions and autoimmune disorders because of its ability to bind directly to the peripheral cannabinoid receptor known as CB2.

And now you know why marijuana smells skunky.



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5 Key Things To Know About Cannabis Concentrates

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When you are young, you can experiment, but as you age – you want to minimize after effects…we got you when it comes to the next step with marijuana

High school and college were the days of experimenting. Lessons leads to stories about crazy things and some unfortunate times. But as you age and move to a more sophisticated self, it is important to have the knowledge regarding having fun.  Marijuana has become mainstream and some are moving into a connoisseur phase.  This encompasses flavor, impact, and potency.  In this journey, here are 5 key things to know about cannabis concentrates.

It is not for beginners

Concentrates are extremely potent. This is helpful for cannabis enthusiasts who have built up a high tolerance and know how marijuana affects them. However, it can overwhelm people who are still new in consuming.  Don’t rush into the max and until you have gotten your weed legs steady. Dabbing is the way to consume concentrates, and is a bit more of a process.

Concentrates may or may not be better flower

Photo by Darrin Harris Frisby/Drug Policy Alliance

RELATED: Marijuana 101: Dabbing Wax Vs. Vaping Wax

You can have a bit of a longer high

High-Potency Marijuana Doubles Risk Of Anxiety Issues, Study FInds
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RELATED: Differences In Marijuana Highs: Flowers, Edibles and Concentrates

Similar to smoking/vaping, the effects of dabbing usually last 1 to 3 hours. If using a high THC concentrate, you could feel the effects for 10-12 hours. If you are feeling uncomfortable or worried, the best thing to do is take a nap and sleep it off.

Concentrates are to be respected

Photo by rgbspace/Getty Images

RELATED: Dabbing Is On The Rise Among Teens — Here’s What Parents Should Know 

You can find a ton misinformation surrounding the dabbing process, some reports claim overdoses have been influenced by the recent popularity of concentrates. While there might be an existing relationship, marijuana advocates claim concentrates are safe and produce the same positive results as cannabis flower. Even if you get too high from ingesting the wrong dose, no one has ever died from consuming them.

Concentrates are like other products

marijuana dabbing
Photo by bartystewart/Getty Images

While the process of making concentrates is one involving the use of complex chemicals, facilities are equipped to handle these solvents and are very strict when it comes to how they’re produced. All the information should be clearly stated on the product’s label, and concentrates should be made by professionals who are working responsibly. In short, dangerous concentrates are rarely found in a regulated, legal market.



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