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New Jersey Moves Forward With Medical Marijuana Program Expansion

Lawmakers on New Jersey’s State Assembly Health Committee just voted on legislation that would massively overhaul the state’s medical cannabis laws. The committee’s vote marks the first step toward deciding whether New Jersey moves forward with medical marijuana program expansion, or not. And despite Republican opposition, Democrats were able to gather enough votes to approve the measure in committee. If the bill ultimately becomes law, the medical cannabis landscape in New Jersey would change dramatically. Here’s how.

Legislators Move To Massively Overhaul New Jersey’s Medical Cannabis Laws

Like other medical marijuana states, New Jersey has set strict limits on medical marijuana. These rules govern who qualifies to use cannabis-based treatments, who’s authorized to prescribe them, and what kinds of medicine manufacturers can produce and sell.

The new legislation brought to the Assembly Health Committee, however, would do away with most of those restrictions. For patients, that means wider, more expansive access to legal medical cannabis.

“There is no benefit in denying a patient relief,” said Assemblyperson Herb Conaway (D-Burlington), chair of the Health Committee. The Health Committee approved the measure on Thursday.

The changes the measure proposes are sweeping. Most significantly, it would eliminate restrictions based on qualifying conditions. Instead, the new measure would make medical cannabis available for any diagnosed condition.

The measure would also permit physicians to recommend medical cannabis treatments for any condition. And further, physicians would no longer have the requirement of enrolling in a public registry in order to give a patient a marijuana recommendation.

The same goes for patients, who would also no longer need a certification from their doctor.

Those changes alone would be enough to significantly expand New Jersey’s medical marijuana program. But the measure goes even further.

For children suffering from conditions like epilepsy, the bill makes it easier for minor patients to obtain edible forms of medical cannabis.

For caregivers, the bill doubles the number of patients a caregiver can serve from one to two.

Finally, for dispensary owners and providers, the measure doubles the 30-day limit on medical cannabis sales from two ounces to four. The measure would also set up an additional 12 cultivators and 40 dispensaries, compared to the six currently operating in the state.

Despite Republican Opposition, New Jersey Moves Forward With Medical Marijuana Program Expansion

The sum total of these changes is a drastically expanded medical marijuana program that reduces costs and cuts through red tape. And that should benefit everyone, from producers to caregivers to patients.

But before the vote that approved the measure on Thursday, Republican committee members voiced their opposition and raised concerns about the expansion.

According to the Associated Press, Republican Assemblyperson Brian Rumpf doubted that the proposed expansion was supported by medical cannabis research. Rumpf voted against the measure.

There were also five abstentions from the vote. Three Democratic committee members opted out, along with two Republicans.

Those who support the bill, however, say it’s all about empowering physicians and patients. “We are putting patients and physicians in control,” said Conaway, who is also a medical doctor.

Conaway is setting his sights on the larger public health picture in New Jersey. He sees expanding access to medical cannabis as a way to “de-escalate opioids and reduce risk of unintended addition and death.”

Final Hit: New Jersey Moves Forward With Medical Marijuana Program Expansion

By removing what many say are overly-restrictive Christie-era rules, advocates of the state’s medical cannabis program say enrollment will increase. Currently, there are 18,200 patients in New Jersey’s medical cannabis program.

As New Jersey moves forward with medical marijuana program expansion, the next step is a vote before the full Assembly. After that, the bill will go to the Senate. If approved, it will end up on Gov. Phil Murphy‘s desk.

For his part, Gov. Murphy campaigned on a platform of legalizing and taxing recreational marijuana. And he’s made expanding and improving New Jersey’s medical cannabis program a top priority.

The post New Jersey Moves Forward With Medical Marijuana Program Expansion appeared first on High Times.

NYPD Must Publish Marijuana Arrest Demographics Under New Bill

Starting yesterday, the NYPD must publish marijuana arrest demographics under new bill. These statistics will be posted on the New York Police Department website.

The Significance of Publishing Arrest Demographics

The U.S. has a long history of racism in the form of over-policing Black and Latino communities. This bill aims to put a stop to racially motivated policing in New York, where recreational marijuana is still illegal.

At a hearing, the City Council heard evidence that substantiated discrimination against racial minorities in NYPD arrests. Today, 86 percent of people arrested for marijuana are Black or Latino. This doesn’t make sense when, according to the 2010 decennial census, only 52 percent of the population of New Yorker is Black or Latino.

A recent report found that racial minorities are ten times as likely as white people to be arrested for marijuana. The report also put forth that each ethnicity uses marijuana about the same amount, making the disparity in arrests even more striking.

NYPD spokesman Peter Donald says that the police show up where other illegal behavior occurs and where they receive complaints.

Donald explains, “We have an obligation—as the police—to be responsive. That’s our job. If we didn’t respond to complaints, like 911 calls, 311 calls or individual contacts from the community, we would be rightfully called to task.”

Who Supported The Bill

City Councilman Steve Levin, who was the prime sponsor for bill Intro. 605-A, calls the NYPD’s explanation “totally unacceptable.”

Levin also supports legalizing weed in New York. He believes that, in terms of low level marijuana arrests, “there should be zero.”

New York mayor Bill de Blasio ran on a platform of evening out the racial disparity in arrests. He described police racism as “unjust and wrong.”

Since the mayor’s election, marijuana arrests have decreased but the racial bias remains constant. De Blasio has not said whether he would sign the bill into law.

When presented with the findings of these reports, the New York City Council unanimously voted in favor of the bill.

More Details About The Report

The decision that the NYPD must publish marijuana arrest demographics under new bill will mean that everyone will have access to police arrest data.

Through the NYPD website, you’ll be able to read a quarterly report of low-level marijuana possession arrests and summonses. The report will divide the data by borough and precinct, and will take gender, race and age into account.

Bill Intro. 605-A will go into effect sixty days after the mayor ratifies it.

Final Hit: NYPD Must Publish Marijuana Arrest Demographics Under New Bill

This bill is a big step in holding the police accountable for racist discrepancies in low-level marijuana arrests. It also has citizens and lawmakers wondering why there are any marijuana arrests at all in New York City.

Though the mayor does not support legalization, two City Council Members, Speaker Corey Johnson and bill sponsor Peter Donald, have publicly supported marijuana legalization.

Perhaps proving the racist bias of marijuana inherent in marijuana policing is the first step towards legalization in New York. Perhaps it’s time to elect more weed-friendly politicians in the empire state.

The post NYPD Must Publish Marijuana Arrest Demographics Under New Bill appeared first on High Times.

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Bud Boba: How To Make Weed-Infused Bubble Tea

The craze of inventive drinks piled on with buoyant whipped cream and colorful sprinkles consumes the beverage industry. But before buying that caloric rainbow unicorn or crystal ball frappucino, consider a simpler treat. Boba, or bubble, tea continues to please urban enclaves all over the US. This Thai milky tea concoction offers a smooth sip through a straw and surprises with a mouthful of tiny tapioca pearls. But why not take it to the next level? Infusing a refreshing drink like this with marijuana could only make it better. Here’s the low-down on bud boba or how to make weed-infused bubble tea.

The OG Bud Boba

Though bud-infused bubble tea obviously shines as a brilliant idea to potheads and boba fans everywhere— its origin stems from the butt of an April Fool’s Day joke. San Francisco’s Boba Guys tweeted their spin on bud boba, calling it Cannaboba.

But unfortunately, this green drink was only a myth in time for the prank-filled holiday and unavailable to customers. Nonetheless, the creative team at Boba Guys did cook up a single batch for the show BongAppetit.

In time, the dank delicacy might become available to Boba Guys customers where weed is legal, like California. But those frequenting Boba Guys in the state of New York may have to settle for stirring up their own batch weed-infused bubble tea.

Bursting the Bubble on Boba

Bud Boba: How To Make Weed-Infused Bubble Tea

Boba tea’s signature ingredient tapioca pearls prove essential to making the specialty beverage. These balls can be made at home by boiling water and then adding tapioca starch in a ratio of 1-part water to 2-parts tapioca.

Once the boiling water is added slowly to the starch, the mixture will form a dough. Roll this dough into long snakes and then cut into small sections. Roll these pieces into pearls with your hands.

Finally, the balls are ready to cook. Put these balls back into the pot of boiling water. Then, transition the stove’s heat to medium once the balls float to the surface.

The longer these balls are allowed to simmer, the more they will take on their distinctive translucent look and chewy texture. As they cook, they may fall to the bottom of the pot again, and this is the ideal moment to retrieve them.

Preserve these glossy pearls in honey to maintain their texture and composition as well as to promote a sweeter flavor.

Try seeping them in weed-infused honey, like the specialty honey from Bird and the Bee or Honey Pot, for an extra kick.

But be conscious that bud Boba also relies on weed-infused milk for its base.

Too much work to cook up a vat of tapioca pearls? Many stores on the internet sell bubble tea tapioca balls in a wide variety and assortment.

These balls also can and should soak in the same CBD honey as their at-home equivalents, especially if kept for a while. Try any number of flavors and skip this extra DIY step.

The (Canna)Milky Way

Bud Boba: How To Make Weed-Infused Bubble Tea

But what’s really going to make bud Boba the special treat everyone wants? To make edibles, it is important to remember that marijuana is fat soluble.

So, in order to effectively infuse milk with pot and absorb higher amounts of THC, it is important to use a type with higher fat content, like whole milk.

Also keep in mind that calculating dosages when making edibles keeps you safe and sane.

Start with around 0.5 to 1.0 grams of pot per quart of whole milk. The weed and milk can simply be added to a steel pot and boiled on the stovetop at a high temperature, stirring almost constantly. But be aware, this method could cause curdling.

Instead, boil a small-medium of water in this same pot first. Then, using a double boiler technique, place a medium-sized steel bowl over the boiling liquid.

Add the milk and weed to this bowl and stir very occasionally to infuse. Keep this bowl simmering for around 3 hours to ensure decarboxylation or heating the marijuana to activate the THC and CBD cannabinoids.

Once the milk is ready, filter through a cheesecloth to reduce the pieces of bud in the liquid. The finished weedy product can be used for more than just weed-infused bubble tea.

It works great in a variety of beverages, like matcha tea lattes or even your pre or post-workout protein shake.

Final Hit: Pouring Together Weed-Infused Bubble Tea

In the end, all that’s left for a DIY bud Boba is bringing all the components together. A simple recipe calls for:

  • 1 packet instant Thai iced tea (flavor of your choosing)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup canna-milk
  • ¼ cup tapioca pearls
  • Ice
  • Honey or agave (for sweetener)

Put tapioca pearls at the bottom of a large glass. Add tea packet, water, canna-milk, water, and any desired sweetener to a larger glass and stir or shake to blend.

Finally, fill the glass with the tapioca pearls halfway with the tea mixture. Include ice at this point to cool the beverage. Then, fill the glass rest of the way with the weed-infused bubble tea, and enjoy.

But don’t stop experimenting with bud Boba there. Plenty of recipes from weed and bubble tea enthusiasts continue to emerge, especially in states where weed is legal.

Find your flavor with this higher-level beverage.

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