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Ohio’s First Medical Marijuana Sales

All across America, medical marijuana or weed has started to become legalized. Ohio is the latest state to sell medical marijuana. There will be at least four dispensaries. They will open for patients in need of marijuana for their illnesses.

There will be two that open near Steubenville. Another will open in Canton. The last confirmed opening will happen in Sandusky. All four dispensaries will only sell marijuana in the form of a bud. Ohio still has not given certifications to marijuana processors to use THC in some of the other common forms that marijuana can be taken.

Only people with an Ohio state ID can buy weed in Ohio. There are 21 qualifying conditions. As long as an Ohioan has one of those conditions and a physician recommendation, they can legally buy from these dispensaries. As long as you are from Ohio, medical marijuana will become a good alternative for many disease symptoms.

Over 4,000 people have applied and registered. Citizens highly demand medical weed in Ohio.

John Kasich was the governor who signed the bill in 2016. This bill would legalize medical weed throughout the state. It has taken two years for the law to reach this stage finally. Right now, Ohio has joined 33 states that have legalized medical weed.

Ohio has approved a detailed and well thought out medical weed program. There has been a lot of planning. There will also be steps put into place to make sure the drug is used as a medical drug. Just buying it for fun is still hard.

One of the big anticipations of medical weed is the profit. Maryland, another state which has recently legalized, reported their sales reached $96.3 million in the first year only. Ohio was supposed to start selling medical marijuana in September. However, they are three months late.

Ohio will not control the prices of medical weed. Their system could see weed’s prices increase. There are hope profits will be huge.

The first opening day is going to be a challenge. There are a lot of expectations that a lot of people will show up to buy this new legal product. Three of the dispensaries have said they are going to try and limit how much people can buy at first. They do not want to run out. The limit is intended to allow everyone to have a fair chance of buying what they need.

Since the weather will be cold, the dispensaries have prepared heated tents for the long lines they are expecting. Some of them will even serve coffee and hot cocoa.

A doctor will need a few qualifications before they can recommend weed as medicine to buy. Doctors need to take a training course and then apply for certification that allows them to prescribe marijuana. The training course is two hours long. It can be done online or in person. They can apply for accreditation from the Ohio Medical Board.

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Mayors Visit Safe Injection Sites in Canada

Two mayors from Massachusetts recently decided to visit Canada. They want to figure out solutions because there is an opioid crisis in America. They will visit parts of Canada that are also suffering from the same crisis. One mayor is the Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, and the other mayor is the Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern.

Canada has created safe injection sites in an attempt to reduce the harm opioids are creating in their country. These sites let people use illegal drugs under medical supervision. People can bring drugs they have gotten to these sites and inject them with tools from the facility. The idea is based on the fact that people are already going to do them illegally. It would be better to let them intake illegal drugs with medical help so they won’t overdose.

The mayors explained that the crisis in Massachusetts is extremely dire. They are looking at any possible solution. This does not mean that they are going to adopt safe injection sites. The more information they can get, the more options they can have to consider.

Safe injection sites are not unique to Canada. Countries all over the world have set them up especially for drugs such as heroin. Overdose is common for people who do drugs illegally because they do not have people around them who can report an overdose when it does happen. Opioids are killing a lot of Americans. If the number one goal is to stop people from dying, safe injection sites can prove to be useful.

In America, there has never been a safe injection site. Cities like San Francisco have considered it, but it is illegal under federal law. Besides being surrounded by staff, the sites have a lot of other safety measures. The sites have clean needles which a lot of addicts do not know how to find. If someone wants to go to rehab or want help, these sites can provide an easy way for them to find help.

Walsh will be visiting Toronto and Montreal. McGovern will be visiting Montreal too. They will try to learn and see how these safe injection sites work. If they do consider opening some in Massachusetts, there are a lot of safety procedures that need to be followed.

Both of these mayors have joined the Harm Reduction Commission in Massachusetts. They have been sent to learn because the commission wants to consider safe injection sites.

Some people may find these sites counter-intuitive. Why would you let people who are addicted to drugs do them? The number one goal for these sites is to stop people from dying. In the end, if you cannot stop someone from abusing opioids, the next best option is to make sure the abuser is safe when they are taking them.

There have been researching and case studies on safe injection sites. They have provided evidence that death rates do decrease with the sites help. The epidemic has already started. The job isn’t to prevent the epidemic but how to save people from it. 

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In Tulsa, Offering Opportunities for Recovery Instead of Jail Time

Tulsa, Oklahoma is reinventing the justice system in relation to public intoxication. The city has decided that not everyone who is arrested for this offense are criminals. People can choose to get better at the Tulsa Sobering Center.

Residents in Tulsa who are caught for public intoxication are forced to stay in their holding cell for ten hours. This time is meant to allow people to sober up. Then, they are given two choices. They can decide to enter themselves into rehab, or they can go home. Their criminal record will not be added on with either of these choices.

Oklahoma has one of the highest numbers of incarcerations in America. In Tulsa, 60% of the arrested people are arrested for public intoxication. With this new system, Tulsa will decrease their rate of incarceration at a high amount. There is hope that this will reduce costs too.

Arrested people belong to two groups. Some are first time offenders – these people have made a severe accident. The other group of people is repeaters. Many of them have a serious problem with substance abuse and have been arrested many times already. These people need medical help.

High incarceration rates happen because of repeat offenders. There aren’t a lot of new people who do a crime, but jails have not been effective in stopping people from repeating after they are released. Tulsa is tackling the root of the problem. By understanding offenders need medical help, the goal is to prevent people from repeating the crime. This brings the incarceration to a lower rate.

There are many benefits to Tulsa’s system. Tulsa has been able to cut time and money costs. It costs the city 69$ a day to keep someone in jail. Police officers take 90 minutes to book people. That’s 90 minutes where an officer cannot be stopping violent crimes.

When people recover, arrests will decrease too because fewer people are abusing alcohol and other drugs. Many people who are arrested will choose to get help when they are offered the chance. Being arrested feels like a shallow point in life. A lot of substance abusers are already feeling guilty.

Repeat offenders do not want to continue to rely on drugs. Many times they are not given the opportunity to recover. The mayor of Tulsa said that most people who are given the option would choose to get better at a rehab center. They do not want to go home and repeat the same offense.

Since the program has been started, 391 people have been sent to rehab instead of jail. Only 21 people who have left rehab have been arrested once again. Alcohol abuse is chronic, so this success rate is marvelous.

The program is still small, but Tulsa is looking to expand it. The continual growth of participants supports them.

Tulsa Sobering Center is a nonprofit organization. The city does spend $250,000 on this center. It is not the only center in the country that police can bring people to for sobering up. However, it is one of the first to help offenders detox with trained medical staff.

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Drug Costs Plague Seniors, But Legislative Relief May Be Elusive

Older people are in need of drugs because of their illnesses. Many of their diseases are chronic. This means they need to buy medicine all the time. Unfortunately, the cost of the prescription is usually too high. To make matters worse, drugs are increasing in price every day.

Clarence Hogan has a chronic lung disease. His medication supply was only 27$ a month in 2017. Now, he has to buy a minimum of three months and the price has skyrocketed to 345$ for these three months. He tells us horror stories of people crying in the prescription lines. They are crying because they cannot afford these prices.

Currently, lowering drug prices in America has always been a debate in politics. Right now, the government is very divided. With these tensions, neither party will budge on their beliefs to show unity within their own party. There are no conversations about drug prices because parties are worried that they might slip up and let the other party win. It is likely Hogan will have to wait for the next election to see any change.

Some ideas about cutting drug costs have been proposed before. They have tried to reduce the cost of drugs for particular people in society. They want to let people who cannot afford medicines find new avenues to buy them. One option is to allow people to buy drugs from other countries because other countries sell them for cheaper.

These proposals are always blocked. There are many drug company allied politicians. Drug companies have helped politicians fund their campaign, and those politicians are strong allies of keeping drugs at a high cost.

All hope is not gone. It seems with the government shutdown, lowering the cost of drugs has become a nice policy for both companies to work on. In the face of a shutdown, the government does not want to look like it is doing nothing. Lowering the cost of drugs becomes a good place where both parties can work on together despite the tension.

The reason for this is because most of the voters in both parties want a decrease in cost for drugs. Many people on both parties have started to talk about decreasing drug prices. Yet, politicians who view this policy as a priority are worried. As the presidential campaign draws near, they think some politicians are using the lowering of drug cost as a campaigning tool. Running politicians will have larger priorities but will use the drug costs as a platform position.

Some look towards local politicians to make the changes needed for high drug costs. Sadly, local politicians struggle too. Lawmakers in states and cities are scared of facing big pharmaceutical companies. They look too large and prove too much of a threat.

Many pharmaceutical companies defend their high prices with rising costs with insurance companies and wages. They are saying the whole system of creating a drug is getting more expensive. Many people do not believe them and think they are only concerned about making profits.

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