In Madrid, once a city of enchantment and tranquility, COVID-19 now strikes again. The city now grapples with emerging cases of the disease, as Spain reigns the country in Europe with the most cases. Alarmingly, the COVID-19 pandemic was not new in the country, with a previous spike having fallen. This ‘second wave‘ of the coronavirus prompted officials to impose lockdowns on the most effected districts. Unfortunately, this may have also triggered a class conflict in the process.
On Monday, September 21, 2020, the southern laying district of Vallecas in Madrid, went into lockdown. However, this official mandate has not made things any easier for the time being. Widespread protests over the news that Vallecas would face shuttering down emerged. Residents of the district took to the streets to voice their belief that the decision was based off socioeconomic status.
Madrid faces the worst peak of COVID-19 ever, and precautionary measures needed severely
The country’s regional health chief for Madrid, Enrique Ruiz Escudero, recently stated the severity of the pandemic in an interview. The nation, at the time of writing, bears over 640000 cases of infections and over 30400 deaths. These numbers come off as staggering, and few nations, like the United States, top it. Escudero even stated that should the necessity arise, a city-wide lockdown would follow. Conversely, the Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, assured viewers that another nation-wide lockdown was not under plan.
Thus, the Mayor of the city of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, also spoke in favor of the lockdown. He urged residents of the city to unite and cooperate with government mandates. The rationale behind this policy, and towards shuttering Vallecas, reflects the highest COVID-19 cases concentrated there. The lockdown strategy, after all, does show proof of good results in most parts of the world.
Vallecas residents believe the lockdown restrictions mean to control only them, while leaving others unchecked
Peaceful protests, over the city’s controversial sudden stance, emerged immediately. Vallecas, being one of the lowest median income districts, generally sits on a low socioeconomic position. The residents, numbering over 850000 strong, also include high proportions of immigrants. Despite the conditions of economic poverty, many united on the streets to call out the perceived injustice. In addition, they also call for the removal of Isabel Díaz Ayuso, the Madrid regional leader. She had recently come under fire for blaming the rise in COVID-19 cases on immigrants, a racist stance.
The rationales behind the limited lockdown conflict on both sides. The city government maintains it only started due to the high concentration of cases in Vallecas. And that it is entirely unrelated to any socioeconomic discrimination. Meanwhile, protestors are far from convinced. Many simply dread the closure of schools, businesses and meetings in their neighborhoods. And they believe the sole cause for this is due to their income levels, while the richer areas are less restricted.
Spain seems the most at-risk nation in the continent, and should tread carefully
The coronavirus, established to have at least thrice the infectiousness influenza does, spreads quickly and silently. Often at times, with testing procedures rendered unavailable or slow, the virus spreads and infects faster than detected. Hence, Spain’s resurgence of cases after a drop-off in the first wave indicates the need for serious action. Regardless of where in Madrid one lives, masks and social distancing are paramount.
In other news, many nations have begun, or nearly completed work on a COVID-19 vaccine. Click here to read about one of them!
Cannabis Industry- A Hope for Expunged Felonies
The US Cannabis industry has stepped into the show in order to help expunged felonies. They are trying to normalize ex-cons with a will to excel in industrial platforms. Prisoners are getting special attention in recent years as compared to the past.
In the United States of America, the prisoners’ ratio is the highest worldwide. There were around 2.1 million prisoners in the US in the year 2018.
However, there is a steep drop observed in federal cases. Only 92 arrests are there regarding drugs in 2017. Yet according to the federal-state investigation bureau record, around 663,000 marijuana-based arrests are there.
Cannabis activists are trying their best to expunge the record of those felons caught for marijuana possession. The implementation of the MORE act and marijuana reform is proposed time and again.
They have a long way to go. However, they are satisfied with the direction they’re headed, says CEO of Ilera Holistic Dr Chanda Macias.
What does returning citizens face:
According to a detailed study, people returning with jeopardized legal records do find it hard to live in peace.
They face no acceptance anywhere whatsoever. Corporate sector avoids them in order to keep clean. They can become a victim of high anxiety and depression. Such conditions render high rates of recidivism i.e. people returning to their illegal practices due to adversity.
This is exactly what cannabis activists are up against. They want people to have a second chance. Individuals should have enough space to prove their social worth again.
They frequently remain in connection with such citizens. National Expungement Week says they try their best to remain connected to and help such people.
Legalization might help:
One positive step in helping the expunged felonies is legalizing cannabis products in the country. If this is done, everything will become easier. Convicted felons will no longer be the same.
Many countries are succeeding in this path including New Zealand. After the legalization, controlled and legal sale of marijuana will help people maintain themselves and fulfil their needs as well.
Fresh Green dispensary is an initiative of this kind. It is the second medical institute dealing in CBD products. Such steps can prove revolutionary for the people.
Returning Individuals do have a skillset:
One sad state of affairs is that many people facing the consequences possess a good skillset.
They are willing to work and possess the necessary qualities for that. In such cases, it is the duty of the state to help them and discourage recidivism.
Many states are playing a negative role here. They have laws that restrict such fellows from entering the market. That in turn results in increased crime rates.
Not only people but the related industry is also under the effect of such laws. The fact that marijuana sales are not legal in the country refrains the industry from growing freely.
This discourages to a great extent. The economy of the country is also under the effect as a whole. Macias repeats that industries need to unite for the people and for themselves.
By helping these expunged felonies, the cannabis industry is also helping itself. The industry can breathe and work freely only if the state allows it to do so.
If legalizing practices prevail and people’s morale remains high, both sides will cherish. It is good to see that many industries are already playing a positive role in this regard.
Marijuana Dispensaries Open in Missouri For The First Time
Citizens flocked to a new dispensary opening in Missouri, the state’s first authorized distributor of cannabis. In a momentous occasion, the state allowed a few dispensaries to open. This is a big step for a state where possessing more than ten grams is a misdemeanor with up to two thousand dollar fines.
Despite the harsh stance against cannabis, the new dispensaries were very well received by locals. Cannabis sativa as well as Cannabis indica, while known mostly for their enjoyable yet moderate high, have more uses than just that. For a lot of elderly patients, the plant and its byproducts are essential in treating existing conditions. Let’s take a look at how extant cannabis laws in Missouri affect the prevalence of the drug.
Cannabis is a strictly controlled substance in Missouri
Records kept by NORML, also known as the National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws, show cannabis is very controversial in Missouri. It is extremely difficult to distribute and up till as recent as 2017, it was a felony to possess more than ten grams at any time. The general attitude of legislators towards marijuana is evident from the fact that selling the drug is a felony with mandatory prison time. If you’ve been charged with drug possession in the past, that felony goes up one more rank, and increases the severity of your sentence.
Needless to say, it’s all very apparent that cannabis isn’t really well liked by statespeople. But what about the common person? Well, turns out, you can hate the devil, but only if you don’t need him. A lot of elderly patients suffering from arthritis and similar, chronic and incurable conditions need cannabis. The drug is in fact, allowed to those who can show they have a medical permit to possess it.
How do Missourians feel about cannabis?
In a state where even working at a cannabis dispensary requires strict background checks, a lot of people are afraid of trying out cannabis. And that’s actually a shame, since it means teens are much more susceptible to anti-marijuana propaganda. Even still, in 2018, a poll showed that more than sixty six percent of voters agreed on allowances for people who medically need cannabis. That’s a pretty big number and definitely shows there’s potential to push for bigger changes.
If you were to ask the youth, you’d find much higher approval rates. In an informal poll by the mayor of St. Louis in 2014 showed that over ninety percent of online voters wanted cannabis legalization. A further twenty eight percent reported they had used the drug in recent weeks. And we’ve made a lot of progress in changing people’s minds since then. The question isn’t whether Missourians support cannabis legalization, it’s to what extent. About thirty three percent of online voters in the aforementioned poll supported tax free sale of marijuana.
What do the new dispensaries mean for cannabis laws in Missouri?
It’s definitely a positive point in the long history of cannabis legislation in Missouri. Considering the bill allowing for the sale of marijuana was only on the desk of the governor earlier in 2020, this is Swift progress. The legislation does come with some compromises, though. For one, all edible marijuana products are illegal, especially those designed to appeal to minors.
Nonetheless, you have to take what you get and make the best of it. Let’s hope this paves the way to more cannabis acceptance.
Hemp Is A Threat To Society, DEA Rules
Another day, another debacle. Our story today covers bureaucrats at it again, this time attempting to change the definition of cannabis and hemp. A change that is quite controversial, considering the DEA doesn’t have the authority to make changes to federal law. So they’re petitioning the powers that be, begging them to change well thought out laws. And for what? Well, that’s the kicker.
The DEA, or the Drug Enforcement Agency for those of you outside the US, is responsible for seizing controlled substances from the dastardly fiends who want to poison society. Or at least that’s what they do in Breaking Bad. In reality, they play around with laws and try to make hemp seem like a drug. That’s right: they want to arrest you for having a satchel made out of the wrong material. Let’s talk about that in a bit.
Does the DEA even have the authority to change laws?
That’s a pretty hot topic to debate about and depending who you ask, you’ll get different answers. The DEA came into existence when Richard Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Under that bill, the newly formed DEA would be responsible for seizing drugs and certain chemicals. It, however, was not at this point really clear whether the DEA could add to its own list. And subsequent administrations fudged that thin line even worse.
The long and short of it is that if the DEA wants to add a substance to a list of regulated substances, it can’t do it itself. It has to appeal to authorities first; it’s up to the courts to decide the matter. At times, via amendments to the Controlled Substances Act, new chemicals have been added. But again, those were not passed by the DEA, which doesn’t even have that jurisdiction.
So what’s this about arresting people for hemp?
Well, ‘hemp’ means a lot of things. We call rough, strong rope hemp. We call coarse clothes hemp too. In olden times, hemp was even used to make slippers. But according to the most recent legal definition, anything besides the cannabis containing parts of the cannabis plant is hemp. That’s mostly the stem of the plant.
That definition would have gotten you points in any law school, but it’ll get you a fail if the DEA succeeds in its petition. They want to change the definition of hemp to include any material from a cannabis plant that has more than 0.3 percent THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content. And that’s really just an arbitrary amount, considering you can’t smoke hemp!
This could really hit cannabis farmers hard
The process of making hemp, or rather separating it from the cannabis containing parts of the plant, is part of the problem. Due to several chemical reactions and changes and jargon, the hemp almost always has more THC content after it comes out. And that’s not really an issue, but it is the good folk at DEA headquarters.
If this petition gets codified, it’s gonna mean real issues for cannabis producers. They already have to mix other industries wastes with their own, adding to their carbon footprint, but this is going to set them back far. You can’t control what concentrations of certain chemicals will be like while you’re growing a plant. But under this law, farmers might have to burn perfectly good hemp, because some rich elites are worried someone might smoke it.
Anyways, it still hasn’t been decided whether the bill gets passed. It might all be smoke and mirrors for a deeper power struggle. Nonetheless, it’s really frustrating for decent folk who are unlucky enough to be growing cannabis in this country.
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