monjas marihuana

Legalisation, Pro-cannabis “Nuns,” and Giant Joints: The Best of 2016 in the World of Marijuana

  • The year that is winding to an end brought us great news as far as our favourite plant is concerned: legalisation in the US and Latin America, studies that have demonstrated its efficacy against osteoarthritis and bipolar disorder, and the curious stories of Marijuana Man and the Sisters of the Valley, making us feel very proud of a plant that boasts more and more followers every day. We take a look at the best from the past year in this post.
monjas marihuana

This was a banner year for cannabis. In addition to legalisation in several US states and other countries, 2016 featured some very important developments with regards to medical advances, while others had us smiling with their stories of different cannabis-related exploits. The plant definitely has a lot to offer, and in many different ways. Let us take a look at 2016, a year full of prosperity, in the hope that 2017 will be at least as good.

Legalising consumption, from north to south

Although cannabis is still not legal at the federal level, several US states had already approved its therapeutic or recreational use. And, on November 9, eight more joined the list. Personal use was legalised in California (where medical use was already permitted), Massachusetts, Nevada and Maine. Meanwhile, medical use is now licit in Florida, North Dakota, Arkansas and Montana. Arizona held a vote on recreational legalisation, but it failed.

It remains to be seen what will happen under the new president, Donald Trump. During the campaign he stated that he would respect what the states decided, in line with his stance in the early 90s, when he favoured legalisation of the plant. However, in the new Administration there will some very anti-cannabis Republicans, like future Vice-president Mike Pence.

But there was even more good news all over the world. South of the US border, a court ruling authorised the cultivation, transport and consumption of cannabis at clubs in Mexico, pending requests by interested parties. In Colombia there was also progress, with new legislation regulating medical and scientific use. The last country to join the list was Argentina, which approved the therapeutic use of cannabis in November. 

In Spain, Barcelona approved a development plan to regulate cannabis clubs, and judges gave the nod to an ordinance regulating these organisations in San Sebastian. In Germany the growing of medical marijuana at homes was authorised, and its was announced that legalised consumption will go into effect in 2017. In Australia citizens have been able to request licenses to cultivate medical cannabis since October. These permits are delivered after passing a tough exam, including personal interviews, and it is confirmed that users have sufficient financial resources.

Meanwhile, Ecuador's Parliament began debate on the decriminalisation of medical use, and more than half of British parliamentarians expressed their support for the regulation of the plant in a survey. Not to mention Canada, which has already gotten down to work to pass recreational use next year. All this suggests that 2017 may be as eventful as 2016 was when it comes to cannabis legislation. 

Good news for the world

Returning to the United States, the country made major advances in terms of cannabis legalisation. There war veterans will have access to therapeutic cannabis to treat the symptoms of conditions such as post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression. Meanwhile, in Chile, home to the largest plantation of therapeutic cannabis in Latin America, 1,400 kilos were reaped from the first harvest, a significant figure, to be used to conduct clinical studies and to manufacture medicines, as 60 people were hired just for this historic harvest.

Celebrities also espoused the benefits of cannabis. Actress Whoopi Goldberg unveiled Whoopi & Maya, a series of cannabis-based products that help relieve menstrual cramps. Meanwhile, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan entered the legalisation debate when he came out in favour of regulation after seeing the scientific evidence and concluding that prohibition has brought nothing positive. 

Scientific studies also produced many arguments to share with the most sceptical at Christmas dinners. We already knew that cannabis has many health benefits, but professionals at the Cannabinoids Lab of the National Autonomous University of Mexico's Medical Department concluded that the plant actually has the same effects as regular sex, as it also releases oxytocin (a hormone that leads to wellbeing and is linked to sex). As if this were not enough, a study by the 

Institute of Health's National Library of Medicine in the US concluded that cannabinoids reduce the chances of fractures in people with osteoarthritis. And the University of Oslo announced that cannabinoids stabilise the behaviour of people suffering from bipolar disorder. 

Carts full of cannabis curiosities

This year cannabis also brought us more than a smile or two, and not only by smoking it, or engaging in activism leading to victories, but because we were astonished by the stories of others. Case in point: Marijuana Man, a "YouTuber" with more than 102,000 subscribers boasted of earning a good salary by smoking grass and sharing it with everyone: he reports that he earn 6,500 Canadian dollars (about 4,600 euros) per month. 

Thanks to the Internet we also "met" the Sisters of the Valley, a group of (self-dubbed) "nuns" in California who are fighting for medical cannabis by producing natural, cannabis-based medicines. They reacted to the move of their local city council in Merced when it applied legislation stricter than state law to prohibit the sale and cultivation of cannabis. The Sisters of the Valley became famous thanks to their music videos on YouTube, and what happened in Merced reached the whole world:

It was also a year during which we learned how to make a cannabis pipe using a cardboard pizza box featuring a ceramic component that prevents the product from touching the top of the box, so that it effectively functions as a bong. The idea, developed by the Push for Pizza app, could only be so successful: 

In any case, those images will remain, to dazzle us, as will that of the world's largest joint: one weighing 1.3 kilos, measuring 7 meters long and 1 wide. Mass Roots, the social network for cannabis lovers, covered its creation, as in 2016 it began competing with Enter Budbo, another app that enables consumers to find their favourite marijuana near them after entering a set of parameters, such as the capacity to cause euphoria, or its medical effects. 

2016 is ending, then, with a good number of cannabis-related victories, a slew of sound arguments demonstrating its benefits, and a few anecdotes that have made us smile or left us astounded. Surely 2017 will be another good year for our favourite plant, as regards both regulation, and will bring us stories about users bound to amaze us. And, in one year's time, we will be back to share with you the most incredible stories from 2017.


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