Will Medical Cannabis End the Opioid Epidemic in the U.S.?
The amount of deaths caused every year by opioid overdoses could be prevented with the use of medical cannabis. This is a topic that The Weed Blog has been covering frequently as of late, as you can seehereandhere.
We have an increasingly serious opioid abuse problem in the U.S. Drug addiction has always been a major issue throughout the world, and it continues to plague generation after generation. Drug addicts compulsively look for ways to get their fix, despite knowing it is harmful for their health.
Addiction not only impacts the life of the abuser, it has an effect on everyone around them, including family and friends. Drug use will eventually have a negative impact on every aspect of a user’s daily life. Drug abuse is a substance-related disorder, and often the only way to overcome it is professional rehabilitation. If you’re concerned someone in your life might have an addiction, although it won’t be easy,talk to themand encourage them to get help.
The amount of people addicted to opioids has increased over the years, which has led to more opioid-related overdoses and deaths. It’s imperative we find a way to curtail this trend, and some are looking toward the use of medical cannabis to end the opioid epidemic.
What Are Opioids?
Opioids are a class of drugs that include heroin and synthetic versions thereof, which are often used to treat pain.They include fentanyl, oxycodone, morphine, hydrocodone and codeine, in addition to others — most of which are only available by prescription.
Opioids work by attaching to receptors in the brain.They send a signal to the brain that blocks pain, slows down breathing and creates a calming feeling. When used for a short amount of time and as prescribed, opioids can be safe — although, even when used properly, dependency is still a risk. Since opioids have the ability to produce feelings of euphoria, they are highly addictive.This can lead to overdoses or death.
Opioids were originally derived from opium plants, which are used to create morphine.The earliest recorded use of opium for medical purposes goes backas far as 3400 B.C., and it has been in use in some form or another until the present day.
In some cases, addicts who are no longer able to get their fix through prescription drugs will turn to heroin, increasing their chances of an overdose. If heroin is unavailable, there are new cases of people turning toover-the-counter diarrhea medicineto get their fix, which is just as dangerous and could have an impact on the heart.
How Is Cannabis Used Medically?
Cannabis use for medical purposes was first referencedas far back as 2900 B.C.by a Chinese emperor. It gained medical popularity in the West in the 1840s, and use of cannabis for medical reasons continues to this day.
The use of medical cannabis is becoming less stigmatized, and more states are passing laws to allow doctors to prescribe its use. Some conditions medical cannabis is used to treat include nausea caused by cancer treatments, seizure disorders, Crohn’s disease or muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis. However, the most common request for medical marijuana is to treat pain.
How Is Cannabis Used to Treat Pain?
One of the main reasons patients turns to opioid use is to curtail or improve chronic pain. Living with chronic pain can be incredibly difficult and debilitating. It not only impacts the physicality of the sufferer, it can also have an effect on their health, mood and overall well-being. Finding relief from chronic pain can improve a person’s daily life. This, coupled with the added sense of euphoria, can explain why so many use and abuse opioids.
Since most users of opioids are looking for ways to reduce their pain, and medical cannabis seems to have the ability to do just that, it seems like a natural replacement for more dangerous painkillers. After all, there have never beendeaths related to cannabis overdoses.
Studies have been conductedto examine the possibility of replacing opioids with medical cannabis use, and states where medical cannabis is legal have seen a reduced rate of death from opioids. It seems only logical that an alternative pain-relief method can reduce the opioid epidemic.
Why Hasn’t Medical Cannabis Replaced Opioids?
Using medical cannabis as an opioid replacement hasn’t become a worldwide practice for many reasons — chiefly, the lack of scientific research on the medical use of cannabis and the stigma that still surrounds marijuana. The drug is still classified as a Schedule I, which is the highest drug rating, and places it in the same category as heroin and hallucinogens such as LSD and peyote. This classification also means that marijuana has no medical uses and a high potential to be abused.
Medical cannabis also has some side effects, including dry mouth, insomnia, paranoia, drowsiness, respiratory problems and short-term memory loss, in addition to a few others. There have also been studies that have linkedmarijuana use to psychiatric disorders.
While the idea of using medical cannabis to replace opioid addiction seems promising and there are a few studies to back up its effectiveness, there just isn’t enough evidence. Addiction is an incredibly difficult disorder to overcome. The addict can’t do it alone, and while there are support groups and clinics that do what they can, there are limited resources to help addicts get and remain clean.
Any progress that can be made in reducing the amount of opioid abusers and related deaths should be researched and given a chance. Thousands of lives depend on it.
POSITIVE EFFECTS OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA ON ALZHEIMER’S PREVENTION
In a healthy brain, these protein fragments are broken down and eliminated. For those with Alzheimer’s disease, the fragments accumulate to form hard, insoluble plaques.
The study supports the results of previous research that found evidence of the protective effects of cannabinoids, including THC, on patients with neurodegenerative diseases.
Back in 2006, Kim Janda, a chemistry professor at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, and his colleagues published the first study showing that THC might have a positive effect in fighting Alzheimer’s.
“It was one of first papers that showed there could possibly be a link,” Janda said. “There was huge pushback when we published it.”
Since then, many other studies have been undertaken, and the news keeps getting better.
Researchers from the Abarbanel Mental Health Center, the Medical Faculty at Tel-Aviv University and the Department of Psychology at Bar-Ilan University have also conducted a study to observe the effects of cannabis on Alzheimer’s.
Despite the small size of the study, researchers concluded that: “Adding medical cannabis oil to Alzheimer’s patients’ pharmacotherapy is a safe and promising treatment option.”
More research is obviously needed to support a long-range study with proper control groups.
With the anti-science administration in the White House, funding for such research may be difficult to come by at the moment.
But, if our current leaders could look beyond their preconceived and mostly erroneous views of cannabis, it would be worth it for the government to join the rest of the scientific world.
Especially considering that in the United States there are 76 million baby-boomers, and they are living longer than ever. Studies have warned that as many as 28 million of them could develop Alzheimer’s.
The cost of caring for them could exceed $300 billion—that is unless the Trump administration has its way and cuts all available medical care. But that’s another story.
Those baby boomers who are already disposed to consuming cannabis may be a step ahead of their friends.
So, if you’re reading this, join the folks who are taking the decision into their own hands and warding off Alzheimer’s with a simple and pleasant, remedy.
You can keep up with all of HIGH TIMES’ marijuana news right here.
Can Medical Marijuana Help Treat Liver Disease?
Can medical marijuana help treat liver disease? As more scientific research is being done on the cannabis plant in general, so is more research on the endocannabinoid system. There have been articles written aboutwhat the endocannabinoid system is, and even articles about how endocannabinoid deficiency can affect the human body.
Research has also found that liver disease, a disease that inflicts more than 400,000 people each year and is ranked among the top 10 leading causes of death in the U.S., can be treated with medical marijuana because of the endocannabinoid system. This very system regulates not only the nervous system, but the immune system as well. Because of this, researchers have concluded that cannabis may possibly be able to help people suffering from certain forms of liver disease because of our preexisting cannabinoid system. This followed a study in 2005 that researchers at the Hebrew University Medical School did, which concluded that our body’s own internal endocannabinoid system has receptors that bind with cannabis’ most active ingredient, THC.
While this study showed a possible connection between liver disease and cannabinoids, more research was needed.
A recent article on theFresh Toast stated thatfollowing the 2005 study’s conclusions, a 2011 study published in the journal of Cell Death and Disease used mouse models to determine that cannabidiol or CBD (cannabis’ non-intoxicating ingredient) causes infected liver cells to participate in apoptosis, also known as cell suicide.
They concluded their research noting that CBD may have “great therapeutic potential.” Even better, controlled doses of CBD do not affect healthy or non-malignant cells. So it can attack the bad cells and shy away from the good ones.
But if cannabis has positive effects on liver disease cam it also have negative effects? According to science, not particularly.
Cannabis consumption does not increase or accelerate the progression of liver disease. In a2013 study that asked the question can medical marijuana help treat liver disease, researchers studied 690 liver disease patients– specifically patients with HIV and Hepatitis C infections, which showed promise.
At the start of the experiment, 53 percent of the subjects had smoked cannabis in the last six months, consuming an average of seven joints per week. 40 percent of the subjects smoked daily.
Researchers concluded that “There was no evidence that marijuana smoking accelerates progression to significant liver fibrosis.”
So, no, smoking cannabis won’t worsen liver disease, if anything, the last 12 years of research prove it could help.
How To Make Marijuana Infused Olive Oil
Most stoners prefer to make cannabis butter because it’s quite versatile and it’s easier to make edibles with as compared to always just throwing weed in the pot. However, it seems like most people don’t really know that you can make olive oil infused with cannabis as well. The olive oil is far healthier than butter, not to mention it won’t go back on you and it’s far easier to transport, making it much better then most people know. This recipe will teach you how to make your own cannabis infused olive oil, which can be used in pretty much every single recipe out there!
Cannabis Infused Olive Oil Recipe
3.5 cups virgin olive oil
1 ounce marijuana, finely ground
Use a coffee grinder to get the best powdery marijuana. Usually you can fit about 7 grams in these little grinders at a time and they do a very good job of giving you a fine powder.
Start by putting the oil in a sauce pan and turn up to medium. Do not let the oil reach the boiling point but once it has heated up, you can add in the marijuana powder.
Let the oil simmer, never letting it boil and constantly stirring. If you see bubbles begin to form in the oil, turn down the heat and remove the mixture from the burner until it cools off a bit. By boiling the mixture, too much THC would be released and you wouldn’t get the desired effect from your oil.
Continue this for about an hour, possibly two if you have the time.
Strain your oil through cheesecloth in to a container that you can cap. Be careful to let the oil cool off a bit, as it’ll be extremely hot right off the stove. Also make sure to squeeze the cheesecloth to make sure that you get all of the oil out of it.
You now have your marijuana-infused cannabis oil!
How Is Hemp CBD Oil Different From Marijuana CBD Oil?
At 5 years old, young Charlotte Figi had been suffering roughly 300 grand mal seizures weekly for years when her father, Matt, looking for alternatives to her mostly unsuccessful traditional allopathic treatments, found a video online extolling the benefits of CBD oil in the treatment of Dravet Syndrome. UnderColorado’s fledgling medical marijuana program, Charlotte’s parents found a strain of high cannabidiol (CBD), low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabis flower named R4 being sold at a Colorado dispensary. They bought a few ounces and worked with friends to extract oil from it. High-CBD, low-THC cannabis is a desirable medicine, both for the therapeutic benefits of CBD and the low presence of THC, which minimizes psychoactivity. Charlotte responded favorably to her very first dose, bringing the frequency of her seizures down to one per week.
Her parents then met the Stanley brothers, owners of Colorado’s largest dispensary at the time and cultivators of a high-CBD strain of cannabis very few people were purchasing. Together, they developed the dormant strain into a continual harvest and constant supply of medical marijuana CBD oil to treat Charlotte, and subsequently, other patients seeking similar relief. The strain became what’s known today asCharlotte’s Web. When the news of this process, and others like it, aired on CNN medical correspondentSanjay Gupta’s documentaryWeedin 2013, people across the globe, especially parents of children suffering seizures, flocked to the Internet to find this “miracle” CBD oil. Little was to be found.
Capitalizing businesses quickly jumped in to fill the void created by the Federal Controlled Substances Act, which strictly prohibits the use and sale of marijuana because of the presence of THC, not CBD. Under the law, hemp-derived CBD is completely legal, but CBD doesn’t appear out of thin air. In order to produce CBD oil, you must first harvest high-CBD cannabis plants, legally. In the United States, this requires growers to be licensed in their state either as an industrial hemp farmer or a medical/recreational marijuana grower. Not all states provide these licenses, and where some do, each type of license has a completely different set of parameters, rules, and regulations, including whom you can sell your products to.
Needless to say, the rabid overnight demand for CBD oil combined with the intricacies of a nation involved in a drug war created a very confusing topic, and an opportunity for businesses to sell snake oil. Still today, people are discoveringthe wonders of CBDand yearning for information on how to obtain it. In an effort to untangle this web, here’s a go-to guide for understanding the differences between hemp-derived CBD oils and marijuana-derived CBD oils.
Hemp CBD Oil
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid known largely for its muscle relaxant properties. Isolated on its own, CBD is non-psychoactive and it’s been reported to beeffective in treating seizures, even in young children.
CBD is found in both thedrug producing Cannabis Indica and hemp producing Cannabis Sativa. Hemp CBD oil is derived from industrial hemp, the C. Sativa species of cannabis, which produces nearly no amount of the cannabinoid Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but does produce some amount of the cannabinoid Cannabidiol (CBD). Industrialized hemp production is legal at the federal level, with laws and licensure varying from state-to-state.
CBD Works Best Combined With Other Cannabinoids
Cannabis contains hundreds of compounds, 80 of which are currently categorized as cannabinoids. CBD and THC are the principal cannabinoids in cannabis, both commonly occurring in the relatively largest concentrations, and they are incredibly synergistic.
Embracing the full-spectrum of cannabis’ naturally occurring phytonutrients is part of a process called whole plant medicine. This practice is highly regarded in the holistic and alternative medicine communities, existing in stark contrast to the practice of fractionated medicine, a process involving the heavy use processing and chemical synthesis popularized by thepharmaceutical industry.
Long before people began hybridizing cannabis to create the highest THC strain to wow judges at cannabis competitions, naturally occurring fields of cannabis most likely contained plants with moderate concentrations of both primary cannabinoids CBD and THC along with other naturally occurring therapeutic cannabinoids like CBG, CBN, plus various terpenes,flavonoids, and all other phytonutrients found in healthy cannabis plants. Thanks to Israeli researcher Raphael Mechoulam, the synergies of all these compounds working together is now known as“The Entourage Effect.”
While not sanctioned for children because of its euphoria-producing properties, adding any amount of THC to a therapeutic dose of CBD largely enhances CBD’s effects. Medical cardholders in many states can now access CBD products with varying ratios of CBD to THC. Everything from 20:1 to 1:1 ratios, even 2 parts THC to 1 part CBD, make for an incredibly therapeutic array of options for patients seeking the benefits of Cannabidiol.
Hopefully this guide will help you better understand the intricacies and the processes involved in accessing varying forms of CBD.
2,500-year-old marijuanadiscovered in an ancient tomb
The marijuana plants had been used as a burial shroud, the archaeologists say
2,500-year-old stash of whole marijuana plants have been unearthed from
an ancient tomb in northwest China. This discovery adds to a growing
body of evidence that ancient people used marijuana for its psychoactive
properties, and incorporated it into their rituals.
of archaeologists, led by Hongen Jiang with the University of the
Chinese Academy of Sciences, discovered 13 marijuana plants that were
still largely intact, if yellowed and desiccated after millennia
underground. In a first for funerary marijuana, the plants were found
lying like a burial shroud atop the body of a man who had died in his
mid-30s. Their roots lay below the man’s hips and the tips — which had
been trimmed to remove the flowers — extended up around his face,
according to the publication of the find in the journalEconomic Botany.
stash was found in one of 240 tombs that archaeologists had excavated
in a desert region of the Turpan Basin in northwest China. The area had
probably once been a stop along the Silk Road, and pastoral people
called the Subeixi had lived and traded here,Kristin Romey forNational Geographicreports.
Three other tombs in this cemetery also contained marijuana fruits,
leaves, stem fragments, and seeds. Scientists have wondered whether the
marijuana plants came in via trade, or whether they had been farmed or
grew wild in the region. Since the burial shroud marijuana plants were
whole, uprooted plants, that suggests local growth.
people in Siberia and northwestern China have been putting pot in tombs
since at least the first millennia BCE. An open question has been
whether these plants were used for fruit, for their hemp fibers to make
rope and clothing, or for what we use them for today: to get high, or to
cut pain. So far, archaeologists have found6,000 to 7,000-year-old hemp fabricsin
Northern China, but haven’t unearthed any evidence of hemp clothing
near the Turpan Basin before 2,000 years ago. While it’s possible that
the clothes may simply have rotted over time, it’s also possible that
the main purpose of marijuana wasn’t fiber.
In 2006, archaeologists founda large cache of marijuana fragments in a grave from around the same time period, at a nearby settlement. Whenscientists later analyzed the plants,
they detected compounds that form when the main source of marijuana’s
high — tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC — breaks down. That means these
plants were probably prized for their psychoactive properties. This
latest discovery of marijuana plants used as a burial shroud as well as
the many previous findings of marijuana in the region’s tombs suggests
that marijuana was used either medicinally or ritually, the authors
According to the study’s researchers; “Vascular dementia is the highly devastating neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and mainly found in aged people but the effectual therapeutic target is still not there.” In addition; “Chronic cerebral hypoperfusion (CCH) has been broadly found in vascular dementia (VaD) patients.” CCH is thought to “link with neurodegenerative disorders and their subsequent cognitive deteriorate on.”
For the study, researchers examined “the role of a selective agonist ofcannabinoidreceptor type 2(CB2); 1-phenylisatin in CCH induced VaD [using rat models].”
In doing so, it was found that the CB2 agonist attenuated the CCH. “Hence”, researchers state, “it may be suggested that modulation ofcannabinoidreceptor may provide benefits in CCH as cognitive impairment and VaD.”
They conclude; “Therefore, selective agonists of CB2 receptors may be a potential research target for the alleviation of VaD.”
The full study, conducted at Amity University Uttar Prades in India, can be found byclicking here.
Aseparate study published last monthby theJournal of Alzheimer’s Diseasefound that administration of THC and CBD – both cannabis compounds – is effective in treating dementia in its early stages, as well as its late stages.
Study: Cannabis Can Eliminate Toxic Protein From Alzheimer's Disease
Scientists at the Salk Institute labs in San Diego have come up with the preliminary evidence that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other compounds that cannabis part can eliminate amyloid beta, the toxic protein generally associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
The Salk Institute officials have warned that the findings published in the journal Aging and Mechanisms of Disease’s June issue mustn’t be taken as an indication that cannabis is a cure for Alzheimer’s.
They carried out the studies in neurons grown in a lab, and the studies could ultimately offer insight in the part inflammation plays in the disease. The work of Salk Institute may offer indications regarding creating novel therapeutics for the disorder.
The study’s senior author, David Schubert, said, “Although other studies have offered evidence that cannabinoids might be neuroprotective against the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. We believe our study is the first to demonstrate that cannabinoids affect both inflammation and amyloid beta accumulation in nerve cells”.
The progressive brain disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, results into memory loss and can severely impair the ability of a person to conduct everyday tasks. The National Institutes of Health said that it affects over 5 million people in America, and is the country’s most common cause of dementia, and main cause of death. In the coming half century, the incidence of Alzheimer’s is likely to become three times.
For long, it has been known that amyloid beta gets collected in the nerve cells of the aging brain quite prior to the appearance of the symptoms and plaques of Alzheimer’s disease, as per the Salk Institute.
Amyloid beta is a main part of the plaque deposits, a trait of Alzheimer’s, but the exact roles played by amyloid beta and the plaques it makes aren’t clear so far.
"Most images of marijuana in pop culture involve stoners getting high and forgetting what they were doing. But what if weed could actually prevent memory problems instead of causing them," according to a news report published by Observer.
The Salk team actually began their study by examining J147, another experimental Alzheimer's drug. As they put that drug through its paces, they discovered that it activated endocannabinoids, receptors that mediate the effects of marijuana on the brain but can also reduce brain inflammation.
Given this result, researchers decided to find out if marijuana itself could help memory. They altered human nerve cells in the lab so they would produce high levels of amyloid, a protein produced in the brain that can build up and form plaque deposits-the accumulation of these deposits over time may hasten the development of Alzheimer's disease.
"The government doesn't want to fund clinical trials and drug companies can't make a profit. Until the social structure changes and the laws change, it's gonna be difficult to sort this out."- Dr. David Schubert
According to a story published on the topic by Leafly, "Scientists at the Salk Institute labs in San Diego have published preliminary evidence that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other compounds found in cannabis can remove amyloid beta, the toxic protein most commonly associated with Alzheimer's disease."
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive brain disorder that leads to memory loss and can seriously impair a person's ability to carry out daily tasks. According to the National Institutes of Health, it affects more than 5 million Americans, is the nation's most common cause of dementia, and is a leading cause of death. Alarmingly, the incidence of Alzheimer's is expected to triple during the next 50 years.
"Inflammation within the brain is a major component of the damage associated with Alzheimer's disease, but it has always been assumed that this response was coming from immune-like cells in the brain, not the nerve cells themselves," said Antonio Currais, a postdoctoral researcher in Schubert's laboratory and the first author of the paper.
Several famous athletes are advocating for marijuana use as a workout tool. These athletes do not necessarily consider marijuana as a performance enhancer, but a “life enhancer.” They report more focus and positivity when working out with marijuana.
Canadian Olympic snowboarder, Ross Rebagliati supports marijuana use during workout sessions. He says, “As an athlete, there’s a lot of repetitive working out that goes on and going to the gym two, three hours a day for five days a week for years on end gets monotonous. To be able to spice it up in a natural way for an athlete is the best possible thing,”The Washington Postreports.
Rebagliati added that the focus gained is nothing he’d ever seen before as he said, “All the distractions of your phone, the people next to you working out, it just goes away and you’re just going to pound out the workout.”
Former NBA player, Cliff Robinson, was suspended twice during his 18-year career for marijuana use. He is venturing into the Oregon marijuana industry and focusing on marijuana designed specifically for athletes. In the NBA, Robinson was known as “Uncle Cliffy,” but he is changing the nickname to “Uncle Spliffy.”
Robert Szatkowski, better known as professional wrestler Rob Van Dam, is a known marijuana user and advocate. Szatkowski said, “I’ve been known to apply smoking to everything throughout the day,” and that it also “helped him in thinking good thoughts,” especially in high-stress situations like being in the ring in front of millions of people.
Szatkowski also says that the physicality of pro-wrestling is the equivalent of “50 car crashes in 10 minutes in the ring,” resulting in multiple minor injuries. The injuries leave him battered and in pain. Marijuana helps with his pain management and he wishes to see it as a legal treatment and workout tool.
George Washington, Champion of Growing Hemp
The recent occasion of Presidents Day allows us to take some time to look back on Presidents of yore and discuss the things they championed. When you talk about the Father of our Country,George Washington, you really can’t have a discussion of his life without talking about hemp.
Washington, like most of the Founding Fathers, was a man of substantial wealth. He owned several farms in the Virginia area and was a big proponent of industrialhemp, using it for rope, thread, canvas and repairing nets.
While some like to believe Washington also smoked hemp, this scenario is highly unlikely, especially since he would have felt no effects from smoking the hemp besides a headache. To grow marijuana as we know it today, Washington would have had to segregate the plants; growing industrial hemp in the same area as good ole get-me-high-as-a-kite marijuana will only result in cross pollination, which would destroy the THC-producing abilities of the plant.
Believe it or not, hemp was a common crop in the days of the Founding Fathers. Its utility was championed by the U.S. government, right up until World War II and the famous “Hemp for Victory” war film. After that, its association with the now illegal and evil “marihuana” caused it to fall out of favor.
This injustice has only recently been remedied as the federal government has backed off its prohibition of industrial hemp and several states have passed legislation re-allowing it to be grown; huge fields of hemp are grown just a few dozen miles south of where I write this in Kentucky.
The Founding Fathers knew a lot, and one of those things was the amazing ability of industrial hemp.
Pot is becoming more potent, a new study suggests.
In the study, the researchers looked at more than 38,600 samples of illegal marijuana seized by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration over 20 years. They found that the level ofTHC, or tetrahydrocannabinol— marijuana's main psychoactive ingredient — in the marijuana samples rose from about 4 percent in 1995 to about 12 percent in 2014.
Conversely, the level of CBD, or cannabidiol — an ingredient sometimes touted for itspotential health benefits— fell from about 0.28 percent in 2001 to less than 0.15 percent in 2014.
When the researchers looked at the ratio of THC to CBD, they found that marijuana in 1995 had a THC level that was 14 times its CBD level. But in 2014, the THC level was 80 times the CBD level.
"We can see that the ratio of THC to CBD has really, really increased and climbed so much higher," said lead study author Mahmoud A. ElSohly, a professor of pharmaceutics at the University of Mississippi. [11 Odd Facts About Marijuana]
In the study, the researchers looked at nearly 39,000 samples of illegal cannabis. The vast majority of these were samples of cannabis plant material, but there were also samples of hashish, which is the resinous parts of cannabis plants mixed with some plant particles, and some samples of hash oil, which is a concentrated extract of cannabis in oil form.
The researchers also found that, among the cannabis plant material seized over the last four years of the study, there had been an increase in the samples of sinsemilla, which is a type of cannabis that is much more potent than other types of the drug, according to thestudy, published Jan. 19 in the journal Biological Psychiatry.
When a person smokes marijuana with lower doses of THC, "it is a pleasant feeling; it is the munchies, the happiness," ElSohly told Live Science. But smoking marijuana with high doses of THC may involve a higher risk of negative health effects, such aspsychosisor panic attacks, he said.
There are several likely factors behind the increase in marijuana potency in the illicit market, ElSohly said. For one, "the higher the THC content is, the more expensive the product," he said. Therefore, the ability to charge more for marijuana with high THC content is an incentive for cannabis growers to select for and grow those varieties of plants that have a high THC content.
Moreover, pot smokers often develop a tolerance for THC, which means that, over time, they need increasingly higher doses of THC to get high, ElSohly said. These people create a demand for more and more potent varieties of pot.
Previous research has also shown that the potency of marijuana, including the marijuana sold in states where its recreational use is now legal, has increased over the years. For example, in a study presented in March 2015 at a meeting of the American Chemical Society, researchers said they found that samples of marijuana in Colorado contained as much as30 percent THC. In comparison, the levels of THC in marijuana 30 years ago were generally below 10 percent, the researchers said.
Major Industrial Hemp Legislation to be Introduced
Representative Kaniela Ing (Kihei, Wailea, Makena) of Maui joins Representative Cynthia Thielen (Kailua, Kaneohe Bay) of Oʻahu today in introducing a bill to expand industrial hemp research, growth, cultivation and marketing activities in Hawaiʻi.
The bill follows the model used in other states like Kentucky and Colorado, by supporting partnerships with the private sector to further explore industrial hemp’s potential contribution to the state’s economy.
Representative Ing said that while industrial hemp is not a “magic bullet” for Hawaiʻi’s agriculture, he said it deserves consideration, especially with the closing of sugar operations by Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company on Maui.
Because while doctors can’t seem to look past certain side effects of THC, CBD doesn’t appear to present that problem. On the other hand, evidence of CBD’s medical benefits continues to grow.
Here are five facts that you should know about this unique compound:
1. CBD is a key ingredient in cannabis
CBD is one ofover 60compounds found in cannabis that belong to a class of molecules called cannabinoids. Of these compounds, CBD and THC are usually present in the highest concentrations, and are therefore the most recognized and studied.
CBD and THC levels tend to vary amongdifferent plants. Marijuana grown for recreational purposes often contains more THC than CBD.
However, by using selective breeding techniques, cannabis breeders have managed to create varieties with high levels of CBD and next to zero levels of THC. These strains are rare but have becomemore popularin recent years.
2. CBD is non-psychoactive
Unlike THC, CBD does not cause a high. While this makes CBD a poor choice for recreational users, it gives the chemical a significant advantage as a medicine, since health professionals prefer treatments with minimal side effects.
CBD is non-psychoactive because itdoes notact on the same pathways as THC. These pathways, called CB1 receptors, are highly concentrated in the brain and are responsible for the mind-altering effects of THC.
A 2011 review published inCurrent Drug Safetyconcludes that CBD “does not interfere with several psychomotor and psychological functions.” The authors add that several studies suggest that CBD is “well tolerated and safe” even at high doses.
3. CBD has a wide range of medical benefits
Although CBD and THC act on different pathways of the body, they seem to have many of the same medical benefits. According to a 2013 review published in theBritish Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, studies have found CBD to possess the following medical properties:
Medical Properties of CBD
Reduces nausea and vomiting
Suppresses seizure activity
Combats psychosis disorders
Combats inflammatory disorders
Combats neurodegenerative disorders
Combats tumor and cancer cells
Combats anxiety and depression disorders
Unfortunately, most of this evidence comes from animals, since very few studies on CBD have been carried out in human patients.
But a pharmaceutical version of CBD was recently developed by a drug company based in the UK. The company, GW Pharmaceuticals, is now funding clinical trials on CBD as a treatment forschizophreniaandcertain types of epilepsy.
Likewise, a team of researchers at the California Pacific Medical Center, led by Dr. Sean McAllister, has stated that theyhope to begin trialson CBD as a breast cancer therapy.
4. CBD reduces the negative effects of THC
CBD seems to offer natural protection against the marijuana high.Numerous studiessuggest that CBD acts to reduce the intoxicating effects of THC, such as memory impairment and paranoia.
CBD alsoappearsto counteract the sleep-inducing effects of THC, which may explain why some strains of cannabis are known to increase alertness.
BothCBDandTHChave been found to present no risk oflethal overdose. However, to reduce potential side effects, medical users may be better off using cannabis with higher levels of CBD.
5. CBD is still illegal
Even though CBD shows much promise as a medicine, it remains illegal in many parts of the world. CBD is classified as aSchedule I drugin the United States and aSchedule II drugin Canada.
On the other hand, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recentlyapproveda request to trial a pharmaceutical version of CBD in children with rare forms of epilepsy. The drug is made by GW Pharmaceuticals and is calledEpidiolex.
According to thecompany, the drug consists of “more than 98 percent CBD, trace quantities of some other cannabinoids, and zero THC.” GW Pharmaceuticals makes another cannabis-based drug calledSativex, which has been approved in over 24 countries for treating multiple sclerosis.
A patent awarded to the U.S. Health and Human Services in 2003 (US6630507) also covers the use of CBD as a treatment for various neurodegenerative and inflammatory disorders.
8 TERMS EVERY MODERN DAY MARIJUANA USER NEEDS TO KNOW
Knowing the proper terminology when it comes to marijuana is becoming more and more important as the marijuana industry (medical and recreational) begins to blossom across the U.S.
Anedibleis a consumable product (food and drinks) that contains marijuana. Sometimes the word medible is used because it is a combination of the words edible and medicine. Edibles generally take 30 minutes to 60 minutes to take effect. The effects last between 2 and 8 hours depending on the dosage and strength of the marijuana used in the item.
THC is the abbreviation for tetrahydrocannabinol. This is the psychoactive compound found in marijuana that produces a “high.” Each strain has a different THC level, higher percentages mean stronger effects. Marijuana averages at about 12 percent THC, but more modern marijuana strains have been tested above 30 percent.
Cannabidiol, abbreviated as CBD, is another compound found in the marijuana plant. It produces no psychoactive effects. CBD strains are typically used for pain relief, nausea, epilepsy, psychosis prevention, cancer treatment, and for treating many other medical conditions.
Strain refers to the type of plant the marijuana came from – Cannabis Sativa or Cannabis Indica. All strains come from either sativa or indica; when cross-bred the strain becomes a hybrid. Hybrids are generally sativa- or indica-dominant and the effects primarily reflect the dominant strain.
Sativa strains are known for providing energy and creativity effects. Sativas are ideal for daytime use as they typically promote productivity.
Indica strains are ideal for chronic pain disorders, anxiety, insomnia and nausea. The most common effects of indica strains are relaxation and pain relief. These strains are ideal for night time use because they provide a more relaxing “high” than sativas. Stronger indicas are known to induce couch lock, or lazy feelings.
Shake is the leftovers from marijuana trimming. It consists of trichomes and leaves at the bottom of the barrel, so-to-speak. Some shake also contains stems. Shake is ideal for rolling joints as well as makingmarijuana butter, which can then be used to makeedibles.
Dabs are a highly concentrated form of marijuana. It is a sticky, gooey substance that can contain THC levels of 60-90 percent. Other terms for dabs are: wax, shatter, BHO (butane hash oil). Dabs are generally only used by experienced and high-tolerance users.
‘CANNABALL RUN FOR VETS’ KICKS OFF IN SUPPORT OF VETERANS AND PTSD AWARENESS
The 2ndAnnual Cannaball Run for Vets Kicks Off Education and Awareness Campaign Tour
[Press Release] Port Richey, FL – October 17, 2015 – MagicalButter and the Weed for Warriors Project kick off the2ndAnnual Cannaball Run for Vetsfor cannabis Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder treatment to highlight the mounting evidence surrounding the issue of PTSD. The cross country education and awareness campaign will begin on Oct. 17 in Los Angeles, California, and stop along seven major U.S. cities as it heads toward the Nation’s Capital, Washington, D.C., for the culminating Veteran’s Day event on November 11th.
“MagicalButter embraces the use of cannabis as a treatment for debilitating ailments such as PTSD,” explained Garyn Angel, CEO of MagicalButter. “Our vets deserve alternatives to the narcotics that are currently being prescribed. We partnered with the veterans for the second annual Cannaball Run to make a difference. More troops have been lost to suicide than combat…and this must change now!”
The 2015 Cannaball Run for Vets is in support ofVeteran’s Treating War Trauma with Cannabis. Stops include Los Angeles, CA (10/17); Denver, CO (10/24); Phoenix, AZ (10/26); Nashville, TN (10/30); Atlanta, GA (11/5); Charottesville, VA (11/6-11/8); Philadelphia, PA (11/9); and Washington, D.C. (11/11).
America’s veterans are seeking an alternative path away from harmful narcotics being prescribed to them that lead to addiction and suicidal tendencies. They are requesting for the VA to allow cannabis therapy as an option for treatment. On Veterans Day, at the Washington D.C. run, veterans plan to join in an emotional march–carrying their empty pill bottles to the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, symbolizing their immeasurable suffering with pain-killer addiction from failed PTSD treatment. Through the events of the Cannaball Run, veterans and their supporters aim to advocate for the recognition of cannabis as an approved PTSD treatment alternative to dangerous narcotics.
“We are a nation awash in the blood of our dead patriots. This movement is to express veteran’s discontent with a system that has been abusing/ignoring them for far too long. As federal patients, we require that cannabis be recognized by the [Veterans Affairs] as a viable alternative to dangerous SSRI’s, Opiates, and other commonly prescribed drugs. We know from recent reports that cannabis has statistically lowered the overdose/suicide death rates in states where it is legally accessible. As federal patients, we require federal access,” said Iraq combat veteran Ricardo Pereyda, Operations Director of The Weed for Warriors Project.
About The Weed for Warriors Project: Weed for Warriors Project’s sole purpose is to advocate to the Veteran Affairs Administration on behalf of all Veterans. Founded in 2014, the WFW Project aims to allow Veterans the freedom to use cannabis as a recognized medical alternative to harmful psychiatric drugs without any discrimination or unjust actions against the individual. W4WP was started in the San Francisco Bay Area by an OEF United States Marine Corps Veteran who found relief from his service connected disabilities through cannabis and the fellowship of other like-minded Veterans within the cannabis community. For more information please visitwww.weed4warriorsproject.org.
STUDY: YOUTH MARIJUANA USE HAS DECREASED SINCE 1999
New data reveals that fewer high school students are using marijuana than in the past, even though more and more pro-marijuana laws are being implemented and marijuana as a medical and recreational substance is becoming more accepted in the U.S.
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s report reveals that marijuana use among American high school students is lower today than it was 15 years ago. They found that only 40% of teens in 2013 admitted trying marijuana, a decrease from 47% in 1999.
“People have been very quick to say that marijuana use is going up and up and up in this country, particularly now that marijuana has become more normalized,” said the lead researcher. “What we are seeing is that since 1999, three years after medical marijuana was first approved, the rates of marijuana use have actually fallen. But we will be watching those states where recreational marijuana use has been legalized to see if that leads to increased use among teens.”
The researchers will closely be watching the recreational marijuana states – Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, Washington and the District of Columbia – in order to get data on youth usage rates in states that have legalized marijuana.
STUDY REVEALS DAILY MARIJUANA USE IDEAL FOR PAIN RELIEF
A newstudy, Cannabis for the Management of Pain: Assessment of Safety Study (COMPASS), is being published in the Journal of Pain and found that patients who used marijuana daily for one-year reported reduced discomfort and increased quality of life.
The study also found that patients do not experience an increased risk of serious side effects, and that patients who used marijuana had a reduced sense of pain when compared to a control group, as well as reduced anxiety, depression, and fatigue.
The researchers discovered that daily marijuana consumers possessed no greater risk to experience “serious adverseevents” than non-users. In particular, the researchers did not find any significant adverse changes in consumers’ cognitive skills, pulmonary function, or blood work following one-year of daily marijuana use.
“The sensory component of pain was reduced over one year in cannabis users compared to controls” and “quality-controlled herbal cannabis, when used by cannabis-experienced patients as part of a monitored treatment program over one year, appears to have a reasonable safety profile,” concluded the study’s researchers.
Indica vs. Sativa: The Small But Significant Difference in Cannabis Genes
Researchers from Canada recently published agenetic analysisof a large batch of different hemp and marijuana strains to teach the world more about a plant that has been neglected for too long by the academic community. They discovered a large genetic difference between hemp and marijuana, with a small, but significant, rift betweenindicaandsativa.
Modern taxonomy considers all of cannabis toform one species,Cannabis sativa L.; so-calledindica,sativaandruderalisare actually subspecies ofCannabis sativaL. Until now, the official story told us that hemp fell underCannabis sativa L. subs. sativa, the cannabis we smoke fell underCannabis sativa L. subs. indica, andCannabis sativa L. subs. ruderaliswas essentially ditchweed.
The study selected 81 “marijuana” samples (high-THC) and 43 hemp samples (low THC and low overall cannabinoid production). They got the marijuana seeds from online sources that reported the percentindicaorsativafor each strain. Their genetic analysis showed a moderate separation in the marijuana gene pool that correlated with the seedbank-reported percentindicaorsativa. While the differences betweenindicaandsativahave been doubted, this research shows that they “may represent distinguishable pools of genetic diversity,” even though “breeding has resulted in considerable admixture between the two.”
Compared to the genes of the high-THC cannabis we smoke, hemp genes are quite different. Since the two have always been considered the same species, the illegality of high-THC cannabis has always carried over to hemp. This and further research may soon prove that hemp forms a separate species, which would help it gain recognition as a purely industrial plant, whose cultivation doesn’t require the regulatory considerations needed for recreational or medical cannabis cultivation. Dividing the two species will also help prevent the use ofCBD derived from potentially contaminated industrialhemp as medicine.
In an unexpected twist, researchers also discovered that hemp shares more genetic relation toindicastrains thansativastrains. This could be due to the fact that mostsativastrainsdo not produce CBD, while mostindicasproduce at least a small amount. Hemp strains do not makelarge flowers with abundant trichomesand produce almost all CBD as their major cannabinoid. The small amount of CBD inindicasmay represent part of the small similarity they have with hemp strains.
Taking a look at the graph they published, you can see they analyzed some well-known strains in the cannabis world. For each strain (named in the column on the right) the provided the percentage ofsativathe seedbank reported (in the middle column), and the left column represents the level ofindicaorsativabased on their analyses. Red meanssativaand blue meansindica. If you take a closer look you’ll see a lot of discrepancies between the reported percentage ofsativaand what the analysis shows. Strains like Neville’s Haze and Dr. Grinspoon, well known super-sativas, tested with high levels ofsativagenes, but Durban Poison, a well-known Africansativa, tested with almost nosativagenes. White Widow showed up in two places on the list; the first instance it has a littlesativapresence, and the second one has almost none.
The study admitted that the ongoing illegality of cannabis has made sample verification almost impossible, and this is the most likely explanation for some of these discrepancies. As we continue to unify the knowledge gained so far about cannabis the scientific community will inevitably unravel the mystery surrounding the progeny of cannabis. Further genetic knowledge will help us preserve and enrich the precious cannabis gene pool.
One young woman, diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis three years ago, was fed up with the side effects and ineffectiveness of the liver-destroying anti-rheumatic drugs her doctors were giving her so she decided to take matters into her own… blender.
Katie Marsh’s daily relief is a smoothie with fruit, yogurt and thawed, juiced cannabis.
After trying other natural anti-inflammatory remedies like turmeric and ginger, her pain continued to worsen and she became more and more debilitated.
“It got so bad that I had trouble getting out of bed, getting off and on the toilet and even dressing myself,” according to a Fox News article.
Upon a friend’s advice, Ms. Marsh decided to try juicing marijuana. She soon sought out Dr. William Courtney, co-founder of the International Cannabis Foundation a leading expert in raw dietary cannabis.
“When it’s consumed as a leafy green vegetable, you get the whole profile of the plant,” said Dr. Courtney.
Unlike heated forms of cannabis, raw dietary cannabis contains both theterpenesand chemical compounds in the correct portion and ratio. Some 8,000 of his patients, he says, have seen positive effects from ingesting raw dietary cannabis, whether juiced, blended, or chopped into coleslaw.
According to Courtney, one of the biggest benefits is the positive effect cannabis has on the body’s endogenous cannabinoid system, which is made up of endocannabinoids, or chemical compounds found throughout the body that perform different processes.
“I believe this plant, having evolved over millions of years, is put together to support that system,” he said.
As for Katie Marsh, it’s working like a charm. Once she learned what strains to look for, she started juicing every day.
“I saw results very quickly. Within a matter of a couple of days I was able to stop the prednisone and ibuprofen,” she said.
Nearly a year later, Marsh still has slight pain in her feet from damage done by the rheumatoid arthritis, but her condition is now in remission.
Israeli researchers have discovered that cannabis can be effectively used in healing broken bones and maybe other skeletal illnesses.
Scientists from the Tel Aviv University revealed that cannabis has a component which enhances the healing process of fractured bones. The study was published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.
A curative component, called cannabidiol (CBD), sped up healing processes in the broken leg bones of trial rats with mid-femoral fractures. CBD is non-psychotropic and is also effective when isolated from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive component of cannabis.
“While there is still a lot of work to be done to develop appropriate therapies, it is clear that it is possible to detach a clinical therapy objective from the psychoactivity of cannabis. CBD, the principal agent in our study, is primarily anti-inflammatory and has no psychoactivity,”said Dr. Yankel Gabet of Tel Aviv’s Bone Research Laboratory, as cited by the Tel Aviv university website. To illustrate these findings, scientists tested two different groups of rats - one was treated with both CBD and THC while the other one only with CBD.
“We found CBD alone to be sufficiently effective in enhancing fracture healing,”Gabet explained.
“Other studies have also shown CBD to be a safe agent, which leads us to believe we should continue this line of study in clinical trials to assess its usefulness in improving human fracture healing,”he added.
The researchers also found that human cannabinoid receptors stimulate bone growth. That means further studies of marijuana usage to treat osteoporosis and other skeletal diseases are to come.
“We only respond to cannabis because we are built with intrinsic compounds and receptors that can also be activated by compounds in the cannabis plant,”Gabet said.
“The clinical potential of cannabinoid-related compounds is simply undeniable at this point,”he added.
Medical cannabis also provides bone tissue with mineralization, so it protects bones from further injury, making them less fragile.“After being treated with CBD, the healed bone will be harder to break in the future,”Gabet explained.
This is not the first study devoted to the health properties of marijuana. It has been linked to effective treatment of epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson ‘s diseases. It is also used to soften the negative effects of chemotherapy in cancer patients, treat chronic pain, and help people struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder.
7 BEST MARIJUANA STRAINS FOR USERS WITH LOW TOLERANCE
A bad first experience is often times enough for people to thrown in the towel to eliminate a repeated bad experience from their life forever. With marijuana, it is usually side effects such as anxiousness or paranoia – which are primarily associated with high-THCmarijuana strains – that make people fear marijuana.
But many marijuana strains – usually indicas and some hybrids that contain less THC and moreCBD– have been cultivated to cause relaxation, euphoria and pain relief for consumers. This list provides some of the best marijuana strains for novice or low-tolerance marijuana consumers:
Thebenefits of vaporizinginstead of smoking are well documented: it is better for health and, for most consumers, it’s also less expensive in the long run.
Here are four reasons why you should consider making the switch from smoking to vaping:
1. IT’S HEALTHIER
The combustion of marijuana can produce several known carcinogens and tar, which can irritate the lungs and lead to chronic bronchitis. Vaporizers were primarily designed to overcome this issue. By heating marijuana at a lower temperature than combustion, the devices produce an inhalable vapor that still contains the active medical ingredients in marijuana (cannabinoids), but without the harmful by-products.
2. IT’S COST-EFFECTIVE
While somevapesrequire an initial investment of about $200, many often cost as little as $40. And vaping saves you money in the longterm, because you use less marijuana to get the same effects as with smoking.
3. IT’S DISCREET
Some vapes do still emit a noticeable vapor and marijuana odor, but for the most part, newervaporizerpens are much more discreet than smoking and are odorless.
4. THE FLAVOR
Mostvaporizersenhance the flavor of the marijuana strain being vaped, which adds to the many pleasures already attributed to marijuana.
Early research suggests thatCBD, a substance naturally found in marijuana, is an effective treatment for minimizing the inflammation experienced by asthma sufferers.
The research study found that the studied rats treated with CBD experienced a reduction in two types of cytokines, known as Tp and Th2. In addition to showing that CBD treatment was effective in reducing cytokine levels, the study also suggests that CBD may influence a reduction in the major stimuli of mucus hyper-secretion, another prominent symptom experienced by those with asthma.
The study’s findings were consistent with that of the Ribero study, which shows CBD to have potent immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory properties. It is noted, however, that the asthma-associated inflammation of the rat models differed somewhat from that of the LPS-induced inflammation of the mice models being studied for decreasing inflammation due to lung injuries.
This study and many others like it are demonstrating the need for more effective, rigorous and timely studies on the potential medicinal benefits from marijuana.
After decades of a costly “war on drugs,” candidate Barack Obama made clear in 2008 that voters would see a very different approach in his administration. To his credit, President Obama has largely followed through on those campaign promises.
The administration has already taken a progressive approach to marijuana, for example, clearing the way forunprecedented state experimentation. This week, the Huffington Post’s Ryan Grimreportedon another breakthrough.
The White House took a major step forward on Monday to support research into the medical properties of marijuana, lifting a much-maligned bureaucratic requirement that had long stifled scientific research.
By eliminating the Public Health Service review requirement, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), also known as the drug czar’s office, will help facilitate research into the drug.
Under the old policy, created in the late ’90s, anyone hoping to conduct privately-funded medical marijuana research had to jump through all kinds of laborious, bureaucratic hoops – which proved to be incredibly, needlessly difficult, even for the most determined scholars.
Yesterday, as theWashington Postadded, the obstacles were removed, “effective immediately.”
An ONDCP spokesperson said, “The Obama Administration has actively supported scientific research on whether marijuana or its components can be safe and effective medicine. Eliminating the Public Health Service review should help facilitate additional research to advance our understanding of both the adverse effects and potential therapeutic uses for marijuana or its components.”
Those waiting for Republican condemnations of the White House’s new policy may be surprised. The old system had few defenders, and even some GOP lawmakers were pleased by the administration’s new approach.Roll Callreportedyesterday:
The Obama administration’s decision to streamline medical marijuana research Monday drew praise from Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, one of the more endangered Republicans up in 2016. […]
While senators’ positions on medical marijuana are still evolving, Toomey’s love for streamlining governmental procedures and cutting duplicative programs is tried and true.
The conservative Pennsylvanian called the new policy a “commonsense effort to cut red tape and help facilitate more research.”
All of this, by the way, coincides with the recent unveiling of the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act, which would end the federal prohibition on medical marijuana. The bill introduced by Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), is now up to11 co-sponsors, including two Republicans.
When it comes to drugs, the U.S. politics and policy landscape is changing faster than even optimists could have predicted.
Bernie Sanders wants to talk about marijuana and looks to Colorado
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said he plans to make marijuana an issue in the 2016 presidential campaign — and he is looking to Colorado for guidance.
In an interview with The Denver Post, the Democratic candidate said he supports the legalization of medical marijuana and his home state’s effort to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
On Saturday, as he traveled toa campaign rally at the University of Denver, Sanders said he wanted to learn more about Colorado’s legalization of recreational pot before he talks about what he wants to see happen at the national level.
“It’s something that we are going to look at,” he said. “In fact, I do want to talk to some people tonight and tomorrow to get a sense of what is going on in Colorado. We will be talking about this issue.”
In arecent Reddit conservation, Sanders said when he was mayor of Burlington, Vt., “very few people were arrested for smoking marijuana. Our police had more important things to do.”
Vermont is one of the states considering legalizing marijuana. A delegation of elected and state officialstraveled to Denver in Februaryto meet with Colorado officials and tour marijuana facilities.
“Colorado has led the effort toward legalizing marijuana and I’m going to watch very closely to see the pluses and minuses of what they have done,” Sanderstold supporters on Reddit.
In a 2014Time magazine interview, Sanders downplayed the issue saying the legalization of recreational pot “is not one of the major issue facing this country.”
A fear that many marijuana consumers have to live with is the fear of being fired from their job for marijuana. That fear is very real, even for medical marijuana patients who only use medical marijuana while off the clock in the privacy of their own homes. It’s a fear that I have had to live with throughout my adult life. A lot of people e-mail me asking if they can be fired for using legal marijuana, both medical and recreational. Each time I have to give them the sad news that yes, you can be fired for using legal marijuana, at least according to case law. There have been a handful of legal challenges to the firings, and every single time those challenges lose in court.
Today there was another case that was ruled in favor of the employer, this time in Colorado. PerThe Denver Channel:
The Colorado Supreme Court issued a ruling Monday affirming a lower court’s decision to uphold the firing of an employee for using medical marijuana off-duty.
“Employees who engage in an activity such as medical marijuana use that is permitted by state law but unlawful under federal law are not protected by the (lawful activities statute),”the justices concluded.
The case involved 35-year-old Brandon Coats, a quadriplegic medical marijuana patient who was fired from his job at the Dish Network after failing a drug test in 2010. Coats said he needed the drug to help with violent spasms and seizures he has suffered since he was paralyzed from the chest down in a car accident.
So a quadriplegic employee who is a valid medical marijuana patient in a state that also has legalized recreational marijuana can be fired from his job, even though he was a great employee by all accounts. How is that fair? As many people have pointed out on social media, there is no one getting fired under similar circumstances when alcohol is the substance being used off the clock. As more and more states legalize recreational and medical marijuana, this is an issue that every marijuana consumer needs to be aware of. Just because medical and/or recreational marijuana is legal at the state level does not protect you from being fired at your job, no matter what the circumstances are. I’d like to see people boycott the Dish Network due to this obviously ridiculous, un-compassionate policy. Employees should be judged based off of their skills and work ethic, not based off of the content of their urine or saliva.
One-quarter of patients with multiple sclerosis report having used cannabis therapeutically and nearly one out of six (16 percent) currently use it to treat symptoms of the disease, according tosurvey datacommissioned by the North American Research Committee on MS.
Over 5,600 MS patients participated in the survey, the results of which were presented last week at the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Center 2015 Annual Meeting.
Most subjects who had tried marijuana said it mitigated disease symptoms, such as spasticity or pain. Only five percent of patients surveyed said that cannabis said it did not provide some level of relief.
Those with more advanced symptoms of MS were more likely to report using cannabis therapeutically.
Of those surveyed, 82 percent said that they would consider cannabis therapy if it were a legal option in their state.
Clinical trialshave previously reported that cannabis inhalation is superior to placebo in reducing pain and spasticity in patients with treatment-resistant MS.Other studiesindicate that long-term use of cannabinoid therapy may potentially modify MS progression.
Previously survey data published in the journalNeurologyreportedthat 14 percent of MS patients used cannabis for symptom management.
CANADIAN COURT LEGALIZES ALL FORMS OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA
The Canadian Supreme Court has ruled that medical marijuana patients in Canada can legally use all forms of marijuana.
Canadian medical marijuana patients will now be able to use marijuana oil, thus allowing them to vaporize the oil or use it for makingedibles, such as cookies, brownies or teas.
Restricting people to dried marijuana for their medical uses has been declared “null and void” by the court.
In states such as the Colorado and Washington marijuana edibles make up a very large portion of sales atdispensaries. And now Canadian medical marijuana patients can also enjoy products like marijuana-infused cookies and tea.
In Canada, medical marijuana is used for medical ailments such as Crohn’s disease, seizures, HIV and nausea. And doctors determine who is eligible to use it.
The court ruled that prohibiting possession of non-dried forms of marijuana is “contrary to the principles of fundamental justice because they are arbitrary; the effects of the prohibition contradict the objective of protecting health and safety”.
Advocates push for New York emergency medical marijuana
ALBANY –Patients and state lawmakers on Tuesday made a final push for New York to pass a bill that would provide emergency access to medical marijuana for ill patients.
New Yorkers with severe illnesses and legislators urged the Legislature to pass the bill and for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign it as the state Department of Health considers medical marijuana growers and hopes to have a statewide distribution system in place by Jan. 1.
The state Assembly was expectedto pass the billlate Tuesday, but it faced an uncertain future in the Senate and with the Democratic governor.
A total of 43 companies are vying for one of five licenses to grow and distribute medical marijuana, according to the state Department of Health.The state posted the list of companieslate Tuesday after the applicants dropped off hundreds of boxes of documents ahead of a Friday deadline to apply.
Advocates saidthe state's timeline is too slowfor patients who could benefit from medical marijuana for their illnesses, such as children with severe epilepsy. The state last year approved the legalization of medical marijuana for ill people in non-smokeable forms, but the system is still about six months from being up and running.
"These children and other patients cannot wait until January," said Assembly Health Committee chairman Richard Gottfried, D-Manhattan, who sponsors the bill.
Several families in New York said their children have died over the last year as they waited for medical marijuana to help with their illnesses.
The bill would allow for the state to offer a "special certification" to a patient whose condition is "progressive and degenerative or for whom a delay in the patient's certified medical use of medical marijuana poses a serious risk to the person's life or health."
Some Republicans in the GOP-led Senate are supporting the measure, but it's unclear whether it will pass in the flurry of activity before the legislative session ends June 17, said Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-Rome, who is sponsoring the bill.
"This access is critical for these individuals who are enduring such pain and suffering, but also for the families," Griffo said.
Cuomo, though, has indicated that he would prefer to wait until the state system is in place, citing the federal ban on medical marijuana across state lines. The state will issue five medical marijuana licensees that can each have four dispensaries.
In a statement last month, Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi said the state is moving as "expeditiously as possible under current federal guidelines" to allow for medical marijuana in forms such as oils and pills to patients.
"The last thing that anyone would want is legal complications to arise from importing marijuana products over state lines without federal approval, or for unnecessary delays with the implementation of the current program to come as a result of layering a separate process on top of it," Azzopardi said.
Gottfried, however, dismissed the governor's concerns, saying states such as Georgia have been able to work around federal laws to get medical marijuana to patients.
"I would think New York could do at least as good as the state of Georgia," Gottfried said.
Meanwhile, patients said they continue to be frustrated by the wait.
"It is a terrible feeling to watch your child suddenly drop and fall down the stairs in front of you," said Julie Kulaway, a Utica-area mother whose 12-year-old daughter, Mackenzie, suffers from a severe form of epilepsy.
Tom Palumbo, a nurse from Waverly, Tioga County, attended Tuesday's news conference at the Capitol along with the patients. He said he's seen a number of cases where medical marijuana could have helped people in his care.
"To see people suffering, as a nurse it does take a lot out of you," Palumbo, 55, said. "And when you know you could do something and you're prohibited, that's a terrible position to be in."
IN HISTORIC VOTE, SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE APPROVES VETERANS MEDICAL MARIJUANA AMENDMENT
Amendment Would Allow VA Doctors to Recommend Medical Marijuana to Their Patients in States Where It’s Legal
[Press Release] The Senate Appropriations Committee passed a bipartisan amendment today, 18 to 12, allowing Veterans Administration (VA) doctors to recommend medical marijuana to their patients in states where medical marijuana is legal. The vote is the first time the U.S. Senate has ever moved marijuana law reform legislation forward.
“Veterans in medical marijuana states should be treated the same as any other resident, and should be able to discuss marijuana with their doctor and use it if it’s medically necessary,” said Michael Collins, policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance. “They have served this country valiantly, so the least we can do is allow them to have full and open discussions with their doctors.”
The Veterans Equal Access Amendment was sponsored by Republican Senator Steve Daines of Montana and Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon. It was added in committee to a must-pass military construction and veterans affairs spending bill. The bill is certain to pass on the Senate floor.
“Veterans see this victory as a major step forward in restoring our first amendment rights within the VA,” said TJ Thompson, a disabled Navy veteran. “This will allow for a safe, open dialogue between providers and patients, and allows veterans to be treated the same as any other patient.”
Currently, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) specifically prohibits its medical providers from completing forms brought by their patients seeking recommendations or opinions regarding participation in a state medical marijuana program. The Daines / Merkley amendment authorizes VA physicians and other health care providers to provide recommendations and opinions regarding the use of medical marijuana to veterans who live in medical marijuana states.
In 2002, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed in Conant v. Walters the right of physicians to recommend medical marijuana, regardless of its illegality under federal law, as well as the right of patients to receive accurate information. The Daines / Merkley amendment supports that first amendment right and restores a healthy doctor-patient relationship.
There are numerous federal healthcare programs besides the VA such as Medicaid, Medicare, and CHIP – but only the VA prohibits physicians from discussing and recommending medical marijuana to their patients. A Medicare patient may freely discuss medical marijuana use with her doctor, while a returning veteran is denied the same right.
Studies have shown that medical marijuana can help treat post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury, illnesses typically suffered by veterans. A 2014 study of people with PTSD showed a greater than 75% reduction in severity of symptoms when patients were using marijuana to treat their illness, compared to when they were not.
Last year the U.S. House voted five times in favor of letting states set their own marijuana policies. One of the amendments, prohibiting the Justice Department from spending any money in Fiscal Year 2015 undermining state medical marijuana laws, made it into the final spending bill signed into law by President Obama. Advocates of the veterans amendment believe it has a very good chance of making it into the final military construction spending bill that President Obama signs.
A legislative version of the Daines / Merkley amendment was included in groundbreaking Senate medical marijuana legislation introduced in March. The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act is the first-ever bill in the U.S. Senate to legalize marijuana for medical use and the most comprehensive medical marijuana bill ever introduced in Congress. The bill was introduced by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and generated enormous interest.
With the Appropriations Committee approving one element in the bill, supporters say it is time for the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold hearings on the full bill.
“The politics around marijuana have shifted in recent years, yet Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley hasn’t held a hearing on the issue,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. “We will move the CARERS Act piece by piece if we have to but now is the time for the Senate to hold a hearing on the bill as a whole.”
National Geographic’sJune issuefeatures an in-depth look at the science and medicine of marijuana that will certainly enlighten many minds.
NatGeo met with the discoverer ofTHC, Raphael Mechoulam, who reports: “We have just scratched the surface…we may well discover thatcannabinoidsare involved in some way in all human diseases.”
The magazine also went inside a 20,000-plant grow in Denver, and interviewed a biochemist who is studying the plant’s anti-tumor properties:
“‘…tumors in a third of the rats were eradicated and in another third, reduced. ‘The problem is,’ he says, ‘mice are not humans. We do not know if this can be extrapolated to humans at all.’”
The article concludes with a geneticist assembling the raw, unsorted code of cannabis DNA into its proper order:
“‘…with this cannabis work, the science will not be incremental. It will be transformative. Transformative not just in our understanding of the plant but also of ourselves—our brains, our neurology, our psychology. Transformative in terms of the biochemistry of its compounds. Transformative in terms of its impact across several different industries, including medicine, agriculture, and biofuels. It may even transform part of our diet—hempseed is known to be a ready source of a very healthy, protein-rich oil.’”
Bernie Sanders Leaves The Door Open On Marijuana Legalization
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Tuesday that he supports the decriminalization of marijuana possession and the legalization of medical marijuana, and suggested that he's also open to considering further reforms when it comes to recreational marijuana.
"Let me just say this," Sanders began in response to a question abouthis position on the war on drugsduring a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" style interview. "The state of Vermont voted to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana and I support that. I have supported the use of medical marijuana. And when I was mayor of Burlington, in a city with a large population, I can tell you very few people were arrested for smoking marijuana. Our police had more important things to do."
With regard to full marijuana legalization, Sanders said he will look to Colorado, where recreational marijuana is legal, to see the effects of such a policy change. Colorado was the first state to legalize the drug for recreational purposes. It's now fully legal in four states and in Washington, D.C., though sales remain banned in the District.
"Colorado has led the effort toward legalizing marijuana and I'm going to watch very closely to see the pluses and minuses of what they have done," Sanders wrote on Reddit. "I will have more to say about this issue within the coming months."
Sanders, who announced in April that he willrun for presidentin 2016, has acknowledged using marijuana when he was younger. The senator has been a vocal critic of the decades-old war on drugs,telling Time magazine in 2014that he had "real concerns" about U.S. drug policy.
"We have been engaged in [the war on drugs] for decades now with a huge cost and the destruction of a whole lot of lives of people who were never involved in any violent activities," he told Time.
Sanders' home state is one of 23 that have already legalized marijuana for medical purposes. It's also one of 19 that have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use. In addition, Vermont is one of a handful of states currently exploring legislation that wouldlegalize recreational marijuana. At least10 states, including Vermont, are expected to consider these or similar legalization measures by 2016.
Astringofrecentpollshave shown that a majority of Americans support the legalization of marijuana. Yet the federal government continues to ban the plant, classifying it as one of the "most dangerous" drugs alongside heroin and LSD.
"It's really exciting to have Sen. Sanders express unequivocal support for decriminalization and medical marijuana," said Tom Angell, chairman of the drug policy reform group Marijuana Majority, to The Huffington Post. "And reading between the lines, it seems to me like he's getting ready to endorse full legalization soon. A growing majority of voters supports marijuana reform, and more candidates are starting to recognize that it makes good political sense to court the cannabis constituency instead of criminalize us."
House OKs cannabis oil in victory for marijuana advocates
AUSTIN (AP) — Marijuana supporters are on the brink of a small victory they say is nonetheless significant in the conservative Texas Legislature.
The Republican-controlled House on Monday approved legalizing trace amounts of a marijuana plant extract for medicinal purposes. The cannabis oil wouldn’t produce the high associated with other parts of marijuana.
Parents of children with intractable epilepsy have pleaded with lawmakers all session, saying the oil helps control seizures.
A doctor would have to provide a prescription if the law is signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.
Since current Texas law doesn’t allow any form of medical marijuana, advocates say this has been their most successful Texas legislative session in history.
Other proposals to decriminalize marijuana penalties are unlikely to pass, but made notable progress after years of being stymied.
Community begs to keep 59-year-old cannabis supplier out of jail
37 Naseby residents write to judge "imploring" woman be kept in community.
Close to 40 members of a central Otago community wrote to a judge "imploring" him to keep a 59-year-old woman, who was supplying locals with cannabis, out of jail.
Judge Stephen Coyle sentenced Denise Lorraine Barnett, to 350 hours of community work and 12 months supervision on three charges relating to possession and cultivation of cannabis, and possession of a pipe for consumption of cannabis, in the Alexandra District Court on Tuesday.
On February 7, police executed a search warrant at her home and discovered 50 "healthy" and "mature" cannabis plants, as well as 3.5 kilos of cannabis inside two large rubbish bags and a suitcase.
Lawyer Kieran Tohill described the woman, who sat hunched over in front of the judge in a wheelchair, as an eccentric hoarder who had the support of the community.
Tohill told the judge, 37 community members "from all walks of life" had signed a letter "imploring" the judge to keep Barnett in the community, saying they did not need protection from her. The community wrote Barnett needed their support, Tohill said.
Barnett had a troubled background - as a young person she was institutionalised at Cherry Farm, after which she lived on the street and in 1989 shifted to Naseby where she had been ever since, gaining the trust of the community and participating in volunteer work, Tohill said.
Judge Coyle said Barnett was clearly a "local icon" for the Naseby community in central Otago.
"Despite your troubled background, you have clearly become a popular member of that community. I accept you are an important and valued member of the community, but eccentricity in my view doesn't not detract from the seriousness of your offending."
"You acknowledged you also supply cannabis to friends at times, you give it away other times, you sell it, but you have said rather than keeping the money yourself you donate it."
The offending was not opportunistic and she had been supplying cannabis to an underground cannabis culture within the Naseby community for a lengthy time, the judge said. "Fifty plants is not insignificant ... the court needs to send a clear message members of the community cannot grow cannabis to this extent and supply the local community no matter how cute and endearing the supplier is." However, the judge said he recognised the court at times had to act humanely in recognition of those who come before the court.
"The court of justice also needs to be a court of humanity ... You are elderly, you are clearly unwell and indeed today you are present in a wheelchair such is the extent of your ill health ... a sentence of imprisonment would be cruel and harsh."
ACTOR MORGAN FREEMAN VOICES PRO-MARIJUANA VIEWS
In a recent interview, Morgan Freeman, the 77-year-old Oscar winner, spoke candidly about his marijuana use and his stance on legalization.
“Marijuana has many useful uses,” stated Freeman. “I have fibromyalgia pain in this arm, and the only thing that offers any relief is marijuana. They’re talking about kids who have grand mal seizures, and they’ve discovered that marijuana eases that down to where these children can have a life. That right there, to me, says, ‘Legalize it across the board!’”
In addition to touting all the medical benefits of marijuana, Freeman also pointed out that negative effects of marijuana are rare and other legal substances are much more dangerous to society.
“Now, the thrust is understanding that alcohol has no real medicinal use,” Freeman said. “Maybe if you have one drink it’ll quiet you down, but two or three and you’re fucked. Look at Woodstock 1969. They said, ‘We’re not going to bother them or say anything about smoking marijuana,’ and not one problem or fight. Then look at what happened in ’99.”
The actor’s own experience with marijuana dates back to 2008, when a car accident left him with shattered bones in his arm. He found that marijuana effectively alleviated his pain and has since been an outspoken advocate of legalization.
“They used to say, ‘You smoke that stuff, boy, you get hooked!’” Freeman chuckled. “My first wife got me into it many years ago. How do I take it? However it comes! I’ll eat it, drink it, smoke, snort it!”
PA Senate Passes Medical Marijuana Bill
HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Senate passed the latest version of Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana bill Tuesday afternoon.
The vote was 40-7 for the bill that would make it legal in the state for marijuana to be used to treat certain serious illnesses when prescribed by a doctor.
The bill known as SB 3, sponsored by Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon), would allow edible forms of marijuana and vaporization, but smoking would not be allowed. Patients would have to get the cannabis from a licensed and regulated dispensary and would not be able to grow their own plants.
The qualifying conditions in the bill were slightly expanded to include patients suffering from cancer, seizures, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, cachexia/wasting syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury and postconcussion syndrome, multiple sclerosis, Spinocerebellara Ataxia (SCA), posttraumatic stress disorder, severe fibromyalgia, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, Crohn’s disease, diabetes, and chronic pain.
Patients under age 18 would need parental consent.
The medical marijuana bill now heads to the state House of Representatives.
Last year, the senate passed a similar bill, but it was never brought to a vote in the House.
HAWAII LEGISLATURE APPROVES MARIJUANA DISPENSARIES
The Hawaii Legislature has approved a plan to develop a system of medical marijuanadispensariesthroughout the state. The news comes 15 years after Hawaii legalized medical marijuana.
The development will provide relief to Hawaii’s 13,000 medical marijuana patients who have been forced to grow their own marijuana or buy it on the black market.
“This is a victory for children who can’t be taken care of any other way,” stated Teri Heede, who has multiple sclerosis and grows her own marijuana in Honolulu.
The House and Senate passed the bill Thursday sending it to Gov. David Ige. Ige hasn’t promised to sign the bill, but he has said his staff worked closely with lawmakers to craft the final draft of the legislation.
Under the proposal, dispensaries could begin operating as soon as July 2016. The bill allows dispensaries to open on all the major Hawaiian islands, including three on Oahu, two each on Maui and Hawaii’s Big Island and one on Kauai.
Applications fordispensarylicenses would become available in January. Each dispensary license would cover up to two retail dispensing locations and two production centers, with each production center cultivating no more than 3,000 plants.
FORMER DEA AGENT BACKS MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION
Finn Selander, a former Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent, who spent six years as the DEA’s Marijuana Coordinator in Miami and New Mexico, is now speaking out in favor of legislation that would create a full-fledged recreational marijuana program in Arizona.
Now a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), Selander said that he’s seen too many lives ruined by strict marijuanalawsand those laws need to change.
“As an agent, I was doing my job,” Selander stated. “I was enforcing thelaw. It was definitely hard at times… I would see injustice in a number of cases.”
TheRegulation and Taxation of Marijuana Actinitiative Selander is supporting is set to to appear on Arizona’s 2016 ballots and “proposes legalizing marijuana for recreational use for those over the age of 21, creating a network of shops licensed to sell and distribute it and taxing it 15% on top of the regular sales tax.”
MARIJUANA THERAPY FOR CHRONIC PAIN
Marijuana use for the treatment of chronic pain has had a long history with many written references of its use dating back to around 2700 B.C.E. The first records from the nineteenth century were noted by an Irish doctor who described the use of marijuana in the treatment of cholera, rabies, tetanus, menstrual cramps and delirium tremens.
Recently, research has been done around marijuana therapy in the treatment of chronic pain with very promising results.
“Medical marijuana is a very effective therapy for chronic pain patients because it affects people’s perception of pain, has the ability to mitigate the inflammatory process, and has been shown to affect voltage-gated sodium channels in nerves in a way similar to lidocaine,” reports Dr. Mark Rabe, Medical Director of Centric Wellness.
The ability of marijuana to help relieve chronic pain rests in the cannabinoid receptors – cannabinoid receptor type-1 (CB1) and type-2 (CB2). Studies show that CB1 receptors are located all over the body, however they have particularly high concentration in the central nervous system in areas that control pain perception. CB2 receptors, on the other hand, are primarily located in areas of the body that control immune function, such as the spleen, white blood cells, and tonsils.
The fact that these receptors are found in the two major body systems responsible for producing the sensation of pain, the immune system and the nervous system, is what gives marijuana its therapeutic relevance in the chronic pain space. Additionally, and importantly, there are a lack of cannabinoid receptors in the brainstem region, the area of the brain responsible for controlling breathing, thus the dangerous side effect of respiratory depression found with high dose opioid use, is not a factor with marijuana use.
Dr. Rabe reported that: “We have many patients who come in on higher doses of opioid medications. Through using cannabis, in conjunction with other therapies, they are able to lower their daily opioid requirement.”
Numerous studies support these findings, including a 2011 study published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics which showed that vaporizing marijuana increased the patient-reported analgesic effect of opioids, without altering plasma opioid levels. Moreover, there is an emerging body of research whose findings suggest marijuana can be used as an effective substitution therapy for patients with opiate abuse issues.
NFL GM: “40% OF PLAYERS IN THIS DRAFT USE MARIJUANA”
A portion of this year’s NFL draft class appears to be pro-marijuana. Of the draft class, a pair of highly regarded defensive prospects, Shane Ray and Randy Gregory, are prized for their abilities to get to opposing quarterbacks, and both have also admitted to marijuana use. Ray admitted just days before the draft.
NFL teams must now weigh their evaluations of the players’ abilities against their concerns about character issues and possible future suspensions for marijuana use because it is banned in the NFL. For some teams, decisions on Ray and/or Gregory, who failed a drug test at the NFL draft combine in February, will come down to how they feel about usage of the drug in question.
One unidentified general manager gave some insight into his team’s thinking: “My estimate is 30 to 40 percent of players in this draft class use marijuana regularly. That’s right in line with our league. Publicly teams act shocked, disappointed about marijuana. Privately we know a lot of guys smoke and we’re far from shocked.”
In fact, the GM’s “30 to 40 percent” estimate may be low. A former defensive lineman, whose 10-yearcareerended in 2006, told the Associated Press last year that half the players in the NFL use marijuana, at least occasionally.
Another former NFL player stated: “It’s not, let’s go smoke ajoint. It’s, what if you could take something that helps you heal faster from a concussion, that prevents your equilibrium from being off for two weeks and your eyesight for being off for four weeks?”
Many NFL players use marijuana to help treat chronic pain and inflammation instead of painkillers which are addictive and have many other negative side effects.
CNN’S MARIJUANA DOCUMENTARY “WEED 3″ AIRS
CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has returned with more revelations about medical marijuana with his latest documentary, “Weed 3: The Marijuana Revolution,” which originally aired on April 19 (and can be viewed below).
The documentary discusses medical marijuana and examines the lives of families that benefit from it. Gupta also gives viewers an insider’s look at the politics behind medical marijuana research.
Weed 3 also focuses on the efforts of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), whose researcher Dr. Sue Sisley is attempting to get federal approval to study marijuana’s effect on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), after a series of bureaucratic setbacks. SEE OUR WEBSITE FOR THE VIDEO!!!
BIG PHARMA: THE FIRST MEDICAL MARIJUANA RETAILERS
Before theMarihuana Tax Act of 1937, Big Pharma companies like Eli Lilly and Parke-Davis and Squibb of Bristol-Myers Squibb were marketing marijuana medicines – such as extracts and tinctures – labeled as “uniformly effective at dose levels of 10 mg.”
Back then, most medicines had the same universal characteristics, so drug companies had to rely on marketing and brand recognition to sell products.
According to theAntique Cannabis Book, 6% of all manufactured drugs at the time contained marijuana in one form or another, whether in powder, tablets, fluid extracts or tinctures. Some call that period, from the turn of the century to 1937, the “Golden Age of Medical Cannabis” as marijuana products flourished with little to no stigma or legal ramifications.
Then, like now, marijuana was prescribed for a variety of ailments including migraines, epilepsy, stomach worms, mental illnesses and some addictions. It was also used by veterinaries for pets.
While smoking was not very common, tinctures and extracts were developed on a regular basis. The pharmaceutical companies had the benefit of their own expertise in standardizing and establishing dosing and responses. They initially used marijuana grown in India, but soon realized growing their own was more reliable. In doing so, they learned about sinsemilla (seedless) cultivation.
Parke-Davis (now owned by Pfizer) worked with Eli Lilly to create its own plant strain called Cannabis Americana, a domesticated Indica strain.
According toForbes, Parke-Davis did not stop with weed. It sold various types of cocaine before it became illegal, developed ketamine and held the patent for PCP.
DEFIANT, ANTI-MARIJUANA DEA CHIEF RESIGNING
The DEA’s chief administrator, Michele Leonhart, will resign next month. The news prompted cheers from the marijuana industry because she aggressively opposed marijuana legalization and the industry in general.
Leonhart had fallen out of favor with President Barack Obama’s administration long ago for insubordination and mismanagement issues. She became disliked throughout the marijuana industry because she would continually “resist federal rules relaxing enforcement on marijuana as states have moved to legalize the drug for medicinal and recreational use,” stated a recent article.
Her resignation, which is effective in May, could open the door for a more marijuana-friendly replacement.
“From interfering with voter-approved state marijuanalawsto mismanaging broader agency scandals, it’s long been time for her to go,” stated a marijuana industry businessman.
Recently, Leonhart has been under fire due to sex party scandals in Colombia involving DEA agents and prostitutes paid for by the cartels.
HEALTH BENEFITS FROM JUICING WITH MARIJUANA
Doctors, researchers and medical professionals are finding that raw marijuana (cannabis), usually in a juiced form, is much more beneficial than if smoked or vaporized. This is because heating marijuana decarboxylates it and removes many beneficial substances. Below are some quotes from these professionals:
“If cannabis were discovered in the Amazon rainforest today, people would be clambering to make as much use as they could of all of the potential benefits of the plant. Unfortunately, it carries with it a long history of being a persecuted plant.” – Donald Abrams, chief of Hematology Oncology at San Francisco General Hospital.
“It (cannabis) has captured these molecules that help our bodies regulatory system be more effective. The bottom line is it’s a dietary essential that helps all 210 cell types function more effectively. I don’t even refer to it as medicine anymore, strictly as a dietary essential.” – Dr. William L. Courtney, dietary raw cannabis specialist.
“If you heat the plant, you will decarboxylateTHC-A and you will get ‘high’. You’ll get your 10mg (of THC). If you don’t heat it, you can go up to five or six hundred milligrams, use it as a dietary cannabis and push it up to the anti-oxidant and neuro-protective levels which come into play at hundreds of milligrams. It is this dramatic increase in dose from 10 mg of psychoactive THC to the 500 mg – 1,000 mg of non-psychoactive THC-A,CBD-A, and CBG-A that comprises the primary difference between traditional ‘Medical Marijuana’ and Alternative Cannabinoid Dietary Cannabis.” – Dr. William L. Courtney, dietary raw cannabis specialist.
“CBD works on receptors, and as it turns out, we havecannabinoidsin our bodies, endogenous cannabinoids, that turn out to be very effective at regulating immune functions, nerve functions, and bone functions. The endogenous cannabinoid system acts as a modulator in fine-tuning a lot of these systems, and if something is deranged biochemically in a person’s body, it may well be that a cannabinoid system can bring things back into balance.” – Ethan Russo,senior medical adviser to GW Pharmaceuticals.
“[Cannabis has the] greatest potential of any medicinal plant.” – Ethan Russo,senior medical adviser to GW Pharmaceuticals.
With statements from medical professionals such as these, it’s a wonder why cannabis is federally illegal and classified as a Schedule I substance, which means the government has concluded that it has no medicinal value whatsoever. Hopefully, in the near future, marijuana prohibition will end worldwide and humans will have access to this amazingly beneficial plant that nature has provided us with.
The Government Just Admitted That Cannabis Kills Cancer
Cannabis kills cancer cells andthat’s a fact. However, it’s a plain fact the federal government has tried to hide or dismiss throughout marijuana’s prohibition.
As more studies and facts surrounding the medical benefits of marijuana, hiding these truths becomes increasingly impossible by the day. A recent admission by government branch NIDA (the National Institute on Drug Abuse) finally relays of message of truth from the government:
“recent animal studies have shown thatmarijuana can kill certain cancer cells and reduce the size of others.Evidence from one animal study suggests that extracts from whole-plant marijuana canshrink one of the most serious types of brain tumors. Research in mice showed that these extracts, when used with radiation, increased the cancer-killing effects of the radiation.” [The Daily Caller]
This admission comes on the heels of influential Senators introducing the CARERS act, a bill that would effectively decriminalize cannabis and end prohibition. While not without merit, the admission by NIDA seems like the folding of a cheap and fake suit once and for all: it’s simply not logical or plausible to argue against marijuana’s medical effects, even if you’re the government with an ulterior motive.
And as marijuana becomes a prime issue in the 2016 election, whichever candidate wins that race will likely do so by embracing the rise of reason in America.
Colorado set another record for legal recreational marijuana sales in February, breaking the previous months record. The opening of new stores contributed to the increase in marijuana sales. I have yet to travel to Colorado to make a purchase, but I know many that have. Legal marijuana is fairly expensive in Colorado, but most people don’t mind. PerThe Cannabist:
Around $39.2 million of recreational cannabis was sold in state shops in February, according to calculations based on data provided by the Colorado Department of Revenue. The previous monthly record for recreational sales wasJanuary 2015-s $36.4 million.
“We just opened the ninth store in Aurora,” said Meg Collins, vice president of business development for Good Chemistry, which operates a shop in central Denver and its brand-new flagship store in Aurora (in addition to being part-owners of Denver shop Wellspring). “The activity in Aurora has helped boost those sales and tax numbers, and people are also getting more comfortable with purchasing legally, knowing that it’s available and becoming a bit more mainstream, and that’s helping sales, too.
For the second month in a row, Colorado’s legal marijuana industry generated more than 2 million dollars for Colorado schools. I don’t think there’s a state school system in America that couldn’t use an extra two million dollars in its budget, let alone a monthly boost of that amount. Every time I see encouraging numbers like this from Colorado, I picture Kevin Sabet taking shots of whiskey in an attempt to drown his sorrows. Why isn’t every state doing this?
Federal Government Unwittingly Admits Cannabis Kills Cancer
A group of federal researchers commissioned to prove the government’s claim that marijuana has “no medicinal value” may have unwittingly let some crucial research slip through the cracks, forcing the United States to admit that cannabis can kill cancer.
Although, at first glimpse, the latest claim appears to be a cruel April Fools' prank from Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), but after careful inspection, it seems that the federal government is actually supportinga recent studywhich has determined that marijuana has the power to eliminate cancer cells.
The research, which was conducted by a team of scientists at St. George’s University of London, found thetwo most common cannabinoidsin marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) andcannabidiol(CBD), weakened the ferocity of cancer cells and made them more susceptible to radiation treatment. The study, which was published last year in the medical journalMolecular Cancer Therapies, details the “dramatic reductions” in fatal variations of brain cancer when these specific cannabinoids were used in conjunction with radiation therapy.
"We've shown that cannabinoids could play a role in treating one of the most aggressive cancers in adults," wrote lead researcher Dr. Wai Liu, in a November 2014 op-ed forThe Washington Post. "The results are promising... it could provide a way of breaking through glioma [tumors] and saving more lives."
While it is not uncommon for research to surfaceunveiling the truthsurrounding marijuana and its high-powered chemistry for treating a wealth ofdebilitating health conditions, it is, however, a bizarre and extremely rare occurrence for the federal government to get behind any of these claims. Yet, in an updated synopsis on the potency of marijuana as medicine, Uncle Sam’s leading drug addiction watchdog indicated that it might be changing its opinion of marijuana and how the substance can be used to maximize human vitality and strengthen the realm of overall public health.
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not recognized or approved the marijuana plant as medicine,” thereport states. “However, scientific study of the chemicals in marijuana, called cannabinoids, has led to two FDA-approved medications that contain cannabinoid chemicals in pill form. Continued research may lead to more medications.”
This is an interesting statement considering that marijuana remains listed as a Schedule I dangerous drug under the Controlled Substances Act, but it may suggest that reform of federal pot laws is on the horizon.
NIDA’s newfound pro-pot position is especially curious on the heels of a recent proposal introduced to both Congress and the House of Representatives in an attempt to legalize medical marijuana on a national level. The bill, which is calledthe CARERS Act, seeks to downgrade the Schedule I status of marijuana to a Schedule II in order to make the herb more flexible in the eyes of the federal government as an accepted form of medicine. In addition, the bill would also remove cannabidiol, the non-intoxicating compound of the pot plant, from the Controlled Substances Act and allow it to be distributed on a state-to-state basis without violating federal statutes.
However, the truly disheartening aspect of the national medical marijuana debate is that while a legion of lawmakers push to reschedule the plant and leading federal health officials are coming forward in support of the herb as medicine, the process of rescheduling the substance is one that the Obama Administration has the authority to initiate at any time.
Earlier this year, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthyannounced on national televisionthat “marijuana can be helpful” in the treatment of various medical conditions. Yet, Attorney General Eric Holder has done nothing to force a change to pot policies, leading us to suspect the latest "cannabis kills cancer" revelation by NIDA will unfortunately engender similar results.
This March, researchers for the United States updated the official
menu of the only supplies of federally legal marijuana in the world.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse posted a revised list of the
type and cost of marijuana available to researchers. You’ll need a
special research permit to buy the federal government’s pot — which is
grown in Mississippi — but don’t worry, you’re not missing out on
anything special. Uncle Sam’s stash is largely filled with bunk.
A review of NIDA’s research marijuana menu
shows the world’s top researchers have much poorer access to
cutting-edge medical cannabis products than your average 18 year-old in
Los Angeles or San Francisco.
Medical cannabis is legal for adults with a doctor’s note in California, and some 22 other states, and the marketplace has rapidly evolved beyond anything at the government’s lone pot farm. One in 20 California adults is estimated to have tried medical cannabis for a serious condition and 92 percent of them thought pot worked.
For example: NIDA has two main classes of pot for sale “marijuana
cigarettes” and “bulk marijuana”. That’s it. Joints and kilograms. No
concentrated extracts or topicals, let alone edibles, lozenges, sprays,
NIDA’s pricing schedule states that non-placebo cigarettes cost
$10.96 each, placebo cigarettes cost $13.94 each, while Bulk Marijuana
costs $2,497 per kilogram (2.2 pounds).
Roughly $1,200 a pound would be pretty good for wholesale bud, but the selection here is atrocious.
The highest THC cigarette the government is selling tops out at 6.7%
THC. Compare that to 25% THC for pre-rolls in San Francisco and L.A.
Uncle Sam has no high-cannabidiol pre-rolls, whereas high-CBD pre-rolls
are common in advanced cannabis markets.
And most of the bulk marijuana is bad, too. Uncle Sam classifies
cannabis that’s “low” in THC as having less than 1%, “medium” is 1-5%,
“high” is 5-10%, and “very high” is greater than ten percent. Not a
single government strain tests over 10.2% THC.
By comparison, the average Bay Area cannabis patient buys cannabis
that’s an average of 15 percent, estimates UC Berkeley public health
researcher Amanda Reiman.
NIDA also lacks high-THC-V strains, which likely hold the key to future diet drugs.
On the upside, NIDA has plenty of ultra-low-THC, high-CBD strains.
Some are .53 percent THC and 13.94 percent CBD. Check out the whole list
TOP RESEARCHER FINDS MARIJUANA HAS MEDICINAL VALUE
Allegations from anti-marijuana proponents stating that marijuana use causes serious harms are debunked, unwarranted and unproven, says one of the nation’s leading marijuana researchers.
Dr. Igor Grant recently spoke to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and stated about marijuana that there is “ no evidence for long-term damaging effects in adults.”
Over his professional tenure, Dr. Grant has authored multiple peer-review journal articles about the health effects of marijuana, including a report which concluded that long-term and frequent use of marijuana was not associated with the “substantial, systematic, and detrimental effect of cannabis use on neuropsychological performance.”
Dr. Grant also served as the director of the University of California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research. At that time he oversaw the completion of numerous FDA-approved clinical trials assessing the safety and efficacy of marijuana. In 2012, he co-authored a summary of these trials for the scientific journal Open Neurology. The article stated: “Based on evidence currently available the Schedule I classification is not tenable; it is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that information on safety is lacking.”
Dr. Grant further noted that the present Schedule I classification of the plant is inappropriate and severely hampers researchers from studying its effects.
New York Readies Restrictive Medical Marijuana Law
While states like Washington, Colorado and Alaska have enacted laws decriminalizing weed, New York is only now moving forward witha plan to legalize medical marijuana. However, when the lawmakers in Albany do finally sign off on the bill, the state's Health Department has placed so many restrictions on medical marijuana that many of its potential patients won't be able to get their hands on it. For those who do qualify, another odd restriction dictates that the medical marijuana can't be smoked.
TheNew York Timesreportsthat the new bill would only allow for 20 medical dispensaries, run by five organizations, to be established throughout the state, which would handcuff accessibility for many potential patients. Only patients suffering from a shortlist of 10 "severe debilitating or life-threatening" conditions, ranging from multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's Disease to ALS and AIDS, would be allowed to acquire medical marijuana.
The Health Department's bill also defines "terminally ill" as patients with a "life expectancy of one year or less," a restriction that would prevent the elderly from accessing the drug. Perhaps strangest of all, the law prohibits the smoking of medical marijuana. Instead, the drug will be administered as an "individual dose" of raw or concentrated "ingestible or sub-lingual" medical marijuana.
New York Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried, one of the politicians struggling to bring medical marijuana to the Empire State, criticized the Health Department's provisions, telling theTimes, "There are people from very, very young children to very elderly New Yorkers who are going to continue to suffer unnecessarily" because of "a long list of senseless burdensome restrictions on patients and organizations."
New York's Health Department defended their tight restrictions and the "safeguards" they've put in place, saying "the state developed the regulations through this very critical lens to ensure that the entire program would not be subject to enforcement action or legal challenge."
If the measure passes, New York, which harbors one of the most severe stances on narcotics thanks to the state'sRockefeller Drug Laws, would join 23 states in allowing the use of medical marijuana. Barring any setbacks, New York's medical marijuana law should go into effect by 2016.
2ND MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION FILING IN ARIZONA FOR 2016
Arizonans for Responsible Legalization will be the second group to file paperwork with Arizona election officials to register an effort to put recreational marijuana legalization on the 2016 ballot.
The first group to file with election officials is lead by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), who was behind the 2010 ballot measure that legalized medical marijuana in Arizona.
“A new committee formed Friday plans to file a ballot initiative to allow adults to purchase small amounts of marijuana for private use and provide new programs for the legal oversight and taxation of the marijuana industry with tax revenue invested into education,” said a spokesperson for Arizonans for Responsible Legalization.
More information for the proposed initiative will be released in April.
The Marijuana Policy Project of Arizona’s that their initiative is modeled after Colorado’s recreational marijuanalaw, which allows adults 21 and older to possess and use up to one ounce of marijuana.
The Marijuana Policy Project stated that their organization supports “the most effective scenario possible” for legalizing marijuana in the Arizona, and that they “want to establish a good public policy that replaces the underground marijuana market with a system in which marijuana is regulated similarly to alcohol.
Former sheriff plans push to legalize marijuana in Maine
A bill from Rep. Mark Dion, D-Portland, to tax and regulate sales to adults is the fourth proposal of 2015, which some see as a sign of momentum on the issue.
A former police officer turned lawmaker is launching the fourth effort this year to legalize recreational marijuana for Maine adults.
Rep. Mark Dion, D-Portland, has submitted a bill that would regulate recreational marijuana sales, tax them at 15 percent and allow use by adults 21 and older. The language of the legislation is being developed and details won’t be available until the process is completed.
Dion’s bill joins three other proposals – one from a fellow lawmaker and two from political action committees formed to advocate for legalization – that would legalize pot use by adults, create a regulatory structure for retail stores and cultivators, and tax sales.
“Although there are three other possible initiatives considering the legalization of marijuana, the proposal I’m bringing forward is more conservative,” said Dion, who was Cumberland County sheriff for 12 years and a Portland police officer for 21 years. “My goal is to treat this in the same way we provide oversight and control of alcohol.”
Dion said details, such as how much marijuana adults could possess, are being worked out, but his plan would create three tiers of licenses for cultivators. He also wants to limit the number of retail stores in Maine to 20 so the state doesn’t replicate other states where there are pot stores “anywhere and everywhere,” he said.
“I don’t think the parents I’ve talked to want to see a marijuana outlet on every corner or in every shopping mall,” Dion said.
Paul McCarrier, president of Legalize Maine, said he is looking forward to seeing the language of Dion’s proposal and that the bill will not derail Legalize Maine’s efforts to collect signatures to put the question to voters on the 2016 ballot.
“I think this shows there’s a lot of momentum to legalize marijuana,” he said.
Scott Gagnon, director of Smart Approaches to Marijuana Maine, which opposes marijuana legalization, said that despite the number of legalization proposals, he hears frequently from parents and educators who don’t want to see marijuana retail stores in their communities.
“Whether it’s 20 stores or 100 stores, at the end of the day we’re creating more places for kids to get access to marijuana,” he said.
Dion’s bill is backed by the Maine Association of Dispensary Owners. Becky DeKeuster, secretary of the association and co-founder of Wellness Connection, said the bill expands on the state’s successful medical marijuana program.
“We feel like what (Dion’s) bill does is take a piece of the existing medical framework that is very successful and well-regulated by the state and builds on that,” she said.
Dion said his proposal gives existing dispensaries preference when transitioning into the recreational market, although there also would be cultivation licenses available for others, including caregivers who currently provide medical cannabis to patients.
Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland, also has submitted a marijuana legalization bill, though details of her plan will not be released until the bill’s language is completed in April, she said.
Last week, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol – backed by the Marijuana Policy Project, which advocated for legalization in Colorado – unveiled its proposal to allow adults to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, grow their own plants and set up a system for retail stores and commercial cultivation. That group also aims to get the legalization question on the 2016 ballot.
In February, Legalize Maine submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office an application for a citizens initiative that also seeks to legalize and regulate marijuana. Legalize Maine touts its proposal as a “homegrown” plan that focuses on supporting cannabis agriculture and small-scale growers.
To qualify for the ballot, each group must collect 61,123 valid signatures, or 10 percent of the total votes cast for governor last November, by Feb. 1, 2016.
Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but Colorado and Washington state legalized the drug for recreational use in 2012. Last year, Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., approved measures to legalize recreational pot.
Russell, who has presented legalization legislation for the past three years, said now is the time for Maine lawmakers to set the policy for legal marijuana use.
“I hope the Legislature does the right thing and realizes that the chaos that is happening (with multiple proposals) doesn’t need to be there,” she said. “If anything, I think the number of ways that legalization has come forward is indicative of just how ready Maine is to move forward on this.”
Dion, who previously served on the board of a dispensary, believes the time has come for lawmakers to approve a plan that properly regulates and taxes a substance people are already using. He said legalizing marijuana also would allow law enforcement to focus on “real problems” like heroin and methamphetamines.
David Boyer, manager of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, said his group is “excited that there’s enthusiasm from all over to end marijuana prohibition and to stop punishing adults for using a substance that’s objectively safer than alcohol.”
President Obama predicted in an interview this week that as more and more states decriminalize marijuana, pressure will increase on Congress which could force federal marijuanalawsto be changed.
“We may be able to make some progress on the decriminalization side. At a certain point, if enough states end up decriminalizing, then Congress may then reschedule marijuana,” Obama said in the interview with VICE.
Along with the positive prediction about the future of marijuana federal policy, the president seemed shocked by VICE interview Shane Smith saying that marijuana was the most suggested topic to discuss in the interview from VICE readers and that if Obama led the way toward marijuana legalization, it would be the biggest part of his legacy.
“It shouldn’t be young people’s biggest priority,” stated Obama. “Let’s put it in perspective. Young people, I understand this is important to you, but you should be thinking about climate change, the economy,jobs, war and peace. Maybe way at the bottom you should be thinking about marijuana.”
On average, there’s a marijuana possession arrest nearly every minute in the U.S. Billions of dollars are spent enforcing marijuana prohibition laws that don’t deter most people from using marijuana, but do damage lives via criminal records. Furthermore, the immense damage caused by the black market and drug cartels.
It should also be noted that despite what the president said about Congress feeling increased pressure to decriminalize marijuana, his administration can actually do that without any additional Congressional action needed.
The Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled that persons arrested in Connecticut for possession of small amounts of marijuana have been given the right to get their convictions erased because the state decriminalized misdemeanor possession of marijuana in 2011.
The 7-0 ruling was due to a case involving Connecticut resident Nicholas Menditto. A Connecticut prosecutor and Menditto’slawyersaid the decision affects thousands of people who have misdemeanor marijuana convictions in the state.
“It’s a topic multiple states will have to be facing,” said Menditto’sattorney. “Because marijuana is being decriminalized across the United States, this issue needs to be addressed.”
Connecticut’s Governor and legislators, in 2011, changed marijuana possession of less than a half ounce from a misdemeanor with a possible jail sentence to a violation with a $150 fine for a first offense and fines of $200 to $500 for subsequent offenses.
“The legislature has determined that such violations are to be handled in the same manner as civil infractions, such as parking violations,” was written in the ruling. “The state has failed to suggest any plausible reason why erasure should be denied in such cases.”
There are many ways to ingest medical marijuana and each has its pro’s and con’s. Some folks swear by theiredibleswhile others prefer the tried and true approach to medical marijuana: just plain smoking it. But thanks to advances in science and tech, vaporizing marijuana is the new norm. In fact, next to dabs, vaping (inhaling and exhaling the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device, which became Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year in 2014) has become one of the most popular new ways for patients to medicate.
One of the many reasons people like using vape pens is that they’re typically odorless which makes it easy to use when you’re on the go. Some of the newer pens, likeSlim Joint, are designed to look stylish and discreet and are available in regular and extra strengths, depending on one’s needs.
How E-Joints Work
Vaping e-cigarettes, which contain nicotine, is the catalyst that started the vaping trend. But now, you can vape good old marijuana too, getting theTHC,CBDand othercannabinoidsthat you may require for health reasons.
When you inhale an e-joint, the tip glows, just like a real joint. But what you exhale is vastly different and more comparable to the mist that a fog machine creates. E-joints function on the same basic principle: a heating element known as an ‘atomizer’ heats up the fluid, turning it into a gas.
Many e-cigarettes are rechargeable, with refillable liquids that come in a variety of interesting flavors. The level of customization and variety of tastes have turned vaping into a popular hobby. But for medical marijuana patients, e-joints are more than just a tool for relaxation – they’re an important delivery method for medicine. And, just like there are many varieties of e-cigarettes there are many varieties of e-joints as well. There are also differentstrainsavailable (including indicas, sativas and hybrids) and different flavors and methods of vaping.
Depending on the region ordispensary, there are a few options for vapes. Somedispensarieswill process their marijuana into a psychoactive liquid that can be used in a personalvaporizer. Disposable e-joints are just like disposable e-cigarettes in that they require little maintenance or recharging batteries. Popular brands include the Juju Joint and theSlimJ. One major con is for environmentalists, as these e-joints are disposable, but many producers are working on programs to recycle the devices, especially as these devices grow in popularity.
Are E-Joints Safe?
There has been a fair amount of controversy in response to the safety of e-joints, especially in regards to health effects. Since users inhale a vapor instead of smoke, many believe it’s much safer. So far, the overwhelming consensus about e-cigarettes and vaping is that it’s far safer than inhaling smoke. The truth is, not enough research exists to be definitive, but according to WebMD, “So far, evidence suggests that e-cigarettes may be safer than regular cigarettes. The biggest danger from tobacco is the smoke, and e-cigarettes don’t burn. Tests show the levels of dangerous chemicals they give off are a fraction of what you’d get from a real cigarette. But what’s in them can vary.”
E-joints are a different matter entirely as none of the chemicals contained inside an e-joint are addictive. Plus, the cannabinoids inside are known by a wide scientific consensus to be helpful for certain conditions, including cancer, HIV, glaucoma, chronic pain, and many other conditions.
Medical marijuana patients are likely already familiar with which strains are best for their condition(s). But are e-joints right for patients? That’s a decision each patient will have to make on your own. Who knows, the result could be very positive. azmarijuana.com
The Federal Government Just Made Marijuana Legal in All Native American Reservations in the US
A huge event in national marijuana reform has taken place today.
The map above outlines ALL of the new areas in the us where it is now
legal to grow and sell marijuana according to the federal government.
The Federal Government released a memo to the Justice Department
issued to US attorneys, saying not to prosecute Native American tribes
for growing and selling marijuana on their sovereign lands.
The policy was dated October 28 but was released publicly only today
Now people living in states with anti marijuana laws will in fact be living 10 minutes away from a marijuana store!
The Department of Justice released a memo Thursday
directing U.S. attorneys not to prosecute Native American tribes for
growing and selling marijuana on their sovereign lands.
The guidance, authored by Monty Wilkinson, the executive director of
the Executive Office for United States Attorneys, extends even to
reservations in states where marijuana has not yet been legalized.
The new policy, which is dated October 28 but was released
publicly only today, is very similar to a 2013 memo the Justice
Department issued outlining eight guidelines that states with legal
marijuana would have to follow to avoid federal interference, such
as not allowing sales to minors and preventing diversion of the drug to
jurisdictions where it is prohibited.
“The eight priorities in the [earlier federal memo] will guide United
States Attorneys’ marijuana enforcement efforts in Indian Country,
including in the event that sovereign Indian Nations seek to legalize
the cultivation or use of marijuana in Indian Country,” the new guidance
“Having the Department of Justice take a stance honoring the
sovereignty of Native American tribes when it comes to how they set
their own marijuana policy is refreshing,” NORML Communications
Director Erik Altieri told Marijuana.com in an email. “The individuals
living on these reservations deserve the same freedom to decide how they
chose to handle marijuana on their own lands as we are currently
providing the fifty states under current Justice Department memos.”
The new memo says that U.S. attorneys will still get involved in
marijuana prosecutions when requested by tribal leaders, and it remains
to be seen how many and which Indian tribes will be interested in taking
advantage of the new clearance to grow and selling marijuana without
Altieri predicted that some tribes would do so. “Like most others in
this country, many in these regions see the failures of our current
prohibitionist policies and will likely take this opportunity to pursue a
new approach,” he said.
Such a move could have big financial benefits for tribes, many of
which operate casinos and sell untaxed tobacco products on their
sovereign lands, which attracts interest and revenue from non-Indians.
Kevin Sabet, of the anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana, told U.S.
News & World Report that the new memo means, “A situation is
quickly forming where people living in states who do not want
legalization will in fact be living 10 minutes away from a marijuana
Mike Liszewski of Americans for Safe Access welcomed the new guidance but said, “as sovereign nations, these lands should already have this ability as a right.”
Liszewski also focused on the potential medical benefits of unimpeded
cannabis cultivation and sales. “Medical access to cannabis grown on
reservations could prove to be a cost-effective way for tribal nations
to improve the wellness of tribal members,” he said in an email to
The majority of Americans say that “the use of marijuana should be made legal,” according to nationwide pollingdataprovided by the General Social Survey. TheGSSis a bi-annual scientific survey that collects data on social trends within the United States.
Fifty-two percent of respondents endorsed legalizing marijuana – an increase of nine percentage points since GSS pollsters asked the question in 2012. Forty-two percent of respondents said that they opposed the idea.
GSS pollsters have been tracking Americans’ views regarding marijuana legalization since the early 1970s. In 1990, only 16 percent of respondents backed legalizing the plant. The just-reported 2014 survey data marks the first time that the General Social Survey has ever reported majority support for legalizing cannabis.
Separate national surveys by bothGallupand thePew Research Center, amongothers, have previously documented that most Americans now favor legalizing the plant.
A poll performed by Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy polled Arizonans about marijuana issues in Arizona and found that 45 percent support adult-use recreational marijuana legalization, while 42 percent support the current medical-use-only marijuanalaw. Only 13 percent of Arizonans want marijuana completely outlawed in the state.
The poll questioned over 700 Arizonans statewide.
“It is important to keep in mind this research polled a sample of all Arizona adults, not just voters or likely voters,” said David Daughery, the associate director of the Morrison Institute. He went on to mention that “since this issue would be decided by voters, the opinions of those who will not vote are of no consequence to a ballot measure.”
If Arizonans vote to legalize adult-use recreational marijuana in 2016, Arizona would have similarlawsto Colorado, where adults can use and possess small amounts of marijuana – purchased from state-regulateddispensaries– for recreational use.
The nation’s first government-run recreational marijuanadispensaryis opening this week.
Revenues from the dispensary will benefit the town of North Bonneville, WA. The town noted that they are opening the dispensary because their town could really use the cash.
“There is one gas station. There is one restaurant. There is a golf course. And there is the Bonneville Hot Springs Hotel,” said John Spencer, a former city administrator.
Not long ago the town of about 1,000 residents stopped watering parks and other public places to save money. And a few months ago it had to start turning off streetlights to cut down on its electricity bill.
“The city is on its knees financially,” Spencer said. “They have run negative numbers in the general fund multiple months in a row because they have no retail sector here and in Washington State you’re dependent on a retail sector because of the sales tax. And this store could very well make a town that is otherwise going to fail.”
The dispensary will be called The Cannabis Corner, and will be the nation’s first recreational dispensary owned and operated by a municipality.
North Bonneville’s Mayor, Don Stevens, embraces the title of “The Marijuana Mayor.” So much so that he ordered a personalized license plate for his car that reads “MJMAYOR.”
NBC might soon have a sitcom about a fictitious Denver marijuanadispensary. The show, being dubbed as “Buds,” will be about the day-to-day happenings inside a legal, recreational marijuana dispensary somewhere in Denver.
There is still a lot of speculation as to whether the show will be more along the lines of “Seinfeld,” “Mad Men” or a mix of the two.
According to various outlets, “Buds” is a part of NBC’s 2015-16 development cycle. Its executive producers are Adam Scott (of NBC’s “Parks and Rec” show), Naomi Scott (his producer wife) and Mande. It’s the first sale since the Scotts’ production company Gettin’ Rad Productions signed a first-look deal with Universal TV in 2014.
PHOENIX MARIJUANA INDUSTRY WOMEN LEADERS EVENT
The Phoenix chapter of Women Grow, a national network supporting female entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry, will host its next monthly networkingeventon Thursday, March 5, from 6:30 – 9 p.m., at Optima Camelview, located at the intersection of Scottsdale Road and Highland Road, 7177 E. Rancho Vista Drive, Scottsdale. Open to the public, the event is an opportunity to learn aboutdispensaryinspectionlawsin Arizona, as well as medical director compliance.
Held on the first Thursday of each month, Women Grow chaptereventsoffer opportunities for personal introductions, open networking, and a speaking program. Admission is $30 in advance or $35 at the door. For information and to purchase tickets, visit womengrow.com/events. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP in advance.
Women Grow is a national network educating, empowering and connecting women in the cannabis industry through monthly networking events, national conferences and shining a spotlight on aspiring and established women leaders in the cannabis industry.
TUNE IN TO WEEDSDAY WEDNESDAY, A LIVE CANNABIS RADIO SHOW TO HEAR THEM LIVE THIS WEDNESDAY!!!
ithin the first few months of 2016, a Holland based company calledVan.ekoplans on introducing the world’s first ever electric scooter made completely out of hemp. The fact that the ingenious idea for this one-of-a-kind vehicle comes from a country known for its environmentalism is no surprise, and neither should its eventual impact on the European market once available.
The scooter, which goes by the name of Be.e, is made of various compositescreated from industrial hemp.Even the headlights and turn signals were produced from the material. Van.eko, working along with the University of Applied Sciences in Holland, used the platform of developing the scooter to push the science of creating a product of its kind from the particular material. As Van.eko notes, they are “acompany with a sustainable heart and an entrepreneurial backbone.” They lived up to their ambitions, providing sustainable solutions to the mobility industry with the development of this project by not only going green on the Be.e’s construction, but also on the fact that it runs via electricity.
The scooter delivers where it counts. Its batteries, which areguaranteedfor 2000 charging cycles, provide 5 ½ horsepower, getting the Be.e up to a respectible 35 mph. One charge is good for over 37 miles of driving before its time to recharge, making it perfect for city driving. On a 600W charger the batteries recharge in under 3 hours, and given the Be.e’s probable future success as theinnovatorin this market, there might one day be charging spots for these types of e-vehicles in all the major cities of Europe.
Because of Be.e’s high costs of production it’s set to hit the market at $7000, but even at that price they are not lacking when it comes to presale orders. The fact that the scooter incurs little fueling costs and has such a high longevity obviously satisfies the needs of many European customers whose cities are on the forefront of the green revolution.
Two House Bills Would End Federal Prohibition Of Marijuana
Two congressmen filed separate House bills on Friday that together would legalize, regulate and tax marijuana at the federal level, effectively ending the U.S. government's decadeslong prohibition of the plant.
Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) introduced theRegulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, which would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act's schedules, transfer oversight of the substance from the Drug Enforcement Administration over to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and regulate marijuana in a way similar to how alcohol is currently regulated in the U.S.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) introduced theMarijuana Tax Revenue Act, which would set up a federal excise tax for regulated marijuana.
The bills would not force states to legalize marijuana, but a federal regulatory framework would be in place for those states that do decide to legalize it. To date, four states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana (however, D.C.'s model continues to ban sales), 23 states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes and 11 other states have legalized the limited use of low-THC forms of marijuana for medical use.
"While President Obama and the Justice Department have allowed the will of voters in states like Colorado and 22 other jurisdictions to move forward, small business owners, medical marijuana patients, and others who follow state laws still live with the fear that a new administration -- orthis one -- could reverse course and turn them into criminals," Polis said in a statement Friday. "It is time for us to replace the failed prohibition with a regulatory system that works and let states and municipalities decide for themselves if they want, ordon't want, to have legal marijuana within their borders."
Despite the programs currently in place in Colorado and Washington state -- as well as those that will soon go into effect inOregon,AlaskaandD.C.-- the sale, possession, production and distribution of marijuana all remain illegal under federal law. The states that have legalized marijuana orsoftened penalties for possession have only been able to do so because offederal guidanceurging prosecutors to refrain from targeting state-legal marijuana operations.
Harvard economist Jeff Miron, a vocal supporter of marijuana policy reform, highlighted the precarious nature of state marijuana laws ina recent op-ed for CNNon why Congress needs to act now on federal marijuana policy.
"Despite the compelling case for legalization, and progress toward legalization at the state level, ultimate success is not assured," Miron wrote. "Federal law still prohibits marijuana, and existing jurisprudence (Gonzales v. Raich 2005) holds that federal law trumps state law when it comes to marijuana prohibition. So far, the federal government has mostly taken a hands-off approach to state medicalizations and legalizations, but in January 2017, the country will have a new president. That person could order the attorney general to enforce federal prohibition regardless of state law."
On Friday, Blumenauer called the federal prohibition of marijuana "a failure" that has wasted tax dollars and ruined lives. He also said it's time for the government to forge a new path ahead for the plant.
"As more states move to legalize marijuana as Oregon, Colorado, Washington and Alaska have done," Blumenauer said, "it's imperative the federal government become a full partner in building a workable and safe framework."
U.S. SURGEON GENERAL SAYS MARIJUANA “CAN BE HELPFUL”
The nation’s new surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, stated that marijuana “can be helpful” for certain medical conditions, and that he wants science to dictate policy on the federally banned substance.
“We have some preliminary data that for certain medical conditions and symptoms, that marijuana can be helpful,” Murthy mentioned in an interview with “CBS This Morning” in response to a question about his position on marijuana legalization in the U.S.
Murthy didn’t use the opportunity to endorse marijuana legalization for medical or recreational purposes, but he did note that he believes U.S. marijuana policy should be driven by scientific research and what it reveals about the efficacy of using the cannabis plant for medical reasons.
“I think we’re going to get a lot more data about that,” Murthy stated. “I’m very interested to see where that takes us.”
Murthy was not the first surgeon general to question U.S. drug policies. In 1993, Joycelyn Elders, the surgeon general under President Bill Clinton, stated that she believed that legalizing drugs in the U.S. would “markedly reduce our crime rate.” Not long ago, in 2010, Elders called for the legalization of marijuana in the U.S.
NEW MEXICO RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION PROPOSAL ADVANCES
A New Mexico legislative committee voted in favor of taxing and regulating marijuana in New Mexico. The 5-4 vote for Senate Joint Resolution 2 (SJR2) narrowly passed in the Senate Rules Committee, and its passing will put it on the 2016 ballot where citizens will vote to decide if recreational marijuana will be legalized in New Mexico.
SJR2 would allow for the possession and personal use of marijuana by anyone 21 years of age and older and for the regulation of the production, sale and taxation of marijuana for recreational use in New Mexico.
“Today’s vote sets in motion the process to put the issue on a 2016 statewide ballot for voters,” said Emily Kaltenbach, New Mexico’s director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “Marijuana prohibition in New Mexico has clearly failed. It hasn’t reduced use and instead has resulted in the criminalization of people, gross racial disparities, and enormous fiscal waste. Senator Ortiz y Pino’s resolution will allow our legislature rethink how we can enhance the health and safety of all New Mexicans through sensible reforms.”
A statewide poll taken in 2013 found that a majority of New Mexico’s registered voters (52 percent) say they support legalizing marijuana for adult use.
BILL WOULD ALLOW VA DOCTORS TO RECOMMEND MARIJUANA
A new bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives that would allow doctors employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to recommend marijuana as means of medical treatment to veterans that suffer from certain medical conditions, such as: serious physical injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more.
Do to federallawscurrent VA policy prohibits doctors from recommending marijuana for medical use.
Nearly 20% of veterans returning from the Middle East are diagnosed with depression, anxiety, or PTSD; all of which are notoriously difficult conditions to treat. A study published recently in the Annals of Epidemiology found that the suicide rate among these veterans is 50% greater than the national average.
Last year a study was published in the American Journal of Public Health which found that in states that passed medical marijuana laws there was a statistically significant reduction in suicide rates.
“The men and women who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have made tremendous sacrifices for our country,” stated a spokesperson for the Marijuana Policy Project. “They deserve every option available to treat their wounds, both visible and hidden. If VA doctors are confident that medical marijuana would improve their patients’ quality of life, they should be able to recommend it to them in states where it’s legal.”
18 STATES PREDICTED TO LEGALIZE MARIJUANA BY 2020
The latest ArcView Market Researchreportreveals a prediction that 18 states will legalize recreational marijuana within the next five years. The report was devised to assist investors in the marijuana industry in charting a course for the future. Their data indicates the end of America’s marijuana prohibition may be well within reach.
“The continued success of the state markets has created the public perception that nationwide legalization is inevitable. This trend—compounded with the loss of big-name political donors, such as Peter Lewis and John Sperling—has created a political funding crisis,” noted the report’s authors.
“Winning full legalization the old-fashioned way—by getting it approved by a majority of the legislature and signed by the governor—would be an enormous political achievement that would open up the possibility of legalization in the balance of those states that do not offer a voter initiative,” stated a marijuana industry non-profit spokesperson.
ArcView’s analysts predict that recreational marijuana will be legalized within the next two years in eight states, including Arizona, California, Maine, and Nevada. It also appears that California is destined to join Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska, by passing initiatives to legalize recreational marijuana in 2016.
Cincinnati would become Ohio marijuana capital under proposal
The Cincinnati area would become the marijuana-growing capital of Ohio – with Hamilton, Butler and Clermont counties each hosting a marijuana farm – under a proposal that advocates hope to put before Ohio voters as early as this fall.
The proposed ballot amendment would legalize marijuana for recreational use by adults 21 and older and medical marijuana for use with a doctor's note.
It would allow Ohioans to open marijuana manufacturing plants, retail stores and medical dispensaries. But it would limit the growth of marijuana to 10 sites around the state, including the three in Cincinnati.
And Cincinnati residents will have a shot tonight at being the first to sign the petition to appear on the ballot. The sponsoring group, ResponsibleOhio, is holding a signature drivefrom 5 to 7 p.m. at 17 W. Court St.
The group first needs to gather 1,000 signatures, then receive approval of its ballot language by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and the Ohio Ballot Board.
To put the amendment before voters in November, the group would need another 306,000 signatures by the start of July.
According to the language in the amendment, the Hamilton County farm would be located on 24.5 acres at 8485 Broadwell Road in Anderson Township and Forest Hills school district. The site is affiliated with Newtown-basedEvans Landscaping, according to information from the Hamilton County auditor's website.
A children's gymnastics center,Gymnastics Central, is also located at the address, along with a packaging company and other commercial tenants.
The Butler County farm would be located on 40 acres of farmland in Middletown, northwest of the intersection of Todhunter and Yankee roads. The location is about 1.5 miles northwest of Monroe Senior High School.
Trenton-basedMagnode Corp., a supplier of aluminum components, owns the land, according to the Butler County auditor's website.
The Clermont County farm would be located in Batavia Local School district, on 13 acres of undeveloped commercial land along Winding Creek Boulevard, which is off Olive Branch-Stonelick Road between Old State Route 74 and State Route 32.
MARIJUANA “DISTINCTLY DIFFERENT” ON LUNG HEALTH THAN TOBACCO
The inhalation of one marijuana cigarette (akajoint) per day over a 20-year period of time is not associated with adverse changes in lung health, according to a study published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society journal.
Researchers assessed marijuana smoke exposure and lung health in a large sample of U.S. adults, ages 18 to 59. They reported that marijuana exposure was not associated with FEV1 (forced expiratory volume) decline or with any deleterious change in spirometric values of small airways disease.
The researchers noted, “The pattern of marijuana’s effects seems to be distinctly different when compared to that of tobacco use” and that “In a large representative sample of US adults, ongoing use of marijuana is associated with increased respiratory symptoms of bronchitis without a significant functional abnormality in spirometry, and cumulative marijuana use under 20 joint-years is not associated with significant effects on lung function.”
The study is the largest cross-sectional analysis to date that examined the relationship between marijuana use and spirometric parameters of lung health.
A different study published in 2012 in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported similar findings: cumulative marijuana smoke exposure over a period of up to 7 years (the equivalent of up to one marijuana cigarette per day for seven years) had no associated adverse effects on pulmonary function.
In a 2013 study published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society, they acknowledged that marijuana smoke exposure was not associated with the development of lung cancer, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or bullous lung disease. The study concluded: “Habitual use of marijuana alone does not appear to lead to significant abnormalities in lung function. Findings from a limited number of well-designed epidemiological studies do not suggest an increased risk of either lung or upper airway cancer from light or moderate use. … Overall, the risks of pulmonary complications of regular use of marijuana appear to be relatively small and far lower than those of tobacco smoking.”
Weed history is being made in Seattle: the first vending machines to dispense marijuana flower buds debuted Tuesday.
The machines, called ZaZZZ, are being placed in medical pot dispensaries, which helps to verify customer's age and identity since medical marijuana cards are required to enter the centers, said Greg Patrick, a spokesman for the maker of ZaZZZ, American Green.
Though vending machines appeared for the first time in Colorado last year, those sold only edibles, orcannabis-infused foods, and not the plant's flower buds that are so often associated with smoking pot.
"It's historic, there's just no other way to state it. We saw the repeal of prohibition in the early 20th century and the mark that made on our country and the companies that did it right," Patrick said. "We're in that stage. This will only happen once in our country's history, the repeal of this prohibition."
The machines have a touchscreen where buyers can make orders, play video games and read medical information about the products. They swipe their medical marijuana IDs ordriver's licenses to make sure they can legally purchase the goods and must pay in cash orbitcoin since the federal government doesn't allow debit orcredit cards to be used in the sale of marijuana.
Like machines that dispense soda orsnacks, ZaZZZ intends to speed up the distribution for those who don't want to wait in a line at the dispensary.
"Once you swipe your ID, you can go shopping on the screen," Patrick said. "You can be in and out — literally — in a matter of minutes."
ZaZZZ vending machines in Colorado and Washington state, where legal recreational weed sales began last year, can dispense flower buds. But for the time being, American Green has to partner with growers in those states since the Tempe, Arizona-based firm — like others — can't ship medical marijuana product across state lines under federal laws.
Ultimately, American Green hopes to take the machines to other venues outside medical marijuana dispensaries as acceptance and awareness of the products grows. The company said the machine — which doesn't have a glass window that could be broken into — is secure against would-be thiefs.
"That machine is like a miniature little Fort Knox," Patrick said.
That's not marijuana -- that's cannabis
DENVER — Last December, Denver police reported a major increase in the number of marijuana-related arrests in the city's schools.
Parents were outraged at the 39% increase in a single year — the year in which Colorado legalized recreational marijuana sales. But it turned out the number of underage users was wrong.
That's because while filling out their reports, some police officers used the now-archaic "marihuana" spelling. Data analysts pulling the numbers forgot to look for the old spelling in the old records and came up with inaccurate totals. The revised numbers showed only a 6% increase.
The mix-up over the spelling highlights what's turning into a heated debate within the legal and increasingly mainstream marijuana community.
For a variety of reasons, many folks in the legal weed community would like to see "marijuana" and "pot" and "weed" relegated to the scrapheap of pejorative descriptions. And they aren't shy about letting me know their feelings. One reader, for instance, complained that my word choices made me sound ignorant and biased.
Their preference: cannabis.
For some, the old and frequently used words evoke the scare tactics long employed by governments and police. There's a school of thought that "marijuana" opponents ginned up the word because it sounded scary and foreign. (Although I can't find evidence that that's the case, despite what Wikipedia might say.)
For others, the words are loaded with reefer madness baggage. With proliferating legalization and mounting acceptance of pot across the country, they say it's time for a better name. These ganjapreneurs believe cannabis sounds more positive.
But switching words isn't that easy, as lawmakers and regulators are finding out.
"There's really a landmine out there in terms of the words we use," says Ron Flax, an examiner with the Boulder County Land Use Department.
What most people call marijuana is actually two different strains of cannabis: indica and sativa, both of which contain THC, the compound that gets people high. (Hemp is a sub-strain of the sativa plant containing very little THC that's used for clothing, rope and oil.) The different strains have different effects, depending on how they've been crossbred. And don't even get me started on the brand names growers give, like Sour Kush or Blue Dream; there's no regulation of what growers call their products.
Working in the famously marijuana-friendly "People's Republic of Boulder," Flax tries to be careful about the language he chooses. Last year, as the county was developing regulations about pot grow-house energy use, Flax started saying "cannabis" when talking to the industry, as a sign of respect for legitimate business owners. But he ran into a hiccup because county regulations and state laws refer to the plant as marijuana or marihuana.
If he wants his regulations to be legal, Flax has to call marijuana marijuana. And he's not alone. The laws in Oregon and Alaska legalize "marijuana," while the laws in Washington and Colorado legalize both "marijuana" and "marihuana."
And that highlights the challenges of changing how we describe things. You may have noticed I've used a variety of words when referring to marijuana. It's hard to argue readers don't understand that reefer, pot, weed and ganja all mean the same thing. As Shakespeare's Juliet might muse, does the name really matter, be it marijuana or Montague?
But I get where people are coming from. After decades of operating in the shadows, marijuana retailers (we used to call them drug dealers) crave the legitimacy that comes from regulation and public respect. And they want to see the language reflect that marijuana has indeed gone mainstream.
6 FACTS ABOUT MARIJUANA IN THE U.S.
Americans’ attitudes about marijuana have undergone a rapid shift over recent years. A recent survey found that many more Americans now favor marijuana and shifting the focus of the nation’s overall drug policy. Here are 6 facts about marijuana and public opinion in the U.S.:
1. Support for marijuana legalization is quickly outpacing the opposition.A majority (52%) of Americans say marijuana should be made legal, compared with 45% who want it to remain illegal. In 1969, a Gallup pole revealed that just 12% favored legalizing marijuana use. Between 2010 and 2013 support for marijuana legalization rose 11 points. 76% of people surveyed said people convicted of minor marijuana possession should not serve time in jail.
2. Not everyone supports legalization.31% of Republicans do. Most whites and blacks say marijuana should be legalized, while only 39% of Hispanics agree. 63% of Millennials say marijuana should be legalized while only 27% of the Silent Generation (those 69 to 86 years old) agree.
3. 69% of Americans believe alcohol is more harmful to health than marijuana.15% picked marijuana as being worse and 14% said both or neither. If marijuana became as widely available as alcohol in the U.S., 63% still believe alcohol to be more harmful to society.
4. 63% of Americans don’t want people to smoke marijuana in public.54% of people surveyed think that legalizing marijuana would lead to more underage people using it. Whereas 57% of the people surveyed said they would be okay with a store legally selling marijuana in their neighborhood.
5. 47% of Americans say they have tried using marijuana.11% said they tried marijuana within the past year, which the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health says is the most used illicit drug in the U.S.
6. Four states – Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska – and the Washington D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana use.14 states have decriminalized certain amounts of marijuana possession. Including those five recreational marijuana locations, nearly half of U.S. states (23 and Washington D.C.) have legalized medical marijuana use.
President Obama Could Re-Schedule Marijuana
While President Obama is positive marijuana will continue to be legalized on a state-by-state basis throughout the course of the next few years, the leader of the free world gave no indication during a recentYouTube interviewthat the federal government plans to end prohibition anytime in the immediate future. Instead, he offered up a modest dose of the usual swill that Americans have grown accustomed to hearing from the White House regarding the reform of national pot policies: A heavy emphasis on state’s rights as opposed to the nationwide repeal of a law thatsuggests weed is as dangerous as heroin.
“What you’re seeing now is Colorado, Washington, through state referenda, they’re experimenting with legal marijuana," said Obama. "The position of my administration has been that we still have federal laws that classify marijuana as an illegal substance, but we’re not going to spend a lot of resources trying to turn back decisions that have been made at the state level on this issue. My suspicion is that you’re gonna see other states start looking at this."
It would have been nice to hear some clarification from the president as to why the government still deems it necessary to classify cannabis a Schedule I dangerous substance with no medicinal value, even though over half the states in the country have been allowed to legalize it for medicinal and recreational purposes. Yet his primary focus in regards to federal efforts to end the domestic war on drugs was placed on dissecting the penalties for non-violent drug offenses in order to determine what can be done to tweak the criminal justice system—without reforming federal pot laws.
"What I am doing at the federal level is asking my Department of Justice just to examine generally how we are treating nonviolent drug offenders,” said Obama. “What we have done is instead of focusing on treatment—the same way we focused, say, with tobacco ordrunk driving orother problems where we treat it as public health problem—we’ve treated this exclusively as a criminal problem. I think that it’s been counterproductive, and it’s been devastating in a lot of minority communities. It presents the possibility at least of unequal application of the law, and that has to be changed.”
Last year, the Obama Administration dragged a few progressive efforts aimed at pot reform down the hill and turned them loose, including a move toprohibit federal fundsfrom being used to prosecute the medical marijuana community , as well as giving Native American tribesthe freedom to legalize poton reservation lands. So, what is preventing the president and the gang from, at least, downgrading the federal classification of cannabis before leaving office in 2016? The answer is: Nothing.
President Obama stated last year during an interview withThe New Yorkerthat the reclassification of marijuana was the job of Congress. However, while the wild bunch on Capitol Hill has the power to make changes to the Controlled Substances Act, the Attorney General, who oversees the Drug Enforcement Administration, has that authority as well. The truth is, the Obama Administration could initiate the proceedings to rescheduled cannabis, but they would prefer to jerk just enough of the American chain to give the illusion of steady reform while still honoring some bizarre pact with corporate devils.
Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in HIGH TIMES, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter@adamssoupand onFacebook/mikeadams73.
Medicinal cannabis: study finds Australians suffering chronic pain get more relief from cannabis than conventional medicines
Australians suffering from chronic pain may get more relief from their symptoms using cannabis than they do from some conventional medications, researchers have found.
Alarge studyof people suffering from chronic problems such as back pain, migraine and arthritis has discovered many are turning to cannabis to relieve their symptoms, despite already being prescribed heavy-duty opioid medications such as morphine and oxycodone.
In a finding that is likely to further intensify the debate about medical marijuana use, theNational Drug and Alcohol Centre researchersfound people who used the illegal drug said it was more helpful than the highly addictive and potentially dangerous opioid medications.
Study leader Louisa Degenhardt found nearly 13 per cent of 1500 chronic pain patients, who were mainly aged in their late 40s and early 50s, had used cannabis in the past year despite being prescribed opioids. This compared to only 4.7 per cent of the rest of the population, she wrote in the journalDrug and Alcohol Dependence.
"One in three said they found it very effective to relieve their pain, that's a score of ten out of ten," she said. "Now these are all subjective scores … but it means there is definitely a group of people who think that taking it was very beneficial."
Professor Degenhardt, from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre and the University of Melbourne, said the study raised important questions about whether the benefits of cannabis for pain should be more seriously explored, but also about the negative effects of drugs, such as patient dependence.
"The people who were also trying cannabis for pain, they were younger but they had also been living with pain for longer," she said. "Their pain was so severe it had been interfering with their lives."
Study co-author Nicholas Lintzeris, a medical doctor specialising in addiction and an associate professor of addiction medicine at the University of Sydney, said there had been a huge rise in the number of Australians seeking treatment for addiction to pain medications.
This was linked to a lack of multi-disciplinary treatment such as physiotherapy and massage, leaving doctors with little choice but to prescribe heavy-duty painkillers, or even other drugs for which there was little evidence of efficacy, such as antidepressants or antipsychotics.
"Interestingly, in the United States (as there has been more use of medicinal cannabis there), we are starting to see some large epidemiological studies that indicate cannabis use might ... provide other options other than simply an ever-escalating opioid dose [when treatment isn't working]," he said. "It could well be that if there were safer cannabinoid drugs that might be a useful strategy". However, he said there was little known about the cannabis plant, which contains many different chemicals.
The Baird state government has committed tobeginning three trials of medical cannabis, for children with the most severe form of drug resistant epilepsy, and people with terminal illnesses and chemotherapy-induced nausea.
The country also has plans to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Jamaica may soon legalize medical marijuana and decriminalize marijuana use,according to the Jamaica Observer andJamaica Information Service(JIS) of the Government of Jamaica. The Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2015 was approved Monday by the Cabinet, is expected to be tabled in the Senate Friday, Jan. 23, and slated for discussion in the Senate Jan. 30.
The Act would establish a Cannabis Licensing Authority to oversee the proposed medicinal marijuana industry. It also would decriminalize marijuana, making possession of two ounces orless a ticketable, non-criminal offense.
According to the JIS, the Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, said during a Jamaica House media briefing on Jan. 21, “The Cannabis Licensing Authority will, with the approval of the Minister responsible for Justice, make regulations treating with (among other things) procedures and criteria for applying for and retention of licenses, permits and other authorizations for cultivation, processing, distribution, sale and other handling of ganja for medicinal, scientific and therapeutic purposes.” Provisions for industrial hemp are included in the Act.
The Act is far more liberal than most in regards to establishing a “medical” marijuana program, and even references use for religious, scientific and therapeutic purposes. “The changes will also enable the use of ganja in religious engagements by stakeholders, such as Rastafarians,” reports the JIS.
Ganja, as it is referred to by Senator Golding and by the JIS, will not be allowed to be smoked in public.
Arizona lawmaker proposes legalizing marijuana
PHOENIX — Recreational marijuana usecould be legal in Arizonaby this summer if the Legislature and new Gov. Doug Ducey approve a plan introduced by a Phoenix lawmaker.
The legislation will be a long shot under the conservative-led Legislature. But stateRep. Mark Cardenas, D-Phoenix, said he has some strong arguments. Among them is the possibility of nearly $50 million in potential tax revenue that could offset a looming $1 billion budget shortfall.
Proponents of legalizing marijuana are expected to try to get a measure on the 2016 Arizona ballot, following similar successful efforts in Colorado, Washington and Oregon. Cardenas said polling in Arizona shows such a ballot measure would probably pass, as medical-marijuana legalization did in 2010.
For a variety of reasons, Cardenas said, it would be better if the Legislature passed its own version of the law first.
"We've seen issues with our medical-marijuana system ... but it's nearly impossible to come back at the Legislature and adjust it because we need 75% of the Legislature (to approve any changes to a voter-approved measure)," he said. "This would give us more leeway. If there were unforeseen consequences, we could easily come back and adjust it the next year."
He said going through the Legislature makes sense given the likelihood of voters passing it.
"We have to be smart about governing," he said. "If it's going to happen, let's get ahead of it and make sure we have the conversations to come up with the best program possible."
House Bill 2007would legalize the purchase, possession and consumption of up to 1 ounce of marijuana for adults age 21 and older. It would expand the current medical-marijuana system under the Arizona Department of Health Services, and create a process for dispensaries to serve the general public. It also would allow adults age 21 and older to grow up to five plants for personal consumption.
"We have a rough framework to work off of, which would be Colorado," Cardenas said. "We would like to start with a discussion and work towards creating the same system here. They've gained a lot of revenue from that."
HB 2007 would levy a new tax against marijuana, at $50 an ounce. Thirty percent of the revenue would go to education; 10% to treatment programs for alcohol, tobacco and marijuana abuse; 10% for public-education campaigns educating youth and adults about the risks of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana; and the rest would go into the general fund.
An analysis last year by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee estimated marijuana taxed at this level could bring about $48 million a year into the state.
The proposed tax rate is lower than that in Colorado, but higher than in Oregon. Oregon taxes marijuana at $35 an ounce. Colorado has a 15% excise tax, plus a 10% sales tax on marijuana, plus regular state and local sales taxes.
HB 2007 will need several legislative committee hearings and votes before it could become law. Even getting a first committee hearing could prove challenging.
A similar bill introduced last session by former Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix, now a U.S. congressman, was never assigned to a committee. Without that assignment, it got no hearings or votes.
Cardenas introduced a bill last year that would have lowered the penalties for marijuana possession. It was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee, but it was never scheduled for a hearing.
"The possibility of it passing is not good, but we need to start looking at new and exciting ways to fill our budget gap if the governor is taking a 'no new taxes' stance."
The 420 Social Club provides medical marijuana patients a place to medicate and hang
Tucson medical marijuana users now have a home away from home where they can medicate and hang out.
The 420 Social Club on Fourth Avenue has been open to all medical marijuana card holders since last month, and it's the first to start functioning in the Old Pueblo, while a few already have been set up in the Phoenix area.
Creator Ron Johnson, a Vietnam veteran with multiple health issues, wanted a safe haven for patients to meet each other that also provided educational resources and a setting that, of course, abides by the law.
Since state voters approved the Medical Marijuana Act in 2010, medical pot is legal for several conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder, but patients aren't fully protected. They can still find themselves in deep shit if found to be medicating on the streets, their car and college campuses, among other legal guidelines.
"I figured, friends already come here to smoke, might as well open it to other people," says Johnson, who also lives at the 420 club. The place is a duplex and his living area in the back is divided by a sliding door.
Johnson and his collaborators, which include Robert Clark, co-chairman of SAFER Arizona—that group is gearing up to get recreational marijuana legalized in the 2016 state elections—and local medical marijuana advocate Mark Brown, say they couldn't allow for more patients to find themselves in ill situations with the law, and so the social club was born. "Some of us got some serious issues," Clark says as he gathers pot to smoke from a colorful glass pipe. "If we are miles and miles away from home and we need to use our medicine, we have no place to go. Ron is giving us a place where we could come and medicate, and not have to risk using out on the street and get in trouble."
They point to cases involving college students who are medical marijuana patients. If university officials find pot in their possession or in their dorm, they are criminally charged and thrown out of school. The 420 Social Club is a few blocks away from the UA, and they encourage students with medical marijuana cards to get good use out of that.
But Johnson wants you to know that this place won't allow non-holders to come get high. He wants his joint (pun intended) to survive and thrive, and in order for that to happen he can't break the law. The contract lists all the stuff you can't do, including bringing weapons, tobacco products or show up there drunk.
Also, "You come in and sign in with your medical marijuana card," he says. "You can have guests but if they don't have a card, they cannot smoke."
As you walk in, a table stands near the entrance with sign-up sheets, MMJ educational brochures and business cards from the various Tucson dispensaries, as well as green and red wristbands: Green means you're good to smoke the green. The red means you're a guest, and not allowed to touch it as stipulated by the Medical Marijuana Act.
Across from that table is a glass case with beautifully hand-made silver jewelry. Johnson teaches people with disabilities in Nogales, Sonora how to make jewelry and sell it to make a living. Soon, the jewelry is moving out from that case, and Johnson hopes to fill it up with medical pot samples donated by the dispensaries. It'd be a way for dispensaries to promote themselves among patients, but it'd also make the 420 Social Club a "one stop shop."
It's a comfortable place—living room, a big TV, a stereo blasting 1960s and '70s rock, a fridge with all kinds of soda and other beverages. The door is always open. "My favorite part is all of the new, interesting people that I've met already," Johnson says.
Johnson hopes to remodel the backyard, an 1,800-square foot area, to host concerts, parties and educational forums, not only because he thinks it's needed in the community but also because he'd like to generate revenue that'll make the club 100 percent self-sustainable.
With the money from the memberships—$5 daily, $40 monthly or $420 yearly—Johnson says he's not looking for a dime to go to his pocket, it's about maintaining the 420 club and the services it offers.
An official opening event will be happening the first or second week of February, depending on when Johnson is done reorganizing the interior. In the meantime, enjoy free entrance until that grand opening takes place.
Federal Judge Weighs Marijuana's Classification
A federal judge in California is weighing the constitutionality of a 45-year-old act that classifies marijuana as a dangerous drug along with LSD, cocaine and heroin.
The case marks the first time in decades that a judge has agreed to consider marijuana's designation as a Schedule 1 drug under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, the newspaper said. Under the act, Schedule 1 drugs have no medicinal purpose, are unsafe even under medical supervision and contain a high potential for abuse.
Mueller's decision to hold the hearing came in response to a pretrial defense motion in a federal case against alleged marijuana growers. Prosecutors unsuccessfully opposed the fact-finding effort.
A ruling against federal cannabis law would apply only to the defendants in the case and almost certainly would be appealed, the newspaper said. If the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals determined the law was unconstitutional, all the Western states would be affected.
Attorneys for the defendants have argued that the federal marijuana law violates the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law. They contend the government enforces marijuana law unevenly ? allowing distribution of cannabis in states where it is legal and cracking down elsewhere.
The prosecution countered that Congress legally placed pot in Schedule 1.
Zenia K. Gilg, a lawyer for the growers, told the Times that scientific understanding and public acceptance of marijuana have grown substantially since courts last examined the federal classification. She cited the November election, when voters inAlaskaandOregondecided to joinColoradoand Washington in making cannabis legal for recreational use. Most states already provide some legal protection for its use as medicine.
Prosecutors said in a brief filed Jan. 7 that the evidence presented in the hearing at most "established that there is some dispute among doctors as to whether marijuana is medicine."
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the two most commonly known chemicals that are naturally found in marijuana. Both CBD and THC belong to a unique class of compounds known ascannabinoids.
Marijuana is typically know for its THC content, which provides the psychoactive active aspects or “high” from consuming marijuana. But CBD has begun to draw attention from the medical community because of the amazing health benefits it provides.
THC is best known for being psychoactive. CBD, however, is non-psychoactive. In other words, CBD can’t get you “high” like THC. This lack of a “high,” or lack of side effect as medical professionals like to put it, is one reason why CBD is so appealing as a medicine.
THC is known to help reduce pain, but CBD is the substance that has the most anti-inflammatory properties, making it an all-star at pain reduction and healing. THC and CBD are also know to suppress muscle spams and reduce nausea, making them perfect for chemo patients.
THC is known to cause anxiousness or paranoia in some people, but CBD actually reduces anxiety and can actually counteract the anxiety caused by consuming THC. Studies also suggest that CBD can reduce anxiety when administered on its own.
In addition to being non-psychoactive, CBD also has antipsychotic properties. Researchers believe that CBD might protect marijuana users from getting “too high” by reducing the psychosis-like effects caused by THC. CBD is also being tested as an antipsychotic medicine for patients with schizophrenia.
One of the more common uses of marijuana is as a sleep aid. THC is known to be responsible for most of marijuana’s sleep-inducing effects. On the other hand, studies have suggested that CBD acts to promote wakefulness, making CBD a better choice for daytime use.
MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION BILL IN ARIZONA INTRODUCED
Medical marijuana is already legal in Arizona, but two bills have been introduced for consideration in the 2015 legislative session that could bring further reform.
House Bill 2007 would legalize the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by adults, allow retail sales of marijuana at state-licensed retail stores, and allow personal cultivation of up to five untaxed plants.
“Everyone has a friend who knows how to get marijuana,” said state Rep. Cardenas, the bill’s sponsor. “The money we’ve spent on the war on drugs has kind of gone into a black hole.” Cardenas said his bill will not increase access to marijuana in Arizona because it already isn’t difficult to find.
Instead, Cardenas proposes taxing and regulating marijuana sales throughout Arizona, allowing the state to generate new revenue while taking marijuana sales away from the black market.
The bill is likely to be assigned to the House Judiciary Committee that is chaired by Rep. Eddie Farnsworth (R-Gilbert), an opponent to marijuana legalization. Rep. Farnsworth would be responsible for scheduling the House Bill 2007 for a hearing in order for the proposal to receive any consideration.
While Cardenas would prefer House Bill 2007 to pass, he already has a backup plan ready, in the form of House Bill 2006, which would decriminalize the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana. Instead of current penalties, which usually come as a felony charge and a year prison sentence, offenders would receive a civil penalty and fine of up to $100. There’d be no criminal record or conviction, similar to a traffic violation.
Marijuana legalization’s biggest adversary in Arizona is probably Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, who repeatedly challenges the state’s 2010 voter-approved medical marijuana act.
If marijuana legalization efforts in Arizona fail this year (legislative session begin on January 12), efforts are already underway to put a binding initiative on the November 2016 ballot, putting the decision of marijuana legalization out of the hands of state lawmakers and into the hands of Arizona voters.
QUIRKY RULING PUTS MMJ PATIENTS AT RISK OF DUI
A recent legal ruling threatens medical marijuana card holders with a DUI if any trace remains in their system, even days after the medical benefits have worn off.
First, to state the obvious, I’ve never met anyone who advocates Driving Under the Influence. People have a wide spectrum of beliefs on what the consequences should be for people who are caught driving while drunk, but no rational person thinks that it is a good idea.
There is not a unanimous position held when it comes to marijuana, but I would presume any rational person would agree that an individual with a medical marijuana license should not be accused of driving under the influence when they are in no way impaired days, or even days after they last used.
Since Arizona’s passage of medical marijuana in the 2010 midterm elections, there has been considerable litigation taking place. The most recent case has caused some within the legal community to scratch their heads, and has made those ideologically opposed to marijuana’s use as a medicine rejoice.
In Dobson v. McClennen, The Division 1 Court of Appeals ruled that people with valid medical marijuana cards cannot use their card as a Defense to Driving Under the Influence of Drugs.
In order to understand why the Dobson v. McClennen ruling has left many people scratching their heads, it is important to understand how DUI’s are charged in Arizona. Every person charged with a DUI in Arizona is always charged with a minimum of two separate charges. The first one is always, Driving while impaired to the slightest degree. When someone has drugs (prescription or street) in their system, they are also charged with DUI drugs. If someone has a prescription for the drugs, then they are entitled to use that as a defense. It places the burden on the person accused to provide evidence that they were using the drug with a valid prescription. This makes sense from a public policy perspective. Even if you are prescribed a drug, you very well might not be okay to drive while on it, so your defense is only for the DUI drug charge. So, for example, if a doctor gives you a Vicodin prescription, and you take them and get impaired by them, you may raise your defense to the DUI drug charge but not to the impairment charge.
As alawyerthat handles DUI cases, I’ve seen an alarming increase in cases where a sober medical marijuana card holder is being prosecuted. As part of our defense, Dobson v. McClennen precludes the accused of introducing their valid medical marijuana card as a legal defense. In fact, it makes it such that a jury would never know that the person had a medical marijuana card. The jury won’t be able to distinguish between a recreational smoker and someone who is using it in accordance with a doctor’s recommendation for a specific medical condition. Ironically, this ruling is based off exactly the opposite of what the voters wanted, and is poor interpretation of poorly worded language within the Medical Marijuana Statute itself.
Hopefully, the Arizona Supreme Court will once again step in and clear up this bizarre lower Court ruling. Since modifying the unclear language in the statute would require a super majority legislature, which is not going to happen with this legislature, medical marijuana users are at risk. Hopefully the citizens of this State will become more conscious and aware of this fact- especially if they were ever called on to sit in a jury trial where there was an allegation of marijuana consumption.
Marijuana is medicine, whether it be in the United States, India, or any other part of the world. That’s a fact that has been backed up by a mountain of scientific evidence and countless personal testimonies by suffering patients. Anyone who claims that marijuana is not medicine needs to have their head checked. More and more states in America are realizing that marijuana is an effect for of medicine, and many other nations are starting to realize it to. One of those nations is India, where leading oncologists are lobbying the government to allow medical marijuana. Per the Times of India:
Marijuana or ganja may be frowned upon as a banned recreational drug, but could offer an effective cure for cancer, say top oncologists of Bengaluru. They have now decided to lobby with the Centre to lift the ban on cannabis to allow them to explore the medicinal uses of the plant.
They point out that the US allows its use for medicinal purposes, following several validations of the plant’s derivatives giving a healing touch to cancer patients.
Their interest in cannabis research was stirred up during recent debates on tobacco farming. “We are encouraging cultivation of tobacco that causes various types of cancer. At the other end, we are ignoring the medicinal properties of a plant that can help cancer patients. We are not even able to take up research as procurement of the plant is illegal in India, whereas oncologists in 21 states of the US are prescribing derivatives of cannabis for cancer treatment,” Dr Vishal Rao, surgical oncologist, HCG, told TOI.
I always feel that banning medical marijuana research is proof in itself that marijuana is medicine. If opponents truly felt that the opposite was true, they would allow research to be conducted in order to debunk claims by supporters. However, they know that research will unlock the truth, and that the only debunking that will occur is the debunking of reefer madness. Fortunately, there is more than enough research already out there which creates enough momentum that medical marijuana research is inevitable whether opponents like it or not.
FORMER SENATOR MIKE GRAVEL TO RUN MARIJUANA COMPANY
Former U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) is the new CEO of a marijuana company that produces cannabis-infused products for both recreational and medical use, the company announced Tuesday.
The Alaskan Democrat and 2008 presidential contender will lead KUSH, a subsidiary owned by Cannabis Sativa, Inc. Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson serves as CEO of Cannabis Sativa, and Gravel is on that company's board of directors.
KUSH will develop and market new marijuana-infused products under Gravel's leadership, the company said in a press release.
Gravel served two terms in the Senate from 1969 to 1981, and was a candidate in the 2008 presidential race. He also has been an outspoken supporter ofmarijuana legalization and a staunch critic of the decades-long war on drugs.
"I feel very deeply about the failure that is marijuana prohibition," Gravel told The Huffington Post as one of the reasons why he took his new job. "Nixon is the one that put marijuana into a Schedule I. People forget that story, I lived through that. I thought it was horrible."
President Richard Nixon, who is credited as the first president to declare a"war on drugs,"signed the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, classifying marijuana as a Schedule I substance. Though 23 states have declared medical cannabis is legal and four have approved recreational marijuana for adults, the regulation and sale of the drug remains illegal under the CSA. The states that have legalized marijuana or softened penalties for possession have only been able to do so because offederal guidanceurging federal prosecutors to refrain from targeting state-legal marijuana operations.
"Where we have cannabis legal today is where the people have spoken," Gravel added. "The people know better than their leaders, that's what's going on here."
Gravel was quick to note that his new position at KUSH does not mean he's giving up politics.
"It hasn't changed my whole political posturing," Gravel said. "I've been very active in the last month or so over the torture debate. And I'll continue to be active with respect to the difficulties that we're having in Iran."
Steve Kubby, chairman of the board at Cannabis Sativa, called Gravel a "true American hero" who "brings invaluable perspective" to the company.
“Senator Gravel stood up to Nixon, stood up to the Pentagon, and now he is standing up to those in power who would keep the healthful benefits of cannabis from those who need them," Kubby said in a statement.
KUSH Vice President and COO Michael Pickens told HuffPost that Gravel has been a "very active and outspoken" member of the Cannabis Sativa board of directors.
"I specifically requested to work with him for his track record of taking action and holding people accountable in government, and now he gets to use those skills to advance another worthy project," Pickens said.
HEMP BILL IN VIRGINIA!!!
January 4, 2015
With the General Assembly headed back to Richmond in the coming week’s one organization is hoping to gain support to pass a bill that could legalize the industrialization of hemp.
The Virginia Industrial Hemp Coalition (VIHC) is determined to legalize hemp research and growth in the Commonwealth.
Industrialized hemp could soon take root in Virginia, that's if House Bill 1277 passes this year.
The U.S. Farm Bill currently allows states to legalize hemp for research and so far 17 states have jumped on the bandwagon.
Jason Amatucci, founder of the VIHC says Virginia should be next.
“We just want to catch up in Virginia and be a part of this new economy,” says Amatucci.
On Saturday night people in support of HB 1277, which would legalize hemp in the Commonwealth, gathered at the Boneyard restaurant in Belmont to watch the movie “Hemptsters” and discuss more about the plant.
“It is not marijuana,” says Amatucci. “It is a completely different plant and has completely different attributes and grows really fast and tall.”
“This is a natural resource.”
The plant can be used to make textiles and food along with thousands of other products.
“We've got all these new technologies,” says Amatucci. “We're talking about batteries, bio diesel; we're talking about “hempcrete,” a non-toxic alternative to concrete.”
Amatucci says they just need support to help transform hemp into a legal economic source in Virginia.
“Call, write, email, your delegate, your state senator and say 'I'm a constituent and I support bill 1277.'” Says Amatucci. “We'll be watching how you vote.”
“We really think this is part for jobs, economy and the environment and it's a win for Virginia.”
The General Assembly goes back into session on January 15.
If you would like to learn more about industrial hemp and HB 1277 make sure you check out the links under the photo in this story.
The year 2014 is almost over, and I have been seeing many lists of ‘top moments’ in the marijuana world from the past year. While I was at work this week I reviewed other people’s lists and and pondered what I thought the top moments were in 2014. Below is a list of what I came up with. The list is not in any particular order. If there is a moment you thought I missed, or something you disagree with, feel free to post your comments in the section below the article:
Legalization Continues To Spread
2014 saw Oregon, Alaska, and Washington D.C. legalize marijuana and join Colorado and Washington. That’s not bad for a mid-election year where conservative initiatives and candidates made a strong showing throughout the United States. Now that four states and Washington D.C. have voted to legalize marijuana, the momentum is greater than ever to see marijuana prohibition ended nationwide.
Florida Voters Strongly Support Medical Marijuana
Yes, Florida did not legalize medical marijuana in 2014. However, the initiative received roughly 58% of the vote, which sends a clear message that medical marijuana legalization is virtually inevitable in Florida. The strong support for medical marijuana in Florida is undeniable, and the Florida Legislature will have to either pass a true medical marijuana bill next year on its own, or see supporters organize for a 2016 effort without the Florida Legislature’s input and have to live with the result.
The federal spending bill that recently passed and was signed by President Obama was very significant to the marijuana reform world. On one hand, it de-funded medical marijuana raids by the feds. On the other hand, it attacked the will of the D.C. voters by including potentially harmful language aimed at derailing D.C. marijuana legalization implementation. The spending bill also de-funded anti-hemp enforcement. The spending bill was good in some ways and bad in others, but it’s significance is undeniable either way you look at it.
Feds Allow Native Americans To Legalize Marijuana Cultivation And Sales
The United States government officially stated that if Native American tribes want to legalize marijuana cultivation and sales on tribal land, they will not stand in the way. While no Native American tribe has taken advantage of the policy change at this point, it’s still tremendously significant because parts of America that thought marijuana legalization was out of reach are now in play.
Legal Recreational Marijuana Sales Begin
Colorado started making legal recreational marijuana sales in January of 2014, and Washington started in July. There is still a lot of implementation to be done, and kinks to be worked out, but the fact that a person can walk into a store in two states and buy marijuana for recreational purposes is amazing. Tax revenues are being generated, jobs are being created, and local economies are being boosted, all of which are great things.
Major Media Outlets Get On The Right Side Of History
Mainstream media has a long track record of supporting reefer madness and spreading anti-marijuana propaganda. However, 2014 saw a significant change with many mainstream media outlets coming out in support of legalization. The largest of those was the New York Times.
Obama Admits That Marijuana Is Not Worse Than Alcohol
President Obama throws around a lot of statements when it comes to marijuana policy. But one of the most significant came at the beginning of 2014 when he admitted in an interview with The New Yorker that marijuana is not worse than alcohol. It of course would be nice to see him bring public policy in line with that statement, but that has yet to happen. His words are still significant however, because many of his predecessors would never admit to such a fact.
Philadelphia And New York City Decriminalize Marijuana
Philadelphia and New York decriminalized marijuana this year, which is significant not only because they are huge cities, but also because they have had so many issues with racially disproportionate marijuana enforcement. It doesn’t fix the problem all the way, but it’s a good first step. No one should be locked up for simple marijuana possession – it’s an obvious waste of resources.
Grandmas Getting High On Video
I will end this list with the now famous three grandmas that got high for the first time, on video, and released the video to the world. It went viral almost instantly, and while it was meant for entertainment, it proved to initiative some very serious conversations, especially among older people. I know after my grandma watched the video, she had a lot of legit questions for me that I was very happy to answer and discuss. Below is the video for those that haven’t seen it yet, or, for those of us that can’t get enough of it: watch it here! http://youtu.be/IRBAZJ4lF0U
The cannabis plant contains dozens of cannabinoids. The most well known cannabinoid for a long time has been tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but as more scientific research is conducted involving cannabis and its ability to be used as a medicine, more and more people are learning about other cannabinoids, expecially cannabidiol (CBD). The last couple of years interest in CBD has grown exponentially, as it’s been featured on numerous television episodes showing how well it works in treating people who suffer from severe epilepsy. One of the most common questions I get asked these days is ‘what is the difference between THC and CBD?’
The most important thing that I try to get people to grasp is that THC will get you high (assuming you consume enough of it) and CBD will not. THC has psychoactive properties that affect your brain and give you a ‘buzz’ while CBD does not. I have talked to many, many people that avoided medical cannabis at all costs simply and only because they didn’t want to be high all the time. Once they understand that there are dozens of cannabinoids, and that they all don’t get you stoned (specifically CBD), they are much more open to the idea of trying medical cannabis.
A brief description of THC is below, viaWikipedia:
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), or more precisely its main isomer (−)-trans-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol ( (6aR,10aR)-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), is the principal psychoactive constituent (or cannabinoid) of the cannabis plant. First isolated in 1964 by Israeli scientists Raphael Mechoulam and Yechiel Gaoni at the Weizmann Institute of Science it is a water-clear glassy solid when cold, which becomes viscous and sticky if warmed.
For a more thorough description, watch the video below, courtesy of SC Labs:
Cannabidiol — CBD— is a cannabis compound that has significant medical benefits, but does not make people feel “stoned” and can actually counteract the psychoactivity of THC. The fact that CBD-rich cannabis doesn’t get one high makes it an appealing treatment option for patients seeking anti-inflammatory, anti-pain, anti-anxiety, anti-psychotic, and/or anti-spasm effects without troubling lethargy or dysphoria.
To sum up, if you want to get high, consume strains or products made from strains that are high in THC. If you don’t want to get high, but want to still get the medical benefits of cannabis, consume strains or products made from strains that are high in CBD. Be aware that all cannabinoids (THC, CBD, and beyond) have a medical benefit, and it’s important to research which strains contain which levels of cannabinoids, and what cannabinoids are best suited for the particular conditions you are trying to treat. I will be writing more articles moving forward on what strains work best for what conditions.
It’s worth noting that just because someone claims that ‘X’ strain is known to have a certain percentage of THC and CBD, doesn’t mean that every plant ever produced of that strain will always have those percentages and ratios of THC and CBD. Different grow methods and factors can change those levels, so always make sure what you are buying has been tested by a reputable testing facility if cannabinoid levels are important to you.
Schools offering courses on sale of marijuana
New Mass. schools are offering programs on what is likely to be a fast-growing business
NATICK — Jeanne Ficcardi-Sauro was watching television this summer when she saw a story about a trade school for a fast-growing field that promised plenty of job opportunities. She couldn’t wait to enroll.
Ficcardi-Sauro, of Franklin, became one of the first students at the new Northeastern Institute of Cannabis, or NIC. It’s a two-classroom school in an office park that prepares people for positions ranging from dispensary workers to medical marijuana educators. In advance of the expected opening of the first Massachusetts dispensaries next year, the for-profit NIC has graduated about 12 students and has 64 more enrolled.
Keith Saunders, a sociology professor who oversees the curriculum at NIC, said help-wanted ads for medical marijuana workers already are appearing on the jobs website Monster.com. He figures each of the state’s 15 provisionally approved dispensaries will immediately need 35 to 40 workers, and then continue to hire.
“When [dispensaries] roll out, it will happen quickly,” he said.
The institute is not the only school of its kind in Massachusetts. The New England Grass Roots Institute in Quincy caters to medical marijuana patients, and the Cannabis Career Institute, a national company, periodically offers marijuana business training sessions in Boston.
Although it is difficult to project how many jobs medical marijuana might create statewide, it could be significant, said Amanda Reiman, manager of marijuana law and policy at the Drug Policy Alliance, a drug law reform group with headquarters in New York City.
The jobs do not just entail growing and selling marijuana, she said. Think commercial kitchens cooking marijuana-laced foods, manufacturers providing packaging, and marketing firms promoting brands.
“There’s all of these ancillary businesses that are involved in the industry,” Reiman said.
The curriculum at Northeastern Institute of Cannabis is based on discussions with dispensary operators in other states — including California, Colorado, Maine, and Rhode Island — producers of cannabis medicine, state legislators, and industry specialists, according to school officials. They have applied for state certification as an occupational trade school.
To receive a certificate, students must complete 12 four-hour courses, including medical marijuana 101, which covers the basics of marijuana as a medicine, cannabis law New England, an overview of state marijuana laws, and cannabis cultivation, about the art and science of growing marijuana. (It’s all strictly academic: The school cannot have marijuana on site).
Students also must pass a two-hour exam by scoring at least 70 percent on each of 12 sections and 75 percent overall.
The cost of the program, which typically takes four to six weeks to complete, will increase to $2,000 from $1,500 on Jan. 1.
Students range in age from their 20s to 60s and come from a variety of backgrounds. They include chefs, mechanics, and business owners.
Ficcardi-Sauro, a 56-year-old mother of two grown children, said she has had difficulty finding full-time employment, so she is giving the medical marijuana industry a try. She also is a cancer patient and smokes marijuana to manage pain and fall asleep. Her goal: to educate and counsel other patients.
“It can just help so many people in so many ways,” she said.
Another student, Meaghan Chalmers, is on track to earn an associate’s degree in business administration from North Shore Community College next spring and plans to follow that with bachelor and master’s degrees. With a certificate from NIC, Chalmers, 26, hopes to get a management job at a dispensary.
Chalmers recalled her parents’ reaction when she told them she was enrolling at NIC. “So it’s like weed school?” her father said.
But, she added, “They were happy that I started doing something that made me happy.”
The school has amenities found at other trade schools and community colleges, including a student lounge, movie nights, and a store that sells T-shirts and sweatshirts emblazoned with the NIC logo. Along with textbooks, students can buy medical marijuana cookbooks, vaporizers, and glass pipes.
Mickey Martin, a longtime advocate for reform of marijuana laws, founded the school earlier this year. He said the school plans to host its first job fair in March.
Launching the school posed several challenges, said Martin, who is from Oakland, Calif. It took months to find a location because landlords were reluctant to rent to a school specializing in marijuana, which is still illegal under federal law. The school’s insurance rates are double that of an average trade school, and the school’s bank account was canceled.
“There’s nothing illegal about what we’re doing,” Martin said. “But because we have cannabis in our name I’m forced to jump through the same hurdles as dispensary groups. It’s kind of insanity.”
Still, Martin said, he has recruited high-quality faculty and administrators. Saunders, who developed the school’s curriculum, has taught drug policy courses at Northeastern University and the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Bill Downing, a longtime business owner and activist for marijuana law reform, teaches classes in business management and the history of marijuana.
Uma Dhanabalan, who teaches the medical marijuana 101 course, has a medical degree, is a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians, and holds a master’s in public health from Harvard University.
Dhanabalan said it was not until later in her career that she learned marijuana could help relieve chronic pain, nausea, and migraines, as well as treat diseases such as glaucoma. When she was asked to teach at the school, she said, it was easy to say yes.
“This is history in the making,” she said.
Daniel Epstein, a NIC student, said he is impressed with the quality of instructors and hopes to work in management at a dispensary.
Epstein, 33, of Hyde Park, is also an advocate for the drug. As a teenager, he used marijuana after undergoing two brain surgeries to help with his recoveries.
Epstein, who works part-time at the school enrolling students, said he never thought medical marijuana would get so far.
“It’s hard to believe,” he said. “I come in every day, waiting for the dream to fade.”
DOJ NATIVE AMERICAN TRIBES CAN GROW AND SELL MARIJUANA
New federal policy will allow Native American tribes interested in cultivating and selling marijuana to do so, as long as they maintain “robust and effective regulatory systems,” said the U.S.attorneyfor Colorado, John Walsh.
Tribes will need to avoid certain enforcement triggers that also apply to state-regulated marijuana markets, including a prohibition on sales to minors and the diversion of marijuana trafficking to states where marijuana remains illegal under locallaw.
It is currently unclear how many tribes will take advantage of the new policy directive. Certain tribes are well-known for using their special legal status to host casinos and/or sell untaxed tobacco.
According to the Bureau of Indian Affairs there are 326 federally recognized Native American reservations. Many reservations are in states that don’t allow medical or recreational marijuana use, such as Oklahoma and the Dakotas. Many others are located near major East Coast cities.
“The tribes have the sovereign right to set the code on their reservations,” stated Timothy Purdon, U.S. attorney for North Dakota and chairman of the Attorney General’s Subcommittee on Native American Issues.
The Department of Justice said U.S.attorneyscan review tribes’ marijuana policies on a case-by-case basis and that prosecutors retain the ability to enforce federal law.
Mason Tvert, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, said Native American tribal leaders “will have a tremendous opportunity to improve public health and safety, as well as benefit economically” by legalizing marijuana use. Tvert also stated that “Regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol would ensure the product is controlled, and it would bring significant revenue and newjobsto these communities…studies have consistently found above-average rates of alcohol abuse and related problems among Native American communities, so it would be incredibly beneficial to provide adults with a safer recreational alternative.”
THE 9 NEXT STATES TO LEGALIZE CANNABIS
The marijuana movement is quickly expanding throughout the United States. Many states are discussing and/or implementing plans to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Here are the nine states most likely to legalize marijuana next:
Arizona:Efforts by local groups and major non-profits are expected to help get a recreational marijuana legalizationlaw, similar to Colorado’s recreational marijuanalaws, onto the November 2016 ballot.
New Mexico:Support for marijuana decriminalization has been strong and the issue of a regulated and taxed marijuana market is expected to go before state lawmakers in 2015.
California:Already has a medical marijuana program and will likely legalize marijuana for recreational purposes in 2016 with the help of marijuana advocating non-profits.
New York:The governor signed the Compassionate Care Act earlier this year and New York City has officially decriminalized marijuana (less than 25 grams). Recreational marijuana could be coming soon.
Florida:Amendment 2 missed by two percent in the 2014 general election, but the marijuana movement is expected to come back strong.
Maine:Measures to decriminalize marijuana were successful in recent years and supporters think the state could be the next to legalize for recreational use.
Massachusetts:Supporters are drafting an initiative just in case lawmakers do not make an effort to legalize marijuana in 2016.
Michigan:With decriminalization efforts successful, some believe the state could be the first Midwestern state to establish a recreational marijuana market.
Minnesota:The state has one of the most restrictive medical marijuana programs in the nation, but many supporters predict changes will be introduced soon.
CONGRESS PROTECTS POT
State operated medical marijuana programs and legalhempcultivation may have just got historic support from Congress. The proposed federal spending bill on Tuesday included amendments that prohibit the Department of Justice from using funds to go after state medical marijuana operations. In addition it blocks the Drug Enforcement Administration from using its funds to interfere with state-legal industrial hemp research. If it passes, the bill will protect programs in the states that have legalized marijuana andCBDoils for medical purposes as well as those operations that research industrial hemp.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), who a introduced the amendment with co-sponsor Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.), told Huffington Post:
“The enactment of this legislation will mark the first time in decades that the federal government has curtailed its oppressive prohibition of marijuana and has instead taken an approach to respect the many states that have permitted the use of medical marijuana to some degree. This is a victory for so many, including scores of our wounded veterans, who have found marijuana to be an important medicine for some of the ailments they suffer, such as PTSD, epilepsy and MS.”
Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance stated: “For the first time, Congress is letting states set their own medical marijuana and hemp policies, a huge step forward for sensible drug policy. States will continue to reform their marijuanalawsand Congress will be forced to accommodate them. It’s not a question of if, but when, federal marijuana prohibition will be repealed.”
Veterans May Gain Easier Access To Medical Marijuana
A bill introduced in Congress would allow Department of Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend medical marijuana for their patients.
TheVeterans Equal Access Act. Introduced Thursday by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) with 10 bipartisan cosponsors, would lift a ban on VA doctors giving opinions or recommendations about medical marijuana to veterans who live in states where medical marijuana is permitted.
“Post traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury are just as damaging and harmful as any injuries that are visible from the outside,” Blumenauer said. “Sometimes even more so because of the devastating effect they can have on a veteran’s family. We should be allowing these wounded warriors access to the medicine that will help them survive and thrive, including medical marijuana, not treating them like criminals and forcing them into the shadows. It’s shameful.”
Nearly30 percent of veteranswho served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars suffer from PTSD and depression, according to a 2012 report from the Department of Veterans Affairs.Some scientists have suggestedthat marijuana may help PTSD symptoms, which can include anxiety, flashbacks and depression. In arecent study, patients who smoked cannabis saw an average 75 percent reduction in PTSD symptoms.
"A clinical trial needs to be done to see what proportion and what kind of PTSD patients benefit, with either cannabis or the main active ingredients of cannabis," said Dr. George Greer, who was involved in the study.
This year, federal health officials signed off on a study that would have examined the effects of five potencies of smoked or vaporized cannabis on 50 veterans suffering from PTSD. The study's future still remains unclear because the federal government's sole provider of medical-grade cannabisdidn't have the proper strainsfor the research to begin. Then the study's lead scientist wasfiredfrom the University of Arizona, where the research would have taken place.
Currently, 23 states allow the medical use of marijuana. Ten of those states,as well as Guamwhich legalized medical marijuana this month, allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana for PTSD-related symptoms. The plant remains illegal under federal law for all uses.
Marijuana breath test under development at WSU
Washington State University chemistry Professor Herbert Hill said existing technologies can be re-purposed to test breath for THC, pot’s psychoactive component, which would be useful to patrol officers who suspect someone is driving high.
A team at Washington State University is working to develop a breath test that could quickly determine whether a driver is under the influence of marijuana.
Law-enforcement officers already use preliminary breath tests in the field to estimate drivers’ blood alcohol content. But no similar portable tool exists to test for marijuana impairment using a breath sample.
Stoned drivers have become an increasing concern since Washington voters legalized recreational use of marijuana in 2012. A quarter of blood samples taken from drivers in 2013, the first full year the initiative was in effect, came back positive for pot.
WSU chemistry Professor Herbert Hill said that existing technologies — including those already used by airport security and customs agents to detect drugs and explosives — can be re-purposed to test breath for THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana.
Hill said he and WSU doctoral student Jessica Tufariello are working on a handheld device that uses a technique called ion mobility spectrometry to detect THC in someone’s breath.
Right now, officers and prosecutors rely on blood tests to determine how much active THC is present in a driver’s blood. Those test results aren’t immediately available to patrol officers who suspect someone is driving high.
Initiative 502 set 5 nanograms of active THC per milliliter of blood as the legal limit at which a driver is automatically determined to be impaired.
Initially, the marijuana breath test under development at WSU probably won’t be able to pinpoint the level of THC in the body; it will only tell officers that some active THC is present, Hill said.
Still, Hill said such a tool could prove helpful to officers as they decide whether to arrest a suspected impaired driver.
“We believe at least initially that it would lower the false positives that an officer would have,” Hill said. “They would have a higher level of confidence in making an arrest.”
Law-enforcement agencies still would have to obtain follow-up-test results to use as evidence in court, just as they do after a positive preliminary breath test for alcohol impairment.
Hill said he and his research team plan to finish laboratory tests with a prototype marijuana breath test this year, then start testing human breath between January and June 2015.
After that, the researchers plan to test a version of the device out in the field, he said.
Some lawmakers at a Nov. 21 meeting of the Senate Law & Justice Committee appeared impressed by the research.
“WSU is going to be at the forefront, it seems to me, of supplying this kind of science and the technology that’s based on it to police all over the country,” said Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle.
Bob Calkins, a spokesman for the Washington State Patrol, said the agency would “welcome anything that will help us get impaired drivers off the road.”
He said the State Patrol wouldn’t want to use any new technology until it is fully developed, though.
“It needs to be rock solid before we’ll adopt it,” Calkins said.
Some state officials have expressed concern about increasing numbers of drivers testing positive for marijuana impairment since the drug was legalized in Washington.
In 2012, 18.6 percent of blood samples taken from suspected impaired drivers in Washington tested positive for active THC, according to the Washington State Toxicology Laboratory.
That number rose to 25 percent of tested blood samples statewide in 2013, the first year I-502 was in effect.
Another study is adding evidence to the case for the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease with the compounds in cannabis.
Researchpublished in theJournal of Alzheimer’s Diseasethis September “strongly suggest that THC [the main active ingredient in marijuana] could be a potential therapeutic treatment option for Alzheimer’s disease through multiple functions and pathways.”
More than five million Americans have Alzheimer’s today. One in three seniors will die with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, and Alzheimer’s is thesixth leading cause of deathin the nation, costing America about $203 billion in 2013.
Chuanhai Cao and other researchers at theUniversity of South Floridaand Thomas Jefferson University wanted to investigate the “potential therapeutic qualities of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with respect to slowing or halting the hallmark characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease.”
So they treated Alzheimer’s research cells (N2a-variant amyloid-β protein precursor (AβPP) cells) with THC and examined them for amyloid-β at the 6, 24, and 48-hour time markers. Amyloid-β is a type of protein that is linked to Alzheimer’s symptoms. The researchers found THC “to be effective at lowering Aβ levels … in a dose-dependent manner.”
The main active ingredient in pot “directly interacts” with amyloid-β, “thereby inhibiting aggression”. THC was also effective at lowering other key Alzheimer’s Disease markers. Furthermore “no toxicity” was observed from the THC. The researchers also found THC “enhances” the function of the cell’s energy factories — the mitochondria.
“THC is known to be a potent antioxidant with neuroprotective properties, but this is the first report that the compound directly affects Alzheimer’s pathology by decreasing amyloid beta levels, inhibiting its aggregation, and enhancing mitochondrial function,” stated study lead author Chuanhai Cao, PhD and a neuroscientist at the Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute and the USF College of Pharmacy.
“Decreased levels of amyloid beta means less aggregation, which may protect against the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Since THC is a natural and relatively safe amyloid inhibitor, THC or its analogs may help us develop an effective treatment in the future.”
Otherresearchin the same journal that month indicates THC boosts the body’s natural anti-Alzheimer’s fighting mechanism — the endocannabinoid system.
Alzheimer’s Disease is thought to result from a lifetime of brain inflammation. Cannabis is one of the most safe anti-inflammatories in medicine. Some neuroscientistsbelievea bout of pot smoking in early adulthood may prevent Alzheimer’s onset later in life. Cannabis slows brain aging, Timereportedin 2012.
Smoking, vaping, or eating the pot molecules THC and CBD directly effects nerve cell function, reducing chronic brain inflammation, oxidative stress, and cellular dysfunction — all the while promoting stability of the human body’s internal environment (homeostasis) and healthy brain cells (neurotrophic support), studiesshow.
“What we found was that not only did the single puff a day reverse the memory impairment but also restarted neurogenesis,” Ohio State University, Gary WenktoldtheSeattle Post Intelligencerthis year.
Otherstudieshave shown THC inhibits other key pathological markers of Alzheimer’s Disease.
The U.S. government haspatentedmarijuana molecule CBD as a neuroprotectant, evan as it maintains that cannabis is a schedule 1 drug with no medical use and high potential for abuse. The federal drug war is blocking deeper research into cannabis’ impacts on brain disease, Wenk states.
BIG MOVE FOR NYC
On the heels of speculation swirling Sunday that New York would end the prosecution and arrest of individuals for low-level marijuana possession, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton announced that possession of 25g or less of cannabis would no longer be an arrestable offense. The change to the city’s policy will be issued Tuesday and will come into effect on November 19th — so be cool for a few days people!
As the New York Times reported, the NYPD has been arresting tens of thousands of people each year for low-level marijuana possession. Now, instead of getting thrown in the slammer, you will reportedly be issued a summons and get a ticket for $100. (Though beware, individuals caught “smoking or burning” pot are still subject to immediate arrest under the new policy.)
City officials said they are interested in shifting the time and energy spent currently on low-level marijuana offenses to more serious crimes. This surely has to be the biggest accomplishment of the de Blasio administration to date and falls in line with the efforts of Brooklyn DA Kenneth Thompson who declared in July that he had no intention of prosecuting such marijuana “crimes.”
“This should free up police manpower to pursue cases of greater magnitude while relieving some of the congestion in the courts,” Richmond County District Attorney Daniel Donovan explained.
A clearer picture of the specifics will emerge this week as Mayor de Blasio takes his first meeting with all 5 districtattorneyssince taking office.
“Let’s be real about this,” Police Commissioner Bratton began before he laid out the change in policy for the media — and surprisingly, for once, he was legitimately, somewhat keeping it real in respect to marijuana.
This historic shift represents a step closer to wider legalization in the state of New York. Stay tuned for more information as it develops.
HIGH TIMES Legislative Roundup: Nov. 11
The United States experienced a huge victory in the realm of marijuana reform during last week’s general election: Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia voted tolegalize marijuana for recreational use. In addition, several cities across America decriminalized marijuana, while a federal law took effect that could provide freedom for the downtrodden victims of the drug war.
Federal: Sentencing Reform Takes Effect
Tens of thousands of prisoners are now eligible for early release, as a federal sentencing reform measure adopted in April by the US Sentencing Commission became effective on November 1. The new law diminishes the sentences for the majority of drug-related offenses. Federal prisoners can now begin petitioning the courts to have their sentences reduced. However, none of these reductions will fall below the mandatory minimums, which have not changed. Reports indicate that 46,000 prisoners are eligible for reductions in their sentences.
Alaska: Legalized Recreational Marijuana
Despite some skepticism, Alaska voters came through last Tuesday to approve Measure 2, making recreational marijuana legal for residents and tourists 21 and over. However, the election results are not expected to be certified until late November, which will put the new law surrounding the possession of up to an ounce, cultivation of six plants and transfer of up to an ounce into effect around February. Regulations for the retail market will be determined in about a year, with licenses distributed around May 2016. With that in mind,Alaska’s cannabis industrywill probably launch in the summer of 2016.
Oregon: Legalized Recreational Marijuana
Oregon voters showed up at the polls last week and did exactly what the predictions indicated would happen – they legalized weed. Measure 91, which allows adults 21 and over to possess up an ounce of weed in public, up to eight ounces at home, as well as the home cultivation of four plants, was approved during the general election. However, the retail cannabis market is not expected to get underway until 2016. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission has until January 4, 2016 to begin the application process. There is speculation retail sales could begin the following summer.
Washington DC: Legalized Recreational Marijuana
Voters in Washington D.C. approved Initiative 71 last Tuesday with overwhelming support, legalizing the possession up to two ounces of marijuana, the cultivation of up to six plants, and the transfer of up to an ounce of weed without fear of prosecution. The new law will not come attached with a retail market, but lawmakers have been hinting around that one was right around the corner. Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser said in a press conference last week that she was making it a priority to develop a system to tax and regulate marijuana within the month. Yet, some believe she is jumping the gun because it still remains up in the air whether Congress will even allow Initiative 71 to become law. It must go through a 30 day evaluation. If all goes well, the new law will go into effect early next year.
However, there is speculation that the passing of a new bill aimed at establishing retail pot sales in the District would delay Initiative 71 until the middle of 2015, with retail sales beginning around the end of 2016 or the beginning of 2017.
Maine: Decriminalization in South Portland, Defeat in Lewiston
Two Maine cities voted last week to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. However, while South Portland was successful, the proposed ordinance failed in Lewiston.
Michigan: Several Cities Decriminalize Marijuana
Eleven Michigan cities had initiatives to decriminalize marijuana on the ballot during last week’s general election: Saginaw, Mount Pleasant, Clare, Harrison, Frankfurt, Onaway, Port Huron, Lapeer, Berkley, Huntington Woods, and Pleasant Ridge, according to NPR affiliate WEMU. Unfortunately, only six were ambitious enough to actually tender their support: Voters approved measure in Huntington Woods, Berkley, Pleasant Ridge, Saginaw, Mount Pleasant, and Port Huron to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.
California: The Passing of the Defelonization Bill
Voters approved Proposition 47 last week, which eliminates the possibility of receiving a felony conviction for minor drug possession charges. This measure will allow offenses involving most drugs to be tried as misdemeanors and will allow prisoners currently serving time for these crimes to be resentenced.
“This is a win for everyone in California,” said Los Angeles Deputy Police Chief Stephen Downing. “We’ll save millions keeping nonviolent drug offenders out of state prison, and those resources will be redirected toward public education, victim services, and mental health treatment programs that actually address the problems of addiction.”
New Mexico: Decriminalization in Two Counties
Voters in Santa Fe and Bernalillo County stood in support of measures last week to decriminalize marijuana. In both counties, it now considered a civil infraction to possess up to an ounce of weed.
“New Mexicans made history tonight by having the chance to cast a vote in favor of marijuana policy reform. We have made great strides over the last six months to ensure that New Mexicans understand the importance of decriminalizing marijuana statewide and we are very confident that this election has gotten us one step closer to that goal,” said Emily Kaltenbach with the Drug Policy Alliance in New Mexico. “We look forward to working with our local and statewide elected officials in bringing practical marijuana reform to New Mexico and are optimistic that the upcoming legislative session will be another step in the right direction.”
Ohio: Erase Pot Convictions
The city of Cincinnati has passed a law that allows people caught with less than 100 grams of marijuana to receive a $150 fine rather than spend 30 days in jail -- regardless of how many convictions of person receives. In addition, people that have been convicted in the past for pot possession can have their records expunged.
**About the map: Dark Green denotes where medical marijuana is legal. Light green highlights states that have legislature pending.**
State, Local Marijuana Legalization Measures Win Big On Election Day
by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy DirectorNovember 5, 2014
OregonandAlaskalegalized and regulated the commercial production and sale of marijuana for adults, while voters residing in the nation’s capitol and in numerous other cities nationwide similarly decided this Election Day to eliminate marijuana possession penalties.
Voters in two states decided in favor of a pair of statewide measures to regulate the commercial production, retail sale, and personal use of marijuana by adults. Alaska and Oregon are the third and fourth states to enact regulations on the licensed production and sale of cannabis, joining Colorado and Washington. All four states have enacted their marijuana legalization laws via voter initiative.
Commenting on the new laws’ passage, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “The majority of voters in these states, like a majority of voters nationwide, agree that a pragmatic regulatory framework that allows for the legal, licensed commercial production and retail sale of cannabis to adults best reduces the risks associated with the plant’s use or potential abuse. Elected officials in Alaska, Oregon, and elsewhere should welcome the opportunity to bring these common sense and long overdue regulatory controls to the commercial cannabis market.”
Under the new Oregon proposal (Measure 91), adults who engage in the non-commercial cultivation of limited amounts of cannabis for personal use (up to four marijuana plants and eight ounces of usable marijuana at a given time) will not be subject to taxation or commercial regulations. Imposition of the new law will not “amend or affect in any way the function, duties, and powers of the Oregon Health Authority under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act.” The legalization measuretakes effecton July 1, 2015.
Under the Alaska measure (Ballot Measure 2), the adult possession of up to one ounce of cannabis as well as the cultivation of up to six-plants for personal consumption will be legal and untaxed. Commercial production and retail sales of cannabis will be subject to licensing and taxation. Since 1975, Alaskans haveenjoyed personal privacy protectionsallowing for the possession and cultivation of small quantities of cannabis. However, state law has never before permitted a legal market for marijuana production and sales. The initiative becomes law90 days after the election is certified, which is expected to be in late November.
InCalifornia,nearly 60 percentof voters backed Proposition 47, whichdefelonizessimple drug possession crimes, such as the possession of hashish. Under the measure, Californians with felony records for certain marijuana possession offenses will also be eligible to have their records expunged. Those serving time for felony drug offenses will also be able to petition for resentencing.
In the US territoryGuam,56 percentof voters decided in favor ofProposal 14A, the Compassionate Cannabis Use Act. The new law directs “the Department of Public Health and Social Services to regulate the use of marijuana as treatment for medical conditions.” The Department has up to nine months to provide rules for the territory’s medical marijuana program.
By contrast, a proposedFloridaamendment (Amendment 2)fell shyof the 60 percent support threshold necessary in that state to amend the state’s constitution. Fifty-eight percent of Florida voters endorsed the measure, includingsupermajorities in most every age groupexcept for those voters age 65 and older. Said NORML’s Deputy Director: “This vote wasn’t a rejection of medical marijuana in Florida, but rather an affirmation that most Floridians want patient access to cannabis therapy. NORML hopes that the Florida lawmakers will hear this message loud and clear and take action in 2015 on behalf of the will of the majority of the electorate.”
Municipal voters overwhelmingly decided in favor of depenalizing cannabis on Election Day. InWashington, DC, some70 percentof District voters approvedInitiative 71, which removes criminal and civil penalties regarding the adult possession of up to two ounces of cannabis and/or the cultivation of up to six plants. Adults who engage in not-for-profit transactions of small quantities of cannabis or who possess marijuana-related paraphernalia are also no longer be subject to penalty under this act.
Unlike legalization measures in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, I-71 does not establish a regulatory framework for the regulation of a commercial cannabis market. However, members of the DC City Council are currentlyconsidering separate legislationto regulate the commercial production and sale of marijuana to adults. (Because Washington, DC does not possess statehood, all District laws are subject to Congressional approval prior to their implementation.)
Voters in severalMichigancities, includingSaginaw(population 51,000),Port Huron(30,000), andBerkley(15,000) also decided in favor of local ballot measures depenalizing offenses involving the adult possession of up to one ounce of marijuana. Michigan lawmakers are anticipated to debate a statewide decriminalization proposal in 2015.
Likewise, voters in South Portland,Maineapproveda municipal ordinance eliminating local penalties in regard to the adult possession of up to one ounce of cannabis. Voters in Lewiston, Maine rejected a similar measure.
InNew Mexico, voters in Bernalillo and Santa Fe countiesdecidedin favor of advisory questions in support of the decriminalization of one ounce or less of marijuana at a city, county and state level. Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties represent a third of the state’s population.
Finally, inMassachusetts, voters in several state representative districts voted in favor of various nonbinding public policy questions calling on state officials to legalize and regulate cannabis-related commerce.
- See more at: http://blog.norml.org/2014/11/05/state-local-marijuana-legalization-measures-win-big-on-election-day/#sthash.9I30RW4Y.dpuf
State approves Boston’s first medical marijuana dispensary
State health officials on Friday approved a highly coveted license for Boston’s first medical marijuana dispensary, selecting Patriot Care Corp. to operate a facility near Downtown Crossing.
The company, which was already provisionally approved to open a dispensary in Lowell, also won permission Friday for a location in Greenfield, making it the only company positioned to run three dispensaries in Massachusetts.
In addition, state officials said they would allow another company to move forward with plans to open dispensaries in Brookline and Northampton — a decision that drew sharp criticism from some critics who allege the company has received special treatment.
The Patrick administration put the plans of the company, New England Treatment Access, on hold in August after the Globe reported that its chief executive had falsely claimed to be a college graduate on the firm’s applications to the state.
The licensing process has been slowed by repeated disclosures, from media and competing applicants, about questionable backgrounds of some company officials and misrepresentations. No dispensaries have opened, despite state officials’ initial prediction they would open by this past summer.
On Friday, Karen van Unen, chief executive of the state’s medical marijuana program, said in a news release, “I am pleased with the steady progress we are making and expect the first dispensaries to open later this winter.”
Two other companies received permission Friday from state health regulators to move forward with medical marijuana dispensaries: Coastal Compassion in Fairhaven and MassMedicum in Taunton.
To date, Massachusetts has conditionally approved 15 applicants across the state, which still must pass inspection and win local zoning approval before they can begin growing and selling marijuana. No dispensaries have been selected for the counties of Hampden, Berkshire, Dukes, and Nantucket.
“We are concerned about underserved counties,” van Unen said in a brief telephone interview. She said the state hopes to start accepting more applications for dispensaries in the spring.
Patriot Care spokesman Dennis Kunian said the company does not have a timeline on when it might be open for business in Boston. He said company officials have spoken to some Boston city councilors and neighborhood groups about its proposed dispensary at 21 Milk St. and will begin the process of seeking approval from city officials.
“We have a lot of work to do and we are very excited,” Kunian said. “We want to do the city proud.”
Patriot Care has faced legal challenges and questions about its dispensary operations in Washington, D.C., and Arizona. The company also applied for a license in Connecticut, but was not selected by regulators there.
Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh had urged the state to restart the dispensary process earlier this year, following allegations that some winning applicants provided false or misleading information that made it appear that they had had support from elected officials.
On Friday, Walsh’s press secretary, Kate Norton, issued a statement saying, “The City will work with our partners at the state level to ensure that any dispensary in Boston complies with all local regulations and guidelines.”
The state announced Friday that it has allowed New England Treatment Access to proceed with plans for dispensaries in Brookline and Northampton, months after the Patrick administration said it halted the plans because the Globe had reported the company’s director, Kevin Fisher, falsely claimed to be a college graduate.
At the time, the governor said, “I’ve said before: If you lie on the application, that is, from my perspective, a nonstarter.”
Van Unen said the state decided to let the company keep its conditional approval partly because Fisher had resigned and was no longer associated with the company.
“We feel NETA is in a position to meet the standards we expect them to meet,” she said.
The decision angered a group of Brookline residents who had lobbied regulators to remove the company from consideration after the problems with Fisher’s resume were revealed.
“It undermines the whole process that someone can lie on the application and, for reasons that aren’t clear, be reconsidered,” said Gordon Bennett.
“What’s changed?” he asked. “If they were put on hold earlier, why are they being taken off hold now?”
Dot Joyce, a spokeswoman for NETA, said the company “remains well prepared and educated on this emerging industry with some of the most knowledgeable and experienced people in the fields of medicinal marijuana standards and practices.”
The state’s selection progress has been plagued by controversy for the past year. Voters approved a ballot initiative in November 2012 that legalized marijuana for medical treatment. The state is authorized to select up to 35 nonprofits to open dispensaries around the state, including at least one, but no more than five, in each county.
In January, state regulators announced that they had granted preliminary approval to 20 of 100 applicants seeking to open dispensaries. But the state launched a more thorough examination of the companies after the media and losing applicants raised concerns about misrepresentations, financial arrangements, and conflicts of interest involving several of the companies, as well as the backgrounds of their principals. A number of lawsuits were filed against the state by losing applicants.
In June, state health regulators announced that they had eliminated nine of the 20 remaining applicants, including a company led by former US Representative William Delahunt that had proposed dispensaries in Taunton, Plymouth, and Mashpee.
Reasons for rejection ranged from questionable corporate structures that appeared to violate requirements that the companies operate as non-profits; misrepresenting local support; and omitting one investor’s drug conviction.
Dr. James Kurnick, chief executive of MassMedicum, said his company was relieved to be selected for Taunton.
“It’s been a long process, and we have put lot of time, money, and effort into this,” said Kurnick, a cancer researcher and part-owner of two biotechnology companies. “We are a medical group, and we hope we can do this in a medical fashion.”
Tim Keogh, president of Coastal Compassion, said the company hopes to open its Fairhaven facility in fall 2015.
“I want to assure the town of Fairhaven and the local community that our top priority is the safety of the patients and the public and we pledge to work transparently throughout the process.”http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/11/07/state-approves-boston-first-medical-marijuana-dispensary/nfxx06c1PxGvCQkPx1hwcN/story.html
NORML PAC Candidates Sweep US House Races
All seven of NORML PAC’s publicly endorsed candidates for the US House of Representatives won decisively in yesterday’s midterm election.
Rep. Alan Grayson for Congress (FL-09) Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman for Congress (NJ-12) Rep. Earl Blumenauer for Congress (OR-03) Rep. Steve Cohen for Congress (TN-9) Rep. Beto O’Rourke for Congress (TX-16) Rep. Denny Heck for Congress (WA-10) Rep. Jared Polis for Congress (CO-02)
These candidates all endorsed the full legalization of marijuana and are dedicated to championing reform at the federal level in the 114th Congress. We fully expect these individuals to be instrumental in introducing and advancing important legislation when they begin their new session in January.
“What is really worth noting,” stated NORML PAC Manager Erik Altieri, “Is that all of our endorsements for the US House of Representatives happened to be Democrats and all won by large margins in a year where others in their party were getting handily defeated nationwide. Perhaps this, coupled with solid wins for legalization in Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia, will send a message to Democratic Party members across the country that it is not only good policy to support marijuana legalization, but good politics.”
Also winning their elections were NORML PAC endorsed New Jersey Senate candidate Cory Booker and Maine State Representative Diane Russell.
Want to help us continue to elect pro-reform candidates across the country?DONATEto NORML PAC today!
- See more at: http://blog.norml.org/2014/11/05/norml-pac-candidates-sweep-us-house-races/#sthash.Zn8Ldpyl.dpuf
Where in the world can you legally smoke cannabis?
Colombia: Small amounts of up to 22 grams are OK for personal consumption. However, selling it remains illegal. You are allowed to grow up to 20 plants for personal use.
Costa Rica: It's a bit of a grey area. Cannabis is illegal but there's widespread smoking throughout the country. Police officers do not arrest people carrying enough for personal consumption, yet no amount has been outlined as a minimum for possession.
Czech republic: Possession of up to 15 grams for personal use or growing up to five plants is a police caution. Medical use of the drug on prescription has been legal since April 2013.
Ecuador: Having a small stash of under 10 grams for personal use is legal.
Peru: Possession of under eight grams is considered legal for personal use.
Portugal:It became the first country in the world in 2001 to legalise the use of all drugs, and started treating drug users as sick people, instead of criminals. However, you can be arrested or made to go into rehab if caught several times in possession.
Romania: Medical use is legal under certain conditions.
Spain: Growing the plant on private property for personal use, and consumption by adults in a private space, is legal. But buying or selling any quantity of cannabis is a criminal offence. Possession and consumption in a public place is illegal and punishable by a fine.
Switzerland: Growing up to four plants is legal. But sale or transport is illegal.
Uruguay: A law has been passed legalising cannabis but won't into come into effect until 2015. The new law says that buyers must be 18 or older, residents of Uruguay, and must register with the authorities. Authorities will grow the cannabis that can be sold legal.
Jamaica: Growing, selling and using cannabis is illegal. However, the government passed a motion in 2013 to decriminalise the drug if a person was found with a small amount.
Netherlands: Cannabis products are only sold in "coffee shops" and possession of up to 5 grams for personal use is OK. Other types of sales and transportation are illegal.
Norway: It's legal to have up to 15 grams for personal use. Anything over that is punished with a fine of 1,500-15,000 kroner (£139-£1,396) in the case of first-time offenders; possessing more is considered dealing and punished more harshly.
Why some doctors are in favour of medical cannabis
With the recent political debate around medical cannabis trials, you could be forgiven for thinking that the notion was something altogether new.
In fact, cannabis has been used medicinally for thousands of years in India and Asia. It was introduced to western medicine in the mid-nineteenth century by an Irish doctor William O'Shaughnessy, upon his return from service in India, and become a popular therapy around the world.
The criminalisation of marijuana saw it swiftly fall from medical favour. However, it seems that medical cannabis's star is once again rising, with some evidence suggesting it may offer considerable relief in conditions where few other treatments are able to help.
Making people more comfortable
Cannabis's therapeutic benefits stem from the way it stimulates with the body's own method of making us feel good, known as the endocannabinoid system, explains Emeritus Professor of Anaesthesia Laurence Mather, from the Northern Clinical School at the University of Sydney.
"The endocannabinoid system in the body is not a pain relieving system like the endorphin system, like for morphine-type things, it's more a general wellbeing system, and it works by making people feel more comfortable with themselves," Mather says.
"It doesn't ablate pain, it makes the body more accepting."
Cannabis helps with a very specific type of pain that does not appear to respond well to pain relieving treatments, such as opioids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS).
"It does not work, for example, in post-operative pain … and in acute pain such as from a surgical incision," Mather says.
It's estimated thousands of Australians are risking arrest by using cannabis for medical reasons. A national clinical trial has been announced but legalisation could be many years away, and then for expensive pharmaceutical drugs only. RN's Background Briefing investigates the science and the politics of medical cannabis.
The appetite stimulating effects of marijuana – more commonly known as 'the munchies' – have also proven useful in countering the bodily wasting associated with a range of conditions from HIV/AIDS to cancer.
"That was observed back in the '60s and '70s, particularly by the recreational users of the time … they noticed the incidence of weight gain was more favourable in those that used cannabis than others," Mather says.
This observation led to the development of a drug called dronabinol, which is a synthetic version of the main psychoactive component of cannabis – tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This drug is used not only to treat weight loss associated with HIV/AIDS and cancer, but also the nausea and vomiting often associated with cancer therapies.
While THC is the most famous of cannabis ingredients, it is not the only one proving beneficial in the medical arena. Another drug, nabiximols, an oral spray which is available in Australia under the brand name of Sativex, contains both THC and cannabidiol, and is used for the treatment of muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis.
There is also growing support for the use of cannabis to treat severe childhood epilepsies, such as Dravet's syndrome, with anecdotal evidence from parents suggesting cannabis drastically reduced thefrequency of their children's seizures.
Fewer side effects
Likewise, some argue that medical cannabis could provide a much safer and more pleasant alternative to the existing pain relief options used in palliative care.
"The side effects of many things that are used for treating these conditions such as heavy duty pain and things of that kind – treating them with opioids or treating with NSAIDS – are far more dire than they are from cannabis," says Mather.
"People can die from morphine, they stop breathing; people can die from paracetamol because it buggers their livers, people can die from NSAIDS because it buggers their kidneys, but cannabis doesn't do any of these things."
Like any drug, cannabis has its side effects, although what's interesting with medical cannabis is that the effects most sought after by recreational users are generally the effects most avoided by medical users, says emergency medicine specialist Dr David Caldicott, from the Australian National University and Calvary Hospital in Canberra.
"The product that is beginning to emerge globally is one that is bred and used for largely recreational purposes and so these are strains now which contain a much higher concentration of the psychoactive component, which is THC, and that isn't necessarily the most useful component," says Caldicott.
"Many people who consume this product medicinally actually don't like this effect, they choose strains, say for example in the US, that are much lower in THC concentration and higher in the cannabidiol concentrations."
In parts of the world where medical cannabis is legal, considerable effort has gone into developing strains of marijuana that are carefully tailored for medical use, to reduce the unwanted side effects and boost the more desirable ingredients.
Lack of good data
But medical cannabis presents a conundrum for medical professionals. Its illegality in large parts of the world means most medical users are self-medicating and this also makes it a difficult drug to study in clinical trials.
As a consequence, a significant proportion of medical cannabis research is based on self-reported use and outcomes, rather than large, carefully-designed, randomised trials, says Professor Ian Olver, head of the Cancer Council Australia.
"Probably two decades ago I remember sitting on a panel that reviewed the evidence [for medical cannabis], and in most cases the evidence is anecdotal," says Olver. As a result, he is cautious about the idea of more widespread availability of medical cannabis but acknowledges that there may be some patients for whom it is their only recourse to relief.
"If you've got a patient who's been through conventional therapy and has not responded, you're sympathetic to them if they find something that's worked, but that's quite different to saying something should be widely available for everyday use of pain," he says.
Olver says there is also concern about the possible side effects of smoking marijuana, even for medical purposes, as this could introduce cancer-causing chemicals into the lungs.
However Caldicott says there are other methods of delivery being considered, such as e-cigarettes, which would not only be more palatable for non-smokers but could avoid the potential side-effects of smoking. The active components of cannabis can also be infused into tinctures, which could be a useful option for use in children.
Ultimately, the medical cannabis debate is not about making it widely available for a broad range of health conditions – as currently occurs in many states in the US – but about giving a small number of patients an option where they may have none.
"Medical cannabis is never going to replace paracetamol," says Caldicott.
"We're not talking about the sky falling in, we're talking about a niche market which would be very tightly regulated." http://www.abc.net.au/health/thepulse/stories/2014/10/27/4115279.htm
Marijuana Laws in All 50 States
In a little over two weeks, Americans all across the country will vote on the issue of marijuana in some form or fashion. While some states, like Alaska and Oregon, have received a lot of media attention, the progress of legal weed remains somewhat a mystery in other areas. It is for this reason that we collected information from all 50 states and compiled a guide to the legislative efforts of the past week, as well as details surrounding each state’s current legal environment.
This is what legal marijuana looks like in your neck of the woods:
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
To vote on establishing a recreational marijuana market in the upcoming November election. Decriminalization laws are already in place for up to four ounces of marijuana, and the state has a medical marijuana program. Recent polls show that nearly 58 percent of the voters support Measure 2, which would allow marijuana to be taxed and regulated similar to alcohol.
The state has a medical marijuana program in place. However, Representative Ethan Orr says he intends to push a measure in 2015 to legalize recreational marijuana. He claims to trust the public to pass a ballot initiative, and believes elected officials should approve the issue. Orr says the state could use the revenue from cannabis taxes to straighten out the state’s tanking budget.
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place. Yet, while Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel rejected another proposal to legalize marijuana in the state, he has given approved to two marijuana-related proposals that are now collecting signatures for 2016.
Possession of 28.5 grams or less of marijuana has been decriminalized. In addition, the state has one of the most liberal medical marijuana programs in the United States. The Marijuana Policy Project, however, is preparing to start collecting signatures for a 2016 initiative that would legalize recreational marijuana.
Legal Recreational and Medical Marijuana Market in Place.
A half ounce or less of marijuana has been decriminalized, and the state has a medical marijuana program.
A medical marijuana program is in place. Yet, a recent poll by the University of Delaware shows that 56 percent of population would support a measure to legalize recreational marijuana. This is not likely to happen, however, because Governor Jack Markell has said that he will no support any such legislation, but is open to discus decriminalization to a certain degree.
District of Columbia
To vote on allowing the recreational use of marijuana in the upcoming November election. In addition, the district has decriminalized 1 ounce or less of marijuana, and it currently has a medical marijuana program in place.
To vote on legalized medical marijuana in the upcoming November election. A recent poll indicates that the state has a good chance of passing this measure -- 67 percent of the state’s voters are in favor of establishing a medical marijuana program. In order for the initiative to be approved, 60 percent of the voters will have to cast ballots in support of the issue.
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
The state has a medical marijuana program in place, but access is limited.
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
There is a medical marijuana program in place.
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
The state recently passed the Medical Cannabidiol Act, which allows parents with epileptic children to possess CBD oil. However, there is nothing written in the legislation that allows cultivation, so parents have been reduced to smuggle medicine in from other states or simply do without. This is because federal law will not allow the transport of cannabis medicine across state lines.
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
The state recently legalized industrial hemp for research purposes.
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
Possession of 2.5 ounces of marijuana or less has been decriminalized, and a medical marijuana program is in place. Voters in select cities will decided on the issue of decriminalization in the upcoming election.
Possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana has been decriminalized, and a medical marijuana program is in place.
Possession of one ounce or less of marijuana has been decriminalized, and a rough medical marijuana program is in place. Bay State Repeal, however, is currently working on an initiative to put the question to legalize marijuana in 2016. In addition, the state just launched a mandatory medical marijuana registration program that requires patients and caregivers to sign up before the end of the year to qualify for access to medical marijuana.
“You will need to register with the MMJ Online System by January 1, 2015 in order to possess marijuana for medical purposes, even if you already have a paper written certification from your physician. Paper written certifications will no longer be valid as of February 1st, 2015,” according to a press released issued by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
A medical marijuana program is in place.
A medical marijuana program is in place.
Possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana, first offense, has been decriminalized.
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
A medical marijuana program is in place.
Possession of one ounce or less of marijuana, first offense, has been decriminalized.
A medical marijuana program is in place.
A medical marijuana program is in place.
A medical marijuana program is in place.
A medical marijuana program is in place.
Possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana, first and second offenses, has been decriminalized. In addition, the state recently approved legislation to establish a medical marijuana program.
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
To vote on Measure 91 in the upcoming November election, which serves to establish a recreational marijuana market. Recent polls indicate that 52 percent of the voters are in support of the measure, while 41 percent are opposed. If the initiative passes, residents would be allowed to be in possession of up to eight ounces of marijuana, while cultivating up to four plants. Retail cannabis stores would be permitted to open to adults over the age of 21.
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place. Yet, there is speculation that a CBD pilot program is close to getting underway. Legislation for a broader medical marijuana bill was recently assigned to a House committee, but there is little hope the measure will receive a vote before the end of the legislative session.
Possession of one ounce or less of marijuana has been decriminalized. In addition, the state has a medical marijuana program in place.
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place. A CBD bill was approved last year, which will allow the Medical University of South Carolina to study the medicinal benefits of the non-psychoactive strain.
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
Possession of one ounce or less of marijuana has been decriminalized. In addition, the state also has a medical marijuana program in place.
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
Legal Recreational Marijuana Market in Place. However, voters will decide on how marijuana is taxed in the upcoming election.
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
Colorado proposes edible pot ban, then retreats
DENVER (AP) — Colorado health authorities suggested banning many forms of edible marijuana, including brownies and cookies, then whipsawed away from the suggestion Monday after it went public.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment told state pot regulators they should limit edible pot on shelves to hard lozenges and tinctures, which are a form of liquid pot that can be added to foods and drinks.
The suggestion sparked marijuana industry outrage and legal concerns from a regulatory workgroup that met Monday to review the agency's suggestion. Colorado's 2012 marijuana-legalization measure says retail pot is legal in all forms.
"If the horse wasn't already out of the barn, I think that would be a nice proposal for us to put on the table," said Karin McGowan, the department's deputy executive director.
Talking to reporters after the workgroup reviewed the department's proposal, McGowan insisted the edibles ban was just one of several proposals under review by pot regulators.
Lawmakers have ordered state pot regulators to require pot-infused food and drink to have a distinct look when they are out of the packaging. The order came after concerns about the proliferation of pot-infused treats that many worry could be accidentally eaten by children.
Statewide numbers are not available, but one hospital in the Denver area has reported nine cases of children being admitted after accidentally eating pot. It is not clear whether those kids ate commercially packaged pot products orhomemade items such as marijuana brownies.
The Health Department's recommendation was one of several made to marijuana regulators.
"We need to know what is in our food," said Gina Carbone of the advocacy group Smart Colorado, which says edible pot shouldn't be allowed if it can't be identified out of its packaging.
Marijuana industry representatives insisted that marking pot won't prevent accidental ingestions.
"There is only so much we can do as manufacturers to prevent a child from putting a product in their mouth," said Bob Eschino of Incredibles, which makes marijuana-infused chocolates.
Even health officials worried that an edibles ban would not stop people from making homemade pot treats, with possibly more dangerous results.
"Edibles are very, very popular. And I do worry that people are going to make their own. They're not going to know what they're doing," said Dr. Lalit Bajaj of Children's Hospital Colorado.
The meeting came a few days after Denver police released a video about the danger of possible Halloween candy mix-ups.
"Some marijuana edibles can be literally identical to their name-brand counterparts," the department warned in a statement, urging parents to toss candies they don't recognize.
The edible pot workgroup meets again in November before sending a recommendation to Colorado lawmakers next year. The revised edible rule is to be in place by 2016.
Missouri to Start Taking Hemp Cultivation Applications
PRESCOTT — An Arizona judge is allowing a woman to use medical marijuana while she's on probation even though it was prohibited under the plea agreement she accepted.
Judge Cele Hancock of Yavapai County Superior Court made that decision when she granted a motion on behalf of 43-year-old Jennifer Lee Ferrell, The Daily Courier reports.
Ferrell awaits sentencing on charges that include DUI, resisting arrest and attempted aggravated assault on a police officer.
Her lawyer's motion said prosecutors cannot prohibit use of medical marijuana as a condition of probation because state law allows medical marijuana use.
The County Attorney's Office said defendants don't get to pick and choose probation conditions and that it will appeal the judge's ruling.
Probation no bar to medical marijuana use
PHOENIX — The state cannot prohibit someone from using medical marijuana because that person is on probation, even for drug charges, the state Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
Appellate JudgePeter Eckerstromsaid that when voters approved the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act in 2010, they declared those with a doctor’s recommendation and the required state-issued ID card are not subject to “arrest, prosecution or penalty in any manner, or denial of any right or privilege.”
That “clear language,” Eckerstrom said, prohibits a trial judge from barring someone from using medical marijuana if he or she does so within the parameters of that law.
Eckerstrom did not dispute that there probably are public-policy concerns about letting someone with a long history of substance abuse, as in this case the court was considering, continue to use marijuana for whatever reason.
But the judge said these public-policy debates are for the Legislature and, by extension, for the people through their constitutional power to make their own laws.
“They have done so here,” he wrote. “Our task is to apply the law they have written, not to second-guess the wisdom of their determinations.”
Deputy Cochise County AttorneyBrianMcIntyre, who had argued that the restriction was valid, said his office is reviewing the ruling before deciding whether to seek Supreme Court review.
The ruling, which sets a precedent in Arizona, involvesKeenan Reed-Kaliher, who spent time in prison for possessing marijuana for sale before being released to serve three years’ probation in June 2011.
Terms of his probation include a condition he “obey all laws” and not possess or use illegal drugs.
Reed-Kaliher subsequently got a medical marijuana card allowing him to obtain and use the drug. His probation officer then imposed an additional condition specifically barring possession and use of marijuana, saying that was consistent with the original court order.
Cochise County Superior Court JudgeWallace Hoggattupheld the condition, saying Reed-Kaliher had agreed to the conditions as part of the deal. Anyway, the judge said, probationers may lose rights that other citizens have.
Eckerstrom, writing for the majority in Friday’s 2-1 ruling, said that decision was wrong.
“Under the express terms of the immunity provision, Reed-Kaliher could not be deprived of the privilege of probation solely based on his medical use of marijuana,” the appellate judge wrote. “A condition of probation threatening to revoke his privilege for such use cannot be enforced lawfully and is invalid.”
Eckerstrom said the promise to “obey all laws” can’t be used against Reed-Kaliher because voters specifically exempted medical pot use from criminal laws.
The drug does remain illegal under federal law. But Eckerstrom said the Arizona law is not pre-empted by federal law, and Reed-Kaliher still could be arrested by federal authorities if they wanted.
But he said state judges have neither a duty nor role in enforcing the federal statutes.
Friday’s ruling drew a dissent by Appellate JudgePhilip Espinosa,who said the terms of the 2010 voter-approved law are irrelevant. He said Reed-Kaliher agreed to the terms of his probation, including an agreement to obey all laws.
“In this case, Reed-Kaliher expressly agreed to accept that restriction in order to gain the benefits of a plea bargain, and I see no basis for excluding the federal drug laws from that agreement,” Espinosa wrote.
The judge also said there could be implications for defendants charged with drug offenses if the majority opinion stands.
“Prosecutors and courts unable to prohibit marijuana use may be much less likely to offer or approve plea agreements in many cases,” Espinosa wrote.
OVER 90% OF PATIENTS SAY MEDICAL MARIJUANA WORKS
A broad study looking into the effectiveness of medical marijuana on patients in California has come back with very positive results; 92% of patients polled said that using marijuana helped to alleviate their symptoms, which ranged from chronic pain stemming from migraines and arthritis to cancer.
The California Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System’s data concluded that 5% of adults in California admitted to using medical marijuana in order to treat a serious medical condition.
The study’s author noted that, “The most common reasons for [marijuana] use include medical conditions for which mainstream treatments may not exist, such as for migraines, or may not be effective, including for chronic pain and cancer.”
The author of the study also mentioned: “Our study’s results lend support to the idea that medical marijuana is used equally by many groups of people and is not exclusively used by any one specific group.”
Even with medical marijuana being legal in 23 states in the US there are still a large number of hurdles to overcome. One political hurdle comes from former mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, who has referred to marijuana as “one of the greatest hoaxes of all time.”
It seems like listening to patients, the people actually living with these chronic ailments every day, are the ones with the most valid input, not the politicians. http://azmarijuana.com/arizona-medical-marijuana-news/90-patients-medical-marijuana-works/
THE EFFECTIVENESS OF TREATING EPILEPSY WITH CANNABIS
It’s no secret that one of the major uses of medical cannabis that helped with the initial push for medical status and legalization in the first place is the effect cannabis has on those with epilepsy. However, up until recently, there was not much hard scientific evidence about this treatment and how effective it really is.
There have been stories of people utilizing oils and edibles who see a decrease, or ever halt, in the number of seizures experienced. The world has also seen the development of low-THC alternatives for children with epilepsy. Now, as medical research in the field is taking off, we are learning more about this treatment for an ailment that has plagued individuals for centuries.
It has recently been discovered that cannabis high in CBD rather than THC is effective in treating seizures, leading to studies that want to synthesize CBD and make a medication with none of the intoxicating effects of THC.
Dr. Orrin Devinsky of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at NYU explains the measures being taken to try and explore this further. “While cannabis has been used to treat epilepsy for centuries, data from double-blind randomized, controlled trials of CBD or THC in epilepsy is lacking. Randomized controlled studies of CBD in targeted epilepsy groups, such as patients with Dravet or Lennox-Gastaut syndromes, are in the planning stages.”
One of the places where this research might take place is in Denver, through the Comprehensive Epilepsy Program at Denver Health. Dr. Edward Maa, who is in charge of this program, is all for these advancements. “As medical professionals, it is important that we further the evidence of whether CBD in cannabis is an effective antiepileptic therapy,” she states.
As more studies are done on this treatment, those who medicate with cannabis for epilepsy and see improvements, can get more solid answers as to why the treatment is working— and also rest assured that their means of release will never again come under fire. http://ireadculture.com/article-4415-the-effectiveness-of-treating-epilepsy-with-cannabis.html
LEGALIZED MARIJUANA COULD BE $300M INDUSTRY IN ARIZONA
Arizona has the potential to have a $303 million recreational marijuana market that would produce as much as $70 million in tax revenue. NerdWallet Inc., a financial research firm, examinedArizona’s potential recreational marijuana marketsize and tax revenue generated to establish these projections.
NerdWallet estimated that there are over 228,000 adult marijuana users in Arizona, which accounts for 5% of the totatal population over the age of 25.
Jeffrey Miron, a Harvard University economist, estimates that the U.S. marijuana market is valued at $14 billion and legalization would reduce prison and police department costs by nearly $7.7 billion annually.
Governor Jan Brewer is softening her position on medical marijuana
Governor Jan Brewer is softening her position on medical marijuana as well as for the right for terminally ill patients to choose to use drugs that are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Brewer’s newly-found empathetic stance for people with debilitating medical conditions has her changing her views towards the 2010 Arizona Medical Marijuana Act which allows patients with certain medical conditions to get a doctor’s recommendation to obtain marijuana fromdispensariesfor medical purposes.
“I’ve been reading a lot about it [marijuana research studies],” she stated. “And it certainly looks like it probably does help people.”
When asked about Proposition 303, the “right to use” measure, Brewer stated: “I think that if someone is facing life or death that they should be able to make that choice … and if they’re willing to take that risk … they ought to be able to do it”
Proposition 303 would allow drug companies to make available drugs and/or medical devices that are not yet approved by the FDA for people with a terminal illness. It would also protect doctors from being disciplined by regulatory boards because they agreed to prescribe a non-approved drug to a patient.
Attorney General Eric Holder appears more open to marijuana
As Attorney General Eric Holder prepares to resign from his post, he appears to be more open than ever towards the rescheduling of marijuana as a less dangerous, more beneficial substance.
In an interview, Holder stated, “I think it’s certainly a question we need to ask ourselves, whether or not marijuana is as serious of a drug as heroin. Especially given what we’ve seen recently with regard to heroin — the progression of people from using opioids to heroin use, the spread and the destruction that heroin has perpetrated all around our country. And to see by contrast, what the impact is of marijuana use. Now, it can be destructive if used in certain ways, but the question of whether or not they should be in the same category is something that we need to ask ourselves and use science as the basis for making that determination.”
Holder also stated that the Obama administration would be “more than glad” to work with Congress to re-examine how marijuana is scheduled. In April he said he’s “cautiously optimistic” about how the historic marijuana legalization movements in Colorado and Washington were working out.
The Obama administration, along with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and a few U.S.attorneys, raided hundreds of marijuanadispensariesthat were compliant with statelaws. But it was Holder, in 2013, who announced that the Department of Justice would let Colorado and Washington implement their new marijuana legalization laws.
Under the Controlled Substances Act, marijuana isclassifiedas a Schedule I substance, as is LSD and heroin. According to the DEA, Schedule I substances have a “high potential for abuse” and “no currently accepted medical use.” Yet science has clearly indicated otherwise by proving that marijuana does help provide relief from a multitude of health ailments.
TEEN MARIJUANA USE DOWN
Although marijuana legalization is quickly gaining momentum in the United States, statistics from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reveal that teens between the ages of 12 and 17 are using less marijuana than they were a decade ago.
According to the statistics, teen alcohol and tobacco consumption has declined as well. This might signify a healthy lifestyle shift by our society.
The survey also noted that teenagers are finding it more challenging to get a hold of marijuana than a decade ago. This can lead to the conclusion that the legalization of marijuana for medicinal and recreational use has made marijuana less available to teens. It’s also likely that the legal and regulated marijuana industries, whether medicinal or recreational, are diminishing the marijuana black market leading to less marijuana being distributed on city streets.
Education and Certifications
The owners of Tumbleweeds Health Center are giving it their all to inform Tucsonans about the benefits of cannabis...
Tumbleweeds Health Center owners Dana Zygmunt and Kim Williams have long known the benefits of medical marijuana, so when Arizona voters passed Proposition 203 in 2012, the duo decided against moving to Colorado to open their marijuana health facility, instead staying right here in Tucson.
On November 11, 2011, Zygmunt and Williams opened Tumbleweeds, 5315 E. Broadway Blvd., a premier cannabis health and certification center with the goal of educating medical marijuana users and potential users, whose qualifying conditions range from such things as seizures to cancer to chronic pain.
Williams said when first starting out, there were a lot of uncertainties in the industry.
"It was very scary at the start because it's a new business in a new industry, and we didn't know what type of people we would have coming in," she said. "But in the last three years, as the world and our country has decided medical marijuana is okay, the attitude is changing so much. We were whispering about it at first, and now we're proudly yelling about it."
While Tumbleweeds is not a dispensary and therefore does not carry cannabis products, it does sell high CBD tinctures, salves, lotions, and candies, and also carries numerous vapors and vaporizers.
"Not only do we carry a lot of products, but we also help educate our patients on how to use these products," said Zygmunt.
Still, Williams and Zygmunt say they intend to apply for a dispensary license at the next available opportunity, and will eventually also harvest their own cannabis on-site.
This will complement their current educational efforts, giving the company an even bigger footprint in the medical marijuana industry.
Williams and Zygmunt are hosts of a weekly podcast show called "Weedsday Wednesday" that educates listeners about marijuana, breaks the latest industry news and hosts several expert interviews.
Next Wednesday, the show will feature Robert Melamede, CEO of Cannabis Science.
Podcast listeners can dial in at 646-915-8421.
The community following due to such efforts has translated into better business for Tumbleweeds. Often, Williams said, patients stop in to learn, or even just to say hello and thank them for continued assistance.
"We're a cozy, friendly atmosphere, and people really feel welcome coming in," she said. "We're here to give people an education they can't get at other places in town."
The most rewarding part of the business, Williams continued, is seeing how medical marijuana has aided those who are ill.
"It's watching their pain go away and their smiles come back," she said, noting there are still a number of misconceptions about the industry.
"Our government has led the general public to believe that you will go insane if you use cannabis—literally that it will drive you to an insane, mad state," she said. "That's one of the stigmas that older people come in with and have a hard time wrapping their heads around, especially if they've never seen or used marijuana before."
For such reasons, Tumbleweeds sells a number of health educational books and videos. For those looking to apply for a medical marijuana card, it also serves as the lowest-cost certification center in town.
"If anyone does it cheaper, we will match them," said Williams.
For more information on Tumbleweeds or on how to become certified, visittumbleweedshealthcenter.comor call 838-4430. Tumbleweeds is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Marijuana advocates kick off 2016 initiative
Supporters of an effort to legalize recreational marijuana in 2016 have filed paperwork with state elections officials, allowing them to raise money to campaign for the citizens initiative.
The Marijuana Policy Project of Arizona initiative almost certainly will be modeled after the voter-approved marijuana program in Colorado. For about a year, Colorado has allowed adults 21 and older to use and possess up to an ounce of pot, which is purchased at one of the many marijuana shops that are allowed under the law.
Andrew Myers, who is affiliated with the initiative, said Monday the group will bring together a "diverse coalition" to help draft the initiative's language, adding that marijuana advocates are closely watching Colorado's program to determine what should be replicated in Arizona — and what should be avoided.
Voters passed Colorado's Amendment 64 in 22 with 55 percent of the vote, driven by a campaign that pitched marijuana as a less-harmful alternative to alcohol. The amendment attracted young and new voters while tapping into the electorate's libertarian streak.
Representatives of the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, which advocates for marijuana legalization and regulation, said it will pursue full legalization in Arizona in 2016 because of marijuana-legalization efforts are more successful during presidential elections, which draw more voters to the polls.
Marijuana is legal for about 50,000 Arizonans, but only for medicinal purposes. Patients must get recommendations from a physician and obtain a card from state health officials under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act approved by voters in 2010.
Any effort towards full legalization in Arizona is expected to be met with stiff opposition from law enforcement officials, and possibly medical-marijuana dispensary owners who have spent the past few years building their businesses around the medicinal model.http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/arizona/politics/2014/09/22/marijuana-advocates-kick-off-initiative/16060625/
Proponents look to expand marijuana legalization in November
Even more states could vote to legalize marijuana this year, as pro-pot advocates look to capitalize on changing voter attitudes to replicate their recent successes in Colorado and Washington state.
The legalization question is coming before voters in very different areas of the country, both politically and geographically -- Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia.
But polling indicates the measure stands at least a chance of passing in otherwise conservative Alaska, while the ballot initiatives appear to enjoy popular support -- at least for now -- in Oregon and D.C.
"I think they are all going to pass," declared Mason Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, which has contributed over $566,000 in funds and services to the effort in Alaska, according tostate campaign finance records.
"Public support for ending marijuana prohibition is at an all-time high, and people can sense that change is inevitable," he said. Meanwhile, Florida voters are also set to weigh in on a measure that would approve medical marijuana.
But opponents say the pro-weed forces are just blowing smoke. They say practical arguments against legalization are gaining traction, and will ultimately keep other states from going the way of Colorado and Washington.
"I think voters are going to be very skeptical with these initiatives," said Kevin Sabet, co-founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), which opposes legalization. "I don't think it's going to be the walk in the park [pro-legalization advocates] thought it would be initially."
Critics say pot in Colorado, which went legal in January, has not been the panacea proponents want to paint. They say tax revenues are lagging in comparison to projections, and that there's been plenty of confusion and unanticipated trouble with so-called marijuana edibles, and drivers under the influence of pot.
"I think it's all leaving a bitter taste in people's mouths," Sabet said. "Legalization in theory is a lot more pretty than legalization in practice."
Still, an overall change in voters attitudes toward recreational marijuana -- 58 percent nationwide said they would support a measure legalizing, regulating and taxing pot like alcohol in their state in a SeptemberCivic Science poll-- is making it easier to gather support for new initiatives.
Proponents point to figures that showteen use of marijuana down, albeit slightly, since it's been legalized in Colorado. Recent statistics show that violent crime is down there, too.
"There is no buyer's remorse," Tvert said. "There is absolutely no evidence that any of the problems that our opponents have predicted have occurred."
Here's a look at the measures hitting the ballots in November.
Measure 2 in Alaska would allow adults over 21 to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and up to six plants.
The Alcoholic Beverage Control board would be in charge of regulating and taxing it, much like in Colorado.
Observers expect the vote in November to be a squeaker. Recent polls have shown the "yes" and "no" campaigns trading the lead.
"At the beginning I would have said this would've passed in a heartbeat -- in Alaska we're pretty independent," said Kathie Wasserman, executive director of the Alaska Conference of Mayors, which has passed a resolution opposing it, citing concerns with substance abuse. "But right now the 'no' vote is gaining some traction."
The marijuana question first came before voters in 2012, but it failed 53-46 percent.
But Anthony Johnson, co-author of Measure 91, says the new proposal is stronger, incorporating aspects of the Colorado and Washington measures including practical restrictions the 2012 initiative did not have.
"This one has a great chance for victory, we aren't taking anything for granted," he said, citing poll numbers in favor oflegalization at 54 percent(a JuneSurveyUSA pollshowed voters favoring the measure by 51-41 percent).
Measure 91 would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to eight ounces and four plants per household. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission would regulate its commerce.
Johnson says a big selling point is what they will do with the tax revenues: 40 percent of revenue goes to schools, with 35 percent to state and local police, and 25 percent to drug addiction services.
Adam Eidinger, chairman of the D.C. Cannabis Campaign, said that despite the potential pushback from Capitol Hill, which has ultimate say over the District's governance, Measure 71 has great prospects for passing. Unlike the others, it's not a regulating-and-taxing law, but it would allow adults over 21 to possess up to two ounces of marijuana and six plants.
But like the others, Eidinger hopes that legalization would help "reprioritize law enforcement resources" toward more violent crime in the city. For too long, prosecution of smalltime marijuana possession has targeted mostly minorities, he said. "Why should anyone be harassed at all? I don't even think the police like doing it -- they have better things to do."
Hemp has a million and one uses from clothing to concrete, and now Canadian Hemp Guitar (CHG) owners Boyd Pellow and Stewart Burrows are bringing the complex genius of the material straight to musicians’ finger tips. With their own luthiers creating amazing guitar designs and a lot of ingenuity and innovation, Boyd and Stewart have taken the world’s most functional plant and turned it into one of the world’s most rockin’ machines: The cannabis guitar.
Just a few years ago, CHG was established to create a sustainable small production facility that would hand make high quality hemp instruments for the working musician. Boyd Pellow is the head luthier for the company and has experience building, repairing and designing acoustic and electric guitars for over 20 years. Back in 2012, Boyd joined forces with his long-time friend and musician Stewart Burrows to create the company, Canadian Hemp Guitars. Stewart is an award-winning singer songwriter, guitarist and a harp player, and is an advocate for the use of hemp products along with running the business side of CHG.
The process starts with industrial hemp that is locally grown in Canada. After harvesting the material, is shipped to Illinois where the bast is separated from the hull and then pressed into sheet boards for manufacturing. These sheet boards are then shipped up to Canadian Hemp Guitars shop in Hemmingford, Quebec, where they are cut to size and hand made into hollow body guitars.
With 20 years of experience in crafting and repairing musical instruments, Boyd wanted to find a different material than the standard tone woods to make guitars out of.
Using a material like hemp started as more of a research endeavor for Boyd, but quickly became the versatile material he had been looking for."At first, I was looking for alternatives to wood, simply because of the waste in production,” he said. “Somebody had mentioned that I should look into hemp and that was really my first exposure to what is possible with hemp. I contacted a research and development company in Ontario and went up to see them and they showed me what was possible with some of their pressed materials. So I got a couple sample pieces from them and started working on my kitchen stove at home, heating things up and pressing them just to see how the process works. I gradually moved on, I had an old book press that I transformed into a proper heat press, it worked out beautifully and I am still using the whole thing now."
Canadian Hemp Guitars currently has one guitar shape that is reminiscent of vintage masonite guitars like Danelectro and that model be configured with different components such as a P-90 or a set of Humbucker pickups. The bridge has the option of a tune-o-matic style that is used on Les Pauls or a Bigsby style tremolo and one of the most interesting parts of the build process is the fact that Boyd uses what’s known as a Zero-Fret neck. This technique is not common in modern day production but adds a great deal of sound to every note played and has been resurrected by luthiers who replicate vintage guitars. Each guitar is also available with a custom paint job with names like Purple Haze, Acapulco Gold and Panama Red or it can be clear coated for more of a natural look.
As a material, hemp and wood don’t seem that similar, but Boyd experimented enough with the material to know that it could be substituted for wood in some cases. "Once we've compressed this stuff into a high density fiber board, all the specs are very, very close to that of tone wood,” Boyd explains. “In some categories they exceed, in some they are the same and in some its slightly less." This allows CHG to produce an extremely sustainable and affordable musical instrument without having to engage in deforestation and elaborate milling processes.
With more and more American states moving towards legalizing the production of industrial, recreational and medicinal cannabis we are going to be seeing more and more sustainable processes, inventions and cool new products like the Candian Hemp Guitars coming out each year. Available online and at select retailers in the U.S. and Canada, Boyd and Stewart are working hard to get each customer exactly the guitar that they have in their head into their hands. Rock 'n’ roll has never been this sustainable.
GOVERNMENT GROWING POT FOR RESEARCH
The federal government has decided to increase their marijuana supply for research purposes. The DEA announced last week that they will increase their marijuana production quota from a meager 21 kilograms to a whopping 650 kilograms in order to meet demand.
A farm at the University of Mississippi in Oxford is federally permitted to grow a set amount of marijuana to be used in clinical trials. All protocol must first be approved by the DEA, FDA, and the US National Institute on Drug Abuse before administering marijuana to human test subjects.
Marijuana advocates have been quick to point out that in the past the majority of the research being done by the federal government on marijuana has been designed to point out all the potential harms rather than the many therapeutic benefits.
A spokesman for the research said, “The additional supply of cannabis to be manufactured in 2014 is designed to meet the current and anticipated research efforts involving marijuana. This projection of increased demand is due in part to the recent increased interest in the possible therapeutic uses of marijuana.”
There are currently eight trials being done on marijuana’s effects on humans, but only two are devoted to researching the plant’s benefits.
58% OF AMERICANS SAY LEGALIZE CANNABIS
According to an onlineCivicScience pollof over 450,000 Americans, 58 percent of respondents support regulating marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol.
The majority of respondents reported that they would support “alawin [their] state that would legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana like alcohol”. Only 35% of respondents reported that they would oppose such a change in law.
Another recent poll of responses found even stronger support for marijuana legalization, with 61% of respondents polled agreeing with marijuana law reform.
The CivicScience survey is not a scientific poll, although its findings are very similar to those reported by Gallup in 2013, when 58% of respondents reported that they support marijuana legalization.
Furthermore, in April, the Pew Research Center reported that 54% of Americans support legalizing marijuana.
5 AMAZING SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERIES ABOUT MARIJUANA
For years, the federal government has subsidized studies designed to find negative effects from marijuana while blocking inquiry into its potential benefits. Ironically, their adamant search for downsides has created remarkable scientific insights that explain why marijuana is such a versatile remedy for many medical conditions and why it is the most sought-after “illegal” substance on earth.
There are over 100 uniquecannabinoidsidentified in marijuana; of them, the best known is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), marijuana’s principal psychoactive component, and cannabidiol (CBD), marijuana’s anti-inflammatory component that can reduce the psychoactive effects of THC. In addition to the phytocannabinoids produced only by the cannabis (marijuana) plant, there are endogenous cannabinoids that occur naturally in the human brain and body.
Some highlights from the exploding field of cannabinoid science:
1.THC, CBD and other plant cannabinoids are not only effective for the management of cancer symptoms (nausea, pain, loss of appetite, fatigue, etc.), but they also aided a direct anti-tumoral effect, according to peer-reviewed studies by the Complutense University in Spain and the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.
2.The Scripps Research Institute in California found that THC inhibits an enzyme involved in the accumulation of beta amyloid plaque that disrupts communication between brain cells, the hallmark of Alzheimer’s-related dementia.
3.At Kings College in London, cannabinoid receptor signaling assisted neurogenesis (the creation of new brain cells) in adult mammals and helped regulate the migration and differentiation of stem cells.
4.In China, scientists have shown that the pain-releiving effects of acupuncture are mediated by the same cannabinoid receptors that are activated by THC.
5.Pharmaceutical companies are attempting to induce therapeutic outcomes by manipulating levels of the body’s own cannabinoids. Animal studies indicate that it is possible to dissipate a wide range of pathological conditions (such as neuropathic pain, hypertension, colitis, and opiate withdrawal) by preventing/delaying the enzymatic breakdown of endogenous cannabinoids.
SANTA FE DECRIMINALIZES MARIJUANA POSSESSION
Santa Fe has became the latest US city to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
The Santa Fe City Council voted five to four in favor of revising alawto classify possession of less than one ounce (28 grams) of marijuana to only a misdemeanor.
The new law, which will take effect in 30 days, reduces the criminal penalties that range from fines of between $50 to $100 and up to 15 days in jail, into a (still undetermined) civil citation penalty.
“I have been in favor of decriminalization all along, I just wanted this to be on the November ballot in order for the citizens to make the decision,” stated Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales.
New Mexico state director for the Drug Policy Alliance, Emily Kaltenbach, mentioned she hoped for a broader vote, but said: “It is still a historic win for us all.”
Kaltenbach said activists obtained some 11,000 signatures and that her polling revealed that more than 70 percent of Santa Fe residents supported decriminalization.
Tucson closer to medical marijuana delivery, longer dispensary hours
Tucsonans moved a step closer Tuesday to getting door-step delivery of medical marijuana.
The City Council unanimously approved a city Planning Commission recommendation to allow pot delivery to medical marijuana cardholders’ homes, hospices and nursing homes.
Other green-lighted recommendations would allow dispensaries to have longer hours , lift the 3,000-square-foot limit on cultivation sites and let both dispensaries and cultivation sites produce marijuana-infused food products. Dispensaries can now operate from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The change would extend those hours from 7 a.m. to midnight.
The city would also dump its requirement that cultivation sites in industrial zones be set back 500 feet from churches, libraries, day-care centers and substance-abuse clinics.
In accordance with state law, a 500-foot setback from schools would remain.
Council members praised the broad rule changes as way to keep Tucson competitive in the burgeoning medical-marijuana market.
“We need to be very aware that this is an economic opportunity. And if we don’t seize it, it will pass us by and Tucson will get left holding the bag again,” said CouncilmanPaul Cunningham, who pushed for the changes.
But the owner of the city’s two cultivation sites said foot-dragging on this issue has already cost him and others .
“The whole process has taken too long,” saidJean-Paul Genet. “We’ve already seen people leave Tucson to go elsewhere.”
Genet said the strict limits on cultivation space inflates prices and makes it difficult for indigent patients to receive medical marijuana. He said the larger square-footage will allow him to expand the variety of marijuana to customers and keep him competitive with other cities.
If the city fails to enact the changes, Genet has a back-up plan to relocate to Santa Cruz County.
The proposed amendments will get a public hearing at the Sept. 9 council meeting and could take effect the next day if the council approves them.
Santa Fe City votes to decriminalize marijuana
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The Santa Fe City Council has voted to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.
City officials said in a news release that the council voted 5-4 Wednesday night to approve the pot ordinance
The measure makes possession of an ounce or less of marijuana a civil infraction punishable by a fine of no more than $25. It had been a criminal misdemeanor.
Activists had submitted enough valid voter signatures to force a public vote on the matter.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reported that with approval, the council hoped to avoid the costs of a vote and the uncertainty of the question even making the November ballot.
The newspaper says the vote makes Santa Fe the first city in the state to decriminalize pot.
Many marijuanaeventsare taking place this weekend and in the coming weekends.
Hempcon, one of America’s largest cannabis industry health, lifestyle and culture events, will be held in San Francisco from August 22-24. The following Saturday, MMJ for Tucson, a medical marijuanaeventthat is open to the public will be held in Tucson. It will featuredispensaries,marijuana doctors, and more.
The High Times Cannabis Cup will be held in Seattle in early September. Other marijuana industry events such as trade shows and conventions are also happening in the near future. Check out themarijuana events calendarto see all upcoming events.
Reoccurring Arizona medical marijuana events are also listed in the marijuana events calendar.
ARIZONA GROUP ATTEMPTING TO ADVANCE PTSD IMPLEMTATION
The Arizona Cannabis Nurses Association, an Arizona medical marijuana advocacy group, is appealing the Arizona Department of Health Services’ terms and delay to implement post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana for treatment in Arizona.
Lawyer Ken Sobel is representing the Arizona Cannabis Nurses Association. Sobel stated, “I will be putting in a request for a hearing to get an order from the court that orders the department to immediately implement PTSD as a debilitating condition, and to strike everything after…all that surplus language that involves delaying the implementation.”
Will Humble, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, stated last July that medical marijuana could only be used for “palliative care,” meaning to temporarily relieve PTSD symptoms and not treat PTSD as a primary treatment. He also stated that the date chosen (January 2015) for PTSD implementation as a medical marijuana qualifying condition is to give doctors anddispensariesenough time to “develop policies, procedures and educational materials required” before distributing medical marijuana to PTSD patients.
Sobel said he and the Arizona Cannabis Nurses Association have attempted to meet with the Arizona Department of Health Services and Will Humble to help them with such policies, procedures and materials, but the department has “rejected” their help.
RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH CONCENTRATES
Marijuana concentrates (hash, oils, waxes, etc) are becoming a very popular method of medicating for medical marijuana patients across the country. But risks are involved because of the possible toxins created by the extraction processes used to make the marijuana concentrates.
Marijuana concentrates are comprised ofcannabinoids(THC,CBD, etc) and terpenes extracted from marijuana by means of chemical solvents or gas (butane, CO2, etc). Most marijuana concentrates contain 60-90% THC; whereas, marijuana strains found indispensariestypically contain 12-22% THC.
Higher levels of cannabinoids help many medical marijuana patients treat their illnesses without having to use marijuana as frequently.
The effectiveness of marijuana concentrates is determined by the quality of the marijuana used to create it, as well as the safety and accuracy of the extraction process. Concentrates can be rather safe when they are produced using the proper methods. But if an extraction method is not up to par, residual toxic solvents can be left behind in the final product. Inhalation or consumption of these solvents can be very harmful.
Currently, the Arizona Department of Health Services does not require dispensaries or caregivers to have their marijuana tested by a lab for traces of toxic substances, but many dispensaries and caregivers do get their marijuana tested anyways. Therefore, when looking to purchase marijuana concentrates be sure to ask thedispensary’s employees if their concentrates are safe for consumption and are free of toxic contaminants.
25-MILE RULE MARIJUANA GROWING LAW BEING REVISED
Some medical marijuana patients outside Arizona’s metro areas should soon regain the right to grow their own marijuana.
The Arizona medical marijuanalawcurrently states that if a medical marijuana patient lives within 25 miles of adispensarythey cannot obtain the right to grow their own marijuana. Almost all of the 56,000 medical marijuana patients in Arizona are within 25 miles of a dispensary.
Last week, judge Tammy Eigenheer rejected arguments by a Gold Canyon resident that he should be exempt from this law because while a dispensary was 8 miles as the crow flies, it was 26 miles by road. Eigenheer said that is the way the law is written. But, Will Humble, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said this isn’t the first time this issue has been raised.
“I actually agree with them. And so we’re [the Arizona Department of Health Services] in the process right now of revising our regulations. And in those new revised regulations were going to change that definition of 25 miles to by road,” said Humble.
Humble also stated that the 25-mile rule, however measured, is justified because it honors the intent of the voters who voted for a system which requires marijuana to be handled by regulateddispensaries, complete with reporting requirements; rather than a free-for-all industry where patients can grow what they want and distribute it to others.
AZ MARIJUANA CARDS LIKELY TO BE ACCEPTED AT NEVADA DISPENSARIES
Authorities in Nevada are working on a plan that would allow medical marijuana patients from other states, including Arizona, to purchase medical marijuana at Nevadadispensaries, which will be opening in early 2015.
The bureau chief of the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health said that Nevada’s new medical marijuana program will allow Arizona residents to shop at dispensaries if they are part of the medical marijuana program in Arizona.
Brian Sandoval, the governor of Nevada, has officially said that up to 66 dispensaries will open all over the state, with the first expected to open in Las Vegas at the beginning of 2015.
According to statelaw, Nevada dispensaries can choose to honor out of state medical marijuana cardholders as long as the state that issued their license has an electronic database of patients that “allows the Division and medical marijuana dispensaries in (Nevada) to access the database.”
This measure would obviously need to first be approved by authorities in Arizona. Will Humble, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, is hesitant to believe that this law would ever work out in conjunction with Arizona cardholders because the system in which medical marijuana is sold and regulated is specific to Arizona dispensaries. However, Nevada authorities are confident that once the organized system is functioning by early 2015, their dispensaries won’t even need to access the database in Arizona, and that onsitedispensaryagents will be able to validate the out-of-towners’ licenses.
There are more than a few details that need ironing out, but if all goes according to plan, Arizona medical marijuana cardholders and other states will have a few more reasons to visit Las Vegas next year.
FEDERAL BILL INTRODUCED WOULD LEGALIZE CBD OIL
US Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) has introduced a bill to Congress that would make cannabidiol (CBD) legal under federallaw. CBD oil is the marijuana-based oil that has been shown to reduce seizures in children with debilitating epilepsy and helps with other medical conditions.
“These children and individuals like them deserve a chance to lead a healthy and productive life and our government shouldn’t stand in the way,” said Perry.
If passed, the “Charlotte’s Web Medical Hemp Act of 2014″ would allow states to permit patients suffering from epilepsy and other related medical conditions to use CBD oil that is extremely low inTHC(the psychoactive component in marijuana) but very potent in CBD content.
Currently, federal law states that any product made from marijuana is illegal, as marijuana remainsclassifiedas a Schedule I drug.
The bill would allow children and adults with epilepsy and other seizure disorders access to cannabidiol for treatment by removing CBD oil and therapeutichempfrom the federal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. Therapeutic hemp would be defined at the federal level as marijuana containing no more than .3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), under the bill.
Eleven states (Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin) have enacted lawsthis year to allow CBD-based medications. Many of the laws passed in these states are not workable due to the current limitations imposed under federal law and are unlikely to provide much, if any, relief for patients.
In addition, 23 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws allowing medical marijuana for a wide variety of medical conditions, including seizures and chronic pain.
Chilean Housewife: Latin America's 1st Legal Marijuana Patient
MA, Peru — “Out of 10, when I smoke the pain is four. When I don’t, it is 14,” says Cecilia Heyder, a Chilean housewife with breast cancer and lupus who is likely the first person to be legally prescribed medical marijuana in Latin America.
“I feel like I am burning up inside. Everything hurts. I don’t have the strength to take a step, and I often have to use a wheelchair. My body rejects opiates so cannabis is the only thing that works for me.”
On June 26, Chile’s Institute for Public Health granted Heyder special permission, based on her unusual double illness, to be treated withSativex, a cannabis-derived painkiller that will improve her quality of life — without getting her stoned.
The 48-year-old mother of two was diagnosed with systemiclupusin 2009 and then breast cancer in 2011. As the pain became unbearable, and on a doctor’s suggestion, she began using cannabis in early 2013.
With her first shipment of Sativex from the UK still weeks away, she now takes the soft drug through infusions, in food and by smoking joints.
None of that’s permitted by Chilean law, although possession of cannabis for personal use is not actually punished.
Before her illness, Heyder says, she had only ever tried the drug once, as a teenager, and did not enjoy the experience.
Her case appears to mark a watershed in a region where no nation, including Chile, yet has laws in effect that allow or regulate medical marijuana.
Her case appears to mark a watershed in a region where no nation, including Chile, yet has laws in effect that allow or regulate medical marijuana.
“It is a very significant step. This is the first time that the Chilean state formally recognizes the use of medicinal marijuana,” says Ana Maria Gazmuri, president of theDaya Foundation, which campaigns for alternative medicine in Chile...read more click here...
‘Prince of Pot’ returns to Canada after time in U.S. jail
Marc Emery was greeted by a crowd of supporters Tuesday upon crossing into Canada from Detroit after serving a five-year sentence for selling marijuana seeds to customers across the border.
Supporters of the country’s self-styled “Prince of Pot” – including his wife, Jodie – gathered in Windsor, Ont., ahead of his return, which happened around 4 p.m. local time.
Jodie Emery said she and her husband are lucky that he is coming home a free man and can immediately resume their activism to legalize marijuana.
Dozens of supporters were lighting up joints and smoking pot with vaporizers as they waited for Emery outside Windsor City Hall.
Emery, 56, was extradited to Seattle in May 2010 and he pleaded guilty to selling marijuana seeds from Canada to American customers.
When Emery was first arrested almost a decade ago, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency heralded his seizure as a “significant blow” to the legalization movement.
His wife addressed the crowd of supporters waiting for her husband, saying Marc Emery “never hurt anyone.”
“The families and loved ones of the pot prisoners did not hurt anyone and yet this government makes them suffer,” Jodie Emery said, choking up as she spoke.
“You don’t have to think Marc Emery is a hero but a lot of people do and I want to give him a hero’s welcome and then we’re going to continue our campaign to end prohibition in Canada, legalize marijuana, stop arresting people for pot, please. Please stop.”
Details are still to be worked out for a 30-city cross-Canada marijuana advocacy tour and a visit to Europe for several speaking engagements, she said. The couple is based in Vancouver.
JAIL AS GROW FACILITY
Once used to house female inmates, Colorado’sHigh Plains Women’s Correctional Facility is now looking at being repurposed as a cannabis cultivation center and dispensary. Nicholas Erker is the owner of this now vacant 60,000 square-foot prison which has built in eight-inch thick walls and surrounding razor wire fences—making it an ideal location for a secure grow. However, Erker’s dream to open a cannabis grow in the prison is being met with local resistance.
The prison in question is located in the city of Brush, Colorado, about an hour and a half drive from Denver. The small city of Brush currently has a moratorium on any cannabis businesses until 2016. On Aug. 4th, there was a City Council meeting to discuss lifting the moratorium. There was standing room only at the meeting as the citizens spoke for and against allowing the prison grow.
Currently, Erker is still trying to convince the people of Brush that the new dispensary could help bring in jobs to the small community where nearly sixty workers lost their jobs when the prison closed. His business, Colorado Farm Products is hosting an open house and open forum at the prison on Sunday, August 17 from 2-5pm. They will be giving tours of the prison and addressing questions and concerns from the local community. Following the open house, the Brush City Council has scheduled another public forum to discuss whether to keep the moratorium in place or not on Monday, August 18.
Erker estimates that he can create more than two dozen jobs between the cannabis cultivation and running the recreational dispensary. He hopes to combat the black market in rural northeastern Colorado and create tax opportunities for the city. In the initial estimates that Erker shared with the County Commissioner, he hoped to bring in roughly $300,000 in sales tax for the city of Brush.
Unfortunately, while the city could use the jobs and the taxes, many citizens at the first meeting were there to speak against allowing recreational cannabis into the city. In the end, the City Council may choose not to budge on the moratorium, but instead, to leave the issue up to the voters this November which could yield a different response.
NY TIMES SUPPORTS MARIJUANA!!!
Perhaps the most renowned newspaper in the country, if not the world, has proclaimed that it is time to finally put an end to marijuana prohibition in the US.
The New York Times recently printed a story in theirSunday editorialthat stated, “The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana. We reached the conclusion after a great deal of discussion among the members of The Times Editorial Board, inspired by a rapidly growing movement among the states to reform marijuanalaws.”
The Times also looked into the idea of letting states continue to decide their own fate in regards to how to govern marijuana on a state level and feel that it isn’t the best option. They went on to say, “We considered whether it would be best for Washington to hold back while the states continued experimenting with legalizing medicinal uses of marijuana, recuing penalties, or even simply legalizing all use. Nearly three-quarters of the states have done one of these.”
While the Times doesn’t necessarily speak for Congress, they most definitely have a massive following and are seen as perhaps the most respected news publication on the planet, so it isn’t as if they just decided to up and publish something without reviewing all of the facts. The United States perception of marijuana is changing rapidly, and it seems like we are only moving forward.
The nation’s first market study about the after effects of the legalization of marijuana in Colorado is out, and the numbers are huge to say the least. It appears that over 10 tons of recreational marijuana is being sold every single month.
The Marijuana Policy Group in conjunction with the Department of Revenue has found that marijuana demand in the Rocky Mountain state is drastically larger than what was once believed. Based on the first 3 months of recreational marijuana sales, Colorado is on pace to consume 260,000 pounds this year alone. These numbers are quite the surprise, as this number turned out to be a third larger than what was expected.
The data was collected using a tracking system specifically designed for the marijuana industry for commercial growers anddispensariesto assist in keeping track of inventory. The tracking system also proved that the majority of recreational sales are from out of town visitors to Colorado.
Illinois will be expanding its medical marijuana pilot program to allow medical marijuana for patients with epilepsy, which will include children. Governor Pat Quinn just signed the new bill.
Governor Quinn stated “This newlawwill help alleviate the suffering of many adults and children across the state. Epilepsy is a debilitating condition, and this much needed relief will help to reduce some of its symptoms for those who endure seizures. The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act is now designed to help our fellow citizens of all ages by allowing its strictly controlled use for specific medical conditions.”
The new bill will allow patients suffering from seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy, get access to medical marijuana under the Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program, which was approved in 2013 but has yet to be fully implemented. The firstdispensariesare expected to open in late 2014 or early 2015.
The bill also allows minors, 18 and under, to have access to medical marijuana for epilepsy, or any of the other qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. Minors will be limited to marijuana extracts, such as oils and infusededibles. In addition to a doctor recommendation, minors will also need parental consent to enroll in the medical marijuana program.
Washington lawmakers have recently stated that they will permit recreational marijuanadispensariesto sell marijuana infused brownies, cakes, and other miscellaneous baked goods, but they will not allow them to be sold in candy form (lollipops, gummy bears, jelly beans, etc) which could potentially entice children.
Recreational marijuana clubs in Washington opened their doors to the public on July 8thof this year and the guidelines for how marijuana infusedediblesare required to be packaged was released less than two weeks later. The Liquor Control Board of Washington was placed in charge of overseeing the process.
Their main concern is they don’t want anything floating around that might appeal to children. Specific items being banned will include gummy bears, jelly beans, suckers and some other types of candy.
Hopeful manufacturers must also adhere to certain guidelines in order for their product to even be considered. They must be able to show that theTHCis spread out evenly amongst the products to ensure that all of the edibles contain a uniform amount of potency. In other words, they want to be sure that one brownie doesn’t get you drastically higher than another.
2016 ARIZONA LEGALIZATION EFFORTS BEGIN!!!
A ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in Arizona in 2016 is being deliberated by theMarijuana Policy Project(MPP), a national organization for marijuana policy reform, andSafer Arizona, a local pro-marijuana group.
Mason Tvert, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project stated, “Marijuana prohibition has proven to be just as huge a failure as alcohol prohibition.”
The Marijuana Policy Project wants to tailor Arizona’s initiative to be like Nevada’s 2016 initiative to legalize and tax marijuana, the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act, which is similar to Colorado’s current adult-use recreational marijuana regulations.
Arizonans are urged to offer support by providing their input via Safer Arizona’sdiscussion page. Over the next two years, Safer Arizona andAZmarijuana.comwill be collaborating to unite Arizonans for the 2016 Arizona legalization ballot initiative.
Spain is becoming a global destination for marijuana tourism. Roughly 300 marijuana clubs have opened in Barcelona and surrounding areas with no signs of slowing down,. Barcelona officials are not condoning the businesses either.
It seems that these new marijuana entrepreneurs are operating off a decade old loophole. An oldlawin Spain allows anyone to grow and use marijuana in private as long as they are doing so in regards to operating a nonprofit business. So individuals are permitted to join together and open marijuana clubs the same way your mom might start a wine-of-the-month club and invite all of her friends to sit around and drink and gossip in private.
Over the last few years, these clubs have been popping up all over Barcelona, specifically in heavy tourist areas. While a lot of the clubs will refuse walk-ins off the street, many will offer “memberships” where you can gain entry by paying a little over $20. The type of club you might encounter will vary from spot to spot. Some are reminiscent of a fraternity house, with pool tables and a couple of televisions, while others are more upscale offering live music, full restaurants, and even pilates classes.
Experts say that one reason for the massive boom in club openings is that the younger generation is seeing it as a way to find goodjobs. In the meantime, Spanish authorities have put a 1 year moratorium on any new marijuana clubs from opening.