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The 7 Best Mother’s Day Gifts for the Stoner Mom in Your Life



As legal weed becomes more and more prevalent in the U.S., so do the options for gifts for those of us who use cannabis.  Being a regular cannabis consumer myself, it is always exciting for me to see what is newly available on the market for the best gifts.  While I have done gifting guides in the past, this one is particularly special to me as I am a mom of 3 young boys and have been at the stoner mom lifestyle for quite some time now.  I hope you find at least one of these 7 awesome options to be the best Mother’s Day gifts for the stoner mom, or stoner mama, in your life.

1. The Glacier Pen Kit by Ooze

This is a vape pen for concentrates that is a great quality for the price you pay.  It is also sleek and convenient and includes a 20-second auto-shut-off battery, dual quartz rods, titanium coils, a quartz bowl and also has a discrete reaction chamber.  For the stoner mom who loves to have her cannabis concentrates already packed in a pen, this is both cost efficient and convenient.

2. Lady G Cognac Whipstitich by AnnaBis

You may recall our mention of a smaller AnnaBis clutch in our Valentine’s Day gift guide, but this beautiful purse is a cool cross-body that becomes a waist bag with an easy clip of the strap. Outside on back, find your handy phone pocket. Twist the claps and lift the flap to see two Aroma-Bloc™ zippered compartments that tame smelly buds and pungent paraphernalia. Lift one side of the silky interior lining and find another concealed air-tight Aroma-Bloc™ compartment that totally avoids prying eyes and noses! Perfect for festivals and other events. One of AnnaBis’ largest bags, the Lady G Cognac is roomy enough for a wallet, glasses and keys, and includes two gusseted pouches and two tiny elastic bands for a lighter,  eye drops and/or mints. The purse has 100% genuine Italian leather exterior and purple jacquard lining.

3. The Empower Body Care Mother’s Day Gift Box


This is beyond perfect for any stoner mama (or any parent really) out there.  The products include hemp topical oil and hemp therapeutic soaking salts.  These products are some of the best hemp topicals currently on the market, and are great to give the seasoned stoner mom or a stoner mama who simply enjoys relaxing with high quality body care products.  All of Empower’s products are non-toxic, hypoallergenic, vegan, non-GMO, and offer uplifting and relaxing aromatherapy support and a powerful approach to pain management
Find out more and how to order one here.

4. The Medical Marijuana Dispensary Cookbook by Laurie Wolf and Mary Wolf

Does your stoner mom love to cook?  Or would she like to try cooking with cannabis for the first time? Or is she curious about the medical benefits of marijuana?  Either way, this book is the perfect purchase for her.  The use of medical marijuana has been a valuable resource in the treatment of various conditions. But for many, the stigma and misinformation surrounding the medical or recreational use of cannabis is a deterrent in trying it for themselves. Part reference guide, part cannabis cookbook, The Medical Marijuana Dispensary will arm you with everything you need to decide for yourself if medical marijuana is right for you.  Oh and P.S….Laurie Wolf (one of the authors) was just named the “Martha Stewart of Marijuana” by the New Yorker


5. The Dipper by Dipstick Vapes



The Dipper is a unique and multi-functional concentrate vaporizer like I have never seen before.  This product (essentially an electric nectar collector) has truly changed my life as a mother who is a regular cannabis consumer.  It allows you to vape your concentrates anywhere, and with far more ease than even a portable electric nail might offer.  The Vapor Tip Atomizer is a convenient and simple way to dab without a rig and torch or any loading, and the Quartz Crystal Atomizer allows the user to load like a traditional pen but hits like a true dab.  The Dipper, which comes in both a chrome and charcoal color, also offers great flavor and is easy to clean.  This is hands down the best vape accessory I have seen so far in my cannabis consumption career and I can’t describe how much I love it!  I am sure that your stoner mom will too! 

6. The “420” card game by Brotato


Is the stoner mama in your life more of a game night kind of gal?  Then look no further…The 420 card game is a fun party game centered around marijuana. The game is simple and can be played with 2 people up to 52.  Everyone takes a turn playing an action or a question card on someone.  Then, the person who you play your card on must perform the action/answer the question or refuse it. If they refuse it, you win a point! For every point gained or lost, the winner or loser takes a hit.  The actions are borderline objectionable and the questions are stoner-deep. Either way, everybody gets to have a puff and laugh and have fun!


7. The Toker Poker



This is essential for anyone who likes to consume cannabis flower by smoking it.  This nifty little tool works perfectly with all cannabis smoke accessories: pipes, bongs, one-hitters, bubblers…you name it.  It combines the 2 things that are always necessary to smoke a bowl (a lighter and a poker) in a cute and compact design.  Busy mamas need this all in one so they aren’t stuck unbending all of the paperclips in the house when they are ready for that hit off their pipe…and then it folds up conveniently to be put back into your pocket, purse, or drawer.

The U.S. Government Isn't Very Good at Producing Marijuana


Looking for the finest weed? Turn to private purveyors, not the feds. New research finds that government-produced cannabis offers fewer variations and a lower concentration of cannabinoids than marijuana sold by dispensaries in states where the drug is legal. 

The study was published in Nature on Wednesday, a day before the nation's unofficial marijuana holiday, April 20. (The publication date was pure coincidence, according to lead researcher Daniela Vergara.) Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder and Steep Hill Labs Inc., a California-based cannabis testing laboratory, analyzed close to 3,000 samples. 

Cannabis produced by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)—which is used in laboratory experiments—was compared with cannabis grown by private companies and sold at dispensaries for state-legal consumption. According to the study, the government-grown weed had just 27 percent the THC level found in private-sector weed. 

State-legal marijuana may be more potent in part because it is kept in a manner that helps prevent THC from degrading. "We believe there is a storage issue, either because they are not storing it correctly [or they're] waiting for a long time before testing it," Vergara said in a phone interview.

This federal pot has been criticized in the past for not looking or smelling like cannabis both by researchers and professional critics. NIDA did not immediately return a request for comment.

"The data demonstrate that Cannabis plants currently grown for NIDA are not representative of plants consumed by recreational and medicinal users through state-legalized markets across the nation," the study stated. "Cannabis flower available from dispensaries appears to be more potent and diverse in cannabinoid content."

The study's authors argue that American scientists should have access to marijuana that is closer in composition to what is sold in legal dispensaries around the country. "This mismatch between what the public is using and what is available to researchers limits scientific study on the potential harms or benefits," the authors wrote. 

Vergara believes that allowing researchers to obtain state-legal cannabis could help to alleviate some of the problems scientists experience, as it can be difficult to procure NIDA samples, she said. "If they rescheduled it, it would be very easy for us to work with cannabis that people are using."

Compared with illegal cannabis, the government's weed has less THC, but both varieties are inferior to state-legal marijuana. For the most joyous possible holiday (and to comply with the law), obtaining your bud from a dispensary is ideal.

U.S. Department of Justice Task Force to Review Marijuana Enforcement Laws



With the new administration in the U.S., many states that have legalized cannabis or medical cannabis are wondering what will happen to state marijuana programs.  There has definitely been plenty of discussion here in Oregon about how things will continue to roll out and how the DOJ might deal with marijuana enforcement.

This week, we found out that states that have any kind of legalized marijuana policy in place might have a better idea by late July how the Department of Justice (DOJ) intends to handle marijuana enforcement under the Trump administration.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo stating that the initial recommendations from the DOJ’s new task force on crime reduction and public safety would be due by July 27. The task force is expected to figure out ways to reduce violent crime and illegal immigration. Because of this, they will be evaluating existing policy in several different areas including marijuana enforcement, charging and sentencing, and asset forfeiture.
Uncertainly has lingered over what could happen to recreational or medical marijuana markets since Mr. Sessions took the lead at the DOJ.  Of course, there have been many individuals and companies who have been concerned about this very issue since the new administration began office, and particularly since Sessions was appointed since he has been outwardly against anything related to marijuana policy reform.

Mr. Sessions’ memo states that task force subcommittees will “undertake a review of existing policies in the areas of charging, sentencing, and marijuana to ensure consistency with the department’s overall strategy on reducing violence crime and with the administration goals and priorities.”

Lawmakers in over 20 states have proposed bills this year to ease their marijuana laws despite Sessions’ warning that he could crack down on the world of weed. Bills have been introduced in 17 states this year to make recreational cannabis legal for adults, while 5 others are considering voter referendums on the issue. 16 states have introduced medical marijuana legislation and 10 are considering decriminalizing the drug.

Looking at these numbers would certainly make one believe that the big wheel of the cannabis legalization movement is only going forward at this point, so we will wait and see if this administration will be on board with this trent or not.

GOVERNERS FROM FOUR STATES ASK TO BE LEFT ALONE


DENVER (AP) — Governors from the first four states to legalize recreational marijuana are asking the Trump administration to let the pot experiments continue.

The governors of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington say that marijuana legalization has expanded their economies.

The governors also say in Monday’s letter that legal weed can be regulated to protect public safety and that legalization reduces “inequitable incarceration,” or people of color being disproportionately jailed for pot crimes.

The letter was addressed to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. The governors say they opposed legalization at first, but warn that a federal pot crackdown now “would divert existing marijuana product into the black market.”

The governors also ask for the Treasury Department not to change instructions to banks for handling marijuana money.

You can keep up with all of HIGH TIMES’ marijuana news right here.


The 2016 elections gave a huge boost to legal weed, while simultaneously scaring the hell out of everyone as the keys to the White House and Congress were handed over to a group of reactionary pot-haters.

We will not soon forget the day when White House press secretary Sean Spicer suggested the Trump administration may crack down on states with legal recreational weed.

But what about the new House of Representatives bill that aims to protect states’ rights?

When HR 975, which enjoys bipartisan support by the way, was introduced in Congress by California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, many saw it as a hopeful sign.

The bill has an optimistic title and straightforward message: “Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2017.”

The hope is that the House bill will protect consumers and businesses in states that have passed legalization initiatives or amendments as well as “any person acting in compliance with State laws relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of marihuana.”

This basically prevents the feds from busting consumers and businesses in legal medical and recreational states.

The bill, if passed, would also clear up the banking mess that has plagued the industry for years.

This attempt to come up with a reasonable solution to the issue of states’ rights has been viewed as a smart move, undertaken in tandem with the formation of the first-ever bipartisan Congressional Cannabis Caucus, whose goal is to promote sensible cannabis policy reform and ease the tension between federal and state cannabis laws.

NORML referred to the Congressional Cannabis Caucus as a step toward reforming cannabis policy at the federal level: “Having a coalition of lawmakers in Washington, DC who will go on the record in support of advocating for cannabis freedom is something we haven’t had before, but it is an event that is long overdue.”

There are just too many people, including politicians, local advocates and millions of Americans who voted for the safe recreational and medical benefits that weed provides.

So it makes perfect sense for a group of federal lawmakers to step up and provide the extremist elements in the current government with an opportunity to back off. The question is: will they take it?

Some have already begun to mend their anti-marijuana ways and are seeing the light. And that light is green—as in dollars.

The  weed industry raked in more than $6.5 billion in legal sales in the U.S. last year and, if allowed to grow at its own pace, is estimated to reach $25 billion by 2020.

As one of the fastest growing industries in the country and on track to provide more jobs than the manufacturing sector, a change of heart from even the most strident lawmakers will hopefully start to crack the GOP’s anti-weed wall.

Only last week Denver’s Mayor, Michael Hancock, admitted that his town has a lot to lose if the feds come busting the doors down and wreck their wildly successful weed industry, which he once opposed but now realizes that it has been a lifeline.

If Rohrabacher’s bill to Respect State Marijuana Laws falls flat and Attorney General Jeff Sessions indeed goes after legal marijuana, the weed industry will revert back to the shadows from whence it came.

And who wants to see all those jobs, tax revenue and money dry up?

Pot is not going anywhere, that much we know.

But who is going make it available is the question. The black market or legal shops? What say you President Trump?

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 about what 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 the Fresh Toast stated that following 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 a 2013 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

Ingredients:

  • 3.5 cups virgin olive oil
  • 1 ounce marijuana, finely ground

Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Continue this for about an hour, possibly two if you have the time.
  5. 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.
  6. You now have your marijuana-infused cannabis oil!

Israel Government to Spend Millions Studying Cannabis



The Israel government has announced that they will be spending millions to study various aspects of cannabis.

The studies will be done in collaboration between the Ministry of Health’s medical cannabis unit and the Ministry of Agriculture’s chief scientist unit. According to the Ministries of both agencies, they will be providing ILS 8 million (roughly $2.1 million) to fund 13 different cannabis studies.

The studies will reportedly be financed through a fund operated by the chief scientist unit. The studies will deal with both medical and biochemical aspects of the plant, in addition to at least one study on how to improve medical cannabis crop yields.

In addition to these trials, the government agreed to fund research examining the development of new and improved technologies for “irrigating and fertilizing cannabis plants, improved ways of dealing with plant diseases and pests that attack the cannabis plant, development of methods for multiplying and grafting cannabis plants, establishing a genetic bank and national bank of medical cannabis plants, improving and developing new cannabis strains, and more.”

Does Marijuana Help Cure An Alcohol Hangover?



After A Long Night Of Drinking Alcohol, Can Marijuana Help Get Rid Of That Hangover

We have probably all been there at one time or another – the night before was an alcohol binge drinking fest, and you are now paying the price today with a mild to massive hangover. Considering the amount of New Year Eve parties across America last night, I’d imagine there are more than a few people that are reading this hungover right now. You are probably desperate for ANYTHING that will make you feel better, right? Alcohol hangover symptoms include the notorious headache, upset stomach, and possibly aches and pains, plus who knows what else.

Most of the unpleasant symptoms experienced during a hangover are caused by two factors: the diuretic alcohol effect that causes the drinker to become dehydrated, and the toxic effects of alcohol poisoning of many systems of the body. Marijuana of course does not rehydrate you or flush alcohol poisons from your body. However, it can help you indirectly by helping you eat. A commenter on a marijuana.com forum stated the following that I think sums it up nicely, “It doesn’t “cure” them… a hangover will stop once your body has rid itself of the leftover alcohol and been rehydrated. I use marijuana for hangovers because it cures my nausea and allows me to drink water (which I usually just throw back up) and get food in my stomach. It’s not a cure per se, but it definitely helps.”

I found one website called thedrunkpirate.com. The drunk pirate had the following to say about marijuana and alcohol hangovers, “I can handle the headache. It’s the nausea that kills me with a hangover. In case you don’t know it, Cannabis is prescribed to cancer patients in some states as a cure for nausea. Now I know that if you’re the type of drinker you say you are, chances are you have a friend who’s a pot head. Snag a doobie from him and stick it in a safe place (freezer) for the next time you have one of those nausea hangovers. You can wake up, take a few hits, and then eat your General Tso’s. Be warned: Don’t get too high. Being high and hungover is not fun.”

To me the biggest benefit to smoking marijuana after a long night of drinking alcohol is that it makes the hungover person more tolerant of their symptoms. Even before I have re-hydrated, and alcohol is still poisoning my blood stream, if I consume marijuana it helps my head feel better and the symptoms more tolerable. It’s not just that way for a hangover, marijuana has the same affect whenever I have almost any pain or ailment. Smoking marijuana makes me feel better every time.

One thing for all readers to take away from this article is that alcohol is literally poison, and it will make you sick if you consume too much of it. Compare that experience with marijuana, where the hangover is much less likely. I have personally never had a ‘marijuana hangover,’ but I have heard about it from other consumers, mostly rookies. How about for a New Year’s resolution, people promise to not drink alcohol next New Year’s Eve and just smoke marijuana. According to recent studies, that would result in less crashes on the streets and obviously would lead to less hungover people on January 1st!

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. Under Colorado’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 correspondent Sanjay Gupta’s documentary Weed in 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 discovering the wonders of CBD and 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 be effective in treating seizures, even in young children.

CBD is found in both the drug 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.

Not All Hemp CBD Oils Are Created Equal

Not many cannabis researchers or cannabis professionals will refute the efficacy and wonders of the cannabinoid Cannabidiol. It can be a potent and powerful product with amazing therapeutic benefits. However, the ways in which cannabidiol is extracted from industrial hemp plants, then manufactured, concentrated, formulated, etc., and delivered or administered to a customer or patient, is largely suspect. Some customers have even reported becoming violently ill from poorly manufactured hemp CBD products, many of which either contain mysterious inactive chemicals or ingredients different than those listed on the label.

Hemp CBD is regulated by the FDA as a dietary supplement, and like other dietary supplements the FDA is “not authorized to review dietary supplement products for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed.” This is in direct opposition to most modern day medical and recreational marijuana markets. Both regulated medical and recreational markets typically have stringent production and testing guidelines and manufacturing regulations, and these guidlines typically exclude the sale of hemp-derived CBD through medical and recreational dispensaries.

This is from the FDA’s website:

A list of FDA warning letters and test results for Cannabidiol related products and manufactures can be found here.

Conversely, the Stanley Brothers, creators of the original Charlotte’s Web now manufacture CBD Hemp Oil under the name CW Hemp. Because Charlotte’s Web products contain less than 0.3 percent THC, they are allowed by U.S. Federal law to ship their acclaimed Hemp CBD oil products straight to your doorstep.

Many Medical Marijuana Producers Are Producing Consistent, Top Quality CBD, Too

Charlotte’s Web is not the only high-CBD strain or CBD product out there. Strains likeAC/DC, Harlequin, Cannatonic, Sour Tsunami, Ringo’s Gift, and many others exist.

Since 1996, there have been several medical marijuana markets growing in the western United States. In the region, states like California, Washington, and Oregon created an avenue for seasoned cannabis cultivators to farm cannabis medicines for their patients. Nearly two decades later, these states and several others, including Colorado, are expanding into the country’s first full-fledged recreational cannabis markets. Growers in these markets have been producing both high-THC and high-CBD strains of marijuana and merging them into edibles, concentrates, and topicals of all forms to assist customers and patients with their therapeutic needs.

These markets are now becoming known for having stricter testing standards than standard produce agriculture, and now nearly half the country’s states have some form of medical marijuana program or more. In these markets, medical marijuana cardholders can typically access CBD products containing much higher concentrations of Cannabidiol than hemp-derived CBD products, and due to stringent testing, oftentimes purer CBD products as well. When obtaining CBD products through a regulated medical or recreational marijuana marketplace, customer service representatives should be able to display and explain a product's origins, ingredients, and test results. State-certified labs provide these insights, and some even provide full cannabinoid and terpene analysis, too.

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 the pharmaceutical 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.


Could The US’s First Industrial Hemp Farms Be On Native American Land?

Thanks to weird federal laws about hemp, the versatile crop has yet to be farmed on a large scale.

Reuters reports that the Navajo Nation, which holds the largest Native American territory in the US, is in talks to begin producing industrial hemp.

Hemp, an herbaceous plant whose uses range from oils to edible protein-rich seeds to textiles, has long been mired in the weirdness of drug policy in the US, thanks to its status as a close cousin of the marijuana plant. From 1970 until 2014, the crop—which contains so little THC, the psychoactive substance in marijuana, as to be meaningless—was firmly illegal to grow in the US. This despite hemp products being perfectly legal themselves, hence a whopping $250 per acreprice for hemp grown in Canada (for comparison, at the time, soy was worth about $71 per acre).

Hemp was officially removed from the federal registry of banned substances in 2014, but most states have still banned it (among the states where it’s legal are California, Colorado, and Vermont). Even now, after a few farms (mostly non-Native) have begun farming and harvesting hemp, the legal situation is so confusing that large-scale agriculture of the crop has yet to take off.

But the rules are different on Native American land, owing to their status as legally separate from the United States. Also in 2014, a bill allowed Native American tribes to set their own cannabis-related laws, the same way states can. The comparatively smaller size of Native American lands and lesser burdens of red tape enable Native American tribes to get industrial hemp production moving much more quickly than states can.

This deal is being worked out between the Navajo Nation—a big clump of land around the three-way border of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah—and CannaNative, a Native-American-owned business that helps Native American farmers get ramped up for production of hemp and other cannabis products. The first farms will likely be set in those three states (Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico), and tribal leaders are enthusiastic about the possibility of a high-value, local agriculture product that has a proven demand and can’t easily be farmed elsewhere.

“The industrial hemp project could probably overtake Indian gaming, not only in terms of employment but also in terms of revenue to the Navajo,” Al Henderson, a senior Navajo economic adviser, told Reuters.

Voters will consider new marijuana rules in nine states

Voters in nine states will decide next month whether to relax their laws governing medical or recreational marijuana use, with California potentially the most significant market.

Four states — Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Alaska, plus the District of Columbia — have already legalized recreational marijuana, and 25 states permit medical use. But this election has the potential to dramatically shift the conversation because so many Americans live in those nine states where relaxation measures are being considered. California and its approximately 40 million residents represent a potential tipping point for a country where marijuana remains completely illegal at the federal level. California, Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada are considering legalizing and taxing recreational marijuana in this election, while voters in Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota are considering whether to permit medical use for certain conditions, like cancer or chronic pain.

Although the presidential campaign continues to dominate headlines across the country, these marijuana ballot measures could have far-reaching consequences for our society. What are the costs and opportunities? What are the realities of devil-is-in-the-detail marijuana regulation and taxation? And what are the potential social consequences?

To help answer those questions, USA TODAY convened a panel of experts to appear on Capital Download, a weekly video newsmaker series.

The three panelists included:

• Jeff Zinsmeister, executive vice president of SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana). As a State Department official, he worked on anti-drug and corruption programs with Mexico. SAM generally opposes marijuana legalization, but seeks alternative approaches to connect drug users with treatment, and opposes demonization of consumers, instead focusing its concern on the parallels between the tobacco and marijuana industries.

• Evan Nison, a member of the board of NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws). He heads the group's New Jersey branch, and he's been working on the issue since he was a student at Ithaca College. Nison also works withWhoopi Goldberg on her Whoopi & Maya women-focused medical marijuana products company.

• John Kagia, executive vice president of industry analytics for New Frontier Data, which doesn’t take a position on marijuana legalization but uses data to offer perspective on how the industry is unfolding.

A new poll released Wednesday by Pew Research Center shows a growing majority of Americans support ending marijuana prohibition: 57% of adults think marijuana use should be legal, up from 53% last year and 32% in 2006. Analysts say the marijuana market could be worth nearly $8 billion by 2020, and entrepreneurs are rushing to fund greenhouses, invest in growing and harvesting technology, and create social media platforms to connect buyers with cannabis recommendations.

Kagia said Colorado’s legalization efforts — the Centennial State was the first to develop a fully functioning cannabis marketplace — offer helpful examples of what other states might experience. Colorado last year saw about 250,000 pounds of legal cannabis sold through licensed stores, he said.

“There has been a substitution, a transition from the illicit market to the legal market by cannabis consumers in Colorado, and the numbers bear it out. These are astonishing numbers, and these are going through the legal channels,” he said. “These are products that are being sold and consumed within the state, by and large. If there has been expansion of the illicit market it is because within the umbrella of the legal apparatus, and particularly part because the markets around Colorado are still illegal, it makes it easy to create diversion and outflows from the state into other markets where it remains illegal but you can do it under the auspices of pseudo-legal production. But it is not that the legal market has been ineffective in capturing those customers.”

Zinsmeister said states should be cautious about chasing the tax dollars generated by legal marijuana sales. He said many marijuana regulations favor a Big Business approach, rather than simply making it legal for people to possess small amounts for personal use, drawing parallels with the tobacco industry.

“I don’t think anybody here on this panel would say that the tobacco industry is a good thing, that long-term tobacco use is a social net positive. It’s like studying a business and only looking at the income side of the balance sheet,” he said. “If you look at the costs of the two legal addictive substances that we currently have, alcohol and tobacco,  there is absolutely no doubt that the costs outweigh the revenues by a factor of 10. And I think there’s no reason to believe the same thing won’t be true with marijuana.”

At this point, Nison countered, state and federal-level politicians need to recognize they’re out of step with the majority of Americans who think they ought to have legal access to marijuana. He said next month’s election may irrevocably change the way marijuana is perceived, regulated and marginalized in this country.

“We do have an historic amount of initiatives on the ballot, which signals the trends that are happening.  I think we’ll almost for sure get California, which is going to be huge. I think we’ll get Maine, which will be the first legal state on the East Coast, which I love. I think Nevada is going to be close, Arizona is going to be tough. I think at this time next month, marijuana legalization will have made significant progress,” he said. “There’s been billions of dollars spent demonizing cannabis, and now we’re starting the veil sort of be lifted up.”

2,500-year-old marijuana discovered in an ancient tomb

The marijuana plants had been used as a burial shroud, the archaeologists say

A 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.

 team 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.

This 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 for National Geographic reports. 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.

Ancient 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 found 6,000 to 7,000-year-old hemp fabrics in 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 found a large cache of marijuana fragments in a grave from around the same time period, at a nearby settlement. When scientists 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 write.

Shark Tank Investors Talk Marijuana

I came across  an article at Entrepreneur.com by Kim Lachance Shandrow. In it she asks the investors from the popular TV series, Shark Tank, about their views on investing in the cannabis industry.

Many of their responses were familiar because savvy and successful investors like them won’t invest in an industry where there is no access to banking. Because of federal laws, and IRS tax code 280e, it is too risky for many investors when they have to think about losing their investment to the federal government, or having the feds come after them personally. Furthermore, having to stash hundreds of thousands of dollars of cash everywhere isn’t something a successful investor is going to want to do. For them, it’s all about timing, most likely when the federal laws are changed.

It was interesting to hear their responses. You could sense that many of them had at least researched investing in marijuana. One question I would have liked to hear them answer is: What are your thoughts on investing in ancillary businesses?

There are many businesses like our own site that aren’t directly involved in the cannabis industry. I also think it would be awesome to see people with such high net worth get involved with the cannabis movement politically. I bet that if only one of the Sharks got involved with cannabis on a philanthropic level it would hasten the change of our countries outdated marijuana laws exponentially.

 Kim at Entrepreneur.com writes:

The Sharks have seen it all. Entrepreneurs of all stripes vy for their cash in the Tank, and sometimes their businesses are just plain weird.

There was the hiker who turns roasted crickets into energy bars, the husband and wife on a mission to change the way we poop, one Squatty Potty at a time, and, who could forget, that guy who badly wants to draw a cat for you.

One kind of business that hasn’t been pitched on Shark Tank: a wacky tobacky business. Not yet at least. With marijuana now legal in some form in 25 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, and legal at the recreational level in four states, it’s probably only a matter of time before a ganjapreneur swims with the Sharks.

I spoke with the judges on Sept. 23 during a swanky breakfast in Beverly Hills celebrating the season eight premiere of their hit show to learn how they feel about the budding marijuana industry and whether they’d invest in it. (Fellow Shark Daymond John did not attend the breakfast and has not responded to a request for comment.)

To read what the Sharks had to say about investing in marijuana read the rest of the article here at Entrepreneur.com

Cannabis Business Times Launches Interactive Marijuana Legislation Map

Cannabis Business Times is proud to unveil its newest web tool for professional cultivators: the interactive marijuana legislation map.

While still very much a work in progress, this new web tool will allow cultivators to see what state-wide legislation may be pending, easily find the latest news on any given state, and discover where new business opportunities may abound at a glance.

While currently available in this article below, you will also be able to find the map on its new permanent home here, and under the Hot Topics drop down menu at the top of every page.

Using it is a simple as clicking your mouse. Simply drag your cursor over the state you want to learn more about, click anywhere on the state, read the quick summary, and follow the latest story link to find out more. 

Give it a try and remember to check back in regularly, because it will be updated as often as the American cannabis landscape evolves.

Teal: Pending legislative changes
Green: Fully legalized
Yellow: Medical only
Purple: CBD only
Blue: Decriminalized without a legal program
Red: No legal program


Study: Cannabis May Treat Vascular Dementia


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 of cannabinoid receptor 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 of cannabinoid receptor 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 by clicking here.

A separate study published last month by the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found 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.


5 BEST SUMMER STRAINS!

Summer is the perfect time to blaze up – everyone has more free time, and blunts, bowls, and vape pens go perfectly with a day at the beach or a summer hike. But certain strains can really weigh you down or make you sluggish, which is exactly what you don’t want while trying to be active in the hot weather.

Below are five of the best strains to try this summer to keep you active, happy, and on your feet, or to help you slowly ease into some summer relaxation.

Contact your local dispensary to see if they currently carry any of these strains.

Strawberry Cough

This delicious sativa is sweet and light, and favored by those who like a softer buzz then the kind brought on by diesels and other heavier buds. This delicious strain actually tastes like strawberries, and is known for bringing on a sense of euphoria and adventure. If you are planning on going for a hike or other outdoor adventure, this is the perfect thing to keep you going and discourage gorging on cookies or slumping into the couch. It’s also great for inspiring conversation, rather than causing smokers to sink into their own thoughts. Be careful when inhaling though, and consider getting a vape pen and trying a concentrate – the flower version of the strain can be slightly harsh to inhale.

Green Crack

For those who want a slightly more intense sativa high during their summer days, Green Crack is always an awesome option. This bud gets its name from its bright green color and super-strong smell, and the fact that it provides more energy than almost any other strain out there. This is perfect for the heavier smoker who wants a buzz that lasts all day, but one that’s a definite upper. Just be careful with this strain if you are more of a lightweight – it’s pretty strong!

Blueberry

While sativas are great for summer days and sustained energy, you also want to spend plenty of time in the summer relaxing. Whether it’s a lazy day at the beach or a summer evening on the porch sipping a beer, you may want to wind down with a nice indica. If so, try this indica-leaning hybrid for a good, relaxing buzz. It’s great for kicking back at the end of the day, and it’s also one of the major strains used for pain, so if you are sore from being active it will especially hit the spot.

New York City Sour Diesel

New York Diesel is the perfect strain for urban exploration, as the name implies. If your plan for the day is to hit the coffee shops, museums, and stores, or to head out on the town for a night of clubbing or a metal or hip-hop show, this incredibly upbeat strain is just the thing. This cross between the famous sativa Sour Diesel and the laid back indica known as Afghani mellows out the upper qualities, making it the perfect companion for those who want to be social but may experience some anxiety or panic in crowds or busy places.

Sherbet

This one earns a place on the list purely for the name and delicious taste that makes it perfect for summer. This cross between Girl Scout Cookies, Jacksonville Kush, and Durban is a major mutt, but the flavor ends up as a creamier, more Cookie-influenced take on Strawberry Cough. Try pairing this bud with a delicious ice cream at the end of a long, hot day to really top things off and get you in the summer spirit.

NFL PLAYER DONATES $80,000 FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA RESEARCH

NFL player Eugene Monroe has openly advocated for NFL players to be able to use medical marijuana in lieu of opioid painkillers for quite some time. And recently he donated $80,000 towards researching the effectiveness of medical marijuana for football players.  The research will be conducted by University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins University.

Monroe said, “As a player, I’m not allowed to use cannabis, but I’ve been prescribed opioids for various injuries. The opioids work, but they’re very dangerous and highly addictive.”

Monroe has previously urged the NFL to remove marijuana from the prohibited substances list, reportsPhilly.com.

Researcher Marcel Bonn-Miller said, “We’re doing two studies to start. We’ll be examining both current and retired NFL players to understand the impact of cannabis or cannabinoid use on recovering from an injury.”

In response to opioid addiction in the NFL, Monroe said, “Opioids are ruining lives across the country, and as athletes we’re not immune to those perils. This is an issue that goes beyond any personal career implications. I understand why other players may be adverse to speaking out, but our health is worth it.”


FISH CAN HELP YOU GROW EXCEPTIONAL MARIJUANA

There are tons of options for growing marijuana, and they all have their pros and cons, of course. Aside from growing outdoors, each option still requires you to get rid of plant debris and toxins by either throwing the water out or obtaining new soil for each plant.

So, to fix this issue there is an exciting green option that keeps money in your wallet while helping you end up with larger and healthier plants.

Have you ever heard of aquaponics?

If you put hydroponics and aquaculture together, you end up with aquaponics.

Various animals such as snails, frogs, fish, and turtles survive in aquaculture environments. Hydroponics grows plants in a system that does not include soil which offers your plant food through the water.

By bringing these to unique environments together, you can create a mutually beneficial setup where the plants get to enjoy nutrients the fish release and the fish get the advantage of the plants cleaning the water. You’ll spend less time and energy by using this type of system.

So how does this thing work?

A good portion of fish excrement has an ammonia base. Their feces and uneaten food are transmuted into ammonia during mineralization. When the water from the fish tank is filtered, bacteria turns the ammonia into nitrites, then into nitrates. The nitrates are then pushed to the plant for food.

The pH balance must be on point in this type of environment so you have to get fish that enjoy the same pH as marijuana. Hydro marijuana grows well in a 5.5 to 6.5 range, and a lot of fish prefer 6.5 to 7.5. The fish can eventually adjust to your marijuana’s preferred levels by changing the pH by no more than .2 pH per day. The best fish for this system are catfish, koi, goldfish and black moors.

The cons of aquaponics

If you are just starting as a marijuana grower, this may not be the right choice for you because it is not for beginners. With this system, you most certainly want to know what you are doing because you’d want to make sure your fish stay alive, while understanding hydro growing.


Taking care of fish may sound easy, but it’s actually quite a challenge to keep those bad boys afloat. This just isn’t the way to go for people looking for a quick fix to growing weed.

Is aquaponics worth it?

While this is a new system, the few marijuana growers who have tried this have reported excellent results. But it’s not just marijuana growers who are trying this. People are growing peppers, cucumbers, kale, cabbage, tomatoes, spinach and lettuce using this system. People are using this system to help foster a more organic lifestyle when it comes to their herbs and vegetables.

We say it is definitely worth a shot!

by Robert Bergman, founder of ilovegrowingmarijuana.com. Robert has been growing cannabis passionately for over 20 years and shares these insights to help educate growers to avoid mistakes and to fully capitalize on a bud’s potential.


FAMOUS ATHLETES PROMOTING MARIJUANA AS WORKOUT TOOL

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 Post reports.

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 industrial hemp, 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.

Read more: http://thelibertarianrepublic.com/george-washington-champion-of-hemp/#ixzz40NQp7sPh 
Follow us: @TheLibRepublic on Twitter

America's Marijuana Legalization Hotbed Ain't on the West Coast, It's in ... New England?

No state east of the Mississippi has legalized marijuana, but the land of Yankees has several states that could free the weed this year.

No state east of the Mississippi has legalized marijuana, but that's very likely to change this year, and New England will be leading the way. Two of the six New England states will likely let the voters make the call in November, while the others all have legalization bills pending.

So far, with the exception of Washington, DC, where voters elected to legalize the possession and cultivation, but not the sale of marijuana in 2014, all of the legalization action has been in the West. The four states that have legalized it so far—Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington—are all Western states.

More Western states will likely legalize it this year, including the nation's most populous, California, as well as Arizona and Nevada. The Nevada Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act has already qualified for the November ballot, while the Arizona campaign behind that's state's Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act is well-advanced in signature gathering and appears poised to easily qualify for the ballot as well.

Meanwhile, California's Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act(AUMA) is late out of the gate, but well-financed and broadly supported. It, too, should be on the ballot in November.

Another possible legalization state this year is Michigan, where the campaign behind the Michigan Marihuana Legalization, Regulation and Economic Stimulus Act just last week announced that it has 240,000 raw signatures and is aiming for 300,000 by March 15. But it needs 252,000 valid voter signatures to qualify, and with the rule of thumb for petition campaigns being that between 20% and 30% of raw signatures are likely to be invalidated, whether the Michigan initiative will qualify remains to be seen.

But it's Yankee country that will see the most concentrated regional push toward marijuana legalization this year. Initiatives that make the ballot will go before New England populations that are showing majority support for legalization this year, and, while progress toward legalization though the legislative process can be achingly difficult, the region also appears poised to produce the first state to free the weed through the legislature, not the popular vote.

Here's the rundown on New England legalization efforts this year. Chances are good that legalization will happen in two of them—the initiative states—and possibly in one or more of the other states:

Connecticut.Earlier this month, Rep. Juan Candelaria (D-New Haven) introduced House Bill 5209, which would allow adults to use, grow, and sell marijuana. Candelaria introduced a similar bill last year that went nowhere. "I'm going to be pushing very hard," Candelaria said. "I'm going to be engaging my leadership in conversation to at least allow a public hearing." Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) said the same day he could only support medical marijuana. "That's as far as I'm comfortable going," the governor said.

Maine.The legalization initiative from the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has not yet officially qualified for the ballot, but is poised to. On February 1, the campaign turned in more than 103,000 raw signatures from its petition drive. It only needs 61,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for the November ballot, and should have a sufficient cushion to do so.  The most recent of Mainers' attitudes toward marijuana legalization, from the spring of 2015, had support at 65%.

Massachusetts.The legalization initiative from the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has already qualified for the ballot, but under Massachusetts law, the legislature must first take up the issue. If, as expected, it fails to adopt legalization, the campaign must then collect another 10,000 signatures to place the initiative on the November ballot. It should be able to do that easily, and if it gets on the ballot, it should win, although perhaps not as handily as Maine. There are no hot-off-the-press polls, but a 2014 poll had support at 53% and a Boston Globe poll from last year had a dead heat, with 48% in favor, 47% opposed. Numbers this tight means it's not a done deal, but given expected high voter turnout this election year, the Bay State should be able to pull it off.

New Hampshire.The House actually passed a legalization bill in 2014, only to see it die in the Senate. This year, there are already three legalization bills filed, but two of them have already been deemed "inexpedient to legislate" in committee. The remaining legalization bill, House Bill 1610, is currently before the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. Even if the bill were to pass the House, it faces a tough battle in the Senate. In addition to killing legalization in 2014, the Senate has at least twice killed decriminalization bills that passed the House.

Rhode Island.Rep. Scott Slater (D-Providence) said he will file a marijuana legalization bill in the General Assembly this week, and Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Cranston) will file companion legislation in the Senate. As of Saturday, the bills have not yet been posted on the legislative website, but they are definitely coming. This marks the fifth consecutive year legalization bills have been filed in Providence, and they have previously been stifled, but there are signs progress could be made this year. The Senate bill has 17 cosponsors (out of 38 senators), and the House bill has more than 30 cosponsors. Republican House Leader Brian Newberry (R-North Smithfield) supports it, and House Speaker Nick Mattiello (D-Cranston), who has long opposed legalization, is now becoming "more open-minded" as eyes tax revenues from pot in the already legal states.  

Vermont.The Green Mountain State is the most likely to actually pass a legalization bill this year. Senate Bill 241, backed by Gov. Peter Shumlin (D), has already passed the Senate Judiciary and Finance committees and is moving toward a Senate floor vote. But the committees have amended the bill to kill home cultivation and to reduce the legalized amount from an ounce to a half ounce. And if and when the bill gets out of the Senate, it still faces a tough battle in the House.

This could well be the year New England goes green. Winning in three states—Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont—would be a big victory; winning in more would be a very pleasant surprise. Not winning in any of them would be a huge setback for the marijuana reform movement, but at this point, that looks extremely unlikely.

Potent Pot: Marijuana Is Stronger Now Than It Was 20 Years Ago

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 of THC, 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 its potential 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 the study, published Jan. 19 in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

The increase in marijuana's potency may have some negative health consequences for marijuana users, especially young ones, ElSohly said.

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 as psychosis or 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 as 30 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.

2016 Will Be the Biggest Year Yet for Marijuana Policy Reform

I don't often use superlatives, but it's easy to say that 2016 will be the most significant year yet in the battle to repeal marijuana prohibition in the United States.

Up until now, the two biggest years were 1996, when California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana, and 2012, when Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older.

2016 will likely comprise a cornucopia of cannabis policy advances, which I'll enumerate in the form of predictions.

Federal Policies

On the federal level, many people are hoping that President Obama will take bold executive actions, but it's more likely that he'll continue to chip away at marijuana prohibition in ways that will continue and solidify his administration's actions thus far.

For example, the Obama administration will probably (1) restate its intent to protect from the DEA the Native American reservations that choose to grow and sell marijuana; (2) renew the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) policy of not withholding benefits from vets who use medical marijuana in the states where it's legal; and (3) continue with the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) policy of not punishing individuals and businesses that are abiding by state marijuana laws.

And, of course, the president will pardon another batch of federal marijuana offenders. But don't expect the president to reschedule marijuana, because Congress and President Nixon delegated that authority in 1970 to DOJ, which includes the DEA; these rules are clearly delineated in the "Code of Federal Regulations."

In its annual spending bills for fiscal year 2017, Congress will continue to include the pair of amendments that prohibit DOJ from interfering with state medical marijuana laws and hemp laws.

In addition, it's possible that Congress will delete the bad spending amendment by Congressman Andy Harris (R-MD) that currently prohibits the local D.C. government from legalizing marijuana. If this federal change occurs, it would take effect on October 1, so the D.C. government wouldn't be able to regulate marijuana like alcohol until sometime in 2017.

Also on the federal level, there will be a big push to attach three other amendments to spending bills -- an amendment to prohibit DOJ from interfering with all state-level marijuana laws, an amendment that would allow VA physicians to recommend medical marijuana in states where it's legal, and an amendment that would prohibit the U.S. Treasury Department from penalizing banks that do business with canna-businesses.

State Ballot Initiatives

It's extremely likely that voters in five states will vote on legalization initiatives in Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada on November 8. I predict that at least four of these five measures will pass if we raise a sufficient amount of money for TV, radio, and web advertising this fall.

It's also likely that medical marijuana initiatives will appear on two statewide ballots on the same day in November: Missouri voters would almost surely pass such an initiative, and Florida voters are likely to do the same. (Unfortunately for Floridians, their state is the only one that requires at least 60% of the vote to pass a ballot initiative. For example, a similar initiative in Florida failed in November 2014, even though it received 57.6% of the vote!)

There's also a chance that medical marijuana initiatives could appear on the Arkansas and Ohio ballots in November, but the signature drives in both states are uphill battles.

State Legislation

Before voters have a chance to legalize marijuana in the five states mentioned above, Vermont could become the first state to legalize marijuana via the legislative process. We have strong allies in the state Senate, the House speaker is openly supportive, and Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) is a long-time supporter of various reform measures.

If a second state government legalizes marijuana this spring, it would be in Rhode Island.

As for decriminalizing the possession of marijuana, Illinois and New Hampshire are highly likely to do so this winter and spring, respectively. In the former state, Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) issued an "amendatory veto" of such a bill in August, so the legislature has retooled the bill to accommodate his concerns. In the latter state, the Senate stalled when Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) expressed her disapproval, but the overwhelming support for decriminalization in both legislative chambers could very well overcome her opposition -- and override her potential veto -- this spring.

Pennsylvania, which is the sixth-most-populous state, is by far the most likely to legalize medical marijuana in 2016, in part because Gov. Tom Wolf (D) is such a strong supporter, as are many Republican leaders in the legislature. If this occurs, Pennsylvania would become the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana.

We'll also see medical marijuana dispensaries open up in Hawaii, which expanded its 2000 law earlier this year to allow for the retail sale of marijuana to patients. And Michigan could similarly expand its 2008 law to accomplish the same thing next year.

On-site Consumption

One of the last battles on the state level is to allow for the on-site consumption of marijuana in business establishments. Ideally, businesses would be permitted to sell the marijuana that's consumed on site, but new laws might require people to bring their own marijuana.

The three locations that are most likely to allow some kind of on-site consumption are Alaska, Denver, and the District of Columbia. Interestingly, all three jurisdictions have approximately the same number of residents, so we'll hopefully be able to make an "oranges to tangerines" comparison of allowing on-site consumption by, say, early 2017.In sum, November 8 will clearly be the most significant day in the most significant year in the history of marijuana policy reform. Now how's that for superlatives?

5 Must-Know Facts About Cannabidiol (CBD)

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 of over 60 compounds 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 among different 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 become more popular in 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 it does not act 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 in Current Drug Safety concludes 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 the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, studies have found CBD to possess the following medical properties:

Medical Properties of CBDEffects
AntiemeticReduces nausea and vomiting
AnticonvulsantSuppresses seizure activity
AntipsychoticCombats psychosis disorders
Anti-inflammatoryCombats inflammatory disorders
Anti-oxidantCombats neurodegenerative disorders
Anti-tumoral/Anti-cancerCombats tumor and cancer cells
Anxiolytic/Anti-depressantCombats 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 for schizophrenia and certain types of epilepsy.

Likewise, a team of researchers at the California Pacific Medical Center, led by Dr. Sean McAllister, has stated that they hope to begin trials on 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 also appears to counteract the sleep-inducing effects of THC, which may explain why some strains of cannabis are known to increase alertness.

Both CBD and THC have been found to present no risk of lethal 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 a Schedule I drug in the United States and a Schedule II drugin Canada.

On the other hand, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved a request to trial a pharmaceutical version of CBD in children with rare forms of epilepsy. The drug is made by GW Pharmaceuticals and is called Epidiolex.

According to the company, 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 called Sativex, 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.

EDIBLE

An edible is 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

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.

CBD

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

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

Sativa strains are known for providing energy and creativity effects. Sativas are ideal for daytime use as they typically promote productivity.

Sativa examples:

  • Chocolope
  • Moby Dick
  • Jack Herer
  • Mother’s Helper

INDICA

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.

Indica examples:

  • Bubba Kush
  • God Bud
  • Grape Ape
  • Blueberry Kush

SHAKE

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 making marijuana butter, which can then be used to make edibles.

DABS

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.

CHILE PASSES LAW ALLOWING PHARMACIES TO SELL MARIJUANa

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet approved a pro-marijuana bill which will remove marijuana from Chile’s list of hard drugs.

The new bill will also allow that “pharmaceutical products which contain cannabis, cannabis resin, extracts and colorants can be sold to the public in pharmacies or laboratories providing they have been submitted to tests.”

Marijuana consumption has been decriminalized in Chile for some time; however, anyone growing, selling or transporting marijuana still faced large prison sentences.

By easing their laws on marijuana for medical or personal use, Chile is joining a pro-marijuana trend by governments around the world. Recently, countries such as Australia, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, and Uruguay have also revised their marijuana laws.

U.S. POSTAL SERVICE WARNS THAT MARIJUANA ADS CAN’T BE MAILED

Some marijuana-related businesses are faced with another obstacle as the U.S. Postal Services issues afederal warning telling newspapers that it is a felony to mail material that includes marijuana advertising.

The warning was prepared by the U.S. Postal Service’s Portland District office, and sent to a number of Oregon news organizations, where legal recreational marijuana sales began nearly two months ago and print-related advertising campaigns by dispensaries have significantly increased.

The USPS’s warning states that it is federally illegal to mail an advertisement “in any publication with the purpose of seeking or offering illegally to receive, buy, or distribute a Schedule I controlled substance.”

It is an ongoing challenge for dispensaries to find legal facets for advertising as well as banking in the federally-prohibited marijuana industry. Most dispensaries choose – or are compelled – to advertise online and to be cash-only businesses. Luckily, cash is still king and online advertising has overrun print advertising because it generally reaches a larger and more targeted readership at a lower cost.


AZ COURT: MEDICAL MARIJUANA PATIENTS CANNOT SELL MARIJUANA

The Arizona Court of Appeals has ruled that Arizona’s medical marijuana patients cannot sell marijuana to other patients.

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) states that medical marijuana patients can’t be prosecuted for providing marijuana to other patients as long as “nothing of value is transferred in return.” The law also states that “any [medical marijuana] cardholder who sells marijuana to a person who is not allowed to possess marijuana for medical purposes” will have their card revoked, which implies a patient can donate marijuana to another patient.

This is why Judge Fields wrote in his 2014 ruling that the clause “necessarily implies that a qualifying patient can sell marijuana.”

But the Court of Appeals judges ruled otherwise. They stated that “allowing such patient-to-patient transactions would … create an incentive to embark on a sales enterprise.”

Until another court reviews this issue, medical marijuana patients must adhere to the latest ruling to refrain from breaking the law.


ARIZONA COURT REJECTS MEDICAL MARIJUANA DUI IMMUNITY

Arizona medical marijuana cardholders are at risk of DUI for having any amount of marijuana in their system.

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled that Arizona medical marijuana cardholders have no immunity from prosecution under a state DUI law which prohibits motorists from having any amount of marijuana or its chemical compound that causes impairment in their bodies.

The court stated that a cardholder can try to prove in court that they didn’t have enough of the marijuana compound THC in their system to be impaired. Arizona medical marijuana law allows DUI prosecutions of cardholders but not if amounts of marijuana compounds in their systems are insufficient to cause impairment.

Chief Justice Scott Bales stated: “The risk of uncertainty in this regard should fall on the patients, who generally know or should know if they are impaired and can control when they drive, rather than on the members of the public whom they encounter on our streets.”

Many states with medical and recreational marijuana laws allow for motorists to drive with trace amounts of marijuana in their system, as well as with inactive marijuana metabolites.

Marijuana Fills Dire Medical Needs of Families; Science, States Try to Catch Up



Unthinkable two decades ago, parents are joining together to fight for their children’s right to use marijuana – and many legislators and researchers are standing with them.

For some teenagers, this might seem like a dream come true, but for Stephanie Ayotte, who has an extreme form of epilepsy, the hope is not to get high: it’s to get better.

These dedicated parents – Jennifer and Andy Ayotte, Beth and Patrick Collins, and Paige Figi – among many others, have worked hard to expand access to medical marijuana because it has dramatically reduced, or even eliminated, the occurrence of severe uncontrollable seizures that are not treatable with conventional drugs.

Stephanie’s daily seizures robbed her of the ability to walk freely when she was a teenager. Her parents began escorting her everywhere, one person on each side, for fear she would fall. Eventually, after several injuries, she was restricted to a wheelchair.

ALSO: Gone to Jungle For Healing, Holistic Plants & Spiritual Work: WATCH What Happens

These families have tried alternatives like special diets and, in some cases, over 18 different medications that caused a wide range of heart-wrenching side effects, like episodes of rage. Medical cannabis seemed like their last hope.

“I’ve seen it work. It worked for me and for a bunch of other kids. It’s an amazing plant,” said 15-year-old Jennifer Collins on an episode of NBC’s Dateline, entitled Growing Hope.

Charlotte Figi lent her name to one blend of cannabis strain called Charlotte’s Web, after she became its first successful patient. Her epilepsy disorder caused up to 300 seizures per week – but they nearly stopped once she began ingesting the marijuana-derived ingredient called cannabidiol (CBD). News of her recovery spread from Colorado giving patients with severe epilepsy much needed hope and causing many families to move to states where medical marijuana has been legalized. Parents note that because the concentrated CBD oil is very low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the component that provides the “high” in marijuana.

Although 23 states in the U.S. have legalized marijuana for medical use, it is still currently classified as a Schedule 1 substance by the federal government, which means it is deemed as having no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Additionally, severe restrictions are placed on medical cannabis studies, which has made it onerous for researchers, and delayed or thwarted trials for years. The hope is that current legislation making its way through the US Congress – H.R. 1635 and S. 1333 – would finally remove marijuana from the same classification as heroin.

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Another bill, introduced by conservative Republican U.S. Congressman Scott Perry, the Charlotte’s Web Medical Hemp Act of 2014, is being evaluated as an amendment to the current Controlled Substances Act. It would legalize the marijuana-based oil if it contained less than 0.3 percent THC.

Manufacturers that are dedicated to the safe production and distribution of marijuana for medical uses include companies like the Realm of Caring Foundation, which makes Charlotte’s Web in Colorado, and Tilray in Canada.

Tilray is a licensed producer for the Canadian healthcare system, under the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations that ensure for those with an authorized medical need access to quality-controlled marijuana grown under secure and sanitary conditions. The Government of Canada has not endorsed the recreational use of marijuana, but the courts have required reasonable access to a legal source when a patient is authorized by a doctor to use it.

“We’ve seen remarkable relief through the use of CBD, not only for patients but for parents and caregivers,” Tilray’s Vice President of Patient Advocacy, Philippe Lucas, told Good News Network. “As a father to a six-year-old girl, I know that if you see your child suffering, there is nothing you wouldn’t try within a reasonable margin of safety.”

RELATED: 14 Years After Decriminalizing Heroin, Here’s What Portugal Looks Like

This ‘last-resort’ option has helped Stephanie, now 23 years old, and Charlotte go from several severe seizures daily to 10-25 seizures per month, or none at all, respectively. Jennifer Collins has even experienced 100 days free of seizures.

“This is why clinical data is critical for patients such as Stephanie, and all others who suffer from various ailments and who have found relief by using medical marijuana,” Mrs. Ayotte said in an E-mail. “Until then, doctors will continue to be reluctant to prescribe medical marijuana. The result is very limited options for those who could benefit greatly.”

According to ClinicalTrial.gov, there are currently 32 ongoing studies being conducted in the U.S. that reference medical cannabis. Among them are Phase 3 clinical trials of Epidiolex, containing CBD as its active ingredient, for treatment-resistant forms of childhood epilepsy (Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes). While the trials are expected to complete patient recruitment this year and not report results until early 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) went ahead and granted orphan drug designation for Epidiolex. This means that it is available to independent U.S. pediatric epilepsy specialists to treat high need cases of childhood seizures that have no other treatment options.

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“I have been in this business for 20 years, first as a patient and now as a researcher. It is an incredible privilege to be part of someone’s healing process.” Lucas said. “To me, organizations in this space are not competitors – we are collaborators. The more research the better because we hear every day that medical cannabis is improving patients’ lives.”

Surprisingly, the FDA has previously given the go-ahead to THC-based drugs: Marinol and Cesamet. Approved back in 1985, these were the first cannabinoids marketed in the U.S. The pills help cancer patients with nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, and AIDS patients to regain weight caused by loss of appetite.

ALSO: Monthly Shots For Recovering Addicts Bring New Hope and Cuts Cravings

In 2010, Sativex, a half THC, half CBD whole-plant cannabis-based pharmaceutical, was approved in the UK, followed by Canada and other parts of Europe, as a mouth spray to reduce pain associated with multiple sclerosis and cancer.

While there is more work and research to be done, incremental steps by states and national governments reflect that now, more than ever, the conventional medical community is open to a very unconventional treatment for alternative healing. The hope is that one more child will have one less seizure – and people’s health soon will matter more than a half-century of status quo regulations.


10 THINGS WE LEARNED AT THE SOUTHWEST CANNABIS CONFERENCE AND EXPO IN DOWNTOWN PHOENIX

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‘CANNABALL RUN FOR VETS’ KICKS OFF IN SUPPORT OF VETERANS AND PTSD AWARENESS

The 2nd Annual 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 the 2nd Annual Cannaball Run for Vets for 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 of Veteran’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 new study, 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 adverse events” 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.

10 Most Common Medical Uses for Marijuana

Marijuana is quickly becoming America’s next big medical treatment substance. It’s been proven in research studies to help with a myriad of medical conditions, and federal agencies have finally published statements indicating that marijuana has medicinal value.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI), which is the federal government’s principal agency for cancer research and training, recently updated its website to say that marijuana “has been shown to kill cancer cells in the laboratory” and that “[marijuana] and cannabinoids may have benefits in treating the symptoms of cancer or the side effects of cancer therapies.”

The director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a U.S. government institution, wrote that cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound in marijuana, is “a safe drug with no addictive effects, and the preliminary data suggest that it may have therapeutic value for a number of medical conditions” in an op-ed published by The Huffington Post.

Listed below are 10 of the most common medical conditions that marijuana is used for in the U.S.

1. Chronic Pain Relief

2. Anxiety Disorders

3. Nerve Pain Relief

4. Cancer Treatment

5. Crohn’s Disease

6. Multiple Sclerosis

7. Alzheimer’s Disease

8. Epilepsy

9. Glaucoma

10. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD)

Study Shows Marijuana Is Saving Lives in America

Dan Kingston
According to the Center for Disease Control prescription painkillers accounted for about 60% of all overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2013.

Recently, a research study found that states that have legalized marijuana have reductions in fatal overdoses and addiction treatment center admissions relating to opioid abuse. The study found that marijuana states show significant reductions in opioid misuse in states that have operating marijuana dispensaries.

The research study mentions “that states permitting medical marijuana dispensaries experience a relative decrease in both opioid addictions and opioid overdose deaths compared to states that do not.”

In the states where marijuana dispensaries are allowed, researchers found a 16% reduction in “opioid-related mortality” and 28% reduction in opioid-abuse treatment admissions. Whereas in the states where doctors can prescribe marijuana, but where dispensaries are prohibited (which makes it harder to legally obtain marijuana), the researchers found “no evidence” of “reductions in substance abuse or mortality.”

Researchers found that there was not a decline in painkiller prescriptions in the states with dispensaries, which suggests that marijuana legalization likely helped save the lives of recreational painkiller users that switched to marijuana and cut back on their pill consumption.

These research studies are quickly revealing that marijuana is a safer and effective medical treatment option.


Indica vs. Sativa: The Small But Significant Difference in Cannabis Genes

Researchers from Canada recently published a genetic analysis of 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 between indica and sativa.

Modern taxonomy considers all of cannabis to form one species, Cannabis sativa L.; so-called indica,sativa and ruderalis are actually subspecies of Cannabis sativa L. Until now, the official story told us that hemp fell under Cannabis sativa L. subs. sativa, the cannabis we smoke fell under Cannabis sativa L. subs. indica, and Cannabis sativa L. subs. ruderalis was 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 percent indica or sativa for each strain. Their genetic analysis showed a moderate separation in the marijuana gene pool that correlated with the seedbank-reported percent indica or sativa. While the differences between indica and sativa have 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 of CBD derived from potentially contaminated industrial hemp as medicine.

In an unexpected twist, researchers also discovered that hemp shares more genetic relation to indicastrains than sativa strains. This could be due to the fact that most sativa strains do not produce CBD, while most indicas produce at least a small amount. Hemp strains do not make large flowers with abundant trichomes and produce almost all CBD as their major cannabinoid. The small amount of CBD in indicas may 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 ofsativa the seedbank reported (in the middle column), and the left column represents the level of indicaor sativa based on their analyses. Red means sativa and blue means indica. If you take a closer look you’ll see a lot of discrepancies between the reported percentage of sativa and what the analysis shows. Strains like Neville’s Haze and Dr. Grinspoon, well known super-sativas, tested with high levels of sativa genes, but Durban Poison, a well-known African sativa, tested with almost no sativa genes. White Widow showed up in two places on the list; the first instance it has a little sativa presence, 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.


Juicing Raw Marijuana Yielding Positive Results

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 the terpenes and 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.

READ MORE: Mile-high club: Oregon permits in-state flyers to pack marijuana

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.

READ MORE: Seeing green: Washington rakes in revenue from marijuana taxes

“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.

READ MORE: Legalization has no effect on teen pot use – study

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-THC marijuana strains – that make people fear marijuana.

But many marijuana strains – usually indicas and some hybrids that contain less THC and more CBD – 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:

 Maui Waui (Sativa)
 Northern Lights (Indica)
 Jack Herer (Sativa)
 Blue Dream (Hybrid)
 Verde Electric (Hybrid)
 OG Kush (Hybrid)
 Pineapple Express (Hybrid)

4 REASONS TO VAPORIZE MARIJUANA INSTEAD OF SMOKE

The benefits of vaporizing instead 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 some vapes require 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, newer vaporizer pens are much more discreet than smoking and are odorless.

4. THE FLAVOR

Most vaporizers enhance the flavor of the marijuana strain being vaped, which adds to the many pleasures already attributed to marijuana.

NEW STUDY SHOWS CBD CAN HELP TREAT ASTHMA

Early research suggests that CBD, 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.

7 MARIJUANA STRAINS THAT HELP TO PRODUCE CREATIVITY

Some marijuana strains are known for helping to produce creativity. For this reason, many artists and musicians throughout history have used marijuana to increase their creativity.

Here is a list of some marijuana strains that can help produce creativity:

 Blue Dream (Hybrid)
 Maui Waui (Sativa)
 Sour Diesel (Hybrid)
 XJ 13 (Hybrid)
 Alien OG (Hybrid)
 Deadhead OG (Hybrid)
 Girl Scout Cookies (Hybrid)


Yet another Obama admin breakthrough on 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 for unprecedented state experimentation. This week, the Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim reported on 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 the Washington Post added, 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 Call reported yesterday:
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 to 11 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 to a 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 a recent 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 officials traveled to Denver in February to 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,” Sanders told supporters on Reddit.

In a 2014 Time magazine interview, Sanders downplayed the issue saying the legalization of recreational pot “is not one of the major issue facing this country.”


Colorado Supreme Court: Employees Can Be Fired For Marijuana Use, Even Medical, Even If Off The Clock

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. Per The 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.

Nearly One Out Of Six MS Patients Use Medical Marijuana

By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

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 data commissioned 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 trials have 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 journal Neurology reported that 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 making edibles, 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

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 expected to pass the bill late 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 companies late Tuesday after the applicants dropped off hundreds of boxes of documents ahead of a Friday deadline to apply.

Advocates said the state's timeline is too slow for 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.”


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 about his position on the war on drugs during 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 will run for president in 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 2014 that 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 would legalize recreational marijuana. At least 10 states, including Vermont, are expected to consider these or similar legalization measures by 2016.

A string of recent polls have 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 marijuana dispensariesthroughout 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 for dispensary licenses 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 marijuana laws and those laws need to change.

“As an agent, I was doing my job,” Selander stated. “I was enforcing the law. It was definitely hard at times… I would see injustice in a number of cases.”

The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act initiative 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-year careerended 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 a joint. 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 the Marihuana 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 the Antique 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 to Forbes, 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 marijuana laws to 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 decarboxylate THC-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 have cannabinoids in 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 and that’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 that marijuana can kill certain cancer cells and reduce the size of others. Evidence from one animal study suggests that extracts from whole-plant marijuana can shrink 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 Sold A Record Amount Of Recreational Marijuana In February

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. Per The 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.

Much of that growth comes from additional shops opening up in still-new recreational cities, including Aurora, Colorado’s third most populous city that only started selling retail pot last October, experts say.

“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 supporting a recent study which 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 the two most common cannabinoids in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (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 journal Molecular 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 for The 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 surface unveiling the truth surrounding marijuana and its high-powered chemistry for treating a wealth of debilitating 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,” the report 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 called the 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 Murthy announced on national television that “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.


The United States government has an official marijuana menu, and it’s posted online

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, and juices.

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 here.

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 with a 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.

The New York Times reports that 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 the Times, "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's Rockefeller 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.



Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/new-york-readies-restrictive-medical-marijuana-law-20150330#ixzz3VyvTtXSE 
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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 marijuana law, 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 marijuana laws to 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.

View Obama Interview Here

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’s lawyer said 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’s attorney. “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.”

THE NEW NORM: MEDICATING ON THE GO WITH VAPE PENS

There are many ways to ingest medical marijuana and each has its pro’s and con’s. Some folks swear by their edibles while 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, like Slim 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 the THC, CBD and other cannabinoids that 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 different strains available (including indicas, sativas and hybrids) and different flavors and methods of vaping.

Depending on the region or dispensary, there are a few options for vapes. Some dispensaries will process their marijuana into a psychoactive liquid that can be used in a personal vaporizer. 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 the SlimJ. 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!

 marijuana.com reports:

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 says.

“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 federal interference.

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 store.”

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 Marijuana.com.

Majority Of Americans Say Marijuana Should Be Legal According To New Poll

By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

The majority of Americans say that “the use of marijuana should be made legal,” according to nationwide polling dataprovided by the General Social Survey. The GSS is 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 both Gallup and the Pew Research Center, amongothers, have previously documented that most Americans now favor legalizing the plant.

POLL: MORE ARIZONANS FAVORING MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION

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 marijuana law. 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 similar laws to Colorado, where adults can use and possess small amounts of marijuana – purchased from state-regulateddispensaries – for recreational use.

The ASU poll can be read here.

FIRST GOVERNMENT-RUN DISPENSARY OPENING IN WA

The nation’s first government-run recreational marijuana dispensary is 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.”

10 COUNTRIES THAT CONSUME THE MOST MARIJUANA

10. Jamaica
Use: 9.86% of the population.
Status: Illegal, but soon to be decriminalized

9. Australia
Use: 10.3% of the population.
Status: Illegal

8. Spain
Use: 10.6% of the population.
Status: Legal for personal use. Illegal to produce, sell or use in public.

7. Canada
Use: 12.2% of the population.
Status: Illegal for recreational use. Legal for medical use.

6. Nigeria
Use: 14.3% of the population.
Status: Illegal

5. New Zealand
Use: 14.6% of the population.
Status: Illegal

4. Italy
Use: 14.6% of the population.
Status: Illegal to produce or sell. Decriminalized for personal possession.

3. United States
Use: 14.8% of the population.
Status: Legal medical use in 23 states. Legal recreational use in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Washington D.C.

2. Zambia
Use: 17.7% of the population.
Status: Illegal

1. Iceland
Use: 18.3% of the population
Status: Illegal

‘PARKS & REC’ STAR MAKING MARIJUANA SITCOM

NBC might soon have a sitcom about a fictitious Denver marijuana dispensary. 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 networking event on 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 about dispensary inspection laws in Arizona, as well as medical director compliance.

Held on the first Thursday of each month, Women Grow chapter events offer 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!!!

http://www.tumbleweedshealthcenter.com/10.html


W
ithin the first few months of 2016, a Holland based company called Van.eko plans 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 composites created 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 “a company 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 are guaranteed for 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 the innovator in 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 the Regulate 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 the Marijuana 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 -- or this 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, or don'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 in Oregon, Alaska and D.C. -- the sale, possession, production and distribution of marijuana all remain illegal under federal law. The states that have legalized marijuana or softened penalties for possession have only been able to do so because of federal guidance urging prosecutors to refrain from targeting state-legal marijuana operations.

With marijuana legalization supported by a majority of Americans, and a new wave of states considering loosening their marijuana laws over the next several years, it seems unlikely that the federal government would push back against the popular movement. But it's not completely out of the realm of possibility.

Harvard economist Jeff Miron, a vocal supporter of marijuana policy reform, highlighted the precarious nature of state marijuana laws in a 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."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/20/marijuana-legalization-congress_n_6722686.html


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 federal laws current 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 Research report reveals 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 drive from 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-based Evans 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-based Magnode 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.

According to the Clermont County auditor's website, the land is managed by Bill Woodward, of Cincinnati Construction Management in Loveland. Woodward could not immediately be reached for comment.

MARIJUANA “DISTINCTLY DIFFERENT” ON LUNG HEALTH THAN TOBACCO

The inhalation of one marijuana cigarette (aka joint) 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 or driver's licenses to make sure they can legally purchase the goods and must pay in cash or bitcoin since the federal government doesn't allow debit or credit cards to be used in the sale of marijuana.

Like machines that dispense soda or snacks, 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.

USA TODAY 

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 recent YouTube interview that 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 that suggests 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 or drunk driving or other 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 to prohibit federal funds from being used to prosecute the medical marijuana community , as well as giving Native American tribes the freedom to legalize pot on 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 with The New Yorker that 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 @adamssoup and 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.

A large study of 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, the National Drug and Alcohol Centre researchers found people who used the illegal drug said it was more helpful than the highly addictive and potentially dangerous opioid medications.

Millions of Australians suffer from chronic pain - a problem set to increase as the population ages. Yet there are few effective and safe long-term treatments, andaccidental overdose deaths from prescribed pain drugs are now more common than deaths from heroin.

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 to beginning 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 Labor party has called for the process to be expedited given the existing evidence for it, while a Greens bill to legalise medical cannabis has called for wider use.

Greens NSW MP John Kaye said the NDARC paper provided more evidence that both the Liberal and Labor parties were being too cautious.

"It is irrational and cruel to criminalise patients who are obtaining relief from chronic non-cancer pain using medicinal cannabis," he said.

"Waiting for yet more evidence before changing the law is a delaying tactic that will see tens of thousands of people suffer debilitating levels of pain needlessly."


JAMAICA SET TO LEGALIZE MEDICAL, THERAPEUTIC AND RELIGIOUS GANJA

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 and Jamaica 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 or less 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 use could be legal in Arizona by 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 state Rep. 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 2007 would 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."

Medication Home 

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 in Alaska and Oregon decided to joinColorado and 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."

5 DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THC AND CBD

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.

High

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.

Pain

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.

Anxiety

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.

Antipsychotic

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.

Sleep

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 a lawyer that 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.

Oncologists In India: Lift Ban On Medical Marijuana

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 of federal guidance urging 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."

In November, prior to the release of the executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee's torture report detailing the horrors of the CIA's post 9/11 detention and interrogation program, Gravel urged Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) to make the report public on the Senate floor. The move would have been similar to the one Gravel himself made with the Pentagon Papers.

In 1971, Gravel began an epic filibuster where he read the Pentagon Papers, first released by Daniel Ellsberg, during a meeting of his Senate Buildings and Grounds Subcommittee . Gravel was able to enter the remaining thousands of pages from the Pentagon Papers into the congressional record -- thereby ensuring they would be public before the Supreme Court could rule on whether or not the controversial documents could be published in the press.

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.


What Were The Top Marijuana Moments Of 2014?

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.

Spending Bill

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

What Is The Difference Between THC And CBD?


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, via Wikipedia:

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[8][9][10] 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:

A brief explanation of CBD is below, via Project CBD:

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. attorney for 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 local law.

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. attorneys can 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 new jobs to 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 legalization law, similar to Colorado’s recreational marijuana laws, 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 legal hemp cultivation 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 and CBD oils 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 marijuana laws and 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.

The Veterans 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.”

Nearly 30 percent of veterans who 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 suggested that marijuana may help PTSD symptoms, which can include anxiety, flashbacks and depression. In a recent 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 cannabis didn't have the proper strains for the research to begin. Then the study's lead scientist was fired from 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 Guam which 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.

Marijuana fights Alzheimer’s disease, new study indicates

Another study is adding evidence to the case for the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease with the compounds in cannabis.

Research published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease this 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 the sixth leading cause of death in the nation, costing America about $203 billion in 2013.

Chuanhai Cao and other researchers at the University of South Florida and 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.”

Other research in 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 neuroscientists believe a bout of pot smoking in early adulthood may prevent Alzheimer’s onset later in life. Cannabis slows brain aging, Timereported in 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), studies show.

“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 Wenk told the Seattle Post Intelligencer this year.

Other studies have shown THC inhibits other key pathological markers of Alzheimer’s Disease.

The U.S. government has patented marijuana 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 district attorneys since 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 to legalize 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 industry will 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.
 
(Photo via huffingtonpost.com)
 
**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

    Oregon and Alaska legalized 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 measure takes effect on 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 have enjoyed personal privacy protections allowing 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 law 90 days after the election is certified, which is expected to be in late November.

    Some 56 percent of Oregon voters backed Measure 91 while 52 percent of Alaskans endorsed Measure 2.

    In California, nearly 60 percent of voters backed Proposition 47, which defelonizes simple 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 territory Guam , 56 percent of voters decided in favor of Proposal 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 proposed Florida amendment (Amendment 2) fell shy of the 60 percent support threshold necessary in that state to amend the state’s constitution. Fifty-eight percent of Florida voters endorsed the measure, including supermajorities in most every age group except 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. In Washington, DC, some 70 percent of District voters approved Initiative 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 currently considering separate legislation to 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 several Michigan cities, including Saginaw (population 51,000), Port Huron (30,000), and Berkley (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, Maine approved a 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.

    In New Mexico, voters in Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties decided in 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, in Massachusetts, 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.

These include:

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? DONATE to 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.

USA: Colorado and Washington state have legalised marijuana for recreational use, while some of the other states permit medical marijuana.

UK: It is illegal to possess cannabis.

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.

Even former US president Richard Nixon's 1972 National Commission on 'marihuana' supported studies of its use in the treatment of conditions such as glaucoma, migraine and cancer (although Nixon subsequently ignored his own Commission's findings and instead declared a 'war on drugs').

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.

However, it is showing considerable promise in treating what is called 'neuropathic pain', which generally refers to pain that stems from diseased or damaged nerves. For example, researchers in the United States are testing the use of cannabis to treat the pain associated with sickle cell disease – a condition in which mutated blood cells can cause lifetime chronic pain that has been described as being worse than the pain of labour or cancer.

No-one's smoking anything

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.

Stimulating appetite

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.

Other conditions

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.

Given cannabis's potential to alter our mood, thinking and behaviour, it should come as no surprise that it's also being investigated for treatment of psychological disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder. A recent US study found a 75 per cent reduction in PTSD symptoms with the use of medical cannabis, and in many US states medical cannabis is approved for use in individuals with PTSD.

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:
 
Alabama
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
Alaska
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.
Arizona
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.
Arkansas
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.
California
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.
Colorado
Legal Recreational and Medical Marijuana Market in Place.
Connecticut
A half ounce or less of marijuana has been decriminalized, and the state has a medical marijuana program.
Delaware
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.
Florida
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.
Georgia
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
Hawaii
The state has a medical marijuana program in place, but access is limited.
Idaho
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
Illinois
There is a medical marijuana program in place.
Indiana
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
Iowa
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.
Kansas
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
Kentucky
The state recently legalized industrial hemp for research purposes.
Louisiana
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
Maine
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.
Maryland
Possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana has been decriminalized, and a medical marijuana program is in place. 
Massachusetts
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.
Michigan
A medical marijuana program is in place.
Minnesota
A medical marijuana program is in place.
Mississippi
Possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana, first offense, has been decriminalized.
Missouri
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place. 
Montana
A medical marijuana program is in place.
Nebraska
Possession of one ounce or less of marijuana, first offense, has been decriminalized.
Nevada
A medical marijuana program is in place.
New Hampshire
A medical marijuana program is in place.
New Jersey
A medical marijuana program is in place.
New Mexico
A medical marijuana program is in place.
New York
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.
North Carolina
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
North Dakota
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
Ohio
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
Oklahoma
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
Oregon
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.
Pennsylvania
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.
Rhode Island
Possession of one ounce or less of marijuana has been decriminalized. In addition, the state has a medical marijuana program in place.
South Carolina
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.
South Dakota
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
Tennessee
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
Texas
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
Utah
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
Vermont
Possession of one ounce or less of marijuana has been decriminalized. In addition, the state also has a medical marijuana program in place.
Virginia
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
Washington
Legal Recreational Marijuana Market in Place. However, voters will decide on how marijuana is taxed in the upcoming election.
West Virginia
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
Wisconsin
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.
Wyoming