Category Archives: Cannabis/Marijuana

6 Stories That Prove You Can Still Be Arrested For Growing Marijuana In Colorado



By TNM News on October 9, 2015 Latest Headlines, Legal, News Feed

Although it may be “Legal” in some way, some operations for making your own marijuana are being targeted by both the Federal and State governments. Much like the law that you cannot make and distribute your own alcohol without the proper licensing and adhering to certain guidelines, the Marijuana industry follows suit.

Fox31 Denver Reports:

DENVER — 20,000 marijuana plants, 700 pounds of dried weed and more than 30 guns, all found right out in the open.

“You see a group of people who are actually actively engaged, farming the marijuana. So that means there are tents, cookhouses. There are irrigation systems in place. There’s a lot of pesticides,” said United States Attorney for the District of Colorado John Walsh.

The busts started Aug. 19 and spanned the state of Colorado as listed below. Six of them took place through Thursday.

Pike National Forest, Aug. 19 in the Green Mountain Area in Jefferson County. Investigation is ongoing.

Law Enforcement Officers from the U.S. Forest Service, Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and the Colorado National Guard Joint Counter Drug Task Force joined together to complete an eradication of an illegal marijuana grow site in the Pike National Forest. The eradication team collected more than 3,900 plants and over 3,000 pounds of irrigation pipe, pesticides, flammable liquids, camping gear and trash.

Routt National Forest, Aug. 28, Buffalo Pass Area in Routt County, two arrested.

Law Enforcement Officers from the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Routt County Sheriff’s Office joined together to eradicate an illegal marijuana grow site located in the Buffalo Pass area, northeast of Steamboat Springs. The eradication team collected approximately 1,000 plants and removed camping gear from the site. Further, a handgun was found. Additional site clean-up of trash and other items will be ongoing by the U.S. Forest Service. Two Mexican Nationals in the country illegally were arrested.

Private Land, Sept. 1, Cotopaxi and Westcliffe in Freemont and Custer County. 20 people arrested.

A DEA-led task force executed eight search warrants in Cotopaxi and Westcliffe as part of a major drug trafficking organization investigation. Agents and officers found well over 1,000 marijuana plants, 50 pounds of dried marijuana, 28 firearms, and $25,000 in cash. The investigation and seizures resulted ultimately in the arrest of 20 individuals, many from Cuba, acting in an organized manner according to investigators. Those arrested were growing the marijuana in Cotopaxi and Westcliffe, and then either driving or using UPS to get it to Florida.

San Isabel National Forest, Sept. 7, Cordova Pass Area northwest of Trinidad in Huerfano County, two arrested.

Hunters discovered an illegal marijuana grow site located in the Cordova Pass area approximately 40 miles northwest of Trinidad. The eradication team collected more than 11,700 plants as well as irrigation pipe, pesticides, flammable liquids, camping gear and trash. The U.S. Forest Service and Huerfano County Sheriff’s Office are working together to identify the individuals. The cultivation site spread across 10 acres with some of the growing areas above 10,000 feet in elevation. The overall grow area included a kitchen structure, three sleeping areas and a rifle. Two men were arrested at one of the campsites within the cultivation area.

Bureau of Land Management land, Sept. 15, along the Dolores River corridor between Gateway and Naturita in Montrose County, four arrested.

BLM Rangers discovered more than 1,200 fully mature marijuana plants, many exceeding six feet tall, along with 211 kilograms of dried marijuana and a rifle. Because of the size of the operation, officers spent two-and-a-half days eradicating and removing the plants. The rangers arrested four Mexican nationals who were on-scene and believed to be working the grow site.

Bureau of Land Management land, September 30, also along the Dolores River corridor between Gateway and Naturita in Montrose County, six arrested.

Law enforcement officers identified a marijuana grow site, also along the Dolores River. Evidence of at least 1,000 marijuana plants appeared recently harvested with approximately 69.6 kilograms of processed marijuana still on site. The rangers arrested one Honduran and five Mexican nationals at or near the site.

“We think this is being grown in Colorado to be shipped all around the United States to states where it’s not legal,” said Walsh.

Some grows discovered by hikers and hunters, others uncovered by law enforcement. Walsh calls operations like these a multifaceted problem.

“A major concern is this marijuana is worth a lot of money and there may be violence in connection with protecting it. It’s causing Colorado to be a source state for marijuana for other states that don`t want our marijuana. Its creating environmental damage in our mountains. Its creating safety problems in our mountains,” Walsh said.

32 people are now in custody in connection with these illegal operations

Some face up to life in prison.

Walsh has one message for anyone who thinks because weed is now legal in the state, they can just come in and grow it.

“You are not going to stay long in Colorado because you are going to be in a Federal prison somewhere,” he said.


A first for the marijuana industry: A product liability lawsuit

David Kelly

For years, Brandan Flores has treated his chronic back pain with marijuana, a remedy he champions as a natural alternative to traditional medication.

But recently he heard rumblings that his drug of choice might be less wholesome than he had imagined.

"There was talk about Eagle 20," he said, "and it concerned me right away."

Eagle 20 is a fungicide used to kill mites, mildew and assorted pests that flock to plants like hops and grapes. It also contains a chemical called myclobutanil, which produces hydrogen cyanide gas when burned.

Stunned that he might be inhaling toxic fumes, Flores and fellow medicinal pot user Brandie Larrabee, a brain tumor patient, sued the grower this week, filing the first product liability lawsuit against the marijuana industry.

"I want these companies to take a step back and look at what they are putting into their products," said Flores, 24, who sued in Denver District Court. "These warehouses are getting big and really sloppy. They are adding chemicals to make things more efficient and more potent. But there are so many chemicals now that you might as well get prescription medication."

The target of the suit, LivWell Inc., owns nine pot shops in Colorado, which legalized recreational marijuana use last year. LivWell operates one of the largest grow houses in the world.

Company lawyer Dean Heizer did not respond to a request for comment. Earlier, he told the Associated Press that LivWell had stopped using Eagle 20 and that no consumer illnesses had been linked to marijuana pesticides.

In April, Colorado quarantined 60,000 pot plants from LivWell to check for Eagle 20 residue. The hold was lifted when only low levels of the chemical were found.

Afterward, LivWell owner John Lord released a statement saying laboratory tests of his plants "showed that our products are safe — as we always maintained."

Neither Flores nor Larrabee contends that the marijuana has harmed them. But they say they would have never inhaled it if they knew it could release what the lawsuit calls "poisonous hydrogen cyanide."

Their attorney, Steven Woodrow, said the growers "either knew or acted in disregard of the facts" when they sprayed the plants with Eagle 20.

"The state of Colorado has a list of approved pesticides for marijuana," he said. "This is not one of them."

Woodrow said this is the first lawsuit to challenge the marijuana industry’s grow methods. He is seeking class-action status for the suit and expects more plaintiffs to join in.

"Unless the industry cleans itself up, we can expect more lawsuits like this in the future," he said.

The action comes as the marijuana business rapidly expands across Colorado, often outpacing laws trying to regulate it. New products, new ways to get high and new strains of weed come onto the market every day.

Woodrow compared the explosion of the pot economy here to the tech startups in Silicon Valley.

"We have a burgeoning industry that is growing on a scale never attempted before," he said. "They are growing hundreds of thousands of plants indoors under lights, and now they are seeing spidery mites, fungus and other plant diseases they fear will wipe out millions of dollars of profit."

But rather than scale back, he said, companies resort to chemicals like Eagle 20 to save their crops.

"It is allowed on vegetation that is not inhaled, but it has been banned for use on plants like tobacco," Woodrow said.

The lack of any federal guidelines for growing pot underscores the continuing conundrum of an industry still considered illegal by the U.S. government.

"The problem is getting a robust regulatory system in place so that consumers have reliable government standards they can count on," said Alison Malsbury, a Seattle attorney with the Canna Law Group, which specializes in marijuana law. "The main message here is that marijuana companies can’t rely on meeting the bare minimum standards for product safety. If a consumer gets sick, they have a product liability case on their hands."

Last week, Denver health officials quarantined more plants to check for traces of unauthorized pesticides.

Flores says it all comes down to trust. He became an activist for legalized marijuana shortly after a severe car accident left him with recurring lower back pain. He found marijuana eased that pain in an organic way without lining the pockets of big drug companies.

But after the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado, Oregon, Alaska and Washington, he said, the pot business is starting to resemble the rest of corporate America.

"They are only interested in pumping out large quantities of the product and not in taking time to nurture it," he said. "If they are willing to compromise your health to make a profit, then I say we hit them where it hurts, in the pocketbook."

Kelly is a special correspondent.

Lawmakers, sign on now, to repeal the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (CSA).


Joined: Sep 2005


Posted: 10/20/2008 3:04:42 PM EDT

Lawmakers, sign on now, to repeal the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (CSA).

Without this authority, the ill-conceived War On Drugs (WOD) stops in its tracks. No one has talked about the War On Drugs for a long time. It has not gone away.

We still squander scarce resources on the fight against ourselves, at a time when foreign enemies are at the gate. Enough is enough, too much is too much, and more of this futile war would be the height of fiscal irresponsibility. Do now, for the War On Drugs, what the 21st Amendment did for the 18th, and with it, alcohol prohibition. Stop throwing good money after bad.
We should have learned a lesson from alcohol prohibition, namely that it doesn’t work.
Isn’t there enough blood in the streets already, without continuing to shoot ourselves in the feet?

Do we really need to ruin the lives of so many of our own children, perhaps on the theory it is for their own good?

The CSA is unconstitutional. The CSA never had a constitutional amendment to enable it, like the 18th amendment enabled alcohol prohibition. The drug warriors have, so far, gotten away with an end run, subverting the lack of constitutional authority.

An authority over Interstate Commerce provides a pretext of constitutionality. Any excuse is better than none. So, how is that interstate commerce going, these days? Why would a bankrupt treasury distain to derive revenue from its number one cash crop? The anti-capitalist policy inhibits small farmers from cultivating for a taxed market, and gifts a tax-free monopoly to outlaws, some of whom may be friends of our enemies. This is not what the founders had in mind when they authorized meddling in interstate commerce. Lets bring the underground economy into the taxed economy.

The Supreme Court got it wrong in Gonzales V Raich. Good on Clarence Thomas for noticing that the so-called constitutionality of the law is a mockery.

How did we get this CSA? Was there an informed debate on the floor? Did the substances ever get their day in court? What congressman then, or now, would admit to knowing a thing or two about LSD?

The lawmakers have never wanted to know more than it is politically safe to be against it.

Governments around the world ignore fact-checkers and even their own reports.

Forgive them, Lord, they make it their business to know not what they do.

Common sense tells us that personal experience deepens the understanding of issues. Personal experience is a good thing. But we herd the experienced to the hoosegow. We keep them out of jobs. The many who avoid detection must live double lives.
The congressmen who passed the CSA probably don’t even get it that they deny freedom of religion to those who prefer a non-placebo as their sacrament of communion.

Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religious freedom, says the First Amendment. But they did.

Many of the prohibited substances provide access to unique mental states. You can’t say your piece, if you can’t think it up. You can’t think it up, if you are not in a receptive state of mind. Neither the Constitution, nor its amendments, enumerates a power of government to prevent access to specific states of mind. How and when did the government acquire this power, to restrict consciousness and thought?

Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech, says the First Amendment. But they did.

What would happen if the CSA was enforced one hundred percent? What if all the civil disobedient turned in notarized confessions tomorrow? That is a double digit demographic. Even after years of spending more on prisons than on schools, the prisons don’t have that kind of sleeping capacity. Converting taxpayers into wards of the state mathematically increases the tax burden on the remainder. Higher tax burdens are not what the doctor is ordering at this time.

None of these substances are alleged to be as harmful as prison is. Granny’s justice is a saner benchmark. A kid caught with cigarettes must keep on smoking them, right then and there, until he or she has wretched. Drugs are sometimes accused of causing paranoia, but it is prohibition’s threat of loss of liberty, employment, and estate, that introduces paranoia. Apparently it is true that some of these substances do cause insanity, but the insanity is only in the minds of those who have never tried them.

There shall not be cruel and unusual punishment, says the Eighth Amendment. But here it is, in the CSA.

In the 1630’s, the pilgrims wrote home glowingly that the native hemp was superior to European varieties. Now, the government pretends it has a right to prohibit farmers from the husbandry of native hemp, but it so doesn’t. Could an offender get a plea-bargain, by rolling over on someone higher up in the organization? The farmer does nothing to nature’s seed that God Himself does not do when He provides it rain, sunlight, and decomposing earth. How can it be a crime to do as God does? Is the instigator to get off scot-free, while small users are selectively prosecuted?

God confesses, in Genesis 11-12, it was He who created the seed-bearing plants, on the second day. Then, He saw they were good. There you have it, the perpetrator shows no remorse about creating cannabis or mushrooms. Neither has He apologized for endowing humans with sensitive internal receptor sites which activate seductive mental effects in the presence of the scheduled molecules. Book Him, Dano.

Common Law must hold that humans are the legal owners of their own bodies. Men may dispose of their property as they please. It is none of Government’s business which substances its citizens prefer to stimulate themselves with. Men have a right to get drunk in their own homes, be it folly or otherwise. The usual caveats, against injury to others, or their estates, remain in effect.

The Declaration of Independence gets right to the point. The Pursuit Of Happiness is a self-evident, God-given, inalienable, right of man. The War On Drugs is, in reality, a war on the pursuit of happiness. Too bad the Declaration of Independence is not worth much in court.

Notwithstanding the failure of the Supreme Court to overturn the CSA, lawmakers can and should repeal the act. Lawmakers, please get to it now, in each house, without undue delay. Wake up.

Who has the guts to put America first and not prolong the tragedy?
We don’t need the CSA. The citizenry already has legal recourse for various injuries to itself and its estate, without invoking any War On Drugs. We should stop committing resources to ruin the lives of peaceful people who never injured anyone. If someone screws up at work, fire him or her for the screw-up. The Books still have plenty of laws on them, without this one.

Without the CSA, the empty prisons could conceivably be used to house the homeless. Homeland security might be able to use the choppers that won’t be needed for eradication. Maybe the negative numbers that will have to be used to bottom-line our legacy to the next generation can be less ginormous.

Cannabis has a stronger claim to the blessing of the state than do the sanctioned tobacco and alcohol. Cannabis does not have the deadly lung cancer of tobacco, nor the puking, hangover, and liver cirrhosis of alcohol. To the contrary, cannabis shows promise as an anti-tumor agent. Nor is cannabis associated with social problems like fighting and crashing cars. Cannabis-intoxication is usually too mellow for fighting, and impaired drivers typically drive within the limits of their impairment. The roads will be safer, if slower, for every driver that switches from drink to smoke. Coffee drinkers cause more serious accidents by zipping in and out of traffic and tailgating. To assure public safety on the road, cops need a kit to assess driving competence and alertness objectively. Perhaps science can develop a virtual reality simulator. Hopefully it could also detect drowsy, Alzheimer’s, and perhaps road-raging, drivers.

John McCain should recuse himself on the CSA repeal issue, due to the conflict of interest of potential competition for his family beer franchise. Both candidates have promised to end ‘failed programs’, but neither has issued a timetable, or a roadmap, for standing down on the WOD.

The debate how a crippled USA can manage ‘the two wars’ is blind. Hello, there are three, not two, wars. The War On Drugs has not let up, after 38 years of failure. Its costs are in the ballpark of the foreign wars. There is no lower-hanging, riper, or higher yielding budgetary fruit than to stop this third war, cold turkey. We are making new enemies faster than we are killing the old ones. We are losing old friends. In this national crisis of global humiliation, we should cut a little slack to those who still love the United States of America, no matter what they may be smoking.

Stave off national meltdown, by repeal of the CSA, this week, if possible. TIA.

Without the War On Drugs, Americans can come together as a people in ways that are not possible with so many of our best and brightest under threat of disenfranchisement.

The Science of Toxicology and U.I. or "Under the Influence and/or Intoxication?" of Cannabis/Marijuana and D.O.A. Drug Testing


The Official Court Documents that I present to you below here, {THIS ONE TIME, FOR FREE = this offer will not last and is for a limited amount of time = THIS SET OF DOCUMENTS WILL GO MISSING AND A FEE WILL BE CHARGED LATER FOR THIS INFORMATION} The following Documents were presented, accepted and registered by the Criminal or Courts as “Evidence” as they were listed by the Kentucky Courts in a case I recently Advocated in on behalf of James E. Coleman.
Are in fact, the PROOF, that Cannabis/Marijuana/Hemp or Unspecified levels of Cannabinoids are natural within the human body and that their presence or levels or “analytical threshold” combined with the fact that this test measures “no quantification of a specific compound” in the blood, are proof, there has been no measure of  intoxication, performed by this test where cannabiniods are concerned and that this test can not show toxicity.
According to this Expert Witness.
Therefore they are unable to test levels for intoxication as they claim is claimed by the manufacture of the test and/or Law Enforcement in U.I. charges or related cases. These documented facts apply to the Test it’s self given and the Cannabinoid levels… Therefore apply to all these D.O.A. = “Drug of Abuse” Blood Serum U.I. Test used by Law Enforcement and Not the Individual. As these facts apply to all humans and all these Test.






“Can a debtor in the marijuana business obtain relief in the federal bankruptcy court? No.”

August 27, 2015

No Relief: Ruling Highlights Lack of Options for Marijuana Companies Seeking Bankruptcy Protection


By John Schroyer

“Can a debtor in the marijuana business obtain relief in the federal bankruptcy court? No.”

That’s a line in the first paragraph of a recent court ruling against Frank Arenas, a Colorado marijuana grower and wholesaler who tried to win federal bankruptcy protection. A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge initially ruled that Arenas can’t claim such protections because marijuana is still illegal, and an appellate panel affirmed that decision last Friday.

It’s the latest in a string of court decisions on cannabis-related bankruptcy cases dating back to at least 2012, when a judge involved in the Arenas decision issued a similar ruling involving another marijuana company. There have been at least four other such decisions as well in Colorado and California – all with the same outcome as Arenas’ case.

So what can distressed marijuana companies do if they’re on the verge of bankruptcy? The answer may depend on which state a company is in, and how it’s structured.

Arenas, for example, made a big mistake in not keeping his personal assets separate from his business, said Arizona attorney Gary Michael Smith. That’s evident, Smith said, because Arenas tried initially to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection and then convert it into Chapter 13, which is only doable if it’s a personal – not a business – bankruptcy.

“The mistakes he made makes it pretty clear that he conducted business in his personal name, and/or he was personally guaranteeing the debt that his business was assuming, which is horrible,” Smith said. “One should not do that, particularly with those amounts of money.”

Sean McAllister, a Denver attorney who also works closely with the cannabis industry, said one of the best and most obvious ways to avoid such pitfalls is to be careful when setting up a marijuana business at the outset.

“The most important thing for any cannabis company is to be really thinking about this as you make agreements, as you borrow money, as you enter into partnerships, because there are things you can do to limit your liability,” McAllister said. “The lack of bankruptcy protection is a problem, but it’s more of a problem if people have exposed their personal assets.”

As Marijuana Business Daily wrote about last year, there are a number of ways that cannabis companies can prepare for financial hardships and possibly avoid even having to consider bankruptcy.

There may be some additional steps companies can take, depending on the state where a given business is located, Smith said.

For example, a possibly unique precedent was set in Arizona several years ago when a court sided with a cannabis company that owed creditors $500,000, Smith said. The judge tossed a lawsuit brought by two creditors, saying the loans were illegal in the first place because they were given to a business handling cannabis, which is illegal under federal law.

“If that guy walked into my office and had this problem, what I’d probably suggest is he go into a federal lawsuit to have the debt related to the marijuana operation deemed void for illegality,” said Smith, referring to the owner of the Arizona business seeking relief from creditors. That would mean “nobody could enforce those debts against” the company, he added.

That probably wouldn’t work everywhere, said Colorado attorney Rachel Gillette. She said the state put in place protections for such deals, so under Colorado statute such an argument wouldn’t apply.

Still, there are other potential state laws that businesses might be able to take advantage of, said New York attorney Hanan Kolko. Some states have their own versions of bankruptcy protections, he said, that wouldn’t have the same conflicts as federal bankruptcy laws.

“To an extent that a state has that, a cannabis business could use that,” Kolko said.

But that underscores the need for business owners to do their homework and talk to legal counsel, both before companies are founded and if they ever run into financial hardship. And it highlights a need for further reforms.

“It’s just another example which illustrates why we need substantive reform at the federal level,” Gillette said. “It doesn’t work to operate in this sort of quasi-legal arena. The federal law needs to change.”

John Schroyer can be reached at


For some in the South, defying medical marijuana laws is the Lord’s work

By Quint Forgey, News21 August 19 at 6:30 AM

Image result for For some in the South, defying medical marijuana laws is the Lord’s work

Editor’s note: This is one in a series of articles on the legalization of marijuana, produced in partnership with the 2015 Carnegie-Knight News21 national student reporting project.

CHESTER, S.C. — She lives in the wooden house her grandfather built more than a century ago in Chester, S.C., a rural community about a two-hour drive southeast of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The cluttered home is dimly lit and not air-conditioned, with the low hum of floor fans filling in rare lulls in conversation. Two chihuahuas, Cricket and Joe, scuttle around Ada Jones’s feet as she peers down through her eyeglasses at the iPad in her hands.

The tablet looks conspicuously out of place among the black-and-white photos hanging on the walls and the dangling, beaded divider into the next room. It serves as her connection to the outside world, as well as the outside world’s connection to Jones.

If someone needs medical marijuana, they contact her over the Internet.

Jones encourages those who reach out to her to purchase marijuana illegally and make their own cannabis oil. If they’re unsuccessful, she puts them in contact with a supplier who can sell them a more refined product.

“It’s almost like playing God,” Jones said. “If somebody contacts me, I have to look at them and wonder. I wonder if that’s police first, not if I can help their kid. I try not to do that, but you have to because you’re scared.”

Jones helps everyone she can, whether they be young mothers of epileptic children or older patients suffering from chronic pain. Her specific brand of civil disobedience, like so many other facets of Southern life, is captained by her faith.

“They talk about the South being the Bible belt, and praise the Lord we are,” Jones said. “I cannot not help somebody. I have to. As a Christian, that’s what I’m here for.”

Many Southern states have a long and failed history with medical marijuana, mired deep in forgotten statutes and a lost generation of patients. Only recently, as the marijuana movement sweeps through statehouses, have those laws become political tinder for a new debate in the Old South.


Colorado Springs bans home marijuana concentrate production

Colorado Springs bans home marijuana concentrate production.

“It shall be unlawful for any person to manufacture marijuana concentrates, including, but not limited to the production of “Hash Oil” by the use of a compressed flammable gas, flammable gas, flammable liquid or combustible liquid as a solvent in the extraction of tetrahydrocannabinol and/or other cannabinoids in a residential setting within the city of Colorado Springs.”

No exception for using alcohol or ethanol as we have in the state law HB1305. I’m waiting to see a copy of the final version of the ordinance for details and effective date.

“Somebody bring me weed. I’ll pay for it,” Twitter user @Rosa_Sparkz said

GoddessA careless marijuana procurer who goes by the name @Rosa_Sparkz received a shock, when her quest to buy the drug online was met with a keen response from the Palm Beach County’s Sheriff’s Office (PBSO), and then went viral.

“Somebody bring me weed. I’ll pay for it,” Twitter user @Rosa_Sparkz said.

In just minutes, PBSO’s Twitter account responded with a joking "Where should we meet you?" The tweet spread like wildfire, and has since received over 30 thousand shares.

“My first reaction was that I thought it was a troll account. That was until I saw the verified check mark and all of the retweets started coming in,” Sparkz told the Deep Commotion blog.

Rather than being scared by the unexpected respondent, Sparkz embraced the moment, also calling out for vodka, and later confessing that she was “high laughing.”

“When it went viral I got really excited. I was having a pretty boring night after work but this definitely sparked some life [in]to my night!” said Sparkz.

“I definitely don’t regret it. I am relishing … these five minutes of internet fame!”

Sparkz said the police made no attempt to contact her in the aftermath, despite possession of up to 20 grams of marijuana being a misdemeanor with a possible jail sentence of up to one year in Florida.

While most approved of the light-hearted exchange over a crime that is quickly disappearing from the US legal landscape, due to a raft of legalizations, others were not amused.


Marijuana addiction drug research gets $3 million grant as Obama encourages legalization

By Kelly Riddell – The Washington Times – Thursday, June 25, 2015




The National Institutes of Health is dedicating $3 million to fast-track the development of drugs to treat marijuana addiction — an estimated 4.2 million Americans are hooked on cannabis — even as the president encourages its legalization and more states look to enact laws for its recreational use.

“Cannabis use is an increasing public health concern in the United States that requires immediate attention,” reads the government’s grant proposal, issued in May. “Given the high prevalence of marijuana use and its associated disorders and the large number of people who seek treatment, there is a critical need to discover and develop safe and effective treatments for [cannabis use disorders].”

The National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse plan to award $3 million to fund three projects aimed at fast-tracking research on drugs to help curb marijuana abuse, and the Food and Drug Administration has not approved any medications to treat pot addiction.

In its proposal, the National Institute on Drug Abuse states that marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug, with an estimated 2.4 million people trying it for the first time last year, and has the highest number of Americans dependent on or abusing it.

The institute’s call for research seems to divert from policies touted by the Obama administration, which has been the most progressive in history allowing for marijuana use.

In March, President Obama said he was “encouraged” by efforts at the state level to allow greater access to marijuana. In an interview with The New Yorker last year, he said, “I don’t think [marijuana] is more dangerous than alcohol.”

During Mr. Obama’s tenure, the Department of Justice said it would not prosecute or enforce laws against the production and sale of marijuana at the state level. To date, 23 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws allowing pot to be used for a variety of medical conditions. Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and the District of Columbia have permitted recreational use of pot.

The administration’s most recent move loosening the federal restrictions on weed was made Monday, when it lifted a bureaucratic requirement for those wishing to conduct scientific research on the drug.

For committing $3 million in taxpayer money to find a treatment to a drug that the administration is looking to make more accessible, the National Institute on Drug Abuse gets this week’s Golden Hammer, The Washington Times’ weekly distinction highlighting waste, fraud and abuse — or in this case hypocrisy — in the federal government.

“The public discourse has shifted in recent years to only want to talk about the benefits of marijuana. But addiction is the huge elephant in the room that many lawmakers want to sweep under the carpet,” said Kevin Sabet, who served in the Obama administration as senior adviser at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. “The problem is huge and, as marijuana becomes more legal, we’re going to be seeing it more often.”

According to a study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, the number of heavy marijuana users has increased sevenfold in the U.S. since its lowest point in 1992. Although the heavy marijuana users represent only about 2 percent of the U.S. population, daily and near-daily marijuana users consume 80 percent of the marijuana in the country.

“The entire medical community is aware of marijuana addiction and how big a problem it is,” said Dr. Stuart Gitlow, a former president at the American Society of Addiction Medicine. “If we go back to the time of Prohibition — from a public health standpoint it was an enormous success, there was a per capita drop in the consumption of alcohol, in accidents related to alcohol, and liver disease was reduced by two-thirds. After it ended, all of these stats went back to where they were before.”

He predicted similar results as marijuana prohibition eases.

“Ending the prohibition of marijuana, what we’ll see is a dramatic increase in its use and the total number of people affected by issues like intoxication and addiction,” he said.

Mr. Gitlow estimates that 15 percent to 20 percent of youths and 10 percent of adults who try marijuana will become addicted to it. Qualities commonly associated with pot addiction are apathy, loss of concentration, paranoia and increased likelihood of psychosis, which leads to increased psychiatric admissions, he said.

Story Continues →

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This Mom Faces Prison For Medical Marijuana. Now Her Attorney Has Declared War On The Drug War Itself.

Matt Ferner Become a fan

Image result for marijuana

A 38-year-old Kansas woman who lost custody of her 11-year-old son and faces charges that could send her to prison for 30 years over her use of medical marijuana was released on bail last week.

Shona Banda, who has a severely debilitating case of Crohn’s disease, now prepares for the fight of her life — one that her attorney is hoping will not just keep her client out of prison and restore custody of her child, but one that she hopes will cripple “absurd, archaic and outdated marijuana laws that should have been changed decades ago” in Kansas and the rest of the United States.

Here’s how a mother of two using a plant to self-medicate found herself, and her family, being targeted by authorities in her home state. And just how she’s planning to fight back.

‘She Was Barely Functioning, Barely Living.’

Banda had been suffering from what she calls a “terminal case” of Crohn’s disease for nearly a decade.

Crohn’s is a chronic bowel disease that causes inflammation of the intestinal tract and produces an intestine that can no longer adequately absorb food and water. This can result in mild to severe diarrhea, abdominal cramping, blood loss and anemia, as well as joint pain and swelling, according to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. Its exact cause remains unknown, and while death from Crohn’s is rare, a multitude of complications that can arise when living with the disease can be fatal.

Banda says she was “bedridden” and “walking with a cane for help” due to the severity of the joint pain she was experiencing.

“With Crohn’s disease, it’s like having a stomach flu that won’t go away, and my body’s recognizing that something’s wrong and it’s attacking itself so it’s in overdrive,” Banda said in a 2010 YouTube video interview.

She said she frequently was so weak and in so much pain that she raised her kids “from a couch.”

To combat the disease, Banda had numerous surgeries, long hospital stays, difficult recoveries and dozens of prescription medications that she was forced to take daily — and even with all of that, she was "barely functioning, barely living," Banda’s attorney Sarah Swain told The Huffington Post in an interview.

“If we were to place her disease on a spectrum, I would place it on the far end as something that could have killed her and I believe, very strongly, still could,” Swain said. “If the end result of this case is that she gets sent to prison, I believe there is a real chance that this is the equivalent of a death sentence.”

Shona’s ‘Miraculous’ Recovery

Desperate for an effective treatment, Banda began looking outside of traditional medicine. After watching a documentary about the benefits of cannabis oil, Banda said she started to make her own oil in her kitchen and would consume it around meals.

“Literally within days her Crohn’s was in full remission,” Swain said. And after several months of continued treatment, her health had improved so dramatically that “she considered herself cured from Crohn’s disease.”

“I’m not in my deathbed, I’m working for the first time in four years, I’m hiking, I’m swimming, I’m able to play with my kids, I’m able to do things — I love it,” Banda said in the YouTube video.

Banda was public about her health crisis, as well as her use of medical marijuana, and detailed it all in a 2010 memoir, Live Free Or Die, which recounts her brutal battle with Crohn’s disease for years.

She also recorded a YouTube video the same year her book was published to help further spread her message about the medical benefits of cannabis.

“When you decide to take your life into your own hands and realize that you can do this with a $50 machine, a $5 spatula and a plant that you can grow for free in your backyard, you can do this — and it’s awesome,” Banda says in the YouTube video. “This stuff is amazing, it’s miraculous.”

A ‘Drug Education’ Discussion Sparks An Investigation

Banda made no secret about her cannabis oil use around her two children, 11 and 18, and they watched firsthand for years as their mother’s strength, and health, returned as she continued to self-medicate.

That’s why during a March 24 “drug and alcohol education” presentation at Banda’s 11-year-old son’s school in Garden City, Kansas, her son pushed back against some of the information he was being told about marijuana’s dangers — it didn’t ring true to his personal experience.

“So he raised his hand and essentially said, ‘No, that’s not accurate,’” Swain said.

But his nuanced understanding of the plant inadvertently set in motion a series of events that would turn his family’s life upside down. Banda’s son was quickly called into the principal’s office, where the fifth-grader was questioned at length about his mother’s marijuana use, Swain said. That meeting triggered a call to Child Protective Services. The agency notified local law enforcement, which obtained a warrant and then searched Banda’s home shortly thereafter.

Inside Banda’s home, police found a little more than 1 pound of marijuana, along with equipment Banda had been using to manufacture her cannabis oil in the kitchen. They also found various items related to ingesting marijuana throughout the house that tested positive for THC, the main psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana associated with the “high” sensation and well-known for its medicinal properties. The police also said that the items taken from the house were “within easy reach of the child.”

Banda’s son was immediately removed from her custody and placed into state custody, where he remains. He has been temporarily placed with Banda’s husband, from whom she is separated.

Kansas, A State Of Prohibition

To date, 23 states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes, 20 have decriminalized possession of small amounts of the plant and four have legalized recreational marijuana.

However, marijuana, be it medical or recreational, remains illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act. Within the CSA, the U.S. has five categories for drugs and drug ingredients, with a Schedule 1 categorization reserved for what the Drug Enforcement Administration considers to have the highest potential for abuse and no medical value. Marijuana has been classified as such for decades, alongside other substances like heroin and LSD.

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.

But those protections don’t extend to states like Kansas that have continued to prohibit marijuana, similarly to the federal government.

Banda was aware of the risks of using medical marijuana in her home state. Twice she had tried to relocate to Colorado, where both medical and recreational marijuana are legal, as so many people have done — becoming “marijuana refugees” — but for financial reasons, she was forced to return to Kansas.

“Shona Banda is not a rich woman, she is a lower-middle-class woman who does not have a lot of money or financial support in the world,” Swain said. “And at multiple times while she was attempting to live in Colorado and use cannabis legally, she found herself homeless, her and her family. It was very difficult.”

Swain said Banda was forced to choose between a state that was too expensive for her to live in but provided legal access to the medicine she so desperately needed, or move back to Kansas, where she could afford to pay her bills and provide a more stable living environment for her children, knowing that the medicine that was keeping her alive and well could land her in prison.

The state of Kansas has charged Banda with five felonies: possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, manufacturing THC, child endangerment and two counts of drug paraphernalia possession.

She faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, an extreme sentence that has outraged advocates for reforming the prohibition policies in states like Kansas.

“Punishing someone for using marijuana to treat a medical condition is ridiculous,” Mason Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, told HuffPost. “Taking away their child for it is legitimately evil. Kansas’ draconian marijuana laws have caused far more harm to this woman and to her child than marijuana ever could.”

Banda turned herself in Monday. She immediately posted the $50,000 bond the state had set and was released from jail just a few hours later. She was only able to do so thanks to a GoFundMe account in her support that has garnered tens of thousands of dollars more than the $15,000 it was initially set up to raise.

Next: A War On The War On Drugs

“Law enforcement messed with the wrong person,” Swain said with ferocity.

Of course, first and foremost, Swain wants to see all charges dropped against her client and for custody of her son to return.

But she has a secondary goal. It’s lofty, but it’s one she says is long overdue and one that doesn’t end with changing just Kansas’ marijuana laws.

“The goal is to change the law for everyone, to make sure that this drug is classified as something less than a Schedule 1 drug, something that, if changed, would benefit millions of people,” Swain said. “We are filling our prisons with poor people and minorities, because, let’s be honest, the war on drugs is a war on poor people and minorities, it’s a pipeline for mass incarceration — and it needs to end."

Swain says that she is prepared to take Banda’s case every step of the way to achieve those goals — including before the Supreme Court, if that’s what it takes.

"Too many people are being forced to choose between dying or violating a law and facing going to prison — it’s totally unacceptable," Swain said. "It’s time to end these absurd, archaic and outdated marijuana laws that should have been changed decades ago.”

Further hearings in Banda’s case are set to be scheduled on Aug. 24.