Category Archives: Cannabis/Marijuana

“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 johns@mjbizmedia.com

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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.

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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.

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


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

 

 

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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 Matt.Ferner@huffingtonpost.com

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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.

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Patients Are Relying on Congress to Reauthorize the Rohrabacher-Farr Medical Marijuana Amendment


Steph Sherer Become a fan

Executive Director, Americans for Safe Access

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to take part in a “marijuana vote-a-rama” of sorts, with several amendments to dealing with marijuana to be offered on the floor during the FY2016 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Bill. The amendments offered will cover topics from hemp and cannabidiol (CBD) to protection of state adult-use laws. Not to be lost in the shuffle is the vote to reauthorize the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, which stipulates that the Department of Justice is not to spend any funds inferring with lawful state medical marijuana conduct. Patients, such as 15-year old Crohn’s patient/Colorado refugee Coltyn Turner, need the protection that a reauthorized Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment would continue to offer.

The amendment was originally passed the House in May 2014, 219-189, with a strong bipartisan showing of 49 Republicans joining 170 Democrats. Later in December, Senator Mikulski helped ensure the bill remained in the final CRomnibus bill that President Obama signed into law. While its passage marked the first time since Congress approved a medical marijuana reform since designating marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, momentum for additional medical marijuana reforms grown substantially in the past 12 months with introduction of the CARERS Act in both chambers and the passage of the Veterans Equal Access Amendment offered by Senators Daines (R-MT) and Merkley (D-OR) in Senate Appropriations Committee last month.

Once again the amendment showing strong bipartisan support out of the gate, with 6 Republican, and 6 Democrat cosponsors lending their name to this year’s version: Rohrabacher (R-CA), Farr (D-CA), Ribble (R-WI), Lee (D-CA), Massie (R-KY), Blumenauer (D-OR), Heck (R-NV), Cohen (D-TN), Young (R-AK) Polis (D-CO), McClintock (R-CA), Titus (D-NV). The number of states listed on the amendment has jumped from 32 to 39, with New York, North Carolina,Virginia, Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana becoming the latest states to be added to the list. This now means that about 85% of the U.S. population now lives somewhere with some sort of medical marijuana patient protection. Patients like Coltyn cannot afford to wait for the federal government to play catch-up and be denied access to their medicine, and in fact, they won’t wait, as Coltyn has said ““I’d rather be illegally alive than legally dead.” With an estimated 2.4 million medical marijuana patients as of October 2014 who are being “illegally healed” in the eyes of the Department of Justice who makes no internal distinction between medical and non-medical marijuana use, the protections afforded by the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment are needed now more than ever.

During the floor debate last year, many of the amendment cosponsors spoke in favor of the amendment, thereby establishing the legislative intent of the amendment. From their words as well as the words of the amendment’s opponents, it was clear that the intent of the amendment was to prevent the Dept. of Justice from interfering with with state legal medical marijuana conduct. As Rep. Farr put it:

“This is essentially saying, look, if you are following State law, you are a legal resident doing your business under State law, the Feds just can’t come in and bust you and bust the doctors and bust the patient. It is more than half the States. So you don’t have to have any opinion about the value of marijuana. This doesn’t change any laws. This doesn’t affect one law, just lists the States that have already legalized it only for medical purposes, only medical purposes, and says, Federal Government, in those States, in those places, you can’t bust people. It seems to me a practical, reasonable amendment in this time and age.”

In practical terms, it is still hard to measure the true effectiveness of the amendment, but there has been an appreciable decrease in the amount of federal interference with state-legal medical marijuana conduct. This is not to say that DOJ is being in full compliance or is even being transparent about how it has been complying with the spending restriction. While DEA raids of state-legal facilities are no longer the regular occurrence they once were, raids and their subsequent prosecutions are still continuing, even in the absence of proof that state laws were being violated, such as the Kettle Falls Five case in Washington State. While Reps. Rohrabacher and Farr have sought answers from DOJ on why this kind of interference is continuing to take place, the Department has largely sidestepped the issue, offering a terse quasi-explanation in the L.A. Times, but little else. But as Rep. Farr responded in a tweet, “@TheJusticeDept lawyers can try to parse words but Congress was clear: Stop wasting funds/resources prosecuting patients!”

We couldn’t say it better ourselves, but it’s worth repeating, it is a waste of taxpayer funds to prosecute state-legal medical marijuana patients. To further reiterate Rep. Farr, passage of the amendment sends a strong signal to DOJ that interfering with lawful state medical marijuana conduct goes against the sense of Congress. This sense is shared by over 85% of Americans who believe that patients should have safe and legal access to medical marijuana programs under the recommendation of a physician. The health of patients like Coltyn depends on the federal government not interfering with state medical marijuana laws (his self-produced PSA underscores the reason why it’s important). Supporting this medical marijuana amendment is not only compassionate, but also fiscally pragmatic and politically safe. This vote should be a no-brainer for conservatives and liberals alike who want to keep big government out of the doctor’s office. Take action and ask your U.S. Representative to VOTE AYE on the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment.

Follow Steph Sherer on Twitter: www.twitter.com/safeaccess

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Rohrabacher Farr Medical Marijuana Amendment Americans for Safe Access Cjs CARERS Act Marijuana Marijuana Medical Marijuana Rohrabacher Farr Amendment Asa Safe Access Veterans Equal Access Amendment

Do You Know What’s on Your Weed?


If You Care About Ingesting Weed Free of Harmful Pesticides, You Need to Know a Crucial Difference Between Medical and Recreational Marijuana

by Tobias Coughlin-Bogue

 

Before looking into it, I naively assumed Washington State’s groundbreaking marijuana legalization law had given us a unique opportunity to do things "right," which meant, to my mind, a crop that’s not only legal but pesticide-free, organic, and eco-friendly. Maybe we’ve all already given up hope when it comes to fruit and vegetables grown by giant agribusinesses, but weed, given all the tree-hugging, organic-food-eating, GMO-avoiding hippies who love it, must be different. Right?

Wrong. What I discovered was that legal weed is most certainly not pesticide-free, although to be fair, there are severe restrictions on the kinds of pesticides recreational marijuana growers are allowed to use. Pesticide use is so commonplace in agriculture that the question becomes one of degrees rather than absolutes. In a storybook version of reality, we would be smoking pesticide-free fatties with the Lorax and satisfying our munchies with unsprayed apples 100 percent of the time. But as glorious as that would be, that doesn’t reflect the economic or ecological reality of agriculture.

When the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) was inventing rules for pesticide use on recreational marijuana plants, they turned to the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) for some expert advice. The WSDA studied pesticides typically allowed on hops (a close cousin of cannabis), tobacco, and food products. The rules in place are a result of that work.

The state appears to have done a good job at regulating a previously unregulated and unstudied area of agriculture—a plant the federal government still classifies as a Schedule I drug. All pesticides used on any crop in the state of Washington must be registered with the Department of Agriculture, and the list of approved pesticides is available via the Pesticide Information Center Online (PICOL), a database operated by Washington State University. There are, by my highly scientific estimate, a metric shit ton of allowed pesticides in our state. How many of those pesticides are recreational pot growers allowed to use on pot that ends up in your body? Two hundred and seventy-one.

That number is not nearly as upsetting as it may sound, given a little context. At a recent meeting of state and local officials working with the recreational cannabis industry, one attendee voiced concern that 271 legally allowed pesticides seemed like a large number. In response, Erik Johanson, the WSDA’s special pesticide registration program coordinator, offered this sobering bit of information: "If we were talking apples, the number would be 1,000."

When it comes to regulating recreational marijuana pesticides, the WSDA did what government agencies do best when faced with uncertainty: They played it safe. They chose to only allow pesticides that were exempt from any tolerance level requirements—thresholds established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that dictate the amounts at which pesticides become harmful when consumed, inhaled, or otherwise encountered. Being exempt from those requirements is the EPA’s way of saying a substance is so benign, they didn’t feel it necessary to study it further. Also, thanks to the popularity of edibles, the WSDA chose to consider the harvested buds as a food product—though they are not technically classified as such by the legislature—disqualifying a bunch of nasty stuff intended for use only on ornamental plants or otherwise inedible crops. This led to that relatively small list of 271 pesticides. It is primarily composed of the type of essential oils that might lead you to overpay for a bottle of shampoo.

Many of the allowed pesticides with scary names aren’t even that scary: azadirachtin is an extract of neem oil, potassium laurate is just soap, and bacillus subtilis is a bacteria with antifungal and probiotic properties that occurs naturally in our gastrointestinal tract. None of them are listed on the Pesticide Action Network’s list of "bad actors." Is each and every one of the 271 legally allowed pesticides something you would feel comfortable gently misting over a field of adorable puppies? No. I found two somewhat troubling substances on the list: pyrethrins and their trusty sidekick piperonyl butoxide (PBO). Pyrethrin is listed on PAN’s "bad actors" list, and while PBO is not, it is a chemical synergist for pyrethrin, working to enhance its effects. The duo is most commonly found in fogger-style bug bombs with brand names like Doktor Doom and X-clude.

Those two ominously named brands are not on the PICOL list, though they are still available for purchase at your average gardening supply store, a clear indication of their popularity. Doktor Doom and X-clude may not be on the PICOL list, but other fogger bombs with the same active ingredients are. (The PICOL list is organized by brand name, not active ingredients.) Pyrethrins are classified by the EPA as a botanical insecticide, being the active chemical ingredients of pyrethrum, an extract of chrysanthemum flowers. Pyrethrins and PBO are, given their inclusion on the PICOL list, exempt from residual tolerance requirements and thus safe for human consumption in any amount, according to the EPA.

But if you’ve ever used one of these foggers, you know they’re some pretty heavy shit. Before you use one in your house, you have to cover all exposed food products and remove yourself and your pets from the area for at least several hours. In the context of growing marijuana, they cannot be sprayed directly onto a plant or the plant will die. Most growers agree they should not be sprayed onto plants at all. "It leaves a lot of residue on plants," said Dustin Hurst, head grower at Monkey Grass Farms in Wenatchee, explaining that it’s especially risky to use these products late in the plant’s flowering stage when the flowers begin to enclose into buds, potentially trapping pyrethrin residue within. Daniel Curylo, "lead instigator" at Cascade Crops in Shelton, concurs: "You don’t want to be spraying all sorts of crap on your product, because the residue—I don’t care what anybody says—that stays on there."

Indeed, a 2002 fact sheet from the Journal of Pesticide Reform cites a study in which pyrethrin residues were found in carpet dust more than two months after application, which is a bit unnerving when one considers the crystal-encrusted tendrils of a flowering pot plant. A later study, published in 2013 in the Journal of Toxicology, found that up to 69.5 percent of pesticide residues can end up in flowers at the point of inhalation. So, if pyrethrin/PBO foggers are being used at any point during the flowering stage of the plant’s growth—which would not explicitly violate any of the WSLCB’s rules—you’re likely smoking some of it.

How big a problem is that, health-wise? The Journal of Pesticide Reform cites concerns about pyrethrin ranging from disruption of hormonal systems to the chemical’s EPA-granted status as "likely to be a carcinogen by the oral route." The EPA’s own human health risk assessment of pyrethrin suggests that long-term inhalation of pyrethrin in significant amounts can cause "respiratory tract lesions" in rodents. Scarier still, the JPR factsheet notes that pyrethrins are absorbed by humans most rapidly via the lungs.

If you’re curious about what may be on the marijuana you get in a recreational store, ask. Every pot grow operates differently, but under WAC statute 314-55-087, growers are required to keep accurate records of all pesticides applied—when, how much, by whom, etc. The WSLCB’s team of inspectors can check these records to ensure proper use at any time. And every grower is required to make this information available to recreational stores that carry their products.

What Kinds of Pesticides Are Recreational Marijuana Growers Using?

So why would any pot farmer worth a damn want to use the stuff on their plants? Because weed farmers have to deal with pests like any other farmers do. "I think you could bleach everyone and everything, and [spider mites] would still get in," Hurst, the Monkey Grass Farms grower, told me.

"Everybody gets it—spider mites, stuff like powdery mildew, it’s everywhere," said Curylo from Cascade Crops. Spider mites, which appear as little black dots on the bottom of a marijuana plant’s fan leaves (the part of the pot plant most likely to be superimposed over Bob Marley’s face on a T-shirt), are the bane of growers, along with mold and bacteria. Left unchecked, these infiltrators can ruin an entire harvest. Getting rid of them is a constant battle, and growers have typically employed a wide variety of weapons, most benign but some less so, like pyrethrin.

But pyrethrin does have legitimate uses. According to various gardening supply store managers I interviewed, if growers are using it right, it’s primarily as a "reset button" between grow cycles when all the plants have been removed from the grow room. Given the surfaces available for pyrethrin to cling to in the absence of fuzzy budding plants, it’s not likely to linger. Regardless, most of the growers I spoke with—both licensed and unlicensed—indicated that they preferred to use lower-impact pest solutions anyway, for both economic and ethical reasons. Most relied heavily on AzaMax, a brand name of azadirachtin. Azadirachtin, as I mentioned previously, is just an extract of neem oil, an age-old Indian cure-all and a very hot seller during scabies outbreaks at Evergreen. Curylo said he planned to stop using even AzaMax, because he has found it cheaper and just as effective to mist using a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution.

To keep growers from using products even nastier than a fogger bomb, the WSLCB maintains the authority to pull, at random, a sample of any grower’s weed to run a comprehensive pesticide residue panel on it. If any unapproved pesticides show up, growers face a $2,500 fine and 10-day license suspension to start. The penalties for repeat offenders escalate rapidly, culminating in a permanent loss of license.

There are, of course, recreational marijuana consumers who will argue that all weed should be subject to pesticide residue testing before sale. That was certainly my first reaction when I discovered that the residue test was not part of the required panel of tests that all pot goes through on its way to market. But the system of randomized testing seems to provide a significant enough disincentive for growers to ensure compliance. Given the amount of time and money most people have invested in their operations, a 10-day suspension is a pretty serious deterrent.

I asked Phil Tobias, who runs Sea of Green Farms in Seattle, whether randomized testing motivated him to stick to the approved list, and he replied, "Yes. One hundred percent. We would get fined if we were to use something else, and we can’t risk that." His primary methods of pest control? Ladybugs and ionized water. (Ladybugs think spider mites are delicious.)

Hurst, from Monkey Grass, concurred: "If there’s someone there watching over your shoulder, you’re gonna make sure everything is perfect."

Nick Mosely and Bobby Hines, from pot-testing lab Confidence Analytics in Redmond, were also quick to praise the PICOL list. Hines said the existence of the PICOL list "absolutely" put weed grown under I-502 a cut above everything else. "It’s not just the penalty," added Mosely, "but also that there’s a resource they can look to that guides them toward healthy alternatives." And indeed, a booklet distributed to regulators and enforcement personnel from various state and local agencies includes a section on encouraging integrated pest management, a holistic method of pest control that attempts to avoid the use of any pesticides at all. Mosely also suggested that many of the bad practices being employed were not due to maliciousness so much as an absence of education. "A lot of [underground growers] just don’t know that Avid is so poisonous. They just know their buddy told them it works," said Mosely. "If they know that Avid is dangerous—it’s not on the list, but here’s a list of things that do work—then they’ll go to that."

Mikhail Carpenter, a spokesperson for the WSLCB, says the agency’s inspectors have the power to decide what constitutes improper use of a pesticide, and can immediately shut down and quarantine any grow operation that they feel to be unsafe, pending appeal. He also stressed that the WSLCB’s enforcement officers, when checking grow facilities, will be examining these records closely to ensure accurate record-keeping and responsible usage. He assured me that if they were to find a grower using pyrethrin bombs dangerously close to harvest, they would put the kibosh on it. So while responsible use of foggers may not be specifically codified into the WSLCB’s myriad of regulations regarding legal weed, it is subject to the (hopefully) expert oversight of the WSLCB’s inspectors.

If the thought of any pesticides of any sort, no matter how benign, freaks you out, simply avoid growers who use them. There are plenty out there who don’t, and there is even a third-party organization—Certified Kind—that certifies weed as organic in the absence of USDA certification.

As far as pesticide disclosure goes at our local shops, Uncle Ike’s is ahead of the game, offering a small printed card listing all their suppliers and the substances applied to their products. Ganja Goddess isn’t far behind. I spoke with someone there identifying himself as Al Green, who did not serenade me with his rendition of "Can’t Get Next to You" but did assure me that, while they did not have a list printed up, they would be able to provide the required information to customers upon request. The gentlemen I spoke with at Cannabis City and Ocean Greens were both "not really sure," though I have no doubt they’ll amend that uncertainty once their bosses remind them it’s required.

The liquor control board hasn’t performed any pesticide audits yet, but Steve McNalley, senior microbiologist at cannabis testing lab Analytical 360 in Sodo, confirmed that his lab was setting up to perform the audits and expects to do so in the "next couple of months." He suspected that the WSLCB likely hadn’t performed any audits yet because they wanted to let growers get up and running before introducing any potential fines. Hines and Mosely told me that calibration for pesticide residual tests was also quite expensive and that screening for all the disallowed pesticides that might be out there was an arduous process, something like looking for a "needle in a haystack of needles." Arduous but worthwhile, according to the WSLCB. Carpenter indicated that the agency intended to scan for as broad a range of pesticides as possible, and will be shouldering the expense of the tests, at least initially.

What Kinds of Pesticides Are Medical Marijuana Growers Using?

You might be wondering: Why make all this fuss about the finer points of pesticides under I-502 if most growers play it safe? Well, because legal growers are facing extremely stiff competition from the unregulated medical and underground markets. The fact that legal recreational weed is verifiably free of mold, bacteria, and harmful pesticides is perhaps recreational stores’ most serious competitive advantage over the black market and the medical marijuana market. This distinction is a pretty important one, given the stakes, and I’m a bit surprised legal growers and retailers haven’t publicized it more aggressively.

A couple months back, I interviewed a few black-market marijuana growers about their take on the cannabis landscape in the wake of legalization, and one of them, Darryl, said something that stuck with me. I asked him why, if legal weed was tested to ensure it was free of mold and harmful pesticides, he nevertheless insisted that black-market weed was better. He replied, "Well, the black-market growers are much more boutique. It’s more of a craft market. They’ve been doing it longer, they’ve got more experience, and they don’t have the same restrictions the legal growers do as far as overhead and regulation."

Now, I believed Darryl when he told me he is personally dedicated to organic, additive-free growing. But something about his answer didn’t sit right with me. He was essentially claiming that the black market didn’t need testing or any governmental oversight whatsoever because consumers could just trust the experience of seasoned growers. That would be a great argument if the black market (and the medical market, which was not affected by the passage of I-502) were entirely composed of responsible, experienced growers. But…

I’ve witnessed questionable practices firsthand. I’ve heard countless tales of growers who are just in it for a buck, turning to harsh chemical pesticides for the quickest, easiest solution. Ian Eisenberg, the Ike of recreational marijuana store Uncle Ike’s, told me of buying weed at medical shops and listening to the budtenders extol the organic, locally grown pot they were selling, only to see those same budtenders buy pot from a guy who just pulled a black duffel bag out of a car with California plates.

When I asked another black-market grower, Josh, if he’d ever seen questionable growing practices, he replied: "Definitely. People using household pesticides out of Lowe’s or Home Depot. I’ve heard some wild stories."

And Chase, an all-natural home grower who also works at a larger medical grow, had a similar tale to tell. "It’s more common than you think, unfortunately," he told me, in regards to usage of sketchy pesticides in the black and medical markets. "You can go into a [medical] shop and they’re not going to tell you, ‘Oh, we had to spray that one last week.’" He also added that in certain urgent pest situations, his boss at the medical grow had instructed them to use stronger pesticides that would definitely not pass muster under I-502, though Chase did not specify which ones.

Not knowing where your weed came from or what’s on it is pretty scary when you start to delve into what’s out there. The worst pesticides that I’ve heard of being used on weed are all still available for purchase, as many of them have legitimate uses on the type of plants you look at but don’t eat or smoke. Aqua Serene, a gardening supply store in Fremont, sells both Forbid, an insecticide that was instantly described to me as "horrible," and Eagle 20, a fungicide that received a rating of "gross" from Markia Gwara, the store’s manager. I wanted to know why, exactly, they would still sell these if they wouldn’t use them in their own garden. She told me that there is still a market for them—albeit a shrinking one—and their store is, after all, a business. She was quick to emphasize that she does her best to steer people away from harsh pesticides in favor of natural methods, but regardless, they’re for sale. Most of the people asking for them were, according to her, "not as savvy of gardeners or old-timers who have stuck to their ways."

Would banning these products from stores help? Probably not. All of the worst culprits—Avid, Floramite, Forbid, Eagle 20, and their ilk—are available online for those who really want them.

Rick, who was working the counter at Hydro 4 Less in Tukwila when I stopped by to ask about the pesticides they stock, said that he occasionally gets customers in the store asking for the heavy hitters, which they don’t carry. He noted that often the same customers come back but don’t ask again, which he reads as a sure sign they’re getting it elsewhere—either online or from other shops.

And, harsh chemicals aside, there is always the possibility of mold when buying from untested sources. Much of the weed not legally sanctioned by I-502 is grown in dank basements, hung up to dry in dank basements, and trimmed in dank basements. "The stuff that comes out of people’s basements is often riddled with mold. Basements are moldy and it’s Seattle and it’s wet," McNalley, the microbiologist from Analytical 360, told me. "Basement molds are stuff that you really don’t want in your lungs." He continued, "I would recommend smoking the legal stuff as opposed to anything that’s unregulated. I’m for regulation. Having that limit [on microorganisms] is going to keep things safer overall. You could go to a dispensary, you could buy a nug, and it could test in at only 120 colony-forming units, but that doesn’t mean anything if you don’t get the test done. And no one’s getting the test done." This could change—in Seattle at least—under the mayor’s proposed rules for medical shops, but until then it’s still the Wild West.

If You Aren’t Sure, Get It Tested

Getting weed from a medical shop or "the guy" will almost undoubtedly be cheaper than going to a recreational store, because unlicensed growers operate without the burdensome expenses and taxes involved in I-502 compliance. Testing is expensive. Rachel Cooper, from Monkey Grass Farms, estimated that the tests they run on their marijuana cost around $3,000 per month.

Of course, weed that’s been tested is much safer to consume. This quote, from a paper entitled "Testing Cannabis for Contaminants" by the BOTEC Corp., a California lab testing company that advised the WSLCB on its pesticide rules, sums up the situation in the unregulated market nicely: "As a high value crop, cannabis will no doubt prompt some growers to use any and all measures to maximize yields, regardless of burdens or risks placed upon employees, customers, or their surroundings."

It is an unfortunate truth that, in the absence of regulation, some people are going to cheat in pursuit of wealth. For every 10 medical growers who are dedicated to growing beautiful, organic weed and are willing to send their product in to the lab on their own dime, there’s one guy with dollar signs in his eyes spraying his plants down with Avid because it’s easier and passing it off as "all-natural." Provided he’s got his medical authorizations in order, there’s currently no way to stop that guy from using any pesticide legally available.

Beyond the fact that it still feels weird and amazing to be able to walk into a clean, brightly lit store and purchase weed, it feels even cooler to know that the weed you get from that store is pretty much guaranteed to be free of harmful pesticides and mold. People have made much of all the things that I-502 screwed up—and that list is not a short one—but it’s heartening to discover something it got right.

So unless your medical shop or your "dude" is willing to require suppliers to run testing through a certified lab, like Confidence or Analytical 360, and provide you with a list of pesticides used on their product, it’s probably worth paying the premium at the recreational store if you’re at all concerned about the purity of your pot. A sandwich board with a green cross and the word "organic" painted on it guarantees you nothing. A dude weighing out a sack on a cluttered coffee table while Phish videos play in the background is not a safe source. When it comes to weed safety, I think Uncle Ike put it best: "I don’t want to take someone’s word of honor, I want my shit tested." recommended

CONTINUE READING…

"WRITE” Obama a real letter to DECRIMINALIZE marijuana NOW


 

Image result for obama marijuana

 

WANT it over?

Write Obama a real letter to DECRIMINALIZE marijuana NOW This month will do it. 30 DAYS IS WHAT IT WILL TAKE FOR OBAMA TO LEGALIZE MARIJUANA.

Details below — but ask him to DECRIMINALIZE CANNABIS instead! Start writing!

President Obama today at a fundraiser in Springfield was asked "What would it take for you to legalize marijuana before you leave office?"

The President responded at length "Legalizing marijuana is definitely an issue that many Americans feel strongly about today especially younger Americans. But I have a job to do. I need to look out for the nation as a whole. Let’s face it, smoking pot makes you lazy. Pot smokers have no problem going on a computer or smartphone and sending an email or clicking on a petition while they play those video games. They’re what we call in Washington "couch activists" who will stand up for anything as long as they can do it from their couch. I get emails about legalizing marijuana but in all my time in office as President I don’t think my administration has received more than a few hundred old fashioned letters sent through the mail to me at the White House. Like people used to do.

In fact I’ll make this challenge. If I receive over one million old fashioned letters in the next thirty days, before the end of April, mailed to me at the White House before the end of 2015 I will go to congress and tell them that we must change the laws. I promise you this"

A White House staffer said that the letters must be hand addressed with a postage stamp, no metered mail will count. Citizens can send their letters asking for marijuana to be legalized to:

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC

SOURCE

American Green Signs Five Leases in Kentucky for CBD-Only Shops; Ordering an Additional Twenty ZaZZZ Age-Verifying Medical Marijuana Machines


ZaZZZ is the world’s First Consumer Automated Medical Marijuana Vending Machine. Improved second generation 3D touch screen machines will be delivered to Michigan and Arizona. American Green’s ZaZZZ machines in Kentucky will be the first of it’s kind to vend Hemp products directly to the consumer. American Green will also be ordering an additional 20 ZaZZZ from VE Global for distribution throughout the country.

Tempe, AZ, March 02, 2015 –(PR.com)– American Green (OTC: ERBB) — With the signing last week of an additional five ZaZZZ leases, American Green is ordering the next twenty machines built by VE GLOBAL. These new 3D touch screen ZaZZZ vending machines will join the other eighteen machines currently under various stages of public release into Medical Marijuana approved states. The two machines carrying Hemp products will be brought online in Arizona at Hempful Farms and the other in Michigan with the Michigan Hemp Company. All 28 machines represent a multi-state effort that meet regulatory compliance while creating a process for broader expansion with the forward-thinking companies who have, or expect to be ordering, the new Consumer operated ZaZZZ Medical Marijuana Vending Machines.
Annual sales for the United States vending industry are estimated between $19 Billion and $29 Billion. The income produced by a single Zazzz vending machine can vary depending on the kind of products being dispensed and the location of the machine.
“We are very happy to bring a new technology to Kentucky so we can offer exceptional hemp products to our consumers and are excited to build long term relationship,” says Chris Smith of Vice President of Green Remedy whose home office is in Bardstown, KY. “We share American Green’s vision to deliver quality products in the safest possible way using 21st century capabilities. Green Remedy is proud to be the first company in Kentucky to embrace this technology.”
American Green is expanding national operations of the second generation ZaZZZ into its 6th state. The Kentucky machines are the first machines to carry Hemp products along with products from American Green including it’s vape pen, ogtea, and clothing line. Further distribution of ZaZZZ into Medical Marijuana approved states will continue throughout the year.
"We are constantly improving ZaZZZ with our own in house R&D. We are also using real life data from our from our existing machines in Colorado and Washington State to help improve ZaZZZ. We have recently integrated our proprietary Tomassi patent into ZaZZZ and have added a 3D touchscreen for ease of use,” say Carl Kaiser, Director of ZaZZZ Logistics.
“ZaZZZ will always be improving with every day bringing more requests, opportunities, accomplishments and, most of all, a one day closer to our goal of creating the safest, consumer automated, verified vending system in America. I’m extremely excited to be part of making this happen,” Kaiser concludes.
Company and Contacts:
Americangreen.com
American Green, Inc.
Mr. Stephen Shearin
President
1221 W Warner Rd Suite 103
Tempe, AZ 85284
(480) 443-1600
Investor Relations
Has Uyar
1221 W Warner Rd Suite 103
Tempe AZ 85284
(480) 443-1600
More About American Green, Inc.
Founded back in 2009 as one of the first publicly-traded medical marijuana-related companies in the world, American Green is proud to have the largest certified shareholder base which now numbers well over 50,000. The Company is keenly focused on developing, retailing, branding, and establishing commercial cultivation solutions under its proprietary American Green name along with our partners who are licensed retail medical marijuana dispensaries. American Green believes that the renewal of the legalized cannabis industry in the United States will aid in getting our economy back on its feet through increased employment in all related sectors — retail, real estate, contracting, farming and more. Additional revenues, fueled by taxing cannabis sales, and the decreased cost of housing prisoners who are no longer in prison for possession of cannabis should contribute to the renewal. Hard work and a clear vision propel American Green into the future. The centerpiece of our company is ZaZZZ, our unique automated vending solution designed specifically around American Green’s licensed proprietary patent technology.
Safe Harbor Statement
This press release contains forward-looking statements. The words or phrases "would be," "will allow," "intends to," "will likely result," "are expected to," "will continue," "is anticipated," "estimate," "project," or similar expressions are intended to identify "forward-looking statements." Actual results could differ materially from those projected in American Green’s and/or Greenhouse Solutions’ ("the Company" or “the Companies”) business plan(s). The joint venture for the use of CBDs should not be construed as an indication in any way whatsoever of the future value of the Company’s common stock or its present or future financial condition. The Company’s filings may be accessed at the SEC’s Edgar system. Statements made herein are as of the date of this press release and should not be relied upon as of any subsequent date. The Company cautions readers not to place reliance on such statements. Unless otherwise required by applicable law, we do not undertake, and we specifically disclaim any obligation, to update any forward-looking statements to reflect occurrences, developments, unanticipated events or circumstances after the date of such statement.

Contact Information

American Green
Has Uyar
480-443-1600
Contact
americangreen.com
American Green, Inc.
Mr. Stephen Shearin
President
1221 W Warner Rd Suite 103
Tempe, AZ 85284
(480) 443-1600

Click here to view the list of recent Press Releases from American Green

Southern Oregon medical marijuana growers fear industrial hemp could ruin their crops


 

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Southern Oregon marijuana growers want to ban industrial hemp production from the region out of fear that hemp may pollinate their crops and render them worthless.

Some outdoor marijuana growers want industrial hemp cultivation to be limited to eastern Oregon – far from their lucrative marijuana crops. At the very least, they don’t want hemp in Josephine, Jackson and Douglas counties.

Compared to Oregon’s marijuana legalization movement, the effort to launch an industrial hemp industry in Oregon has been an understated one propelled by a small but passionate group of advocates. When one of them, Edgar Winters, of Eagle Point, got a permit this month to grow industrial hemp on 25 acres in the heart of the state’s outdoor marijuana growing region, his neighbors were alarmed.

Allowing industrial hemp in an area known for churning out high-grade marijuana could undermine the industry, growers argue.

"You don’t come into the middle of cannabis growing country and try to put up a hemp farm unless you don’t know about it, unless you really don’t know how far hemp pollen can travel," said Casey Branham, a Jackson County medical marijuana grower who supports industrial hemp but wants it grown elsewhere in the state.

"It basically makes the medicine worthless," he said.

Branham and his neighbors worry hemp pollen will find its way to their unpollinated female cannabis flowers, known as sensimilla, slowing their growth and leading to seeds. The result: weak, seedy marijuana.

"No one will buy seeded flowers, period," said Cedar Grey, a Williams medical marijuana grower. "The flower market is so competitive these days. You have to have world-class flowers. Anything that is seeded is reminiscent of the 1960s or pot from Mexico. No one is interested in that at all."

And it’s not just southern Oregon’s outdoor marijuana growers who are worried about hemp’s implications. Portland’s indoor marijuana growers worry about hemp pollen drifting into their warehouses through ventilation systems or being tracked into their operations on workers’ shoes.

Shane McKee, a medical marijuana grower who owns two Portland dispensaries, said the potential complications posed by industrial hemp have caught cannabis growers by surprise.

"Nobody really saw the repercussions," said McKee.

Hemp and marijuana are different types of the same species, Cannabis sativa. But hemp lacks marijuana’s most coveted component: THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. In hemp’s case, the gene that fires up marijuana’s high THC production is essentially turned off. So while hemp’s sturdy stalks provide fiber for textiles and its seeds can be added to yogurt and smoothies, the plant is a lousy choice for people seeking marijuana’s high.

Anndrea Hermann, a hemp advocate who lives in Canada and teaches a course on the crop at Oregon State University, said marijuana growers’ concerns are legitimate.

"Is there a risk? Yes, there is a risk to the marijuana growers," said Hermann, who also serves as president of the Hemp Industries Association and owns a hemp products company. "And I will tell you it’s a hard pill to swallow."

Winters is the first to obtain a license to grow industrial hemp from the Oregon Department of Agriculture. Another three people have applied, said Ron Pence, operations manager for commodity inspection for the agency, which oversees the state’s new industrial hemp program.

Pence said the agency has authority to limit where some agricultural crops, such as rapeseed, are cultivated. But it does not have that authority when it comes to industrial hemp.

"It would need a legislative fix," he said.

Oregon lawmakers have taken note of marijuana growers’ objections. Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland, said growers peppered his office with emails once Winters’ plans became public. He said lawmakers are exploring potential solutions to protect both crops.

"Nobody wants one crop to endanger another crop," he said.

Oregon’s robust outdoor marijuana growing culture sets it apart from places like Kentucky, which also has a state hemp program. Oregon’s outdoor growers are organized, have an attorney and even a lobbyist. While Kentucky’s agriculture officials are enthusiastic boosters of industrial hemp, marijuana remains illegal.

"Marijuana growers are not so vocal" in Kentucky, said Eric Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp, a national hemp advocacy group. "They are not in a position to be able to call up their legislators to ask for a bill protecting their crops."

Winters, for his part, doesn’t see a major problem cultivating hemp near marijuana crops. He said the growing cycle for hemp is shorter than the one for outdoor marijuana and that an earlier harvest means it would not pose a threat to cannabis.

"It’s been doable all over the world," said Winters, who’s also a medical marijuana grower. "People have misconceptions about industrial hemp."

He said marijuana growers need more "education and training and knowledge" about hemp and that he plans to meet with outdoor growers to address their concerns.

He said he’s received strong criticism from marijuana growers and even personal threats since word of his plan spread.

"It’s a viable crop," he said. "There is no way we are going to be forced out of the county. I can tell you that. We are here to stay."

— Noelle Crombie

CONTINUE READING…

(FEDERAL PETITION) KENTUCKY CANNABIS HEMP HEALTH INITIATIVE (KCHHI)


repeal.prohibition.poster

I am taking this petition to the top!  It has now been listed on “We the People” petitions to the Whitehouse at Whitehouse.gov.

Please follow thru and sign the FEDERAL Petition which I have posted today.

I am still supporting this Initiative as the right way to proceed with REPEAL of prohibition!

Anything less and they are just running us around in circles to end up on their agenda of continued Prohibition thru regulation and the prison system.

Join me in the fight for REPEAL!

Kentucky HEMP/HEALTH INITIATIVE:

WILL REPEAL ALL STATUTES REGARDING CANNABIS/HEMP IN THE U.S.

THIS IS A REQUEST TO REDEFINE THE CANNABIS/HEMP STATUTES IN THEIR ENTIRETY.

THRU REPEAL OF ALL STATUTES AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL THE GARDENING OF CANNABIS/MARIJIUANA/HEMP WILL RETURN TO THE PEOPLE THEIR GOD GIVEN RIGHT TO GARDEN AND TO GROW THE CANNABIS/MARIJUANA/HEMP PLANT FOR THEIR OWN PERSONAL USE WITHOUT TAXATION NOR INTERFERENCE FROM FEDERAL, STATE OR LOCAL LAW WHEN NOT IN A SALES ENVIRONMENT.

THIS PETITION ALSO ASKS FOR GOVERNMENT ASSURANCE OF OUR “RIGHT TO GARDEN” THIS PLANT AND NOT BE INUNDATED WITH REGULATIONS UPON THE SEEDS USED FOR SUCH GARDENING.

THE FULL TEXT OF THIS INITIATIVE IS LOCATED AT:

http://www.constitutionalcannabis.com/kchhi.html

WRITTEN BY: MARY THOMAS-SPEARS OF BOWLING GREEN, KY.

PROMOTED BY: SHEREE KRIDER OF CAVE CITY, KY.

This initiative is a re-write of CCHI (California Hemp Health Initiative, which was introduced in California in 2012)

We believe it to be the best model of action for the Country at large, as it allows Cannabis/Marijuana/Hemp to be utilized at all levels of Society and the fear of prosecution for such to be REPEALED in its entirety.

Please take the time to review this initiative in its entirety as “We the People” need you to once and for all end the war on this plant and the costs associated with it that are being funded by the taxpayers of this Country for no justifiable reason.

THIS LINK IS TO THE F E D E R A L PETITION AT WHITEHOUSE.GOV

WETHEPEOPLE1

Kentucky Cannabis Hemp Health Initiative

http://www.constitutionalcannabis.com/kchhi.html

Framework taken from the Jack Herer Initiative aka CCHI1013. An initiative I had the honor of having a personal hand helping to word, redefining the cannabis/marijuana/hemp movement through selective wording. While attempting to protect and free the plant, the farmers, the prisoners, and the people from validating and mandating over regulation and enslavement through the legal lies = legalize = “common words used”  commonly leading us to Corporate G.M.O.’s = {genetic mutated organisms} which “equal genetically modified crops”, seed ownership through patent, small farmers being sued or enslaved,… While they continue to build their Military Industrial Complex with our tax dollars, lives…  So it seems only appropriate I use it as a base to follow and put it forth here within the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

AN ACT TO AMEND THE HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY:

I. Add Section ________ to the Health and Safety Code of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, to amend, nullify, restore through repeal of any and all unconstitutional laws or policies to the contrary, including those on the Federal and U.N. Levels, notwithstanding,:

1. No person, individual, or corporate entity shall be arrested or prosecuted, be denied any right or privilege, nor be subject to any criminal or civil penalties for the possession, cultivation, transportation, distribution, or consumption of cannabis hemp marijuana, including:

(a) Cannabis hemp industrial products.
(b) Cannabis hemp medicinal preparations.
(c) Cannabis hemp nutritional products.
(d) Cannabis hemp religious and spiritual products.
(e) Cannabis hemp recreational and euphoric use and products.

2. Definition of terms:

(a) The terms “cannabis hemp” and “cannabis hemp marijuana” mean the natural, non-genetically modified plant hemp, cannabis, marihuana, marijuana, cannabis sativa L, cannabis Americana, cannabis chinensis, cannabis indica, cannabis ruderalis, cannabis sativa, or any variety of cannabis, including any derivative, concentrate, extract, flower, leaf, particle, preparation, resin, root, salt, seed, stalk, stem, or any product thereof.

(b) The term “cannabis hemp industrial products” means all products made from cannabis hemp that are not designed or intended for human consumption, including, but not limited to: clothing, building materials, paper, fiber, fuel, lubricants, plastics, paint, seed for cultivation, animal feed, veterinary medicine, oil, or any other product that is not designed for internal human consumption; as well as cannabis hemp plants used for crop rotation, erosion control, pest control, weed control, or any other horticultural or environmental purposes, for example, the reversal of the Greenhouse Effect and toxic soil reclamation.

(c) The term “cannabis hemp medicinal preparations” means all products made from cannabis hemp that are designed, intended, or used for human consumption for the treatment of any human disease or condition, for pain relief, or for any healing purpose, including but not limited to the treatment or relief of: Alzheimer’s and pre-Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, arthritis, asthma, cramps, epilepsy, glaucoma, migraine, multiple sclerosis, nausea, premenstrual syndrome, side effects of cancer chemotherapy, fibromyalgia, sickle cell anemia, spasticity, spinal injury, stress, easement of post-traumatic stress disorder, Tourette syndrome, attention deficit disorder, immunodeficiency, wasting syndrome from AIDS or anorexia; use as an antibiotic, antibacterial, anti-viral, or anti-emetic; as a healing agent, or as an adjunct to any medical or herbal treatment. Mental conditions not limited to bipolar, depression, attention deficit disorder, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, shall be conditions considered for medical use.

(d) The term “cannabis hemp nutritional products” means cannabis hemp for consumption by humans and animals as food, including but not limited to: seed, seed protein, seed oil, essential fatty acids, seed cake, dietary fiber, or any preparation or extract thereof. Not Taxable

(e) The term “cannabis hemp euphoric products” means cannabis hemp intended for personal recreational or religious use, other than cannabis hemp industrial products, cannabis hemp medicinal preparations, or cannabis hemp nutritional products.

(f) The term “personal use” means the internal consumption of cannabis hemp by people 18 years of age or older for any relaxational, meditative, religious, spiritual, recreational, or other purpose other than sale.

(g) The term “commercial production” means the production of cannabis hemp products for sale or profit under the conditions of these provisions.

(h) The term “non-genetically modified ” is used to define or establish the Prohibition of any and all Unnatural “genetically modified organism (GMO)” is used to refer to any microorganism, plant, or animal in which genetic engineering techniques have been used to introduce, remove, or modify specific parts of its genome of any and all cannabis, cannabis sativa L, marijuana, hemp,…. Examples include plants being modified for pest resistance; lab animals being manipulated to exhibit human diseases, such as sickle cell anemia; and even glowing jellyfish genes inserted in a rabbit for an art piece.
Ref: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Genetically-modified+organism
As Apposed To =  To Clarify that there is a Recognized Difference between G.M.O. and Genetically Engineered

(i) The term “genetic engineering” involves isolating individual DNA fragments, coupling them with other genetic material, and causing the genes to replicate themselves. Introducing this created complex to a host cell causes it to multiply and produce clones that can later be harvested and used for a variety of purposes. Current applications of the technology include medical investigations of gene structure for the control of genetic disease, particularly through antenatal diagnosis. The synthesis of hormones and other proteins (e.g., growth hormone and insulin), which are otherwise obtainable only in their natural state, is also of interest to scientists. Applications for genetic engineering include disease control, hormone and protein synthesis, and animal research.
Ref: http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Genetically-modified

3. Industrial cannabis hemp farmers, manufacturers, processors, and distributors shall not be subject to any special zoning requirement, licensing fee, tax that is excessive, discriminatory, double taxation or prohibitive.

4. Cannabis hemp medicinal preparations are hereby restored to the list of available medicines in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Licensed physicians shall not be penalized for, nor restricted from, prescribing or recommending cannabis hemp for medical purposes to any patient, regardless of age. No tax shall be applied to prescribed cannabis hemp medicinal preparations. Medical research shall be encouraged. No recommending physician shall be subject to any professional licensing review or hearing as a result of recommending or approving medical use of cannabis hemp marijuana. Cannabis hemp nutritious foods are medicine and therefore are subject to current Commonwealth Food & Drug Tax Code Exemptions

5. Personal use of cannabis hemp euphoric products.

(a) No permit, license, or tax shall be required for the non-commercial cultivation, transportation, distribution, or consumption of cannabis hemp.

(b) No unconstitutional Testing for inactive and/or inert residual cannabis metabolites shall not be allowed for employment or insurance, nor be considered in determining employment, other impairment, or intoxication, or qualifications for benefits, programs or education,…  Including Protections of Families, against Unconstitutional Testing for Cannabis residual,… and/or Cannabis Use shall not/can not be used to take Custody of children from their families, parents or legal guardians.

(c) When a person falls within the conditions of these exceptions, the offense laws do not apply and only the exception laws apply.

6. Use of cannabis hemp products for religious or spiritual purposes shall be considered an inalienable right; and shall be protected by the full force of the State and Federal Constitutions.

7. Commerce in cannabis hemp euphoric products shall be limited to adults, 18 years of age and older, and shall be regulated in a manner analogous to the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s tobacco industry model. For the purpose of distinguishing personal from commercial production, 99 flowering female plants and 12 pounds of dried, cured cannabis hemp flowers, bud, not leaf, produced per adult, 18 years of age and older, per year shall be considered as being for personal use.

8. The manufacture, marketing, distribution, or sales between adults of equipment or accessories designed to assist in the planting, cultivation, harvesting, curing, processing, packaging, storage, analysis, consumption, or transportation of cannabis hemp plants, industrial cannabis hemp products, cannabis hemp medicinal preparations, cannabis hemp nutritional products, cannabis hemp euphoric products, or any cannabis hemp product shall not be prohibited.

9. No Commonwealth of Kentucky law enforcement personnel or funds shall be used to assist or aid and abet in the enforcement of Federal cannabis hemp marijuana laws involving acts which are hereby declared unconstitutional, therefore no longer illegal, as they are considered repealed and nullified in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

10. Any person who threatens the enjoyment of these provisions is guilty of a misdemeanor. The maximum penalties and fines of a misdemeanor may be imposed.

II. Nullify, Repeal, delete, and expunge any and all existing statutory laws that conflict with the provisions of this initiative.

1. Enactment of this initiative shall include: amnesty, immediate release of custody from prison, jail, parole, and probation, and clearing, expungement, and deletion of all criminal records and/or all social/family service records/cases for all persons currently charged with, or convicted of any non-violent cannabis hemp marijuana offenses included in this initiative which are hereby no longer illegal in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. People who fall within this category that triggered an original sentence are included within this provision.

2. Within 60 days of the passage of this Act, the Commonwealth Attorney General shall develop and distribute a one-page application, providing for the destruction of all cannabis hemp marijuana criminal records in the Commonwealth of Kentucky for any such offense covered by this Act. Such forms shall be distributed to district and city commonwealth attorneys and made available at all police departments in the Commonwealth to persons hereby affected. Upon filing such form with any Superior Court and a payment of a fee of $10.00, the Court shall liberally construe these provisions to benefit the defendant in furtherance of the amnesty and dismissal provision of this section. Upon the Court’s ruling under this provision the arrest record shall be set aside and be destroyed. Such persons may then truthfully state that they have never been arrested or convicted of any cannabis hemp marijuana related offense which is hereby no longer illegal in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. This shall be deemed to be a finding of factual innocence under Kentucky Penal Code Section 218A.010, et seq.

3. Law abiding Cannabis Growers and Consumers retain the Right to possess Firearms as granted to them by the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution. For the use of their protection and prosperity which includes hunting.

III. The legislature is authorized upon thorough investigation, to enact legislation using reasonable standards to:

1. License concessionary establishments to distribute cannabis hemp euphoric products in a manner analogous to the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s tobacco industry model. Sufficient community outlets shall be licensed to provide reasonable commercial access to persons of legal age, so as to discourage and prevent the misuse of, and illicit traffic in, such products. Any license or permit fee required by the Commonwealth for commercial production, distribution or use shall not exceed $1,000.00 and not more than $500.00 per small farmer or small business.

2. Place an excise tax on commercial and corporate sale of cannabis hemp euphoric products, analogous to the Commonwealth’s tobacco industry model, so long as no excise tax or combination of excise taxes shall exceed $10.00 per ounce.

3. Regulate the personal use of cannabis hemp euphoric products in enclosed and/or restricted public places.

4. Exempt cannabis marijuana hemp from any and all farming tobacco “Base” laws, regulations, codes, statutes, which “restricted” or “limit” number of licenses,… based on science that “does not apply” to the agricultural cultivation, propagation, growth or farming of cannabis marijuana hemp which has been scientifically proven to reclaim, remove toxins and restore soil, ground water and our ozone.

IV. Pursuant to the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky hereby nullify, repudiate and challenge Federal cannabis hemp marijuana prohibitions that are in conflict with this Act and our Constitutions, both Federal and our Commonwealth’s.

V. Severability: If any provision of this Act, or the application of any such provision to any person or circumstance, shall be held invalid by any court, the remainder of this Act, to the extent it can be given effect, or the application of such provisions to persons or circumstances other than those as to which it is held invalid, shall not be affected thereby, and to this end the provisions of this Act are severable.

VI. Construction: If any rival or conflicting initiative regulating any matter addressed by this act receives the higher affirmative vote, then all non-conflicting parts shall become operative.

VII. Purpose of Act: This Act is an exercise of the police powers of the Commonwealth for the protection of the safety, welfare, health, and peace of the people and the environment of the Commonwealth, to protect the industrial and medicinal uses of cannabis hemp, to eliminate the unlicensed and unlawful cultivation, selling, and dispensing of cannabis hemp; and to encourage temperance in the consumption of cannabis hemp euphoric products. It is hereby declared that the subject matter of this Act involves, in the highest degree, the ecological, economic, social, and moral well-being and safety of the Commonwealth and of all its people. All provisions of this Act shall be liberally construed for the accomplishment of these purposes: to respect human rights, to promote tolerance, to uphold the Constitutions both Federal and the Commonwealth’s and to end cannabis hemp prohibition. To nullify, repeal and challenge the U.N. to end cannabis marijuana hemp prohibition which is half of the worldwide so-called “War on Drugs”created to uphold the interest of Big Chema, Big Pharma, Big Corps and their Synthetic Military Industrial Prison Complex and to uphold the interest of the people and it’s own Universal Declaration of Human Rights for the reasons already stated with-in it.

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Due to the fact that the Commonwealth of Kentucky doesn’t allow you to simply petition your State Government as in most states. We ask that you Please print or copy, Sign, and forward copies to your local Representative in Congress and our State Senators here with-in the Commonwealth with a note attached reminding them they are paid to represent your interest regardless of whether they agree with them or not. Thank You!
Written in Honor of the Great Spirit, the universe, the planet and good friends, colleagues, mentors, leaders,… Jack Herer, Gatewood Galbraith, and all who have gone before me and those who will come after us.
Sincerely,
Mary Thomas-Spears aka Rev. Mary

THIS LINK IS TO CONGRESSIONAL PETITION:

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Smk:012715

JIM HIGHTOWER: Cannabis Americas common sense


 

Posted: Thursday, January 15, 2015 11:00 am

In 1914, newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst mounted a yellow-journalism crusade to demonize the entire genus of cannabis plants. Why? To sell newspapers, of course, but also because he was heavily invested in wood-pulp newsprint, and he wanted to shut down competition from paper made from hemp – a species of cannabis that is a distant cousin to marijuana but produces no high.

Hearst simply lumped hemp and marijuana together as the devil’s own product, and he was not subtle about generating public fear of all things cannabis. As Mother Jones reported in 2009, Hearst’s papers ran articles about “reefer-crazed blacks raping white women and playing ‘voodoo satanic’ jazz music.”

Actually, while hemp had been a popular and necessary crop for decades before the crackdown on all cannabis plants, marijuana was largely unknown in America at the time and little used, but its exotic name and unfamiliarity made it an easy target for fear mongers. The next wave of demonization came in 1936 with the release of an exploitation film classic, “Reefer Madness.” It was originally produced by a church group to warn parents to keep their children in check, lest they smoke pot – a horror that, as the film showed, would drive kids to rape, manslaughter, insanity and suicide.

Then Congress enthusiastically climbed aboard the anti-pot political bandwagon, passing a law that effectively banned the production, sale and consumption of marijuana and by default hemp. Hearst finally got his way, and the production of cannabis in the U.S. was outlawed. Signed by FDR on Aug. 2, 1937, this federal prohibition remains in effect today. Although it has been as ineffectual as Prohibition, the 1919-1933 experiment to stop people from consuming “intoxicating liquors,” this ban, for the most part, continues despite its staggering costs.

Until recent years, prohibitionists had been able to intimidate most reform-minded politicians with the simple threat to brand them as soft on drugs. But finally, with the help of some reform-minded activists and the general public, our politicians are starting to come to their senses on cannabis.

At the state level, 32 states have legalized medical marijuana in some form or another. And Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon have legalized recreational uses of marijuana. While these are huge steps, what is truly remarkable is what has taken place in Congress just in the last year.

Tucked deep in the 2013 Farm Bill was a little amendment introduced by Representatives Jared Polis, a Democrat from Colorado, Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat from Oregon, and Thomas Massie, a Republican from Kentucky. The amendment allows universities, colleges and State Agriculture Departments to grow industrial hemp for research in states that have made it legal to do so. California, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont and West Virginia already have laws on their books to allow for this.

The most recent step forward to come out of Congress was in the last-minute federal spending bill in December. Democratic Rep. Sam Farr and Republican Rep. Dana Rohrbacher, both from California, included a provision in the bill to stop the DEA and DOJ from going after states that legalize medical marijuana. They can no longer conduct raids on licensed marijuana outlets that service patients who use marijuana to treat everything from the side effects of cancer treatments to epileptic seizures. The marijuana farmers are now safe to cultivate the plant, and the patients themselves are now safe from prosecution for possessing it.

Marijuana Policy Project and Vote Hemp are two organizations that are working tirelessly with the public and our lawmakers to change the laws and regulations surrounding cannabis. To learn more about how these groups are making a difference and to help get involved, connect with them at www.mpp.org and www.VoteHemp.com.

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Lexology Report: Congress temporarily de-funds US-DOJ medical marijuana prosecution but does not legalize medical marijuana


  • Littler Mendelson
  • Dale L. Deitchler
  •  

    • USA
    • December 30 2014

     

    Dale L. Deitchler Author page »

    In a few short paragraphs within the 1,603-page congressional spending bill signed into law on December 16, 2014, Congress prohibited the U.S. Department of Justice from using federal funds to prosecute users, growers and distributors of medical marijuana in states that have enacted medical marijuana statutes.  The full text of the de-funding rider barring the DOJ from the use of funds to “prevent. . . implementation” of state and local laws legalizing medical marijuana states:

    Sec. 538. None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.

    Sec. 539. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used in contravention of section 7606 (“Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research”) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-79) by the Department of Justice or the Drug Enforcement Administration.

    Several U.S. Supreme Court decisions have upheld prosecution of medical marijuana growers and users under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA).  Nevertheless, the Obama Administration, as a matter of policy, has directed the DOJ to take a relaxed approach to prosecution and the DOJ has done so, except for use that impacts the DOJ’s “enforcement priorities” (e.g., preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors, preventing the revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels).  This new de-funding measure now codifies that policy approach as law.  (Notably, the rider does not affect IRS or Treasury Department actions relating to payment of taxes by marijuana suppliers and online banking).

    The legislation, however, does not legalize medical marijuana.  Rather, the federal ban on marijuana continues – i.e., both medical and recreational marijuana continue to be illegal under CSA Schedule I.  And, though de-funding may affect enforcement of criminal laws in states with medical marijuana statutes, it has no effect in states that have not legalized marijuana, nor does it express any limitations on employer action on the basis of a positive marijuana test result administered under a workplace drug testing policy.  Finally, the rider expires on September 30, 2015, and may or may not be renewed heading into the heart of the presidential election campaign in the fall of 2015.  For all of these reasons, though significant in reflecting current legislators’ thinking at the national level regarding CSA enforcement, the mere enactment of the spending bill with this provision does not warrant adjustment to drug testing policies of employers choosing to continue to treat confirmed positive marijuana test results as positive even when the result was caused by medicinal use that is lawful under state or local law.

    CONTINUE READING…

    Dr. Bronner’s Year-End Report from the Front Lines of the Fight for Cannabis Reform and GMO Labeling


    Both cannabis policy reform and the movement to label genetically engineered foods in the United States made huge strides in 2014. Major battles were won, some narrowly lost, but ultimately victory is inevitable. Our company Dr. Bronner’s has devoted significant financial, staff and other organizational resources to both movements, and it is instructive to analyze them side by side.

    First on the cannabis front, 2014 saw victories in DC (Measure 71: 70 to 30), Oregon (Measure 91: 56 to 44) and Alaska (Measure 2: 53 to 47), continuing the incredible momentum from victories in Washington (Initiative 502: 55 to 45) and Colorado (Amendment 64: 55 to 45) in 2012, themselves set up by the narrow loss in California in 2010 (Prop 19: 47 to 53) that triggered the first serious national and international debate on ending cannabis prohibition. Only Florida "lost" with 58% of votes in favor of medical marijuana, 2% short of the needed 60% (Measure 2). As most Huffington Post readers understand, by any rational measure of analysis marijuana use is much less problematic than alcohol, while its prohibition has caused untold harm to otherwise productive nonviolent citizens and their families, wasting taxpayer dollars and law enforcement resources.

    Dr. Bronner’s Director of Social Action, Adam Eidinger, was campaign manager for the successful Yes on 71 campaign in DC. Adam and Dr. Malik Burnett of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) alongside other stellar staff, ran an incredible campaign educating local voters as well as the country’s political elites nationally that prohibition is an unjust racist policy that disproportionately impacts communities of color. Despite blacks and whites using cannabis at similar rates, DC arrests over 8 times more black people than white people for cannabis possession. Saddling a young man with jail time and a record obviously compromises one’s future as well as tears families apart. Dr. Bronner’s contributed $100,000 directly to the campaign and $100,000 to Drug Policy Alliance, earmarked to help power Dr. Burnett’s crucial work there.

    Dr. Bronner’s also contributed $100,000 each to Oregon’s effort led by the New Approach team, as well as the Marijuana Policy Project’s (MPP) effort in Alaska. The contribution to MPP for Alaska was arguably much more crucial given the relatively small overall budget and closeness of the race in a traditionally red state. However, we also gave $2 million to the Oregon Yes on 92 GMO labeling campaign, that coordinated closely with the marijuana campaign in registering and driving the youth vote, that benefitted both campaigns tremendously.

    The Nation published a great article the week prior to the election that nails competing dynamics in play in the cannabis legalization movement. DC was the first legalization campaign to run primarily on a racial justice platform, and absolutely crushed it. Alaska’s campaign was based on the MPP "safer than alcohol" playbook that won in Colorado, while Oregon was run on the similar "New Approach" strategy that won in Washington state. Clearly there’s more than one way to win the fight for legalization. Looking forward to California and the four to five other states in play in 2016 we can draw from the best of all these efforts. California in particular will be important to write the model regulations that we want reflected at the national level, which will happen soon after the wins in 2016.

    While the Oregon and Alaska victories are sweet indeed, victory in DC for us was the sweetest. In the recent Congressional "cromnibus" spending bill debate, the crushing DC victory helped open room for riders to pass into law that prohibit the DEA from interfering with state medical marijuana programs as well as state industrial hemp programs. These are huge long-sought victories for the movement, and Americans for Safe Access (ASA) deserves most of the credit for successfully passing the medical marijuana rider via majority vote in the Republican house over the summer. Dr. Bronner’s has been a longtime supporter of ASA, having given close to $700,000 over the past ten years. Dr. Bronner’s has also been closely involved in efforts to re-commercialize industrial hemp farming, being a longtime supporter of Vote Hemp as well as recently being a crucial partner to the amazing efforts in Kentucky that have inspired the entire Kentucky federal delegation, including Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Rand Paul, to publicly support and help make hemp farming a reality in the United States again.

    Unfortunately though, DC legalization itself seemed to be the sacrificial lamb in the spending bill debate, with Congress attempting to block implementation of DC’s legalization initiative. However, DC has been so galvanized by the overwhelming mandate and outraged by Congressional meddling, that they are challenging Congress to a showdown that Congress is highly unlikely to win, and legalization will be the law of the land in DC come January. The Guardian provided a great overview of this latest struggle in their "Capital v Capitol" story. The high profile national and international political theatre of DC standing up to Congress for its right to determine its own cannabis policy is incredible.

    What also makes the victory in DC extra special for Dr. Bronner’s, is that Washington Post Magazine ran a frustrating cover story on our own Adam Eidinger in January, and editorialized against Yes on 71 with weak, out of touch drug war hysteria in September. Back in January, I wrote an unpublished letter to the editor standing up for Adam and our advocacy work, which the 2014 election has now vindicated.

    My January 2014 Washington Post Magazine letter to the editor:

    Your cover story on local DC activist Adam Eidinger chose to inaccurately portray him as an ineffective Don Quixote figure, belittling the causes he fights for as well as our company. As explained to the reporter, we cap executive compensation at five times that of the lowest paid warehouse worker, and no profits are distributed to owners for personal use. Profits not needed for business development are dedicated to the causes we support.

    Adam is closely involved in how we strategically deploy resources to reform draconian drug laws that disproportionately target people of color; notably Washington, D.C. has the highest arrest rate for low level marijuana violations. Adam has also effectively helped build the national movement to label genetically engineered food crops. We are fighting the chemical industry machine that has enthralled much of our country’s elites, to expose their agenda to engineer resistance to the toxic chemical herbicides they sell (Google "Agent Orange Corn" to see what’s coming next).

    There were moments when Adam’s true stature was portrayed, but ultimately was undermined by a shallow and frivolous anti-activist caricature.

    As a sign of the political and cultural turning of the tide, it’s also worth noting that the New York Times called for ending cannabis prohibition nationally in a series of well-written editorials over the summer.

    Pivoting to the fight for GMO labeling, the movement in its modern resurgent form is only a few years old, driven largely by widespread and growing alarm at ever-increasing amounts of toxic pesticides applied to genetically engineered crops. See for example Tom Philpott’s article "How GMOs Unleashed a Pesticide Gusher" in Mother Jones. Over 99% of GMO crops in US soil are engineered to produce insecticide and/or tolerate heavy herbicide use, which like overdosing antibiotics in factory farms has rapidly created resistance in target weed and insect populations. GMO crops are being saturated with ever more toxic pesticides, including neonicotinoid insecticides banned in the EU due to suspected link to massive bee die-offs and Colony Collapse Disorder. While this is great for the chemical industry that both sells the GMOs and the pesticides used on them, our environment and collective health are paying the price. 64 other countries have the right to know if their food is genetically engineered, but the chemical and junk food industry have spent tens of millions of dollars to make sure Americans are kept in the dark.

    In the face of record spending by pesticide and junk food companies, the GMO labeling movement gained huge momentum and strength from narrow losses to enact mandatory GMO labeling in California in 2012 (Prop 37: 49 to 51) and Washington in 2013 (Initiative 522: 49 to 51), and set up major victories in 2014. In May, Vermont became the first state to enact mandatory labeling, and Jackson county in Oregon banned planting of GMO crops due to GMO sugarbeet pollen contaminating and ruining neighboring fields (Measure 15-119: 66 to 34). Maui also banned genetically engineered crops because of massive pesticide spraying (See Maui County Genetically Modified Organism Moratorium Initiative: 51 to 49). And statewide in Oregon, the Yes on 92 campaign came within five hundredths of one percent of winning (Measure 92: 49.97 to 50.03), showing friend and foe alike how easily we can win in a bigger 2016 presidential electorate. An underfunded effort in Colorado did not fare well, unfortunately, but it serves as an important movement lesson for 2016.

    Dr. Bronner’s was a leading financial contributor to all these efforts, and also devoted significant staff time and other organizational resources, especially to the Oregon effort. Two great articles to review in particular are Katie Ayers’ "Oregon Poised to Mandate GMO Labeling" in Reader Supported News that really dives into the heart of the matter; and also this thorough piece in the Register Guard "Even If Defeated GMO Issue Is Not Going Away."

    Vermont, Jackson county and Maui are all currently being sued by the pesticide and junk food industries, and these industries are frantically lobbying Congress to pre-empt states’ rights to enact mandatory labeling of GMOs. They know that the nationwide movement to label GMOs continues to surge and grow in strength even as their major GMO traits continue to fail and pesticide use goes through the roof. The USDA audits chemical inputs every five years for major crops, and in spring of 2015 will publish updated data on herbicide and insecticide use on GMO corn that will force even the most biased journalists and scientists to confront the truth that GMOs amount to a massive pesticide industry boondoggle that is not boosting yields.

    I published a popular Huffington Post blog article about major mainstream media publications running interference and covering for the pesticide industry even as EPA and USDA rubber-stamped approval for their next generation 2,4 D herbicide tolerant crops. We expect, as with the movement arc of ending cannabis prohibition, that more and more major media will wake up and get a clue; but those that don’t are just another obstacle on the way to inevitable victory.

    The bottom line is, the GMO labeling movement is on fire and surging. We will likely prevail in one to two New England states legislatively in 2015, and as necessary in a major state in 2016 via the initiative process, as we keep bringing a bigger, better and more strategic fight. Like the narrow loss on the cannabis front with Prop 19 in 2010 in California, which educated and moved the debate forward setting up subsequent victories in 2012, the GMO labeling movement is poised to rack up major wins in 2016. But we are as likely to achieve victory through the market by 2016, as we are unleashing and fueling major cultural and market drivers and expect more and more food companies to flip and accept mandatory labeling just as they did in Europe. Chipotle is already disclosing and moving away from GMOs, as is Cheerios, Grape Nuts and other high profile brands. Whole Foods is mandating GMO labeling of all products by 2018 in its stores and many major mainstream retailers have refused to carry GMO salmon if or when approved.

    Our experience with the movement to end cannabis prohibition over the past 15 years shows how much faster and stronger the modern movement to label GMOs is growing in a much shorter time. People are waking up that we have to transform our agricultural policies and dietary choices and eat more sustainably if we want to feed future generations, which requires as a first step that citizens are properly informed and empowered to make wise choices.

    More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-bronner/dr-bronners-yearend-repor_b_6357178.html

    Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps Marijuana GMO GMO Labeling Marijuana Marijuana Pesticides Hemp Genetically Modified Food Justice

    Why 2014 was the year of pot


     

    1407508223765

     

    Support it or not, there’s no denying that this was a watershed year for marijuana.

    Within hours of the new year, the nation saw the first legally sanctioned sales of marijuana for recreational use in modern history. Throughout, states considered and often passed expanding access to the drug and, as recently as last weekend, Congress was interfering in D.C.’s pot policies and promising to stay out of the states.

    Based on exchanges with pot advocates, we rounded up 22 of the most significant moments for marijuana in 2014, most of them advancing the cause though the list includes a few notable setbacks. Click the links below to jump to each moment or keep scrolling to read them from start to finish.

    1. Legal sales begin in Colorado
    2. Obama: ‘I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol’
    3. Congress allows hemp cultivation
    4. CNN chief medical correspondent backs medical marijuana
    5. Poll finds more Americans identify tobacco, alcohol and sugar as “most harmful”
    6. Utah passes limited medical marijuana law
    7. D.C. decriminalizes
    8. Maryland approves medical marijuana and decriminalizes possession
    9. Minnesota approves medical marijuana
    10. New York approves medical marijuana
    11. Legal pot sales begin in Washington
    12. New York Times editorial board calls for an end to prohibition
    13. Study: Medical marijuana laws associated with 25 percent fewer prescription overdose deaths
    14. Philadelphia becomes largest U.S. city to decriminalize marijuana possession
    15. Federal court considers whether marijuana should be classified as a Schedule I controlled substance
    16. Two more states and D.C. vote to legalize
    17. Florida medical marijuana loses, with 58 percent of the vote
    18. Native Americans reservations allowed to legalize marijuana
    19. Congress blocks D.C. legalization
    20. Congress ends the ban on medical marijuana
    21. Colorado approves $8 million for marijuana research
    22. Oklahoma and Nebraska are suing Colorado over marijuana legalization

    CONTINUE READING THIS “LONG” STORY!

    E-cigarette firm eyes emerging cannabis oil market


    By TIM TALLEY

    Associated Press November 9, 2014

    OKLAHOMA CITY — As more states approve the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana, an Oklahoma-based electronic cigarette retailer is looking to build a national franchise.

    Marijuana is illegal under federal drug laws. But voters in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., approved ballot measures Tuesday to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, joining Washington state and Colorado. And in more than a dozen other states, medical marijuana is available.

    The growing availability of legal pot opens the door for Tulsa-based Palm Beach Vapors to market a method for producing a cannabis oil product that can be inhaled through a common e-cigarette, according to CEO and co-founder Chip Paul.

    "This is a wave that’s kind of sweeping the nation," said Paul, whose company is looking to patent the method and has already signed licensing deals in California and Colorado for what it calls the M-System. He said he intends to set up franchise locations in other states.

    The use of marijuana is currently illegal in Oklahoma, but the market for cannabis products is projected to grow as more states move to legalize it. Advocates plan a big push for legalization initiatives on 2016 ballots in California, Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada, according to Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.

    Paul was one of the organizers of an Oklahoma initiative petition calling for the legalization of medical marijuana, an effort that ended in August when volunteers failed to gather the needed signatures of more than 155,000 registered voters. The failed petition sought voter approval of classifying marijuana as an herbal drug that would be regulated by the Oklahoma Department of Health. Doctors would have been authorized to prescribe it for a variety of medical conditions.

    Cannabis has a history of medicinal use to treat pain or alleviate symptoms such as nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy patients and people with AIDS. Paul plans to launch another petition drive in August 2015.

    But Mark Woodward, spokesman for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, says the agency is concerned about the inhalation of cannabis oils via e-cigarettes.

    E-cigarettes work by heating liquid nicotine into an inhalable mist; cannabis oils and waxes work much the same. Palm Beach Vapors does not buy, sell or ship marijuana but licenses the preparation method and additive that produces a vegetable glycerin base in which cannabis oils remain evenly distributed, which is key to labeling concentrations, similar to the nicotine measurements in e-cigarettes, Paul said.

    The company has applied for a patent, and expects the M-System to account for 30-40 percent of its annual revenue by 2018, provided the country continues its march toward wider legalization, Paul said.

    Marijuana is still illegal in Indiana, but Nate Renschler, who has a Palm Beach Vapors franchise in Newburgh, Indiana, said that sentiment could change when state officials realize the tax benefits of legalization.

    "The whole country is going one way and Indiana is taking two steps back. We’ll be one of the last steps to legalize marijuana," Renschler said, noting that the e-cigarette product is still viable regardless of what state it is sold in. He uses the Palm Beach Vapors method to sell hemp oil, which he claims is good for a person’s general well-being.

    Even though marijuana is not legal in the majority of the United States, Woodward said teens are obtaining e-cigarettes and cannabis oils. "It’s an easier way for people, especially our youth, to disguise their marijuana use," Woodward said.

    He said investigators for the agency have already intercepted couriers traveling across Oklahoma who have purchased cannabis oils legally in one state with plans to sell it where it’s illegal.

    "It can be hard to detect," Woodward said.

    Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/11/09/3529336_e-cigarette-firm-eyes-emerging.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

    141 House Members Flunk Drug Policy Report Card But conservative Republicans are among the 49 who earned an A+.


    Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., left, earned an A+ in a report on House drug policy votes. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., earned an F. The report looked at House votes on hemp, medical marijuana, DEA funding and banking rules.

    Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., left, earned an A+ in a report on House drug policy votes. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., earned an F. The report looked at House votes on hemp, medical marijuana, DEA funding and banking rules.

    By Steven Nelson Oct. 29, 2014 | 2:37 p.m. EDT

    Each seat in the U.S. House of Representatives is up for grabs when Americans go to the polls Tuesday, and the Drug Policy Alliance wants voters who care about drug policy to check out a new report card for incumbent members.

    The pro-reform organization’s advocacy arm, Drug Policy Action, issued the report card Wednesday, and scores don’t neatly match partisan affiliations.

    Hard-line conservatives such as Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, are among the 49 House members who earned an A+, while Democratic National Committee head Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., is among the 141 members who earned an F.

    [READ: Va. Congressman Pushes ‘Conservative’ Plan for Pot at Pharmacies]

    The grades are based on an analysis of seven House votes – one in 2013, six in 2014 – including three votes on hemp, two on banking rights for marijuana businesses, one that would have cut Drug Enforcement Administration funding and another to protect medical marijuana in states that allow it.

    Members who voted consistently for more liberal policies received an A+. The 116 representatives who voted in favor of reform in six votes earned an A. Those who voted for reforms in either one or none of the votes earned an F.

    In a press release, the Drug Policy Action noted 56 percent of House members – 179 Democrats and 64 Republicans – earned a C or better, meaning they voted for reform in at least three of the votes.

    [WATCH: McCain Says ‘Maybe We Should Legalize’ Marijuana]

    "Unprecedented support now exists on both sides of the aisle in Congress for ending the federal war on drugs and letting states set their own drug policies,” Grant Smith, deputy director of national affairs for Drug Policy Action, said in a statement. “Drug policy reform is a winning issue for elected officials.”

    The highest-profile vote tabulated in the report was on an amendment offered by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., that would have blocked the Department of Justice –  including federal prosecutors and DEA agents – from spending funds to go after medical marijuana in states where it’s permitted.

    Editorial cartoon on pot

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    Editorial Cartoons on Pot Legalization

    The Rohrabacher amendment sailed through the House in a 219-189 vote in May that blurred party lines, but the Senate didn’t consider a companion amendment from Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., and it wasn’t enacted into law.

    The drug policy organization didn’t grade senators, citing a paucity of drug policy votes in the chamber.

    Read the full report card:

    TAGS:
    drugs
    politics
    medical marijuana

    CONTINUE READING…

    LINK TO FULL REPORT IN PDF HERE…

    Mummy Proves America Is 2,400 Years Behind On Medical Marijuana


    mummyemebed

    Photo: Via Wikimedia Commons.

    A 2,400-year-old "Siberian Ice Maiden" apparently knew something that not all US lawmakers do: Cannabis is a perfect palliative for cancer.
    Discovered in 1993 by archaeologist Natalia Polosmak, the mummified remains of this woman, also known as the "Princess of Ukok," were recently examined by a team of Russian scientists. They found that the woman, who was heavily tattooed and died when she was between 20 and 30 years old, suffered from and ultimately succumbed to breast cancer.
    "’I am quite sure of the diagnosis — she had cancer," one of the scientists told the Siberian Times. "She was extremely emaciated. Given her rather high rank in society and the information scientists obtained studying mummies of elite Pazyryks, I do not have any other explanation of her state. Only cancer could have such an impact."
    The researchers also believe that the woman used cannabis to treat herself. A container of the herb was found in her burial chamber, along with a "cosmetics bag."
    "Probably for this sick woman, sniffing cannabis was a forced necessity," another scientist said, noting that wine, hashish, opium, henbane, mandrake, aconite, and Indian hemp were all used at the time as painkillers. "And she was often in altered state of mind. We can suggest that through her could speak the ancestral spirits and gods. Her ecstatic visions in all likelihood allowed her to be considered as some chosen being, necessary and crucial for the benefit of society. She can be seen as the darling of spirits and cherished until her last breath."
    Hey, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania: Stick that in your pipe and smoke it. (Siberian Times)

    The CBD Cannabis Root Experience


    Originally posted on twicebaked in washington:

    IMG_1020

    This week I was given a totally different way to try cannabis. Dried, activated, aeroponically grown cannabis root. I’d never heard of such a thing either. I was told it was super high in CBDs (cannabidiol): the anti-inflammatory, immunosuppressive, antibacterial, antispasmodic (among other things) part of cannabis that makes it such a valuable medicine. I was also told that I would not be getting high from this and that it would counteract the effects of  any medicine that had THC in it. I was ready to try it.

    IMG_1009

    There were two things that I wanted to experiment with. First, I wanted to see how it affected me and if it was good for pain and discomfort. Second, I wanted to see if the CBD root would actually counteract a dose of THC.

    I will be honest and tell you that I kind of did my experimenting a little backward. I…

    View original 338 more words

    What 20 Years Of Research Has Taught Us About The Chronic Effects Of Marijuana


    A new study in the journal Addiction lays out what the vast research on marijuana has revealed over the last 20 years, highlighting the drug’s adverse effects, both acute and chronic. Though researchers have been studying the effects of marijuana for decades, the science has really exploded just in the last 20 years, due in part to better study methods, and also spurred by the growing interest in legalization. The new study maps out exactly what marijuana does and does not do to the body and brain, both in the short and long terms. What’s clear is that marijuana has a number of adverse effects over years of use – in certain people, anyway. What’s not so clear is how policy should be informed by the science. But the researchers suggest that with increasing legalization should come increasing public awareness of the sometimes-serious effects of chronic use.

    Acute Effects

    The acute effects aren’t so bad: No one has ever died from a natural marijuana overdose, the study found. (N.B. This is not true for synthetic marijuana, which can be very dangerous.) Driving while high on marijuana does seem to double the risk of a car crash, which is of course heightened if there is also alcohol in the system. Marijuana has been linked to low birth weight when it is used during pregnancy. Otherwise, acute effects mainly include anxiety, paranoia (especially among new users), dysphoria, cognitive impairment, and psychotic symptoms (especially in people with a family history of psychosis). These particular side effects seem to have risen over the last 20 years, which may be due to the fact that the THC content in marijuana has also risen over that time.

    Dried marijuana bud.

    Dried marijuana bud. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Chronic Effects

    Over the long term, things get a little worse. It’s important to point out that in epidemiological studies, it can be very difficult to tease out whether cause and effect is actually at play, or whether there’s something else going on. But the authors have gone to great lengths to separate causation from correlation, combing the data for studies that point strongly to cause and effect. Here’s what they found:

    • Marijuana can be addictive. But only for some people. About 10% of all users seem to develop dependence syndrome, and for those who start in adolescence, the number is more like 1 in 6. Withdrawal syndrome is also a real phenomenon, with depression, anxiety, insomnia, and appetite disturbance being the main symptoms, which can often be severe enough to have an effect on daily life.
    • Marijuana use is linked to adverse cognitive effects. In particular, the drug is linked to reduced learning, memory, and attention. It hasn’t been entirely clear whether these effects persist after a person stops using the drug, but there’s some evidence that it does. One study found a reduction in IQ of 8 points in long-time users, the greatest decline being in people who’d started using as teenagers and continued daily into adulthood. For people who began in adulthood and eventually stopped using, a reduction in IQ was not seen a year later.
    • Marijuana may change brain structure and function.  There’s been an ongoing debate about whether marijuana actually changes the brain, but recent evidence has suggested that it is linked to changes in the hippocampus, amygdala, and prefrontal cortex. It’s unclear, however, how long these effects last, whether they’re linked to behavioral changes, and whether they reverse after a person stops using the drug.
    • Regular use is linked to an increased risk of psychotic symptoms. That marijuana is linked to increased psychotic symptoms (e.g., delusions, hallucinations, disordered thinking) is fairly clear. But again, it’s been a chicken-and-egg problem, since it’s hard to show whether causation is at play, and which way the connection goes. However, it’s likely that the relationship actually goes both ways: Marijuana may lead to  psychotic symptoms, and early psychotic symptoms may  increase the likelihood that a person will smoke marijuana (particularly if there’s a family history of psychotic disorders).
    • Marijuana is linked to lower educational attainment. When pot smoking begins in adolescence, people tend to go less far in school – but again, a causal relationship hasn’t been demonstrated.
    • Marijuana may (or may not be) be a gateway drug. Regular teenage marijuana users are more likely to use other drugs in the future – but again, researchers don’t know whether the link is causal.
    • Marijuana is probably – but modestly – linked to schizophrenia. The study found that marijuana is connected to a doubled risk of a schizophrenia diagnosis in the future. Many previous studies have suggested this connection, but, as always, showing causality is hard. The new study cites a number of well-executed studies that suggest a causal relationship between marijuana and schizophrenia. The authors estimate that marijuana use may double the risk of schizophrenia from 7 in 1000 non-users to 14 in 1000 marijuana users. On the upside, they point out that users who quit using the drug after a first psychotic episode have fewer psychotic symptoms and better social functioning moving forward, compared to people who have a psychotic episode but continue using.
    • Marijuana may be linked to testicular cancer. Its connection to other forms of cancer is not very consistent, but there’s some evidence of an increased risk of testicular cancer in long-term marijuana users.
    • Regular users may have cardiopulmonary issues. Regular marijuana users have a higher risk of developing chronic bronchitis. Marijuana “probably” increases the risk of heart attack in middle age, but it’s hard to know for sure, since many users also smoke cigarettes.

    So the chronic effects of marijuana are becoming clearer, though some areas need more work. As the authors point out, none of this is to argue for or against the legalization of marijuana, which is gaining so much speed (and, of course, criticism) across the country. The authors are careful not to weigh in, except to say that if marijuana is legalized or decriminalized, it should be done with a number of safeties in place. As study author Wayne Hall, Director and Inaugural Chair at the Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research at The University of Queensland, tells me, “Given that Colorado and Washington State have decided to legalise, the governments in these states should aim to regulate sales in ways that minimise the harms arising from use. This should certainly include informing users about the risks of use and doing what is possible to discourage uptake by adolescents.”

    He stresses that methods to discourage new users, especially young ones, should be implemented by the government in as many ways as possible. “Regulation of cannabis,” says Hall, “should learn from experiences with alcohol and tobacco and use in limiting the number of heavy users by using taxation, limiting promotion of cannabis use and restricting where cannabis can be sold and by whom.” As more states debate the prospect of legalization, looking to the science may help them make some of the hard decisions. Or, of course, it could make the conversations that much more complex.

    Follow me @alicewalton or find me on Facebook.

    CONTINUE READING…

    U.S. Representative Yarmuth co-sponsors bill to decriminalize cannabis oil


    Posted: Sep 22, 2014 4:54 PM CST Updated: Sep 22, 2014 5:37 PM CST

    By Lawrence Smith – email

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Right now, it’s against federal law to use cannabis oil – a marijuana extract – even for medical purpose, but Louisville Congressman John Yarmuth is co-sponsoring a bill that would change that.

    If the bill passes, using cannabis oil for medical purposes would no longer put you in danger of landing at the federal courthouse facing drug charges.

    Suzanne De Gregorio’s son, Alex, suffers from autism and epilepsy.

    She believes cannabis oil can help control the seizures that have hindered his development.

    "Children with epilepsy, they’re finding that it can calm the seizures," she said.

    Suzanne is using cannabis oil – or CBD oil – right now to help control the after-effects of chemotherapy for breast cancer.

    It’s legal because the oil imported from overseas, but Suzanne wants to see more research before trying it on her son.

    "This is for me. I don’t give it to him because you really need a neurologists involvement," she said.

    Kentucky has approved research into CBD oil for treatment of seizures, but the trials have stalled because the federal government still considers it a controlled substance.

    For her son’s sake, De Gregorio is trying to change that.

    "He’s suffered tremendously in his life. I mean the pain, the screams. You wouldn’t believe it. And I promised him when he was very little I’m going to find am answer. I’m going to make this better for you somehow, some way," she said.

    Now Rep. John Yarmuth (D-3rd Dist.) has signed onto a bill being pushed by De Gregorio that would decriminalize CBD oil and hemp for medical use.

    "The idea that we as a federal government have classified hemp in the same category that we classify heroin makes absolutely no sense, and it’s preventing some very, very important therapies from reaching many of our needy citizens," said Yarmuth.

    The bill is called the Charlotte’s Web Act; named after a Colorado girl, Charlotte Figi, whose seizures led to development of a non-intoxicating marijuana extract.

    "I believe this could be that answer. I hope it is. I want at least have the right to find out," said De Gregorio.

    Yarmuth says the bill will not likely be considered until the next session of Congress. Supporters say they’ll keep pushing.

    CONTINUE READING…

    A Crucial Election Season for Legalizing Marijuana and Ending the Drug War


    FLORIDA MEDICAL MARIJUANA

     

    It may be an off-year election, but it’s a big one for drug policy reform. In seven weeks, voters across the country will have a chance to accelerate the unprecedented momentum to legalize marijuana and end the wider drug war. In fact, there are more drug policy reform questions on the ballot this November than ever in American history. Voter initiatives — primarily reforming or repealing marijuana laws — appear on the ballots in seven states, at least 17 municipalities and one U.S. territory. To help you keep score at home, here’s an overview, starting with the highest-profile measures.

    Oregon: Passage of Measure 91 will make the Beaver State the third to legalize marijuana for adults outright. Like the historic laws adopted in Colorado and neighboring Washington two short years ago, this initiative would legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for adults 21 and older and create a statewide system to regulate production and sales. And similar to Colorado’s law, Measure 91 would allow adults to cultivate small amounts of marijuana under controlled circumstances. In this entirely vote-by-mail election, the initiative has already been endorsed by the Pacific Northwest’s largest daily paper and would likely boost efforts across its southern border to end marijuana prohibition in California two years from now.

    Alaska: The other statewide marijuana legalization initiative, Measure 2, is closely modeled on Colorado’s Amendment 64 and tracks many of the elements in Oregon’s prospective law. Alaska was something of a marijuana reform pioneer as possession and cultivation of small amounts for personal use in a private residence has been protected under the Alaska Constitution since the 1970s. Alongside Oregon in 1998, Alaska was among the first states to legalize medical marijuana. With a deep-rooted respect for personal freedom, Alaska would become the first red state to legalize marijuana for adult use, no doubt raising eyebrows across the political spectrum.

    Florida: Amendment 2 is the only statewide medical marijuana initiative on the ballot this year, and it’s one to watch. Victory would make Florida, with its huge population and bell weather status in American politics, the very first southern state to adopt a medical marijuana law. With 23 other medical marijuana states and super-majority support nationally, passage of Amendment 2 would effectively settle any lingering questions on public acceptance of marijuana as medicine. It’s going to be a challenge, though, since Florida law requires 60% to pass a voter initiative. While polls indicate enormous support, casino mogul Sheldon Adelsoncontributed a few million dollars to stop it as Amendment 2 is associated with Charlie Crist’s comeback gubernatorial campaign. Adelson’s intervention has created the first well-funded opposition to a statewide marijuana reform campaign ever.

    California: On the heels of reforming its harshest-in-the-nation Three Strikes law in 2012, Californians are now poised to refine six low-level, nonviolent offenses, including simple drug possession, from felonies to misdemeanors. Proposition 47 would then dedicate the savings — likely more than $1 billion a year — to schools, victim services, and mental health treatment. With retroactive sentencing and expungement provisions, the impact of Prop 47 in California on wasteful corrections spending and individual lives would be profound and surely resonate across the country.

    District of Columbia: Earlier this year, the D.C. Council adopted the nation’s most far-reaching marijuana decriminalization law. In November, voters in the nation’s capital will decide whether to go even further. Initiative 71 makes it legal for adults over the age of 21 to possess and cultivate small amounts of marijuana. While District law prevents the ballot initiative from addressing the sale of marijuana, the D.C. Council is considering a bill that would tax and regulate marijuana within the District. D.C. has the highest per capita marijuana arrest rates in the U.S. with enormous racial disparities as police target African Americans for 91 percent of these arrests. Initiative 71 will be the first marijuana reform campaign fought primarily on the issue of the drug war’s ongoing toxic impact on black communities.

    Other races: Voters in municipal elections from the Northeast to Micronesia will weigh in November 4 on a range of marijuana focused issues.

    · Guam: Voters could make this U.S. territory the first to adopt medical marijuana. Thebinding referendum would allow for dispensaries regulated by the Department of Public Health and Social Services.

    · Maine: By a wide margin in 2013, Portlanders chose to eliminate criminal penalties for adult possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. In seven weeks, voters in York, South Portland, and Lewiston will tackle the same question.

    · Michigan: In the last two years, residents of seven cities have voted to remove local penalties for adult possession of small amounts of marijuana in a private residence. As of now, a whopping 11 other cities (with apparently more to come) will have the chance to follow suit this year.

    · New Mexico: Last month, the City of Santa Fe became the first in the state to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. On the ballot in November, voters in Bernalillo (Albuquerque) and Santa Fe Counties will decide if their county should affirm decriminalization efforts.

    Public opinion has shifted dramatically over the last decade in favor of reforming marijuana laws and dismantling the egregious excesses of the drug war. And elected officials have begun to take notice. The U.S. House has voted five times in recent months to let states set their own marijuana policies while Senators Rand Paul and Cory Booker have introduced similar bi-partisan legislation in the U.S. Senate in addition to a cluster of other long-overdue criminal justice reforms. When the dust settles on November 5, the momentum for change in this country will only have accelerated.

    Stephen Gutwillig is the Deputy Executive Director for Programs of the Drug Policy Alliance, the nation’s leading organization working to promote alternatives to the failed war on drugs.

    Follow Stephen Gutwillig on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SWGinLA

    More:

    Drug Reform 2014 Marijuana Ballot Questions Alaska Marijuana Oregon Marijuana Drug Legalization 2014 Election Medical Marijuana Marijuana War on Drugs 2014 Elections Drug Policy Reform

     

    CONTINUE READING….

    Sponsors cancel drug summit in Madras after facing criticism from marijuana legalization advocates


    By Jeff Mapes | jmapes@oregonian.com
    Email the author | Follow on Twitter
    on August 21, 2014 at 7:25 PM, updated August 21, 2014 at 7:28 PM

    A nonprofit group has canceled an October anti-drug summit in Madras — which was to feature a prominent opponent of marijuana legalization — after complaints were raised by sponsors of the ballot measure that would permit recreational use of the drug.

    The sponsors of the legalization initiative, Measure 91, charged this week that it was wrong for summit organizers to use federal funds to help pay for an appearance by Kevin Sabet, a former White House drug adviser who has formed an organization opposing marijuana legalization.

    Sabet was also scheduled to appear in 12 other Oregon cities as part of an "Oregon Marijuana Education Tour" following the summit.  Sabet had said that, at the request of organizers, he would not talk about the ballot measure at either the Madras event or on the tour.

    Rick Treleaven, the executive director of BestCare Treatment Practices and the organizer of the Madras summit, said he decided to cancel the summit because he "could see from an outside perspective that it could look like a conflict."

    Treleaven, whose nonprofit that runs community mental health programs for Jefferson County, said he did not know if the 12-city tour featuring Sabet would still take place.  "It depends on what the other folks do," he said, referring to the local sponsors, some of whom were also using federal anti-drug grants to help pay for the events.

    Treleaven said he hoped to reschedule the Madras summit for some time after the election.  He has noted that the summit has been held for several years in October and that this year’s event was not intended to influence the marijuana vote.

    However, Anthony Johnson, chief sponsor of the marijuana legalization measure, said Wednesday that the heavy focus on marijuana during the summit and on the tour smacked of electioneering using federal money — even if participants did not  specifically discuss the initiative.

    Johnson could not be reached Thursday evening, but Peter Zuckerman, a spokesman for the campaign said sponsors did the right thing in canceling the summit and should do the same for the 12-city tour.

    "Federal taxpayer dollars should not be used to influence an election," he said.  "Calling this an educational campaign is ridiculous."

    — Jeff Mapes

    CONTINUE READING…