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US Supreme Court decision allows police to commit “reasonable mistakes” in detaining suspects

Posted on December 18, 2014. Filed under: CIVIL RIGHTS, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , |


By Nick Barrickman
18 December 2014

In a blow to the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday that a police officer detaining someone under a mistaken reading of the law could cite having made a “reasonable mistake,” and thus avoid having the court disregard all evidence obtained under such circumstances, provided that a law was “‘so doubtful in construction’ that a reasonable judge could agree with the officer’s view.”

The ruling was made regarding Heien v. North Carolina, a case in which an officer pulled over a driver while under the mistaken belief that the latter’s driving with a single inoperable brake light constituted a violation of state law. After consenting to a vehicle search which revealed narcotics, the defendant, Nicholas Heien, sought to have the evidence suppressed by invoking the Exclusionary Rule, a component of the Fourth Amendment.

In an act which demonstrates a high level of political calculation, the Supreme Court seized upon a lower court’s ruling which found the police officer’s search to be illegal in order to overturn the decision. “The Fourth Amendment requires government officials to act reasonably, not perfectly, and gives those officials ‘fair leeway for enforcing the law,’” Chief Justice John G. Roberts stated in remarks supporting the majority’s opinion.

Expanding on the view of the majority, Justice Elena Kagan, an appointee of the Obama administration, stated “If the statute is genuinely ambiguous, such that overturning the officer’s judgment requires hard interpretive work, then the officer has made a reasonable mistake.” Kagan stressed that such circumstances would be “exceedingly rare.”

Rather than being confined to traffic stops, the Court’s decision can be reasonably interpreted to give police the right to detain and search individuals under practically any circumstances.

In the lone dissenting opinion, Justice Sonia Sotomayor raised fears that this sort of conclusion would be drawn from the decision. “[The decision] means further eroding the Fourth Amendment’s protection of civil liberties in a context where that protection has already been worn down,” she said, adding that the concept of the law being “definite and knowable sits at the foundation of our legal system…” and that if officers are given leeway in such cases it may work to undermine the legitimacy of the court.

Reflecting this position, an amicus brief filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) noted that “The rule creates new and unjustified burdens on private citizens by sanctioning an expansive new category of traffic stops, together with the ‘physical and psychological intrusion’ such stops necessarily entail.” It added that the ruling ran the risk of “diminishing the public perception of law enforcement officials’ knowledge and authority.”

The court’s attack on the Fourth Amendment has been a continuous one. Other Supreme Court rulings of note have allowed for police to enter private residences without search warrants, citing “exigent circumstances” after the fact, as well as the proliferation and institutionalizing of “no-knock” raids, which involve militarily-armed SWAT team members forcing down doors on suspicions of illegal doing.

The decision occurs as mass protests have swept the country in recent weeks in opposition to police killings and the militarization of law enforcement and erosion of basic democratic rights.

In the aftermath of the August police killing of unarmed African American teenager Michael Brown in Missouri, protesters were confronted by police officers toting military-grade weapons and equipment and subjecting demonstrators to mass arrests for failing to obey arbitrary orders.

The decision to award police departments the power to detain drivers based upon what amounts to uninformed guesswork demonstrates the contempt that the US ruling class holds for the working population. Rather than reversing the process of police militarization and the undermining of fundamental democratic rights, the Democratic and Republican parties, the Obama Administration, and the Supreme Court all support the process in the name of “law and order.”

The Obama Administration, which sided with the Supreme Court’s decision, has been deeply involved in the process of militarization of police. In a review of the federal government’s programs which have been used to facilitate police militarization that was released early this month, the administration asserted that not only would such programs continue, but that they “have been valuable and have provided state and local law enforcement with needed assistance as they carry out their critical missions in helping to keep the American people safe.”

The author also recommends :

Obama’s paramilitary police: The “war on terror” comes home [03 December 2014]

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Mountain lion killed in Kentucky

Posted on December 17, 2014. Filed under: KENTUCKY, LATEST NEWS, WTF! | Tags: , , , , , |


Joseph Gerth, The Courier-Journal 8:45 a.m. EST December 17, 2014

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A Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife officer killed a mountain lion on a Bourbon County farm on Monday, marking the first confirmed sighting of a mountain lion in Kentucky since before the Civil War, said Mark Marraccini, a spokesman for the agency.

Marraccini said a farmer spotted the cat in a tree and alerted the department. When the officer responded, he found the animal had been trapped in different tree by a barking dog and decided it was best to "dispatch it."

Mountain lions were once native to Kentucky but they were killed off here more than a century ago, Marraccini said.

Mountain lions are the largest cats found in North America and can measure up to eight feet from nose to tail and weigh up to 180 pounds. Also known as cougars, pumas, panthers and catamounts, the cats are considered top-line predators because no other species feed on them.

Marraccini said the wildlife officer shot the cat because it was about 5:30 p.m. and getting dark and he feared that it would slip away in darkness and threaten people in the nearby city of Paris.

"If that cat had left that tree, it would have disappeared into the brush and it was a fairly populated area," said Marraccini, who said it would have taken several hours and dark before a state veterinarian could retrieve the tranquilizer from her safe and get it to the scene had officials taken that route.

"It sounds good but it’s pretty impractical," said Marraccini, who said the officer who shot the cat made the right call.

"That’s the way the officers deemed to handle it and I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t be handled that way," he said.

Marraccini said a state veterinarian will conduct a necropsy on the cat Tuesday to determine if it is a wild cat or a former pet that was either released or escaped.

According to the Cougar Network, the cat is mostly confined to the western United States but is advancing east. For years, the Mississippi River has been thought to be a barrier to the mountain lion’s eastern expansion. But its clear they have been getting close to Kentucky.

They have colonized in South Dakota, Nebraska and Missouri, said Amy Rodrigues, a staff biologist for the Mountain Lion Foundation, and there have been sightings in recent years in Indiana and even downtown Chicago.

Rodrigues said that mountain lions each need more than 100 square miles to survive and many of the animals being killed as they expand east are young males under the age of two that have been kicked out by their mothers. They often travel east looking for deer, water and female cougars.

But Rodrigues said states that kill the animals when they enter are wrong for doing it and that the animals shouldn’t cause fear. "If you’re a deer, they’re a little dangerous. If you’re a human, not so much," she said. "Attacks on people are not that common. There have only been 22 deaths in the last 120 years."

She said people are at greater risk of dying from bee stings and lightning strikes than they are from cougar attacks.

They get a bad rap because "they are large animals with sharp teeth," Rodrigues said.

She added the presence of mountain lions in an ecosystem adds to biological diversity, which she said helps the environment recover from natural disaster and diseases that affect the fauna in a region.

Mark Dowling, a director of the Cougar Network, which advocates for the use of science to understand the animals, said the population was being pushed further and further west until the 1960s when a number of western and midwestern states began to classify them as game animals rather than vermin, and limiting people’s right to kill them.

Since then, he said, the cats have been slowly reclaiming their old turf.

Marraccini said there is no official protocol about how to handle more mountain lions if they are found in Kentucky but he doubts that they will be allowed to colonize here like they have in many western states.

"Every one of them is handled on it’s own," said Marraccini.

Marraccini said that people and legislators probably would be opposed to allowing the cats to stay in the state. "When you have a population essentially that has had generations and generations and generations that have not had top-line predators, you think about it. You going to let your kids wait for the school bus in the dark? …"

"From a wildlife diversity perspective, it would be a neat thing but from a social aspect, probably not," he said.

Dowling wouldn’t take a position on whether the cat should have been killed but said that most states that have had the cats moving through them have just left the cats alone. In fact, he said he can’t think of a state wildlife agency that shoots them on sight but he noted that South Dakota will shoot them when they enter a city.

But he said human attacks are few and far between, even in California where there are thousands of the cats, some of them living within large cities like Los Angeles.

"It’s very, very rare for them to show any aggression toward humans," he said. "They, in fact, have a fear of people."

Animals like the mountain lion once near extinction or limited in their range are rebounding across the country. The first gray wolf confirmed in Kentucky in generations was shot by a hunter a year and a half ago near Munfordville.

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Kentuckians for Medical Marijuana is on a mission to educate others about the medicinal benefits of marijuana -

Posted on December 14, 2014. Filed under: KENTUCKY, LATEST NEWS, Medical Marijuana | Tags: , , , , , , |


Paige Thompson, Staff

December 1, 2014

 

 

2007 is the year that changed Jamie Montalvo’s life. Suffering from muscle pain and spasms, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a disease that attacks the protective layer around your nerves.

After being put on what appeared to be every medication possible and undergoing chemotherapy, nothing seemed to help Montalvo’s condition.

Except for marijuana.

“I was prescribed tons of different medications, including chemotherapy, but nothing worked as well as cannabis. It is extremely beneficial to alleviate pain,” Montalvo said.

 

Founder of Kentuckians for Medical Marijuana, Montalvo is currently on six different medications for his MS that he does not want to be on and do not help in the same way that cannabis helped him.

After a number of failed medications and treatments, Montalvo took it upon himself to cultivate his own source of cannabis at home.

“It helped my neuropathy, and I used it to get off of the other 12-13 medications I was on,” he said.

Montalvo started Kentuckians for Medical Marijuana by himself in the Spring of 2012 after he was forced to stop growing his own source of marijuana and was put on probation.

Since then, he has been fighting for the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes.

Officially established as an organization in June 2013, Kentuckians for Medical Marijuana (KY4MM) is, according to their website, a “registered non-profit organization working to bring a better quality of life to patients and untapped industry to the state of Kentucky.”

According to their mission statement, KY4MM strives to provide information that is backed by research to educate others in the community about the medical benefits of marijuana.

 
Montalvo said that they are still a small organization, staffed by fellow patients and volunteers. But, many patients have a fear of coming forward about their use of cannabis.

“A lot of citizens fear coming forward because they have a fear of being put on a watch list for supporting [medical marijuana],” he said.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that some of the active chemicals in marijuana, a group of chemicals related to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), known as cannabinoids, have been found to reduce nausea, and control pain and seizures.

There are currently a few different medications that contain cannabinoids.

In the United Kingdom, Sativex has been approved, which helps with the treatment of multiple sclerosis, contains both THC and cannabidiol (CBD).

Dronabinol, an FDA-approved drug that contains THC, is used to treat nausea caused by chemotherapy and extreme weight loss caused by AIDS.

Nabilone, another FDA-approved drug, contains a cannabinoid that is similar to THC, and is used for the same purposes as Dronabinol.

Lastly, Epidiolex, a CBD-based drug that has been created to treat forms of childhood epilepsy, according to the Institute.

Montalvo, who asked his pain management doctor for Dronabinol during his chemotherapy, thinks that doctors may be afraid to prescribe such medications.

“She was hesitant, stating that it was too difficult for her to prescribe it to me,” he said. “Seems many Kentucky doctors are afraid to prescribe them even when patients are going through chemo.”

Medical marijuana can not only help patients who are suffering from extreme pain or chemotherapy, but it can also assist patients who are nearing the end of their lives.

Dr. Tina Bradley, associate medical director of Gentiva Hospice and Clark Memorial Hospital physician, said that as a hospice physician she often sees patients that have a difficult time managing pain at the end of their lives.

“Oftentimes, these patients can experience undesirable side effects from the traditional narcotic pain medications that we used to treat pain,” Bradley said.“

 

Bradley defines medical marijuana as the use of marijuana recommended by a physician for the treatment of a medical condition or symptoms uncontrolled by other modalities.

“[It may be used for] pain management, nausea and vomiting, anorexia, seizure disorder, muscle spasms, PTSD, mood disorder, MS and anxiety disorder,” Bradley said.

Bradley also said that medical marijuana might be used or prescribed when traditional therapy has failed to control symptoms or has caused unwanted side effects.

As of 2014, 23 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

Montalvo said that medical marijuana is an alternative for patients whose medication is no longer working and are out of other options.

“[We want to] provide safe access for patients. To allow safety facilities at compassion centers to check the cannabis and make sure it is safe and easier for patients to get it,” Montalvo said of KY4MM.

Bradley said that though street marijuana is fairly easily obtainable, it is not FDA regulated.

“When bought illegally, you do not know for sure the purity of the drug,” she said.

If medical marijuana were to become legal in Kentucky, Montalvo said that it would help at least 150,000 Kentucky citizens.

“It produces a better quality of life,” he said. “[It will] create jobs, because you need dispensary and cultivation agents to grow it, as well as facility agents to check the quality of it.”

Montalvo said that over 10,000 jobs were created in Colorado when cannabis was legalized there, which he said produces savings for the judicial system.

In Indiana, the Marijuana Policy Project states that there has been little progress in improving the laws surrounding marijuana.

Medical marijuana is not currently prescribed in Indiana, Bradley said.

Senate Bill 314 was recently introduced in Indiana and would have authorized the licensed cultivation and production of industrial hemp and changed the current criminal penalties in Indiana for the possession of marijuana.

The bill, created by Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage), did not receive a hearing or a vote this year.

“Several states have enacted laws, practices or codes to allow sales of marijuana through regulated sales-outlets for medical purposes,” said Carole Nowicke, research associate at IU Bloomington’s Department of Applied Health Science.

However, there are those who oppose the legalization of marijuana in general.

Kevin Sabet, former senior advisor at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, recently wrote an article on his website discussing the issue.

“Legalization threatens to further contribute to disproportionate health outcomes among minorities, all the while creating a massive new industry – Big Tobacco 2.0 – intent on addicting the most vulnerable in society,” Sabet writes.

Some may also worry that as with any other drug, medical marijuana may become abused among patients.

“Some patients will use drugs as intended, others will use more than prescribed. Marijuana was not always illegal, and neither were opium and cocaine. You can find both in prescriptions and patent medicine in the 19th century,” Nowicke said.

After the criminal issues surrounding Montalvo’s cultivation of cannabis, such as the possibility of years in prison and the loss of custody of his child, he said he wanted to find out the medical reasons for using marijuana as a form of medication.

As a double major in biology and chemistry at the University of Louisville, Montalvo had to leave school because of his medical condition.

After his formal diagnosis two years later, he began to use cannabis to get relief from the side effects of MS.

“It reduced my pain, it helped me sleep and to stay asleep. It reduced my muscle spasms, and took away the symptoms of the chemotherapy I was going through,” he said. “It helped with the inflammation caused by multiple sclerosis and helped me to be able to move my limbs.”

Medical marijuana has not only been helpful to Montalvo in reducing the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, but has also been found to have effects in the treatment of brain cancer.

In a recent article by the Washington Post and a study published in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, researchers found that cannabinoids could play a role in treating one of the most aggressive cancers in adults.

Cannabinoids, according to the article, are the active components of the cannabis plant, and have been licensed for medical use.

The article also said recent studies have shown that some cannabinoids have potent anti-cancer action.

Senate Bill 314 was recently introduced in Indiana and would have authorized the licensed cultivation and production of industrial hemp and changed the current criminal penalties in Indiana for the possession of marijuana.

Nature Review’s cancer journal defines cannabinoids as a potential anticancer agent by helping to reduce nausea, vomiting, and pain.

The journal also states that these compounds may hinder the growth of tumors.

“It is used quite commonly to help side effects but not something that we are able to really prescribe,” Dr. Donald Miller, director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center in Louisville, said.

Montalvo, who has done research on the medical uses of marijuana, said that a federal patent, established in October 2003 on cannabis, recognizes it as an antioxidant that is useful for diseases.

It claims that some antioxidant properties have been discovered in these cannabinoids, which makes them able to assist in treating a number of diseases.

Miller suggests that more research needs to be done on the topic.

“It is very effective for some but not effective at all for others. It is difficult to tell because every patient is so different,” he said.

According to Nowicke, there is not much research available on medical marijuana because it is difficult to get funding for conducting studies with such illegal substances.

“There are many anecdotal reports on the efficiency of marijuana for purposes of pain,” she said. “[But] it’s hard to study what the effective dose of a drug is if the drug is not a stable entity.”

Bradley also thinks that there is a lack of research. She said that more needs to be done to define the uses of medical marijuana, though it may be used sometime in the future when it comes to pain management.

“More research is clearly needed to define the potential uses of medical marijuana and also to look at possible long-term side effects of chronic use,” she said. “There have been only a few studies that have found that marijuana can be helpful in the treatment of neuropathic pain, pain caused by damaged nerves, but the results were not statistically significant.”

- See more at: http://www.iushorizon.com/15231/features/prescription-pot/#sthash.hAUELIN3.dpuf

PLEASE ALSO VISIT “KENTUCKIANS FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA” ON FACEBOOK!

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Where Coal is King In Kentucky, both Democrats and Republicans are blocking green policies

Posted on December 14, 2014. Filed under: APPALACHIA, Coal Mining, Commerce, Green Power, KENTUCKY, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , |


By JAMES HIGDON

December 09, 2014

 

 

To understand Kentucky politics you have to understand this: When it comes to coal, there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans. There is no red Kentucky or blue Kentucky. There is only charcoal black. And Kentucky politics is a coal miner’s daughter.

With roughly 61,000 jobs directly or indirectly linked to the industry and some $4 billion in annual revenue, the state’s devotion to coal is all but carved in stone. One law in the state, for example, allows energy companies to cap renewable energy to one percent of production, saving the remaining 99 percent for coal.

“The coal folks want people to burn coal,” says Wallace McMullen, the conservation chair for the Sierra Club’s Kentucky chapter. “In Kentucky, the coal-state mentality has equally blinded them all”—Democrats as well as Republicans.

Which means when Louisville’s civic leaders try to improve the city’s environmental health, it’s not just Republicans in Washington like incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell standing in the way, but Democrats in the state capital of Frankfort, too.

Just ask John Yarmuth, Louisville’s congressman since 2006. Yarmuth is a vocal advocate for alternative energy, as opposed to someone like Alison Lundergan Grimes, who quite visibly advocated for coal without mentioning alternatives during her unsuccessful campaign to unseat McConnell.

Yarmuth, the only Kentucky congressman endorsed by the Sierra Club, won his re-election handily and outperformed Grimes in Louisville by 12,295 votes — and his Congressional district doesn’t even include all of Jefferson County. Many of those Yarmuth-but-not-Grimes voters held the environment as their chief concern, and were upset with Grimes for trying to be more pro-coal than McConnell. When she said in her gun-themed TV ad that she “disagree[d] with Obama on coal and guns,” that wasn’t some political half-truth, as her critics and some of her supporters wanted to believe.

“Of all my supporters, environmentalists were the most concerned with Alison,” Yarmuth says. “More so than African-Americans, LGBT, labor or immigrant groups,” because coal was one of the few policies Grimes took a stand on. And for environmentalists, it was on the wrong side.

“I hardly saw the point in voting for someone that almost stubbornly refused to stand out as anything other than ‘not Mitch,’” said Meghan Levins, a chef in Louisville’s burgeoning farm-to-table scene. She voted for Yarmuth, but not Grimes. “The coal issue really is a sticking point with me because I think it’s so ridiculous to imply that there is such a thing as ‘clean coal.’”

Yarmuth hasn’t been hurt politically by his pro-environmental positions. His views are in line with voters like Levins, who represents Louisville’s political base and favor a sustainable energy policy at the risk of “a speculative increase in price,” as Yarmuth puts it.

“Part of what we deal with in Kentucky is the coal culture, which is a larger political factor than the economics of coal,” he adds. In Yarmuth’s estimation, voters in the coal-mining regions see advocacy for alternative energy as “an attack on their way of life,” which is “more impressionistic than dollars and cents.”

 

This emotional response to the culture of coal is what coal operators leverage for political might in election seasons. Democrats in Kentucky either support this message or remain too afraid of it to challenge it in statewide races. This is something that national activists have difficulty understanding about Kentucky politics: any elected Democrat outside of Louisville is as pro-coal as any climate change-denying Republican.

Grimes is a prime example. Grimes’s defense of coal wasn’t just some last-minute campaign stunt; her family’s relationship with coal goes back decades. Her father, Jerry Lundergan, was the chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Party under Gov. Wallace Wilkinson, who once proposed building a 41-story skyscraper in Lexington called the World Coal Center. Before that, Gov. Julian Carroll testified before Congress about how important strip mining was to Kentucky’s economy, and Kentucky’s current governor, Steve Beshear, sued the EPA in 2010 for blocking state-issued coal mining permits. All three governors are Democrats.

James Higdon is a freelance writer based in Louisville and author of The Cornbread Mafia: A Homegrown Syndicate’s Code of Silence and the Biggest Marijuana Bust in American History. He can be reached at @jimhigdon. Full disclosure: His father, Jimmy Higdon, is a Republican state senator in the Kentucky state legislature.

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Federal reports target Colo. marijuana money

Posted on December 13, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , , , , |


The federal government is stockpiling hundreds of "suspicious activity reports" that could provide federal agents with sufficient evidence to shut down any state-legalized marijuana business.

While it may appear that federal authorities have taken a wait-and-see approach to marijuana legalization in the 23 states that now allow medical or recreational use, these reports are poised like a blade over the budding industry should federal laws be enforced.

This risk of federal prosecution has led some cannabis companies to literally launder their money.

"You used to be able to just smell it," said Jennifer Waller, vice president of the Colorado Bankers Association, speaking of the cash from marijuana shops. "But now they are using Febreze a lot, putting the money in dryers, a lot of different things to try to disguise the scent because marijuana has such a distinct odor."

That distinct odor is considered a red flag by federal authorities who require banks to file a suspicious activity report for every transaction that might be associated with illegal activity, including selling marijuana, even for state licensed businesses.

"It’s because of the illegal nature of it," Waller said. "In banking, if you are accepting the funds from a marijuana company and you are aware of it … you can be charged with money laundering yourself."

Banks fear the repercussions of holding deposits related to marijuana, still a Schedule I illegal drug under federal law. That could mean prison time for tellers, fines for the bank, and even the bank losing its federal deposit insurance.

If a marijuana store is charged with money laundering, it could lose everything.

"Even before a conviction, the feds could freeze your assets," said Chris Myklebust, commissioner of the Colorado Division of Financial Services. "And if there is a money laundering conviction, the feds can seize the assets, too."

The federal government has already collected more than 1,100 reports that implicate different cannabis companies in financial crimes nationwide.

"Just in a moment’s notice, the U.S. Justice Department could literally take down every single dispensary in Colorado, probably within about a day." said Rob Corry, a Denver attorney and marijuana advocate. Corry has worked on several cases where federal agents have seized assets — cars, cash, bank accounts — though many of the records are sealed and it’s hard to gauge just how often this occurs.

More often, banks simply shut down marijuana-related accounts. Between February and August 2014, banks filed more than 475 "Marijuana Termination" suspicious activity reports — indicating they closed hundreds of accounts because of possible criminal activity.

"I’ve lost my personal bank account, my brothers have lost their personal bank accounts," said Sally Vander Veer, operator of Medicine Man dispensary in Denver. The dispensary also lost its account in August. She says that without a bank account, all Medicine Man employees are paid in cash.

"I can’t protect them. They walk out of here with a pocket full of cash and, in essence, they become another target and a potential victim of not having banking in the marijuana industry," Vander Veer said.

The dilemma has resulted in marijuana dispensaries hiring private businesses like Blue Line Protection Group that employ former military or law-enforcement officers equipped with handguns, bulletproof vests, tactical training and armored trucks to transport cash and product to undisclosed locations for safekeeping.

"When we started, the clients we were picking up had a manager taking (cash) in a Honda Civic or some kind of Subaru, unarmed, no vests, no tactics, no skills," said Dominic Powelson, who works for Blue Line Protection Group.

State regulators in Colorado and Washington have also tried to ease access to banking. Mycklebust, the Colorado financial services commissioner, issued a charter to the first ever marijuana-focused credit union in November. The new credit union will not immediately have federal credit insurance, although it has applied.

Mycklebust said the new credit union must also file suspicious activity reports.

The so called "SARs" stem from guidelines set forth by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a branch of the U.S. Treasury Department. The guidelines were meant to ease access to banks.

"Banks are required by law to report when they think that a business is making money from something illegal, and marijuana is still federally illegal," said Steve Hudak, spokesman for FinCEN. "We attempted to provide guidance that would help to get cash off the streets and some of the public danger that is associated with that, so we went about as far as we could."

But the guidelines didn’t actually legalize banking for marijuana businesses — only Congress can do that. So far, Congressional leaders have been opposed.

"(FinCEN’s) guidance is dangerously misleading," wrote U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., in a letter of reprimand to the agency. "Indeed, following the guidance may expose financial institutions to civil or criminal liability."

Still, some U.S. representatives from Colorado and other states have introduced legislation to federally legalize state-approved marijuana, or at least legalize the industry’s access to banking. But those bills have not advanced, and state-approved marijuana businesses operate solely as a matter of federal discretion.

That could change at any time.

The Coloradoan brings you this report in partnership with Rocky Mountain PBS I-News. Learn more at rmpbs.org/news. Contact Katie Kuntz at katiekuntz@rmpbs.org

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Lawmakers will try heroin bill again

Posted on December 13, 2014. Filed under: Drug War, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , |


Posted: Friday, December 12, 2014 11:14 pm

By RONNIE ELLIS CNHI News Service

 

FRANKFORT – No Kentucky lawmaker opposes better methods to combat a rising tide of heroin addiction, but the specifics of how to do it — and politics — get complicated.

Nevertheless, key lawmakers — including new Senate budget chairman and candidate for lieutenant governor Chris McDaniel and House Judiciary Chair John Tilley — think a bill can pass the 2015 General Assembly.

McDaniel has pre-filed a bill to strengthen penalties for heroin offenses; offer a “good Samaritan” provision allowing people to report overdoses or warn law enforcement about the presence of needles without penalty; and fund treatment.

He’s optimistic it will pass because it deletes provisions that previously proved “poison pills” for one or other chamber, including a provision in an earlier bill to create a presumption of responsibility for an overdose death by the seller of the drug. That might have allowed the seller to be sentenced to death.

That was part of the problem for a bill sponsored in 2014 by then Senate Pro Tem Katie Kratz Stine, R-Southgate. Republicans charged House Democrats didn’t want to pass the bill simply because it was authored by Stine — and authorship does sometimes entangle a bill in political rivalries.

But some House Democrats had genuine constitutional concerns about the death presumption, said Tilley, who also wants to pass a heroin bill in 2015.

Some Democrats last year also wanted a clean needle exchange provision, something the Senate Republicans found equally as objectionable as House Democrats did the death penalty presumption. There were probably other political factors at play in the demise of Stine’s bill that Tilley and McDaniel hope to avoid this time.

Leaders in one chamber frequently hold up votes on bills dear to the majority in the other, hoping to trade a vote on it in their chamber for one on a bill they want that is stalled in the other. House Democrats wanted the Senate last year pass a bill by retiring Democratic legislator Jesse Crenshaw that would automatically restore voting rights for felons convicted of non-violent and non-sexual crimes.

Neither bill passed the opposing chamber although there were negotiations on both down to the final minutes of the session. Tilley wants an early vote on a heroin measure in 2015 to avoid repeating that scenario. He and McDaniel are hopeful this time will be different.

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On “Legalization”: When the U.N. comes a marching along, we will all be singing a brand new song…

Posted on December 13, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS |


Administrator:

I wrote this early in Jan of this year….

Originally posted on Living in Kentucky and poor as dirt...:

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January 2, 2014

The following synopsis which I have found across the internet and put together here pretty much sums up the value of our “legalization” initiatives, whether they be “anti-prohibition”, tax and regulate, Repeal, ‘…”my God given right!”, or “Damn, we are all a bunch of fools to think that prohibition has ended…”.

With the passage of the new recreational and medical cannabis use laws in Colorado and Washington alongside all of the other “medical cannabis” states, everyone is/was jumping for joy at midnight on the 31st of December 2013. Prohibition has ended they proclaim, yet still remains illegal at the Federal and U.N. levels. The U.N. has already jumped on the bandwagon prior to the new year to make sure that Uruguay’s legalization was “in violation of international law”.

The Executive Branch of our U.S. Government seems to be just sitting back and watching, never giving a clear…

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Please be aware that "Pertussis/Whooping Cough" is active in the SC KY area.

Posted on December 12, 2014. Filed under: Absolute Assinine Law, Activists Opinions, Commerce, Drug Addiction, Federal Government, LATEST NEWS, Patients, PHARMA, ShereeKrider, US Health Care, WTF! | Tags: , , , , |


 

images23(old pic, lol)

 

PUBLIC SERVICE COMMENT:

Please be aware that "Pertussis/Whooping Cough" is active in the SC KY area.

If you have symptoms of upper respiratory infection please contact your doctor right away. I have been diagnosed with this thru CDC as my Grandson has had it…I am sicker now than when I went to Dr for URI on 4th….The RX I was given at the time does not attack this Virus!!!!!!!!!!!!    Do not take this lightly! I probably won’t be online as much for a few days or so – smk

 

UPDATE: THIS IS HOW AND WHY "PANDEMICS" GET STARTED: I called my DR as the RN from BCH told me to. Requested meds be sent to Pharmacy. Few hours later they call me back and tell me that they cant diagnose Pertussis— that I have to go Urgent Care to be tested to confirm —- at THAT time my dr. can send in antibiotics….Problem with this is: #1 I offered the RN’s info that contacted me from CDC to my Doctors RN who refused to take it. #2 Its already been confirmed that my grandson has it. That is why CDC called ME! #3 I had ALREADY been to MY DR and was under their care for URI- which I would think would confirm that I’m sick (?) #4 If I have to go out into a public place to "verify" this diagnosis then HOW MANY OTHER FUCKING PEOPLE WILL BE EXPOSED????? When I pointed this out, the RN from MY Doctors office just said — well, we cant diagnose it but we will treat it but you have to be a confirmed case??? RN from CDC recommended that I try not to expose anyone else until after I am not contagious…….‪#‎BarrenCountyHealthcare‬

UPDATE:  Apparently, Doctors are so wrapped up by DEA “suggestions” for dispensing that they either CAN’T or WON’T prescribe any narcotic medicines hardly at all anymore….Unless you have Cancer of course.

I did what my Doctor told me to do….I went to TJ Urgent Care and was tested for the Pertussis.  They prescribed  Erythromycin after doing a swab test which won’t be back for 3-5 days. However, since “urgent care” means that they will not prescribe any narcotic, meaning no cough medicine (for Whooping Cough), I went over to my regular Doctors office after being seen by urgent care for testing per their request.  I showed them the paperwork from the visit and the Erythromycin RX and asked if the Doctor would call me in or give me RX for some cough medicine.  I was told I would have to be seen by the Doctor before he would prescribe and the wait was about 2 hours in a room full of people —– Really?  They want me to sit there in misery and possibly cause a lot more people the same misery?  I declined, citing why I could not sit there for that long and left.  I went to the parking lot, called the Doctors office back and talked to the RN and explained what had happened and sure enough she tells me “the Doctor won’t prescribe cough medicine for whooping cough”………….. WTF?  So even if I HAD sit there for two hours and infected others, I STILL would have no relief.

What is it made for if not for use with such an illness?  It is idiotic to me that these Doctors are under so much duress that they cannot even effectively treat their own patients.

I currently have NOTHING in my medical records to prevent them from prescribing for me.  Therefore there is no logical reason why they would not.  That being said even if I HAD a record of not passing a drug test, I would still consider this to be an insane gesture given the fact that I have been confirmed as being sick. 

Apparently they are TRYING to start an epidemic because according to the Nurse at Urgent Care there had been a rash of these cases and they do not even have access to enough Vaccine to dispense it.  They had NONE available there.  (Not that I really wanted it anyway – but I would have took it because this is something that can affect everyone around me)…

So I ask you this, WTF have they done to our medical system in this country?  As a child I was sickly with low immune and the Doctor always treated me well, never let me suffer and I never became addicted to anything.   As an adult I was pushed into pain clinics which mandated my use of “hard narcotics” vs. Tylenol 3 I requested, and then I was addicted for a few years before I came off of it on my own.

Since that time I take pride in the fact that I have not misused any narcotic.  That does not mean that I do not NEED it for an illness when I become sick.

Whoever is in charge of writing these “statutes”, “suggestions”, or whatever you want to call them need to take a step back and look at what they are doing to decent people who need decent healthcare…

Changing the prescribing “recommendations” for narcotics is only hurting the people who really need them (at times) and forcing the addicts into the street to even harder illicit drugs – the favorite down here has become heroin….Go figure.

I have tried to research and find specific statutes on dispensing pain medication (or other narcotics) to patients.  Apparently there is not a steadfast rule of law concerning this.  The DEA/FDA and whoever else has their hands in this rely on these suggestions for practice and then raid the Doctors office at will to see how many narcotics they have dispensed.  I worked on this with a RN online who helped me search it out and neither of us could ever find specific statutes on prescribing….and HER Husband is an M.D. 

So there you go,

I would rather go to a Veterinarian’s office for my care than a Medical Doctor anymore…They are much more compassionate.

That’s it – that’s that – – I’ve had my say….What is your opinion?

Smk.

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Let’s talk about DOJ enforcement of marijuana laws…(on Tribal Lands)

Posted on December 12, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


In reference to the last post regarding the enforcement of marijuana laws on tribal lands:

Justice Department on Thursday will tell U.S. attorneys to not prevent tribes from growing or selling marijuana on the sovereign lands

Today, via this link, the Department of Justice, as reported by the LA Times has/will produce a “Memorandum” concerning the enforcement of marijuana laws on Tribal Lands which seems to say that they will not bother prosecuting Federal laws on marijuana anymore.

The Justice Department will generally not try to enforce federal marijuana laws on Native American reservations.

“The new guidance, released in a memorandum, will be implemented on a case-by-case basis and tribes must still follow federal guidelines, said Timothy Purdon, the U.S. attorney for North Dakota and the chairman of the Attorney General’s Subcommittee on Native American Issues.”

The policy comes on the heels of the 2013 Justice Department decision to stop most federal marijuana prosecutions in states that have legalized the possession or sale of pot.

I would caution everyone to be very slow to rush in and shout a victory has been won.

The Federal Government has a way of making you think you have won freedoms which in effect you have not as the regulations surrounding that freedom end up making you into a criminal over and over again. Kind of like the CBD bill in Kentucky which it turns out you can buy CBD (with no THC) online all day long and it is legal without a prescription!  So why did we fight for the CBD bill?  So that the Physicians, Pharmas, and other corporate and government entities can make money on the bandwagon to “legalize” on the backs of all of us.

This MEMORANDUM which personally I have not seen published yet, should be studied closely as to what it actually MEANS, not just what it seems to say.

First of all a memorandum from the Department of Justice does not mean they have REPEALED the statutes in existence at the federal level regarding marijuana.  They can and likely will continue to interfere with marijuana production and sales.

This has been proven over and over again in all “legalized” or “medical” states that the Feds can and do still come in to support the “regulating” of the marijuana statutes.

As well, the U.N. has NOT at this point “repealed” any treaty regarding the use of marijuana in any form.  They have “talked about” changing the way that the “drug problem” is handled.  That being said, marijuana is still illegal. See these links:

U.S. states’ pot legalization not in line with international law: U.N. agency

More Police or More Doctors? How to Best Tackle Illicit Drugs: November 6, 2014

So while the Reservations get ready for their “grand openings” at the cannabis casino that they have most likely already planned for, I hope that they realize that once again they may be giving away their sovereign rights via pending “legalization”…

It’s all in the semantics…

Read between the lines first…

smk

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Justice Department on Thursday will tell U.S. attorneys to not prevent tribes from growing or selling marijuana on the sovereign lands

Posted on December 12, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , , , , , |


U.S. won’t stop Native Americans from growing, selling pot on their lands

By Timothy M. Phelps contact the reporter

The Justice Department will generally not try to enforce federal marijuana laws on Native American reservation

Opening the door for what could be a lucrative and controversial new industry on some Native American reservations, the Justice Department on Thursday will tell U.S. attorneys to not prevent tribes from growing or selling marijuana on the sovereign lands, even in states that ban the practice.

The new guidance, released in a memorandum, will be implemented on a case-by-case basis and tribes must still follow federal guidelines, said Timothy Purdon, the U.S. attorney for North Dakota and the chairman of the Attorney General’s Subcommittee on Native American Issues.

It once again sends a message that we really don’t care about federal drug laws. – Kevin A. Sabet, an opponent of marijuana legalization and former advisor on drug issues to President Obama

It remains to be seen how many reservations will take advantage of the policy. Many tribes are opposed to legalizing pot on their lands, and federal officials will continue to enforce the law in those areas, if requested.

Southern California is home to nearly 30 federal- and state-recognized Indian tribes, with a total population of nearly 200,000, according to state estimates. The largest tribes operate profitable casinos and outlet malls, including those by the Morongo, Cabazon, San Manuel and Pechanga tribes.

Representatives of several of the largest tribes could not be reached for comment.

The policy comes on the heels of the 2013 Justice Department decision to stop most federal marijuana prosecutions in states that have legalized the possession or sale of pot. Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia have all moved to legalize the drug, though the D.C. law may be scaled back by Congress.

Related story: Shunned by banks, legitimate pot shops must deal in risky cash

 

Some tribes see marijuana sales as a potential source of revenue, similar to cigarette sales and casino gambling, which have brought a financial boon to reservations across the country. Others, including the Yakama Reservation in Washington state, remain strongly opposed to the sale or use of marijuana on their lands.

Purdon said in an interview that the majority of Native American tribes, mindful of the painful legacy of alcohol abuse in their communities, appear to be against allowing marijuana use on their territory.

The federal government will continue to legally support those tribes that wish to ban marijuana, even in states that now permit its sale, Purdon said.

But the Justice Department will generally not attempt to enforce federal marijuana laws on federally recognized tribes that choose to allow it, as long as they meet eight federal guidelines, including that marijuana not be sold to minors and not be transported to areas that prohibit it.

"The tribes have the sovereign right to set the code on their reservations," Purdon said.

John Walsh, the U.S. attorney for Colorado, said a primary purpose of the memorandum to be released Thursday is to assure U.S. attorney offices and tribes that despite the changes in Justice Department policy announced last year, federal prosecutors still have the authority to prosecute marijuana felonies on tribal lands.

 

In many cases, federal prosecutors are the only ones permitted by law to prosecute marijuana felonies on tribal lands.

Walsh said that the new memorandum, like the one issued for states last year, emphasizes that states or reservations must have "robust and effective regulatory systems in place" and that federal prosecutors reserve the right to take broader enforcement actions.

The policy is likely to be criticized in states opposed to marijuana sales, particularly those with Native American reservations.

Kevin A. Sabet, an opponent of marijuana legalization and former advisor on drug issues to President Obama, called the policy an "extremely troubling development."

"It once again sends a message that we really don’t care about federal drug laws," he said.

Sabet, director of the Drug Policy Institute at the University of Florida, said, "Native Americans and their families suffer disproportionately from addiction compared to other groups. The last thing they want is another commercialized industry that targets them for greater use."

tim.phelps@latimes.com

Times staff writer Hugo Martin in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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Kentucky Residents Receive Federal Emergency Text Alert – Warns of “Civil Emergency” and Says “Prepare for Action”

Posted on December 10, 2014. Filed under: KENTUCKY, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , |


By Eric Odom

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7:37 pm December 9, 2014

We’ve known about a forced federal government “back door” into cell phone software for some time now. It’s no secret the federal government can now send alerts to your cell phone and you cannot opt out of the “service” such activity provides. But seeing it actively used brings it all to a whole new level. A frightening level, some might say. And thousands of Kentucky residents got a taste of what it’s like to get a federal emergency warning alert on their cell phones thanks to an alleged “human error” on the part of the fed.

The alert, first reported here, warns of a “civil emergency” and tells residents to “prepare for action.”

Thousands of cellphone users in Kentucky were surprised to receive an “emergency alert” from the federal government warning them to “prepare for action,” a message local authorities later blamed on “human error” during testing.

The alert, which was was sent out to people in the Corbin and London areas of Southern Kentucky earlier today, came from the Emergency Operations Center in Frankfort via the Federal Communication Commission’s Wireless Emergency Alert system.

The messages are designed to warn local residents of immediate safety threats in their area, but some have criticized the “government alerts” as being invasive.

Frankfort Emergency Operations spokesman Buddy Rogers said that the alert was mistakenly sent out “during testing” and was the result of “a computer error, followed by a human error.”

Back in 2011, the FCC began to roll out emergency government alerts to cellphone users in major cities before the program was made mandatory on all new smartphones. Although a user can opt out of some of the alerts, presidential messages direct from the White House cannot be turned off.

Thoughts on this? If the government is testing such a message, surely they anticipate a scenario where it would need to be used in a realistic scenario, right?

CONTINUE READING…

Kentucky Residents Complain of Low Flying Military Choppers During Government ‘Alert’

Locals flood Sheriff’s Department with complaints after "prepare for action" warning sent to cellphones

Kentucky Residents Complain of Low Flying Military Choppers During Government 'Alert'

by Paul Joseph Watson | December 10, 2014

 


Kentucky residents flooded the Laurel Co. Sheriff Department’s Facebook page with complaints about low flying military helicopters which coincided with a government “emergency alert” sent to thousands of people’s cellphones yesterday.

As we reported, the FCC emergency alert which warned residents in the Corbin and London areas of Southern Kentucky to “prepare for action,” was sent as a result of “human error,” according to Frankfort Emergency Operations spokesman Buddy Rogers.

However, over a hundred respondents flooded the comments of a Sheriff Department’s Facebook post, many of whom reported seeing military helicopters performing low-flying maneuvers immediately after the alert was sent out.

Residents also contacted Infowars, with one writing, “I’m a London Kentucky resident who received this horrible message today along with all of my friends and family. The most un-nerving part of it all was all of the Black Hawk Helicopters in our skies at the same time… This was NO ACCIDENT!!!”

The reader went on to state that locals watched the helicopters “take off from our tiny airport out of nowhere”.

Another reader sent us a picture of four military helicopters which he snapped near his home during the alert.

Comments made by residents on the Facebook page attested to how frightened people were by both the alarming nature of the alert message and the sound of low flying military choppers rattling their roofs.

“What was the deal with the low flying Chinook that rattled my roof shortly before the test msg,” asked Casey Woods.

“6 black helicopters above our house this morning shook the whole house!! Then this..scary!” stated Leila Hughes.

“Black hawks everywhere…something isn’t right.. or is it just a parade?” questioned Kyndra Mink.

“If it was just a test then how come 6 army helicopters was flying in formation over Clay Co just moments after the text was sent out?” asked Angie Gibson.

The fact that the helicopters left London airport immediately after the alert message was sent out led some to fear that a terrorist attack or other major event had taken place, while others expressed the view that the whole sequence of events was a test run for martial law.

“I don’t care what they say, that wasn’t a test, it was a warning….there’s a few other comments from people that know what I’m talking about,” stated Vince Bowling.

“Maybe they just want us to think it’s a test,” said Angel Norton.

Another theory making the rounds was that the initial text message was sent out to the wrong group and that it was initially only meant for government employees and emergency responders.

As we previously highlighted, similar emergency alert messages have also prompted confusion and panic, including in New Jersey after Verizon customers received text messages warning them that a “civil emergency” was in progress and to “take shelter,” prompting alarmed citizens to flood 911 lines with anxious calls.

Back in October, television viewers in numerous states were interrupted by an alert directly from the White House which warned them to stand by for an emergency message and not to use their phones.

Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/paul.j.watson.71
FOLLOW Paul Joseph Watson @ https://twitter.com/PrisonPlanet

*********************

Paul Joseph Watson is the editor at large of Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com.

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Feds Propose Taxing Marijuana, True Cash Crop

Posted on December 10, 2014. Filed under: Commerce, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , |


With all the upheaval in Washington, it isn’t likely that federal proposals to tax marijuana will pass anytime soon. Yet as Professor Paul Caron catalogs, economists are looking anew at the proposed Marijuana Tax Equity Act (H.R. 501). It would end the federal prohibition on marijuana and allow it to be taxed. Growers, sellers and users would not to fear violating federal law. But dealing with taxes would be another story.

The bill would impose an excise tax of 50% on cannabis sales and an annual occupational tax on workers in the growing field of legal marijuana. Is that a good trade-off? Federal Proposals to Tax Marijuana: An Economic Analysis by Jane G. Gravelle & Sean Lowry focuses on potential federal marijuana taxes. The authors present justifications for taxes and they estimate levels of tax. They consider possible marijuana tax designs, as well as tax administration and enforcement issues such as labeling and tracking.

Of course, statistics can be deceptive. When Colorado legalized recreational use, it trumpeted the tax revenue it knew would be piling in. There’s a 2.9% sales tax and a 10% marijuana sales tax. Plus, there is a 15% excise tax on the average market rate of retail marijuana. If you add them up, it’s 27.9%.

1

But it turned out that the $33.5 million Colorado projected to collect in the first six months of 2014 was a little too optimistic. When the smoke cleared, Colorado was missing $21.5 million in pot taxes! One explanation is that all those taxes meant many smokers still buy on the black market. Getting numbers on that can be tough.

The Marijuana Policy Group has suggested that perhaps only 60% of purchases in Colorado are made through legal channels. One reason is price, since legal marijuana is more expensive. And the taxes are still being contested. So far, the Colorado tax on marijuana has been upheld despite claims that paying it amounts to self-incrimination violating the Fifth Amendment.

Plaintiffs wanted the taxes on recreational pot outlawed, reasoning that they require businesses and consumers to implicate themselves in federal crimes. The plaintiffs lost on getting an injunction, but challenges to the taxes continue. The 2.9% medical marijuana tax compared with 27% on the recreational variety is a big spread.

Some patients could be reselling their 2.9% medical stock to the public. A medical marijuana card costs $15. About 23% of the estimated marijuana users in Colorado have medical cards, according to the Marijuana Policy Group.

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Federal Spending Bill Blocks Funding For Medical Marijuana Raids, Legalization In D.C.

Posted on December 10, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


The proposed congressional budget released Tuesday night prevents the Department of Justice from using funds to undermine state laws regarding medical marijuana.

posted on Dec. 9, 2014, at 9:20 p.m.

Michelle Broder Van Dyke BuzzFeed News Reporter

 

The House budget passed Tuesday night prevents the Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration from using funds to interfere with state laws that legalize medical marijuana.

The amendment was introduced by California Reps. Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican, and Sam Farr, a Democrat, and was approved by the House of Representatives in May. It implies that DEA raids on medical marijuana patients in states where it is legal will stop.

The budget Senate proposal — which must still go back to the House for a full vote before it lands on President Obama’s desk — would keep all but the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) operating normally through the end of the fiscal year in 2015.

The compromise bill was approved with Republicans agreeing to put off a fight with Obama over his immigration policies until February, when funding for the DHS is slated to run out, the Associated Press reported.

The bill’s Section 538, which addresses medical marijuana, reads:

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.

The bill also includes a section that protects industrial hemp cultivation.

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.

AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

Marijuana advocates were pleased with the bill.

Tom Angell, founder of Marijuana Majority, said in statement to BuzzFeed News: “Congressional leaders seem to have finally gotten the message that a supermajority of Americans wants states to be able to implement sensible marijuana reforms without federal interference.”

Angell also urged the Obama administration to use this opportunity to “reschedule marijuana immediately.” Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I drug, meaning it’s a dangerous narcotic with no accepted medical use. Heroin and LSD are also classified Schedule I, while cocaine and methamphetamine are Schedule II, a lower ranking.

Advocates say reclassifying the drug would allow for state and federal laws to be in sync, and conserve law enforcement resources. It would also ease access to research of the drug and tension between banks and marijuana retailers.

Erik Altieri, communication director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, also released a statement that said: “By restricting these agencies in this manner, the nearly two dozen states that implemented medical marijuana programs can hopefully breathe easier knowing federal money won’t be spent to interfere with their progress. We hope this leads to further reforms at the federal level further enshrining this sentiment into law.”

The bill also effectively blocks the legalization of recreational marijuana use in Washington, D.C., but preserves its decriminalization law.

Voters in Washington, D.C., overwhelmingly passed a recreational marijuana referendum on the November ballot, which is now effectively blocked. The District passed a decriminalization bill in April that will remain intact.

The proposed bill’s appropriations section, which allocates millions in funds to the district, states:

“None of the Federal funds contained in this Act may be used to enact or carry out any law, rule, or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce penalties associated with the possession, use, or distribution of any schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 801 et seq.) or any tetrahydrocannabinols derivative.”

Unlike most states, Washington, D.C., doesn’t take in any local revenue that it can spend and receives all of its funding from the federal government, so the ban on using funds for legalization effectively blocks the referendum voters recently passed.

Earlier on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, said of the rider: “I’m opposed to what the House is trying to do.”

“If they put it in there, it’s going to be hard to take it out over here,” he added.

Marijuana advocates in Washington D.C. and those who advocate for the district’s autonomy were not pleased. D.C. Cannabis Campaign, which sponsored the ballot measure to legalize weed, tweeted the following:

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Rand Paul’s Many Leather-Bound Books

Posted on December 9, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , , |


Feast your eyes on the ‘top-grain leather,’ ‘original’ design, gilded pages. Is it the Bible? No, it’s the senator’s ‘Government Bullies’—now part of the ‘Classics of Liberty Library.’

I am holding in my hand a book, bound in black “genuine top-grain” leather. The edges of its pages are painted gold. It features on its front and back covers an intricate “original” design, embossed in gold. Its spine, too, “‘hubbed’ as the most prized European classics are,” is decorated with delicate gold squiggles and a star. The endpaper features a “pattern of marbleized paper” that has been “individually designed.” Poking out of the shiny gold pages is a “distinctive silk marker”—also gold—which “complements the color of the leather.”

You may be wondering what work of monumental consequence is contained within these gilded pages. The Bible? The Federalist Papers? Moby-Dick?

Government Bullies by Rand Paul.

According to Gryphon Editions, a publishing company owned by Rick Ritter, Paul’s 2012 lament about Big Government harming everyday people, co-written by his senior aide Doug Stafford and featuring a foreword by his father, Ron Paul, the former congressman and two-time presidential candidate, is among the greatest written works of our time.

The 262-page opus, of which three entire pages were proved to have been plagiarized from think tanks, has been featured in Gryphon Editions’ “Classics of Liberty Library” alongside 133 books from people like George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, Cicero, Adam Smith, and John Locke.

“If you are expecting any serious answers to this question, you are probably going to be disappointed.”

These classics, Gryphon Editions boasts, are “books that defined traditional American thought and are the foundations of American freedom.” The publishing company specializes in leather-bound series, on topics ranging from science to law, ancient classics, and conservatism.

“These books are designed to last generations,” the company says on its website. “Develop your understanding of the philosophical and historical basis of liberty in order to enable you to transmit the American way of life we enjoy to posterity.”

Obtaining this understanding and posterity is easy, according to the website. “Thomas Paine’s COMMON SENSE together with RIGHTS OF MAN is yours for the introductory offer price of $9.95 when you enroll as a member in the Classics of Liberty Library.”

Government Bullies delivers foundational elements of American thought through soaring prose like “As a U.S. senator, it is my job to keep an eye on what our government is up to…But what our government is doing is not ‘fine.’ It’s infuriating,” and “But there is some hope on the judicial front, and there is promise that checks and balances might finally be imposed on the EPA.”

People who are interested in Government Bullies, according to Gryphon Editions’ website, may also be interested in Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman, Socialism by Ludwig von Mises, and The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich Hayek.

The Daily Beast asked Stafford whether it struck him as odd that Government Bullies would be featured alongside works by the Founding Fathers and former United States presidents. “If you are expecting any serious answers to this question, you are probably going to be disappointed,” he said.

141125-nuzzi-rand-embedThe Daily Beast

Pressed further, Stafford said, “I don’t really have any feelings about who puts the book out or in what form. I’m just glad people have read it.” He then referenced the film Anchorman: “I personally have many leather-bound books, and my house smells of rich mahogany.”

“Obviously I have no further comment,” he added.

Gryphon Editions did not respond to a query about its inclusion of Paul’s work in the “Classics of Liberty Library.” The Kentucky senator, while not the only modern political figure in the “Library”—Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush are also in there—is the only current presidential prospect to find himself listed alongside Milton Friedman and George Washington.

That’s certainly not for lack of books to include.

In the last few years, it seems the majority of likely Republican candidates have put out books. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush co-wrote 2013’s Immigration Wars, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker released Unintimidated in 2013, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum put out American Patriots in 2012, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio published his autobiography, American Son, in 2012. (As BuzzFeed’s McKay Coppins reported in March, none of these books have generated much interest, despite large advances paid to the authors.)

On Tuesday, it was announced that in 2015 Paul would be coming out with his third book. (A year before Government Bullies, he published The Tea Party Goes to Washington.) The title was not made public, though the senator suggested to the Louisville Courier-Journal in June that it might be called Beyond Partisanship.

CONTINUE READING…

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Ky Ag looking for farmers to grow hemp

Posted on December 7, 2014. Filed under: Industrial HEMP, KENTUCKY, KENTUCKY WEED, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , |


Last updated: December 04. 2014 11:07AM – 1102 Views

By Chris Cooperccooper@newsdemocratleader.com

 

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications from the state’s farmers who would like to participate in an industrial hemp pilot project the beginning of next year.

The application deadline is Jan. 1. Logan County farmers can find and fill out an application at http://www.kyagr.com/hemp.

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer announced earlier in the year that he is creating industrial hemp pilot projects in Kentucky. The pilot projects were made possible by the passage of the United States Farm Bill that was signed into law by the President on Feb. 7.

Commissioner Comer and Attorney General Jack Conway have been in direct communication for a couple of months regarding hemp production in Kentucky, and senior staff in both of their offices are reviewing language for pilot programs that ensure compliance with the parameters outlined in the federal farm bill.

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture Industrial Hemp Program is the result of the passage of two separate laws: Kentucky’s Senate Bill 50, passed by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2013, and the 2014 Federal Farm Bill signed into law Feb. 7, 2014. Senate Bill 50 exempted industrial hemp from the state controlled substances act but also mandated that Kentucky follow all federal rules and regulations with respect to industrial hemp. The Federal Farm Bill allows state departments of agriculture, in states where industrial hemp is legal, to administer industrial hemp pilot programs in conjunction with universities for the purposes of research and development.

Industrial hemp is a variety of Cannabis sativa and is of the same plant species as marijuana. However, hemp is genetically different and distinguished by its use and chemical makeup. Industrial hemp refers to cannabis varieties that are primarily grown as an agricultural crop. Hemp plants are low in THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, marijuana’s primary psychoactive chemical). THC levels for hemp generally are less than 1 percent. Federal legislation that would exclude hemp from the legal definition of marijuana would set a ceiling of 0.3 percent THC for a cannabis variety to be identified as hemp. Marijuana refers to the flowering tops and leaves of psychoactive cannabis varieties, which are grown for their high content of THC. THC levels for marijuana average about 10 percent but can go much higher.

Some estimate that the global market for hemp consists of more than 25,000 products, including: fabrics and textiles, yarns and raw or processed spun fibers, paper, carpeting, home furnishings, construction and insulation materials, auto parts, composites, animal bedding, foods and beverages, body care products, nutritional supplements, industrial oils, cosmetics, personal care and pharmaceuticals.

An estimated 55,700 metric tons of industrial hemp are produced around the world each year. China, Russia, and South Korea are the leading hemp-producing nations. They account for 70 percent of the world’s industrial hemp supply.

Canada had 38,828 licensed acres of industrial hemp in 2011. Canadian exports of hemp seed and hemp products were estimated at more than $10 million, with most going to the U.S.

Because there is no commercial industrial hemp production in the United States, the U.S. market is largely dependent on imports, both as finished hemp-containing products and as ingredients for use in further processing. More than 30 nations grow industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity. The United States is the only industrialized nation that does not allow industrial hemp production. Current industry estimates report that U.S. retail sales of all hemp-based products may exceed $300 million per year.

To contact Chris Cooper, email ccooper@newsdemocratleader.comm or call 270-726-8394.

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The marijuana industry is following the trail blazed by Big Tobacco

Posted on December 6, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , |


By Samuel T. Wilkinson December 5 at 8:09 PM

Samuel Wilkinson is a resident physician at the Yale School of Medicine.

Last month, people voted to legalize recreational use of marijuana in Oregon, Alaska and the District. As the movement toward marijuana legalization continues, lawmakers and policy experts are looking to the experiments in Colorado and Washington for guidance. We should not overlook, however, valuable lessons from our experience with another legal drug: tobacco.

In the late 19th century, the landscape of tobacco consumption was very different than it is today. Tobacco use was much less prevalent, and cigarettes accounted for a tiny portion of consumption. Yet by the mid-20th century almost half of U.S. adults smoked, with major consequences for public health. Despite important health policy achievements since, cigarette smoking remains a major contributor to the top causes of death in the United States, including cardiovascular and lung diseases, as well as cancer.

This drastic rise in the prevalence of smoking can be attributed to a number of successful business strategies. Hand-rolling of cigarettes, a technique that limited production potential, was supplanted by machine manufacturing. Changes in the chemical composition and curing process of cigarettes made them more flavorful as well as more addictive. Aggressive marketing techniques sought to build a larger consumer base. Advertisements often featured doctors in an effort to quell public fear over smoking-related health concerns; other campaigns targeted children or adolescents, who represented potential lifetime customers. Finally, the industry created powerful lobbying groups to protect their profits from regulations aimed at curbing consumption.

Alarmingly, marijuana businesses are now mimicking many of Big Tobacco’s successful strategies. New methods of consuming marijuana (such as vaporization) are said to represent a healthier way to get high — though little research supports this claim — encouraging individuals to consume more marijuana in one sitting. The percentage of tetrahydrocannabinol (the euphoria-inducing compound associated with many adverse health effects) in marijuana is much higher than it was a few decades ago. Just as tobacco companies featured doctors in advertisement campaigns, marijuana advocates have appealed to medical authority by successfully lobbying in many places for the approval of “medical marijuana” for a plethora of conditions, even when little or no scientific evidence supports its use. While it is laudable that Colorado has placed restrictions on marijuana advertising, it is also disturbing that the marijuana industry quickly mounted powerful legal efforts to challenge these restrictions in court.

The formula for success in profiting from a legal drug is simple and has been clearly outlined by Big Tobacco: Identify a product with addictive potential, aggressively market it to as large an audience as possible, develop technical innovations to allow for and promote increased consumption, and deny or minimize potential costs to human health. The marijuana industry is poised to copy this formula, with dire consequences.

Important lessons can also be drawn from the Netherlands , where marijuana has been decriminalized since 1976. Following decriminalization, the Dutch government strictly enforced guidelines prohibiting advertising and transactions above a certain quantity (to discourage mass production and distribution). For about a decade, marijuana consumption rates remained stable. However, in the mid-1980s, waning enforcement of these guidelines coincided with a drastic increase in both the commercialization of marijuana and rates of consumption. The overriding lesson from the Netherlands is that it was commercialization, not decriminalization itself, that led to sharp increases in use.

If we are intent on legalizing marijuana for recreational use, lessons from the tobacco industry and the Dutch marijuana experiment suggest that we do so in a way that does not pit corporate incentives against the interests of public health. Similar to efforts in Uruguay, production and distribution should be done solely by the government so as to ensure that there is no corporate incentive to entice more people to consume marijuana in larger quantities. Advertisements in all media venues should be banned, or as stringently regulated as allowed by law.

While the health effects of marijuana are generally not as severe as those of cigarette smoking, the consequences — including addiction, psychosis and impaired cognitive abilities — are nonetheless real. Notably, these effects are most pronounced in children and adolescents. Claims that marijuana legalization will make it easier to prevent use by minors are not backed by scientific or historical evidence. The most prevalent drugs consumed by teenagers are those that are legal: alcohol and tobacco. This should give us pause to consider the optimal way to legalize marijuana — and indeed whether other states should consider legalization at all.

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Activating cannabinoid brain receptors could replace marijuana for anxiety treatment

Posted on December 6, 2014. Filed under: Corporate Cannabis, LATEST NEWS, Mental Health | Tags: , , , , , |


Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the US, and its prevalence among adolescents and young adults has been increasing in recent years. But in a new study published in the journal Cell Reports, researchers say they may have uncovered a potential way to help some individuals stop using marijuana.

In the brain, endocannabinoids usually activate cannabinoid receptors, which are involved in regulating appetite, pain, memory and mood, among other physiological processes.

However, past studies have indicated that individuals with mood and anxiety disorders have reduced levels of endocannabinoids. Since the active ingredient in marijuana – tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – can also activate the cannabinoid receptors, many people may use the drug to relieve symptoms of such disorders.

But the research team – led by Dr. Sachin Patel, professor of psychiatry and molecular physiology and biophysics at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN – says they have found a way to replenish levels of an endocannabinoid called 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) in the brain, which may reduce the reliance on marijuana to treat mood and anxiety disorders.

Replenishing 2-AG levels reduced anxiety- and depressive-like behaviors in mice

To reach their findings, Dr. Patel and his team deleted an enzyme in adult male and female mice – called diacylglycerol lipase α (DAGLα) – that usually breaks down 2-AG, creating 2-AG-deficient mouse models.

The researchers say all mice displayed anxiety-like behaviors, while female mice displayed behaviors related to depression. "We were expecting that endocannabinoid deficiency would produce anxiety and depressive-like behaviors, but the female-specific depressive behavior took us by surprise," Dr. Patel told Medical News Today.

However, the team found that replenishing 2-AG levels in the brains of the mice appeared to reverse anxiety- and depressive-like behaviors. The researchers say their findings indicate that "normalizing 2-AG deficiency could represent a viable […] therapeutic strategy for the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders."

What is more, Dr. Patel told MNT that, although the technique has not yet been tested in humans, it has the potential to wean some heavy marijuana users off the drug:

"It is very possible that a subset of heavy marijuana users are actually self-medicating symptoms of anxiety or mood disorders.

We think that manipulating the naturally produced cannabinoids, like 2-AG, is likely to have the same anxiety-reducing, mood-elevating capacity without producing as many side effects as synthetic cannabinoids, like marijuana. This approach, then, would eliminate the drive to self-medicate with marijuana."

Next, Dr. Patel said the team wants to find out exactly how 2-AG deficiency impacts the brain’s ability to regulate mood and anxiety. This, he says, would improve efficiency when the endocannabinoid-replenishing technique reaches clinical testing.

Last month, MNT reported on a study by researchers from the University of California-San Francisco, which suggested that exposure to secondhand marijuana smoke could be just as harmful to health as exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke.

Written by Honor Whiteman

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Prohibition Repeal Is A Good Model For Marijuana Legalization

Posted on December 6, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , , , |


Marijuana plants for sale are displayed at the medical marijuana farmers market at the California Heritage Market in Los Angeles, California July 11, 2014.  REUTERS/David McNew

Today is the 81st anniversary of the repeal of federal alcohol prohibition.

The 21st Amendment ended the failed experiment of Prohibition and delegated the issue of alcohol legalization and regulation solely to the states.

The 21st Amendment was neither “for” nor “against” alcohol. It was simply an acknowledgment that federal prohibition was an obvious failure and a nod towards state’s and individual rights. No state was required to legalize alcohol. It was their choice.

The repeal of prohibition has been a tremendous success. This country has the best regulated beverage alcohol industry in the world while still being the world’s most dynamic. Just ask any beer drinker!

Fast forward to the present. Republicans made huge gains in last month’s elections, decisively winning control of the Senate, increasing their dominance in the House to a level not seen since the 40’s, controlling 33 governorships and more state legislators than any time since the 1920s. They now have the opportunity to cement and expand these gains and to create a permanent majority.

How? By leading the charge to end the federal prohibition of marijuana. You don’t have to be “pro-cannabis” to be against prohibition.

Like it or not, illicit marijuana is available in every corner of this country. Any teenager can get it with little effort. Most say it’s far easier to get than beer.

Criminal gangs across the country rake in tens of billions of dollars each year selling marijuana. Milton Friedman once said, “See, if you look at the drug war from a purely economic point of view, the role of the government is to protect the drug cartel. That’s literally true.”

In 2012, 750,000 people were arrested for mere possession. That’s about one arrest every 48 seconds! And a disproportionate number of the people arrested on marijuana-related charges are minorities.

The federal prohibition of marijuana has been as profound a failure as the attempted federal prohibition against alcohol. The solution is the same. Let the states decide and regulate as they see fit.

Here in Colorado, the legalization of marijuana has been a resounding success. Teen use is down. Auto fatalities are at near historic lows. Crime is down across the board. Tax revenue is flowing in.

If Republicans want to expand their base, they need to show they truly believe in a liberty-based agenda. Reach out to groups that historically have not been favorable to the Republican brand and prove through action that they have much more in common than they might think. Individual freedom is a winning message for people of all colors and all walks of life.

Republicans in Congress should pass legislation within their first 60 days in office repealing federal prohibition and placing the issue with the individual states and their citizens.

A statement such as, “I’m personally against it but believe in the wisdom of the people” can be a get-out-of-jail-free card for all who fear being branded pro-marijuana. The issue isn’t for or against marijuana but rather whether a legal, state regulated market is preferable to a prohibition market. Alcohol or marijuana, the answer to this is clear.

The alternative is Republicans turning off another generation of voters who think of them as the party that speaks of individual freedom but whose actions suggest they want to control other people’s lives. These folks have seen the failure of big government and most big institutions. Their loyalty can be obtained, but the party has to walk the walk.

Tags: 21st Amendment, John Conlin, Marijuana, Prohibition

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‘PREPARE FOR PROHIBITION’

Posted on December 3, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, PROHIBITION | Tags: , , , , , , , , |


OP-ED: Restore Prohibition, 2016, Source: http://www.herbmuseum.ca/files/images/39244/prohibition-Sept-09-1917.jpg

 

The new law, passed by the overwhelming demand of the American people, broke new ground in drug policy. Finally forcing the federal government to regulate a drug which had been a part of American society since the Colonial days, the new policy provided an innovative compromise: adult Americans were permitted to possess the drug for medical purposes in the privacy of their own homes, but it was a crime to sell the drug or to manufacture it for sale.

The law was in fact very similar to Initiative 71, which voters in Washington, D.C. passed by an overwhelming majority in the 2014 elections and news outlets were quick to label a victory for cannabis legalization. It also contains definite shades of a California-style medical marijuana bill, in which possession of the herb technically remains a crime but patients with a valid medical recommendation have been exempted from penalties.

But history calls this law by a very different name: Prohibition.

It is a mind-boggling measure of just how far this nation has gone down the path of drug policy insanity that the 1919 Volstead Act, which criminalized the sale of alcohol in every state of the US and which history calls “Prohibition,” had essentially the same rules for alcohol that D.C.’s “legalization” initiative lays out for cannabis nearly a century later.

The Volstead Act, contrary to popular belief, didn’t really criminalize adult possession of alcohol for personal consumption; although the practice was nominally prohibited, the text of the law contained so many loopholes that practically any adult could legally possess and consume booze. The two largest loopholes during alcohol prohibition should in fact sound very familiar to any cannabis activist today: both “medical” and sacramental use were excepted.

Thus, in the unlikely event that an adult couldn’t find a physician willing to prescribe him medical whiskey, he could always simply “convert” to Catholicism and keep his altar stocked for his weekly communion with holy spirits.

Sure, it’s far from a perfect policy, as practically everyone knows; but what the Volstead Act did for alcohol during the Prohibition era would be hailed as a landmark reform victory if applied to cannabis today. It would even address some legitimate concerns; with the highly-visible presence of some unscrupulous profiteers preying on vulnerable parents curious about medical cannabis, a ban on for-profit sales similar to provisions in the Volstead Act might be a rational — if overly blunt — policy tool.

Here, too, the path forward can be found through history, as over time Americans realized that legalizing and regulating alcohol sales (including restrictions on advertising to minors) were more effective strategies than criminal bans. Indeed, D.C.’s innovative “non-commercialized” cannabis legalization policy continues the nation’s history of evolving drug policy; with time and experience in the laboratories of states, Americans may deem the model superior to commercialized options. Only time will tell.

Prohibition gets a bad rap these days, but it was a whole lot better than the drug war is today. It’s time the federal government chose the lesser evil.

Restore Prohibition, 2016.

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Brianna Pendergrass Medical Marijuana Presentation

Posted on December 3, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS |


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Fired Professor Nominated For $2M Grant To Study Marijuana, PTSD -

Posted on December 3, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Medical Marijuana | Tags: , , , |


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Colorado is welcoming once-shunned marijuana researcher Dr. Sue Sisley, who in a controversial move was fired from her former position at the University of Arizona.

Dr. Sisley, who was sacked in July, has been nominated for a $2 million grant from the state of Colorado to continue her medical research, reports Nina Golgowski at the New York Daily News.

The research pioneer expressed suspicion that her abrupt termination was due to political influence. Up until now, Dr. Sisley had feared that her study of the effects of cannabis on post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, would be halted without a lab.

With the proposed generous grant — awaiting a board’s December 17 decision — Sisley’s study into the potential benefits of cannabis, especially, to U.S. veterans, could continue.

"That’s the beauty of this grant," Sisley told AZ Central. "The Colorado Health Department believed in the quality of this research regardless of whether I was aligned with an Arizona university or not."

Sisley’s study plans to examine 76 veterans with PTSD, half of whom will be in Arizona — where a private donor has offered her free lab space — while the other half will be at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

The primary investigator overseeing both locations will be Marcel O. Bonn-Miller of the University of Pennsylvania and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs National Center for PTSD.

Dr. Sisley’s grant is one of eight, totaling $7.6 million, announced by Colorado’s Medical Marijuana Scientific Advisory Council this week.

The other studies would examine the effectiveness of cannabis in treating Parkinson’s disease tremors, inflammatory bowel disease, complex pediatric epilepsy, palliative are for pediatric brain tumors, and chronic pain.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s health board will make the final decision for Dr. Sisley’s grant’s approval on December 17.

"Colorado is leading the way in devoting significant resources to study medical marijuana," said Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director and chief medical officer at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. "We hope the studies will contribute to the scientific research available about the use of marijuana in effectively treating various medical conditions."

Sisley first teamed up with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) five years ago on a study of marijuana’s effectiveness on PTSD.

Photo: Erik Verduzco/Associated Press

- See more at: http://www.hemp.org/news/node/4388#sthash.rA9QB3UO.dpuf

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Michael Brown’s Stepfather Tells Crowd, ‘Burn This Bitch Down’

Posted on November 26, 2014. Filed under: CIVIL RIGHTS, LATEST NEWS | Tags: |


After mom cries out in anguish and frustration on hearing the verdict, the ugly side of the protests rears its head.

In the wake of the St. Louis County grand jury decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, the central tragedy of the case—the death of a young man—has often gone overlooked as the violence and the unrest and the politics have taken center stage.

For a while, this video bucks the trend, as the focus is on the teen’s death and a mother’s grief as she addresses a crowd of protesters near the Ferguson police station. Soon, though, voices from off camera begin shouting for retribution, not justice, chanting “Burn this b**** down.”

Where Brown’s father had called for peaceful protest in the days leading up to the decision, his stepfather, the man in green and white who eventually steps into the frame, clearly does not. He leads the calls for violence and begins building anger in the crowd.

In the moments before Brown’s mother is led away through the chaos, we may just be witnessing this demonstration’s turn from peaceful to destructive.

Video screenshotCLICK ON LINK TO VIDEO….

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Facebook and Google are now TRYING to sabotage me!

Posted on November 26, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS |


Originally posted on The Indigo Mission:

Facebook and Google are now TRYING to sabotage me.  I can’t post comments under The Indigo Mission channel, and I can’t Share any posts on Facebook.

I AM making a true difference!  I AM spreading way too much LIGHT for their comfort!  Yeah, baby!  And I AM JUST GETTING STARTED!  WOOHOO!

But this is also a message from God that I can’t spread this message alone, and I am not meant to!  This is OUR planet, not mine, and WE have to make this happen together!  So please, SHARE this blog far and wide and help me WAKE UP as many as possible before it’s too late!  Everybody MUST READ God’s Top 7 FAQs!

*** Make This Viral!  ***

Share it everywhere so ‘they’ don’t have a chance of stopping us!

Namaste!

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All The Progress Made On Marijuana Legalization Could Vanish With A New President

Posted on November 21, 2014. Filed under: Federal Government, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , , , , , |


 

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Matt Ferner  Become a fan  Matt.Ferner@huffingtonpost.com

The movement to end marijuana prohibition has made significant progress recently, but it could all be undone when the next president takes office in 2017.

Harvard economist Jeff Miron, a vocal supporter of marijuana policy reform, highlighted the precarious nature of state marijuana laws in a Wednesday op-ed for CNN on why Congress needs to act now on federal marijuana policy.

"Despite the compelling case for legalization, and progress toward legalization at the state level, ultimate success is not assured," Miron wrote. "Federal law still prohibits marijuana, and existing jurisprudence (Gonzales v. Raich 2005) holds that federal law trumps state law when it comes to marijuana prohibition. So far, the federal government has mostly taken a hands-off approach to state medicalizations and legalizations, but in January 2017, the country will have a new president. That person could order the attorney general to enforce federal prohibition regardless of state law."

With marijuana legalization supported by a majority of Americans, and with states continuing to pass legalization laws — about a dozen more may do so by 2016 — it seems unlikely that the federal government would push back against the popular movement. But it’s not impossible.

That’s because the regulation of marijuana — as seen in programs currently in place in Colorado and Washington state, as well as those that will soon go into effect in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C. — remains illegal under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act. The states that have legalized marijuana have only been able to do so because of federal guidance urging federal prosecutors to refrain from targeting state-legal marijuana operations. That guidance could be reversed when a new administration enters the White House.

“Both Miron’s analysis and conclusion are spot on," Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) told The Huffington Post. "The federal government needs to end the failed prohibition of marijuana by rescheduling or removing it from the list of controlled substances. Too many lives are ruined and futures cut short by these outdated and wasteful policies.”

Blumenauer is just one of a number of lawmakers from both parties who have worked toward that end. About a dozen bills were introduced in 2013, several by Blumenauer himself, aimed at limiting the federal government’s ability to interfere with states’ legal marijuana programs. Last year, Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) introduced the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, which would direct the U.S. Attorney General to issue an order that removes marijuana in any form from all schedules of controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act. If passed, Polis’ measure would effectively end the federal government’s prohibition of marijuana.

And while Congress has failed to pass any of those bills, attitudes are still changing rapidly on marijuana policy. Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said he remains cautiously optimistic about marijuana legalization being here to stay, despite Congress’ tendency to move slowly on controversial social issues like this.

"It’s all political," Nadelmann told HuffPost in an email. "Of course it’s possible that the next president could decide to crack down on the states that have legalized marijuana but that prospect becomes ever less likely with every passing day."

"Diverse sectors of society are developing a stake in marijuana remaining legal," he continued. "Taxpayers and tax collectors enjoy the revenue. Cost cutters appreciate the savings from no longer arresting so many people for marijuana. Unions welcome the new legal jobs. Businessmen, including many who vote Republican, relish the actual and potential profits."

In a similar vein, Blumenauer himself has predicted that before the end of the decade, the federal government will legalize weed. Federal authorities have already allowed Colorado’s and Washington’s historic marijuana laws to take effect, and earlier this year, President Barack Obama signed the 2014 farm bill, which legalized industrial hemp production for research purposes in the states that permit it. The first hemp crops in U.S. soil in decades are already growing.

Moreover, in May, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed bipartisan measures aimed at limiting Drug Enforcement Administration crackdowns on state-legal medical marijuana shops, and at preventing the agency from interfering in states’ legal hemp programs.

Even in gridlocked Washington, the Democratic White House and the Republican-heavy Congress have been able to see eye-to-eye over how criminal justice and drug policy reform will be implemented in the next two years.

So what do some of the likely 2016 presidential candidates say about marijuana? On the Republican side, according to HuffPost’s Pollster model, the front-runners are former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Paul has been supportive of D.C.’s new recreational marijuana law, and he’s also introduced legislation aimed at protecting state-legal medical marijuana operations from federal intervention.

Huckabee, meanwhile, is opposed to both medical and recreational marijuana, and Bush came out against Florida’s recent medical marijuana bill. At the same time, Bush has made generally supportive comments about keeping the federal government out of state marijuana laws.

On the Democratic side, the current front-runners are former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.). While Clinton hasn’t offered a full-throated endorsement of marijuana legalization, she has left the door open, saying she supports medical marijuana "for people who are in extreme medical conditions." She’s also said she wants to "wait and see" how recreational pot works out in Colorado and Washington state.

Biden has called legalization a "mistake" in the past, but he’s also said that cracking down on marijuana users is a "waste of our resources." Warren has offered some support for medical marijuana legalization, but is opposed to recreational legalization.

"For 77 years, the United States has outlawed marijuana, with tragic repercussions and unintended consequences," Miron wrote Wednesday. "The public and their state governments are on track to rectify this terrible policy. Here’s hoping Congress catches up."

Read Miron’s entire editorial here.

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Another challenge to Schedule 1 – Judge Could Smash Marijuana Law

Posted on November 20, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS |


Originally posted on Patients for Medical Cannabis:

A judge in California is examining the legality of America’s marijuana laws, she may be on the verge of throwing the entire system into chaos.
From The Daily Beast Published 11.04.14

Three states, one district, and two cities will vote on various aspects of the nation’s drug laws on Tuesday but the most crucial marijuana decision being weighed in the coming days will be made by just one person. U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller could be about to start a legal revolution.

After a five-day hearing in California, she is considering the validity of the science surrounding pot’s classification as one of the most dangerous drugs in the world.

In May, she became the first judge in decades to agree to hear evidence relating to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s classification of marijuana which puts it in the same category as heroin and meth. Over the next few weeks, Mueller…

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What the Hell is Going on?

Posted on November 20, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS |


Originally posted on :

crew-2231Comment by Jim Campbell, Citizen Journalist, Oath Keeper and Patriot.

Why not spend $3.2 million to observe monkeys drinking alcohol. If Democrats didn’t spend it there, they would find another useless to

saturday-8534spend the taxpayers money on ending with dubious results.

Of course there should be no law against monkeys, known to sling crap, forbidding them from drinking Vodka.

After all, Politicians still drink and none spread crap around like our “Leaders,” in Washington.

November 19, 2014

idiotprufs:

drinking-monkeyI had yet another brilliant post about search terms planned for this weekend, but then I stumbled upon a news story that I was compelled to address.

Note: I can sense your disappointment. And it’s not the typical disappointment that comes from reading this blog. It’s not the “I’ve just wasted five minutes of my life that I will never get back, and I think I…

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Official Bob Marley Marijuana Blend On the Way

Posted on November 19, 2014. Filed under: Activists, Corporate Cannabis, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana | Tags: , , |


Marley Natural blend will hit states where weed is legal next year

Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

 

By Daniel Kreps | November 19, 2014

 

The world’s most famous reggae singer is on the verge of becoming the Marlboro Man of Marijuana: The Bob Marley estate has licensed the Legend singer’s name and likeness to create a special blend of herb dubbed Marley Natural.

Marley’s widow Rita Marley and children Cedella and Rohan have teamed up with Privateer Holdings, a private equity group specializing in the legal marijuana market, to exclusively mass-produce those "heirloom Jamaican cannabis strains" that Marley himself smoked to make the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer the face of the herb revolution. Privateer also owns Tilray, a 60,000-square-foot property on Vancouver Island, British Columbia that ranks as the world’s largest marijuana grow farm.

Family Reflections on Bob Marley and "The Herb"

Although the blend won’t hit the States where pot is legal – which now includes Alaska and Oregon – until late-2015, Marley is now positioned to become the face of a movement to legalize weed not just in America but worldwide. "Bob Marley started to push for legalization more than 50 years ago. We’re going to help him finish it," Privateer Holdings CEO Brendan Kennedy told NBC News.

"It just seems natural that Daddy should be part of this conversation," Cedella Marley, 47, the reggae legend’s first-born daughter, told NBC News in a taped statement. "As Daddy would say, ‘make way for the positive day.’" Son Rohan Marley added, "Herb is for the healing of the nation; herb is for the meditation; herb is for the higher vibrations."

Rita Marley, who was once a member of Marley’s backup singing group the I Threes, said in a statement, "You can depend on Bob, too. He’s 100 percent behind what is happening. He’s happy because this is what we dreamed of," referring to marijuana legalization. "It was unruly for them to call it weed or drugs. We saw it as a spiritual thing, given to us by God." The Marley family also shared a commercial for the Marley Natural, as well as the blend’s logo, a dread lion positioned between two pot leaves.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/official-bob-marley-marijuana-blend-on-the-way-20141119#ixzz3JXPZ7Tzk

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Ebola.com Purchased for $200K by Marijuana Company. And It Gets Stranger From There

Posted on November 18, 2014. Filed under: Corporate Cannabis, International Cannabis, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana | Tags: , , , , , , |


Garyjohnsonphoto - modified.jpg

Jacob Davidson @JakeD

Oct. 23, 2014

Earlier this month, we reported that Ebola.com’s owner, a disease-obsessed domain name vendor called Blue String Ventures, was hoping to sell the URL for at least $150,000. Now, according to a report from DomainInvesting.com, Ebola.com has been sold to a Russian company that is apparently focused on the marijuana business.

Filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission show Ebola.com was bought by Weed Growth Fund for $50,000 in cash and 19,192 shares of Cannabis Sativa, a Mesquite, Nevada-based recreational and medical marijuana company that trades on over-the-counter markets. Based on Cannabis Sativa’s current stock price, those shares are valued at roughly $164,000, making the overall transaction worth just over $200,000.

So to recap: Ebola.com was sold to a marijuana-related company based in Russia that paid mostly in the stock of another marijuana company.

But the story’s not over yet. As recently as September of this year, Weed Growth Fund was known as Ovation Research, which according to this BusinessWeek profile was in the business of distributing “stainless steel cookware products for retail and wholesale customers in North America.”

Then, on Sept. 19, the company filed with the Nevada Secretary of State changing its name to Weed Growth Fund. (We tried to contact Weed Growth Fund by phone and email to ask about the deal and name change, but got no answer.)

Why would a marijuana company want to own the URL Ebola.com? Elliot Silver, DomainInvesting.com’s publisher, asked Blue String Ventures founder Jon Schultz this very question. And while Schultz replied that he did not know why Weed Growth Fund wanted the domain, he did send Silver to this Marijuana.com article in which Cannabis Sativa CEO Gary Johnson (the former two-term New Mexico governor and Libertarian Party presidential candidate!) claims that marijuana can be used to treat Ebola. (You can see him do it in this Fox Business interview.) Cannabis Sativa also did not respond to requests for comment.

So there you have it. A newly renamed, Russian weed-related company bought Ebola.com using shares of a medical marijuana business run by a former Libertarian Party presidential candidate who thinks that pot should be used to treat Ebola. And no, you’re not high (as far as we know). This really happened.

Continue Reading…

More Info on Gary Johnson…

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Secret US spy program targeted Americans’ cellphones

Posted on November 14, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, NSA, DHS, FBI, Cyber Security, Spying |


The Justice Department is scooping up data from thousands of cellphones through fake communications towers deployed on airplanes, a high-tech hunt for criminal suspects that is snagging large number of innocent Americans, according to people familiar with the operations.

The U.S. Marshals Service program, which became fully functional around 2007, operates Cessna aircraft from at least five metropolitan-area airports, with a flying range covering most of the U.S. population, according to people familiar with the program.

Planes are equipped with devices—some known as “dirtboxes” to law-enforcement officials because of the initials of the Boeing Co. unit that produces them—which mimic cell towers of large telecommunications firms and trick cellphones into reporting their unique registration information.

The technology in the two-foot-square device enables investigators to scoop data from tens of thousands of cellphones in a single flight, collecting their identifying information and general location, these people said.

People with knowledge of the program wouldn’t discuss the frequency or duration of such flights, but said they take place on a regular basis.

A Justice Department official would neither confirm nor deny the existence of such a program. The official said discussion of such matters would allow criminal suspects or foreign powers to determine U.S. surveillance capabilities. Justice Department agencies comply with federal law, including by seeking court approval, the official said.

The program is the latest example of the extent to which the U.S. is training its surveillance lens inside the U.S. It is similar in approach to the National Security Agency’s program to collect millions of Americans phone records, in that it scoops up large volumes of data in order to find a single person or a handful of people. The U.S. government justified the phone-records collection by arguing it is a minimally invasive way of searching for terrorists.

Click for more from The Wall Street Journal.

Published November 14, 2014

The Wall Street Journal

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Altria’s Untapped $40 Billion Market: Marijuana in the U.S.

Posted on November 14, 2014. Filed under: Commerce, Corporate Cannabis, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana | Tags: , , , |


 

BY Ben Reynolds

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Marlboro cigarette maker Altria (MO) controls 50.9% of the U.S. cigarette market. The company is still gaining market share; one year ago the company controlled 50.7% of the U.S. cigarette market. The U.S. cigarette industry is slowly declining as the negative health consequences of smoking become common knowledge.

Despite onerous taxes and advertising restrictions, selling cigarettes and other tobacco products in the U.S. is highly profitable. Altria has recorded about $24 billion in sales and $4.3 billion in profits over the last 12 months. Altria stock is up almost 40% over the last year, more than twice the gain of the S&P 500.

In the coming years, Altria may be able to tap into the growing U.S. marijuana market. The similarities between marijuana and tobacco are many. Both products are smoked and consumed repeatedly. Marijuana is not physically addictive like tobacco is, but marijuana is psychologically addictive. It also carries a cool vibe in many subsets of society that cigarettes no longer do. The primary reason Altria has not moved into the marijuana market is because marijuana is still illegal on a federal level in the U.S. Despite this, four states have legalized marijuana for both legal and recreational use (Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington).

Size of the U.S. Marijuana Market

Colorado was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana sales. In August (the most recent month for which data are available), marijuana sales in Colorado, excluding black market sales, totaled $67.5 million. Recreational marijuana sales accounted for $34.1 million, while medical marijuana sales came in at $33.4 million. Colorado has a population of 5.26 million; total marijuana spending per capita in the state was $12.83.

The U.S. has a population of about 316 million. If the entire U.S. legalized marijuana and consumed it at a similar rate as the state of Colorado, the U.S. marijuana market would generate about $48.6 billion per year in sales.

A sizable chunk of Colorado’s marijuana revenue was generated by tourists. This likely inflates marijuana sales numbers in the state. This would be partially offset if the entire U.S. legalized marijuana, as "pot tourists" from around the world would come to the U.S. Still, the effect is likely to be less on a percentage basis than what Colorado is experiencing.

Must Read: Marijuana Brands Push Past Bans to Go National

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Kentucky’s great hemp hope

Posted on November 14, 2014. Filed under: Farming, Industrial HEMP, LATEST NEWS |


In industrial hemp, the state of Rand Paul and Wendell Berry sees a solution to its post-agrarian ills

November 12, 2014 5:00AM ET

by Michael Ames @mirkel

Mike Lewis hemp

Mike Lewis, a farmer who employs veterans on his farm, was recruited by Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer to join the state’s hemp crusade.

MOUNT VERNON, Ky. — Mike Lewis doesn’t want to talk about marijuana. He is an organic farmer, the son of a retired federal agent, and he follows the law. 

"If you’re gonna talk about drugs, you’re going to have to leave my property," he said to the group of entrepreneurs and activists who had traveled to central Kentucky to see his farm, one of the few legal, private hemp operations in the country. The threat sounded serious, and with it, Lewis had everyone’s attention. "We’re here today to talk about building an industry."

The most progressive cannabis program in the United States won’t get anyone stoned. But while officials in Colorado and Washington state await the results (and reap millions in taxes) of their drug-legalization experiments, conservative Kentucky has launched an ambitious and industrious project devoted to the ancient, controversial plants. Marijuana remains illegal here, but with industrial hemp, a non-psychoactive cannabis varietal with dozens of commercial uses, the state sees a different kind of salvation, an old-fashioned agrarian answer to a variety of 21st-century American ills.

Seven university-affiliated grow sites in the state, spread from the Mississippi valley in the west to the Appalachian east, are researching hemp’s potentials. Eastern Kentucky University is studying bio-fuels. Manufacturers are talking up hemp-based car parts and hempcrete, a biodegradable construction material. Bio-chemical engineers in Louisville will test the plant’s capacity to remediate the city’s toxic dumps. In struggling Appalachia, where thousands of families were wiped out when the federal government ended its tobacco subsidies, small farmers are wondering whether hemp can fill an economic vacuum. Wherever Kentucky has a problem, it seems industrial hemp has an answer.

The initiative was launched by the state’s agriculture commissioner, Republican James Comer, who ran for the office (an influential position in a predominately rural state), largely on his hemp visions.

"We thought he was crazy," recalled Holly Harris, who served as general counsel for the state GOP during Comer’s 2011 campaign. "The party chatter was, ‘This guy is crazy.’" But after Comer won that race — the only Kentucky Republican elected to statewide office that year — Harris was hired as his chief of staff and witnessed what she described as the most wild and memorable political experience of her career.

The conventional wisdom was that hemp was a political nonstarter, a fringe concern better fit for liberal states like Colorado or Washington, where marijuana prohibition was already being phased out. The conservative-led coalition that gathered around Comer’s agenda destroyed those assumptions. U.S. Sen. Rand Paul was instrumental, recruiting a delegation to testify in support of the state’s legalization measure; the group included Louisville Democrat John Yarmuth, libertarian conservative Thomas Massie and former Central Intelligence Agency director James Woolsey. When Paul spoke at the hearing on Senate Bill 50, he wore his favorite button-down hemp shirt. In Washington, then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, also of Kentucky, amended the 2014 farm bill to permit the plan under federal law. As the legal and political hurdles fell, Comer revived the long-moribund state Industrial Hemp Commission, a committee of stakeholders and experts responsible for getting the industry off the ground. Funding arrived from RandPAC (Paul’s political action committee) on the right, and from a standard hippie culture staple, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. The two organizations provide the entirety of the commission’s budget.

Kentucky is not entirely alone in the legalization movement. Lawmakers in many rural states are frustrated by the fact that, while it’s perfectly legal to sell hemp products made in other countries, federal law denies independent farmers the right to grown their own. In recent years, more than a dozen states have passed legislation that, to varying degrees, allows colleges, universities, and state agriculture agencies to research, grow and market the plant. Comer, however, took the additional step of licensing farmers like Lewis as state contractors, something no other state has done. In Colorado, farmers are allowed to grow the crop, but “it’s more like don’t ask don’t tell,” said Eric Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp, the industries chief lobbying group. Kentucky, he said, “pushed the envelope and are letting farmers do commercial activity as research.”

It’s been less than five months since Lewis planted his first seeds, and he said that he is currently in talks with more than a dozen manufacturing companies interested in processing hemp for a dizzying range of commercial and industrial applications, including health supplements, building insulation and bedding for Kentucky thoroughbreds. He said that a plastics company, which did not want to be named, is interested in processing hemp fibers into durable car paneling, a practice that European automakers have been using for years.

"We saw there is real opportunity," Lewis said. "We want to work with these people to create products, to drive dollars into the local economy." At this point, with so much energy and promise, Lewis "suffers from the oppression of opportunity." His biggest problem, he said, "is managing expectations."

PLEASE CONTINUE READING….

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Obama won’t budge on Keystone ahead of House vote

Posted on November 14, 2014. Filed under: Ecology, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , |


President Obama would not budge on the Keystone pipeline ahead of a key House vote on Friday, indicating during a press conference that he wants to let a review process run its course even as lawmakers threaten to send a bill fast-tracking the project to his desk.

The president spoke during a joint press conference in Burma with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

As the House prepares to vote on the pipeline — and the Senate is set to vote next week — Obama made clear his position has not changed. 

Obama said his administration believes the project should be judged on the basis of whether it accelerates climate change. Obama also insisted the pipeline would not be a “massive jobs bill” and would have no effect on U.S. gas prices.

The looming vote will mark the ninth time it has been voted on in the House as lawmakers look to finally secure approval of the delayed proposal after numerous environmental reviews, legal challenges to its route and politics.

But the pipeline was only put on the lame-duck Congress agenda because Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu pushed it on the Senate side — in an apparent effort to not only boost the energy industry, but boost her own re-election bid in a tough runoff next month. Landrieu’s race for re-election goes to a runoff next month against GOP-hopeful Bill Cassidy. Landrieu is considered an underdog in that election.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest, traveling with Obama in Myanmar, told reporters that the president takes a "dim view" of legislative efforts to force action on the project. Earnest stopped short of threatening a veto, but reiterated Obama’s preference for evaluating the pipeline through a long-stalled State Department review.

Obama has repeatedly ordered such reviews under pressure from environmental groups, who say the project would contribute to climate change.

Senate Republicans and several moderate Democrats have pushed for the project to be approved for years, and backers of the project got a major win after Republicans took control of the Senate. Supporters say the construction of the pipeline would create tens of thousands of jobs.

But the project divides Democrats, with environmentalists in opposition while some unions as well as energy-state and business-minded lawmakers support it.

The Sierra Cub issued a statement opposing the measure, as did Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., who urged Obama to veto the bill if it reaches his desk.

Supporters of the measure appeared to have at least 58 of the 60 votes they would need for approval next week. That included all 45 Republicans as well as 13 Democrats, among them Delaware Sen. Tom Carper, whose office confirmed his support during the day.

Another obstacle in the pipeline is getting approval for it to go through Nebraska.

The administration has put off announcing any decision pending a Supreme Court ruling in Nebraska on a challenge to the law that allowed the route of the pipeline to be set.

The Nebraska Supreme Court’s decision is expected before the end of the year.

That case involves a lawsuit filed by landowners and activists opposed to the project who are seeking to overturn a 2012 state law that allowed Republican Gov. Dave Heineman to approve the pipeline’s route through the state.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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Kate Stone’s Civil War: The story so far …

Posted on November 12, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS |


Originally posted on stillness of heart:

1862

Catch up with Kate Stone’s amazing stories as she defiantly faces Union soldiers, escapes across a Louisiana swamp, falls in love with Texas, and watches the Civil War rip her country and her family apart.

Learn more about Stone’s amazing life in 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865 and beyond. Click on each year to read more about her experiences. You can read the entire journal online here.

(Photo edited by Bob Rowen)

Check back as more excerpts are added throughout 2014 and 2015.

From 1861
May 15: Death in defense of the South
June 5: The stir and mob of angry life
June 18: Whipped unmercifully
July 1: They thought me so ugly
July 4: The blood of her children
July 26: Gallantly fought and won
Aug 24: The fevers
Sept. 27: The war inches closer
Oct. 19: Gladden our hearts
Nov. 27: The noble…

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The Top Five Special Interest Groups Lobbying To Keep Marijuana Illegal are (1) Police Unions, (2) Private Prisons, (3) Alcohol and Beer Companies, (4) Pharmaceutical Corporations, and (5) Prison Guard Unions.

Posted on November 12, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS |


Originally posted on Truth11:

by Lee Fang / http://www.republicreport.org/

Last year, over 850,000 people in America were arrested for marijuana-related crimes. Despite public opinion, the medical community, and human rights experts all moving in favor of relaxing marijuana prohibition laws, little has changed in terms of policy.

There have been many great books and articles detailing the history of the drug war. Part of America’s fixation with keeping the leafy green plant illegal is rooted in cultural and political clashes from the past.

However, we at Republic Report think it’s worth showing that there are entrenched interest groups that are spending large sums of money to keep our broken drug laws on the books:

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Marijuana Soon to Protect NFL Players from Concussions?

Posted on November 12, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Medical Marijuana | Tags: , , |


Despite the controversy surrounding the legality of the cannabis plant, one drug company hopes to soon use medical marijuana to protect NFL players from repetitive concussions, which are shown to cause symptoms on par with those seen in patients with Alzheimer’s or other neurodegenerative diseases.

In order to even commercialize such a miracle cure, companies would first have to obtain an exclusive license from the federal government for a medical marijuana patent, currently held by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

But in 2013, Dean Petkanas, CEO of the New York-based company KannaLife Sciences, got his hands on the license in order to bring a marijuana-based neuroprotective drug to the market.

"We’ve taken the preclinical approach so far to date on our first indication which is hepatic encephalopathy, which is a brain-liver disorder, where you do have neuronal degradation and degeneration, oxidative stress," Petkanas told Fox News. "So we felt that we could look at that in parallel with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) another brain-related disease, and see if neuroprotection would indeed be afforded across that panel."

CTE is a progressive neurodegenerative disease caused by brain trauma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), usually seen among athletes like NFL players. Though its symptoms include memory decline, changes in mood and behavior, depressions and irritability, CTE is different from Alzheimer’s disease. Signs of the disease aren’t usually noticeable until decades later (ages 40-50), so it’s often not diagnosed until death, which reveals accumulation of Tau protein in the brain.

Football is obviously a contact sport, but Fox News reports that to date more than 4,500 retired players have sued the NFL for supposedly downplaying and covering up that they knew the game could cause long-term neurological damage due to repetitive concussions.

That’s where Petkanas’ company comes in, hoping to develop cannabidiol-based (CBD) drugs – a form of medical marijuana – that can protect the brains of such athletes.

KannaLife Sciences is only in preclinical trials, so there’s no telling if and when NFL players can hope for a solution; but when NIH first obtained its patent, called "Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants" in 2005, they provided scientific evidence that certain properties of cannabis compounds could limit neurological damage following stroke or trauma, and help treat neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia.

Experts did bring up the issue of the marijuana showing up on the league’s drug tests, but Petkanas notes that the drug reportedly has no psychoactive effects, so it wouldn’t be an issue. His company plans to file an investigational new drug application with the FDA in early 2015.

Tags medical marijuana, football, concussions

Read more: http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/10224/20141111/marijuana-soon-to-protect-nfl-players-from-concussions.htm#ixzz3IpodGdLP

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E-cigarette firm eyes emerging cannabis oil market

Posted on November 10, 2014. Filed under: Cannabis/Marijuana, Commerce, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , , , |


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

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Casper Leitch: FaceBook is censoring activists

Posted on November 6, 2014. Filed under: Activists Opinions, CIVIL RIGHTS, LATEST NEWS, NSA, DHS, FBI, Cyber Security, Spying | Tags: , , , |


https://fbcdn-profile-a.akamaihd.net/hprofile-ak-prn2/v/t1.0-1/c30.30.369.369/s50x50/47043_511083858956206_398116326_n.jpg?oh=f896645c351f283b2527e68a676eab71&oe=54F5E0FD&__gda__=1424027838_418020e8d77dffc03b7386621cc9aabd  FaceBook is censoring activists – PLEASE visit my profile often and share my links!

April 25, 2013 at 5:11pm

At first, I thought it was just ME.  But, over time I have encountered SEVERAL activists on FaceBook who SUDDENLY get the same WARNING messages from FaceBook that I have been receiving.  It would seem, to those of us who attempt to reach a LARGE number of our friends, that FaceBook is doing EVERYTHING it can to prohibit the  sharing of REAL information.
When FaceBook forced us all to use it’s new TIMELINE FEATURE – it became impossible, at that point, to control who would have access to any thing and EVERY thing that is posted on the profiles of this social site.  If NOTHING ELSE, advertisers get access to our information – and we know that the government (ie. the DEA, FBI, CIA and HomeLand Security) have free access to our profiles and often times are reading our posts.
At that time, I removed ALL personal information from my profile…every bit of it – my private e-addy, my ph numbers, my real age, who my real family members are, date and place of birth information, current address, likes and dislikes, personal photos…every single bit of it and rebuilt my FaceBook personal profile into an electronic magazine focused on ending marijuana prohibition and preserving Freedom.
Members of the FaceBook community embraced my hard work and the number of friends I have quickly swelled to the 5,000 limit allowed by FaceBook.  Even tho I am the host of a global radio program with a listening audience of over 2-million people, I am still allowed to interact with ONLY 5,000 members of my audience on the worlds biggest SOCIAL MEDIA website.
To overcome THAT obstacle I started the ‘TIME 4 HEMP – LIVE’ page that people have liked and now visit for news in the world of hemp/marijuana that is found at: https://www.facebook.com/Time4HempLIVE
On this page, I post information that is MOSTLY about marijuana with a few posts about our loss of Freedoms.  On my profile page I have gone CRAZY and put up posts about marijuana AND A GOOD NUMBER about our loss of Freedoms along with some links to great music.
I have many well informed friends who post fantastic information that I feel needs to be shared with ALL of my other friends….it seems that FaceBook does NOT agree.
When FaceBook first went to TimeLine – several of my friends requested that I tag them in my posts – and I did.  FaceBook blocked me one day from tagging any of my photos because I was "tagging too many people" in them.  I had about 50 friends that liked being tagged in my images because the images would appear on their profiles and the information attached that I was wanting to share could also reach their friends.  As of now, I am allowed to tag only 4 people per image – if I attempt to do more than that, I can then not tag anyone in an image for 30-days.
To overcome THAT obstacle, I began posting images and URL’s onto my profile and then would re-post them onto the profiles of my friends.  FaceBook won’t allow me to re-post the same image or URL now more than 8 times before they start blocking that option.
To overcome THAT obstacle, I attached my Twitter feed to my FaceBook account and began visiting the profile pages of my friends and sharing THEIR information onto my Profile so my friends could review it and….well, wouldn’t you know it….now FaceBook tells me that I am ”over using the SHARE button and need to slow down other wise be blocked from using this feature for 30-days" and if I should attempt to share more than 25 URL’s or images in about an hours time – I am blocked form using the share button – FIRST for 4-hours and if I keep OVER USING THE SHARE BUTTON that day – then I’m am blocked from using it for 30-days.
Now, I just post EVERY THING onto Twitter (and nearly 9,000 people follow the head-lines that I post at: https://twitter.com/time4hemp – check it out!) and have begun using the marijuana social site established by Todd McCormick more and more to interact with my friends.  The link to that is http://www.HEMP.xxx and is free to join AND does NOT limit how you interact with other members.
I have to say – FaceBook is very successful in censoring activists.  In order for any one to discover the information posted on this profile page – it is now COMPLETELY up to my friends to actually come to my profile page each day and review the new links that I have been able to successfully post to find the information and SHARE IT WITH THEIR FRIENDS.
Instead of being able to get a message out to the 5,000 friends that I have like I could when TimeLine FIRST began…..instead of being able to get a message out to the approximate 2,000 friends that I use to reach when TimeLine was just a few months old….instead of being able to get a message out to the approximate 300 friends that I use to reach when TimeLine was just a year old….instead of being able to get a message out to the approximate 150 friends that I use to reach up until this week – I can now reach about 30 people a day.  For every one else interested in the material I post – they MUST take time to visit my profile and then SHARE any information they discover to be of importance.
THIS IS WHY I AM ASKING that my friends visit my profile OFTEN and make it a point to share and re-post the material that you consider to be important. 
PLEASE READ:
The IRS is spying on you through Facebook, Twitter
http://www.bizpacreview.com/2013/04/08/irs-spying-on-you-through-facebook-twitter-60352
Does Facebook spy on you, even after you’re logged out?
http://www.spywarewarrior.org/newsflash/does-facebook-spy-on-you-even-after-youre-logged-out.html
The Government is Spying On You Through Facebook Right…Now
http://singularityhub.com/2011/05/18/the-government-is-spying-on-you-through-facebook-right-now/
Facebook’s Spying On You For a Good Cause
http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/facebook-s-reading-your-messages-but-it-s-for-a-good-cause#ixzz2RVe1aNki
The FBI Is Spying On You: On Facebook, Twitter & Myspace
http://www.thisis50.com/profiles/blogs/the-fbi-is-spying-on-you-on
Many people watch you every move on Facebook
http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/whos-watching-facebook-213557740.html

CASPER LEITCH ON FACEBOOK

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What Can Bourbon Do For Obama And McConnell? (The Note)

Posted on November 6, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Political | Tags: , , , , , |


 

 

 

By Michael Falcone
@michaelpfalcone
Follow on Twitter

Nov 6, 2014 9:08am

By MICHAEL FALCONE (@michaelpfalcone)

NOTABLES

  • OBAMA ADMITS ‘REPUBLICANS HAD A GOOD NIGHT‘: A day after Republicans took control of the Senate and gained seats in the House, President Obama admitted the GOP “had a good night” and “deserve credit for running good campaigns,” ABC’s ERIN DOOLEY reports. http://abcn.ws/1uy0a3M
  • MITCH MCCONNELL SAYS HE WILL ‘TRUST BUT VERIFY’ HIS NEW RELATIONSHIP WITH THE PRESIDENT: Sen. Mitch McConnell said he intends to employ a “trust but verify” relationship with President Obama when he takes the helm as the new Senate majority leader, saying voters sent a clear message that both parties must govern. “The American people have spoken. They’ve given us divided government,” McConnell told reporters in Louisville yesterday. According to ABC’s JEFF ZELENY, it’s an open question how much agreement the Republican-controlled Congress and the White House will forge, given the high degree of partisan acrimony that has been festering in Washington. But McConnell listed trade agreements and corporate tax reform as two potential early areas of compromise with the president. http://abcn.ws/10oPar6
  • FORGET THE BEER, OBAMA AND MCCONNELL HEAD STRAIGHT FOR THE HARD STUFF: President Obama has met one-on-one with Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell only once or twice in six years.  But now, ABC’s DEVIN DWYER and MARY BRUCE report the president is ready to join the Kentucky Republican for a drink. “You know, actually, I would enjoy having some Kentucky bourbon with Mitch McConnell,” Obama told ABC’s JONATHAN KARL. “I don’t know what his preferred drink is, but, you know, my interactions with Mitch McConnell, he — you know, he has always been very straightforward with me.” http://abcn.ws/1tBgmNW

THE ROUNDTABLE

ABC’s JEFF ZELENY: Will Ted Cruz and a handful of other senators be a thorn in Mitch McConnell’s side or an ally in his new Republican majority? It’s likely a safe bet we’ll see a bit of both. But McConnell and his Republican leadership team are trying to quickly bring the new Republican class to their side to avoid anything that resembles a Cruz caucus. When McConnell talked to us yesterday in Louisville, he made clear that government shutdowns and budget showdowns won’t take place on his watch. The only way he can deliver on that promise is by keeping the freshmen senators in his corner. He suggested that the mandate from voters was on his side, saying: “The vast majority of them don’t feel that they were sent to Washington to just fight all the time.”

ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: Compromise, it’s been the ugliest of words in Washington. But, if voters made one thing clear when voting in that Republican wave Tuesday is that they are sick of gridlock, bringing angst about so many issues–including a hatred of the way things work in Washington–to the voting booth. Yesterday, we saw some signs that maybe–just maybe–things might be different. First, Mitch McConnell stressed he has a “cordial” relationship with the president noting he heard the voters loud and clear saying when voters choose “divided government” it doesn’t mean “they don’t want us to do anything,” instead “it means they want us to look for areas of agreement.” Then the president said a bourbon summit may be on the menu, saying he would “enjoy having some Kentucky bourbon” with McConnell. Yes, these are tiny steps, but ones the American people desperately want. And if they don’t get it, many in Washington know it could be another “throw the bums out” year soon enough.

ABC’s RICK KLEIN: President Obama seemed to go out of his way to deny the 2014 elections a label, as he resisted entreaties by reporters to follow the tradition that brought us the “thumping” and the “shellacking.” It’s as if the White House would prefer that the election some said was about nothing would not even get a name. But the election actually was about big forces in American politics. It brings a new world were nouns will bother Democrats less than verbs. The election conferred few mandates, and defies snapshot takeaways. But to suggest that the election was primarily about a Republican-leaning map, or somehow was about voters who chose not to vote, risks also defying a public that was responding to policies that the president himself insisted were on the ballot.

THE BUZZ

with ABC’s KIRSTEN APPLETON

MEET 9 REPUBLICANS WHO COULD SHAKE THINGS UP IN THE NEW CONGRESS. There are a lot of new Republicans headed to Congress next year, but some members of the largest GOP wave since the Hoover administration stick out more than others. ABC’s CHRIS GOOD, JOHN PARKINSON, ARLETTE SAENZ and BEN SIEGEL take a look at some of the newly minted senators and members of Congress likely to shake things up at the Capitol. http://abcn.ws/1x6yPna

HAPPENING TODAY — MEDAL OF HONOR FOR CIVIL WAR HERO:  More than 150 years after he was shot three times and later killed by Confederate forces in the Battle of Gettysburg, 1st Lt. Alonzo Cushing will be decorated with the nation’s highest military honor, ABC’s DEVIN DWYER reports. President Obama will make a rare presentation of the Medal of Honor to the Civil War veteran during a small ceremony in the Roosevelt Room with Cushing’s relatives.  The award is the culmination of a 40-year effort by the family and lawmakers from Wisconsin, where Cushing was born.  It required a formal congressional exemption, since Medals of Honor must be presented within 3 years of a qualifying act.  The 22-year-old Cushing, a graduate of West Point, where he is now buried, commanded an Army artillery battery.

GEORGIA SENATE RACE DIVIDES ATLANTA’S RAP SCENE. The Georgia Senate race between Republican winner David Perdue and Democratic candidate Michelle Nunn split voters in the Peach State. According to ABC’s BEN SIEGEL and NOAH WEILAND, it also divided leading members of Atlanta’s rap scene. Rapper and deejay Lil Jon appeared in promotional videos for Rock the Vote’s “Turnout for What” campaign, a play on his hit song, “Turn Down for What.” On Election Day, he flew from Las Vegas to Georgia to vote after not receiving an absentee ballot in the mail. He also retweeted a message from the Nunn campaign. Meanwhile, rapper Waka Flocka Flame was spotted at a Perdue victory party at Atlanta’s Buckhead Hotel. http://abcn.ws/1x9EXfn

HOW FEMALE CANDIDATES FARED IN THE MIDTERMS. With the results of the midterm elections nearly settled, one thing is clear: a record number of women will serve in the incoming Congress. But ABC’s ALANA ABRAMSON reports it’s unclear how high that number will actually be. The total number of women in Congress will increase, to 100-103 at the most – a maximum of four additional seats. Before the midterm elections, there were 99 women serving in the 113th Congress – twenty senators and 79 members of the House. The number of women senators is slated to remain at 20, unless Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu defeats Bill Cassidy in the runoff election next month. In the House, 81 female candidates have won, with two races still too close to call. http://abcn.ws/1uxHDE2

OBAMA’S SHORT LIST FOR NEXT ATTORNEY GENERAL JUST GOT SHORTER. The coming Republican takeover of the U.S. Senate means President Obama now has an even shorter list of candidates to replace outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder. ABC’s MIKE LEVINE reports that political concerns have already kept one qualified contender from serious consideration, sources told ABC News. “President Obama said at a press conference he is “looking at” a “number of outstanding candidates,” and he is “confident” that his nominee “will get confirmed by the Senate.” But for that to happen, the president’s pick “has to be somebody who is not compromised,” the White House source said. The source was referring to Alejandro Mayorkas, the number two at the Department of Homeland Security whose name has surfaced as a potential contender even as he remains in the crosshairs of a lingering internal probe into complaints of alleged impropriety years earlier. http://abcn.ws/1shK4oz

LESSONS FROM THE LOSERS: 5 BIG POLITICAL DON’TS OF THE 2014 MIDTERM ELECTIONS. Republicans are set to march into a new session of Congress with the Senate majority well in hand. But despite the outcome, candidates on both sides of the partisan divide made mistakes. ABC’s NOAH WEILAND lists the biggest campaign “don’ts” from this election cycle. http://abcn.ws/1uxWfUo

9,000 AFGHAN SECURITY FORCES KILLED IN COMBAT DURING LAST TWO YEARS. ABC’s LUIS MARTINEZ reports almost 9,000 Afghan Army soldiers and policemen have been killed in fighting with the Taliban as they have assumed the lead for security in Afghanistan in the last two years. Overall the Afghan security forces “are winning” in their fight against the Taliban, Lieutenant Gen. Joseph Anderson said, but noted the casualty rate is “not sustainable.” http://abcn.ws/1EjBeyb

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

SUPREME COURT HEARS FISHY TALE. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard a “fish tale” about a fisherman who allegedly got caught at sea with red grouper that measured smaller than commercial fishing regulations allowed. Instead of facing authorities, he threw the fish overboard and was prosecuted under a law for destructing a “record, document or tangible object” with the intent to obstruct a federal investigation. The issue before the court is whether the law was meant to cover an act of throwing fish overboard, ABC’s ARIANE DE VOGUE reports. http://abcn.ws/1x7GzVL

WHO’S TWEETING?

@JohnCornyn: Charting Midterm Losses: From FDR to Barack Obama http://on.wsj.com/1xfN9c6 via @WSJPolitics

@llerer: Can Hillary Clinton Save the Democrats? http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2014-11-06/can-hillary-clinton-save-the-democrats … via @bpolitics

@PounderFile: WaPo: Some Senate Democrats won’t say whether they’ll back Harry Reid http://wapo.st/1qrkwVj

@HuffPostPol: Here’s the Democratic route back to Senate control in 2016 http://huff.to/1qrmGnS

@ezraklein: The most consequential gains Republicans made in 2014 might actually be in state legisltures: http://bit.ly/1zy1Ewa

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An industrial hemp crop growing operation hidden in Kentucky could save lives.

Posted on November 5, 2014. Filed under: CBD/Cannabidiol, Farming, KENTUCKY WEED, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , |


Behind The Scenes Of Country’s Largest Hemp Growing Operation

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An industrial hemp crop growing operation hidden in Kentucky could save lives.

The crops are being grown on a former flower farm tucked away on the outskirts of Jackson County and is now the largest hemp growing operation in the country. The plants are hidden from the public, but the operation allowed LEX 18 to document the cultivation of the controversial crop.

The hemp plants are producing cannabidiol oil, also known as CBD, which may be able to help children with seizures. It’ll be the first time hemp is available in Kentucky. However, the sheriff says some families in need have already moved to Colorado, where it’s already available.

"We have families that are out there, living in a strange environment, sleeping on the floor, having to relocate just to have the medicine that they could have right here," says Sheriff Denny Peyman.

But moving isn’t an option for the family of 17-month-old Jolie who suffers hundreds of seizures a week.

"We got diagnosed with a really rare seizure disorder called infantile spasms," says Jennifer Harrell, Jolie’s mother.

Jolie’s mother is part of a group of parents trying to get their hands on the oil and away from a cocktail of prescription pills.

"One of them (the prescription pills) can cause Steven Johnson syndrome. So it can make your skin fall off. And the one she’s currently on, can cause permanent blindness. So those are the decisions we have to make. Its kinda like you’re playing Russian roulette with your kid’s brain," says Harrell.

The plants are allowed to be grown through an expanding pilot program under the farm bill. A few weeks ago, this operation opened right here in the bluegrass again under secrecy, for fear of thieves.

Not everyone is a supporter though because of hemp’s similarity to marijuana. The Department of Agriculture reiterates that this won’t get anyone high and the program is closely watched.

More testing will need to be done before anything can be legally prescribed, it’s unclear when parents in Kentucky will have access to CBD oil. Earlier this year, Governor Beshear signed a bill into law allowing doctors at UK and U of L to prescribe CBD oil from hemp to certain patients.

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The DEA Once Turned A 14-Year-Old Into A Drug Kingpin. Welcome To The War On Drugs

Posted on November 2, 2014. Filed under: Absolute Assinine Law, Drug War, LATEST NEWS, Political, War and Order, WTF! | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


Posted: 10/24/2014 10:47 am EDT

Nick Wing Become a fan nickw@huffingtonpost.com

 

This is the second part of a two-part series. Read part one here.

Americans spent approximately $100 billion a year on illegal drugs between 2000 and 2010, according to a 2012 report published by the RAND corporation. Part of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s job, alongside several other law enforcement agencies, is to make that process more difficult at home, where harsh federal drug laws have ensured that such transactions are conducted — until recently, in some states — entirely on the black market. The DEA also works to cut off imported illicit drugs at the source, which means mounting operations around the world to tackle a global drug trade that generates $322 billion annually, according to UN estimates.

It’s a gargantuan task. Critics of the war on drugs say it’s an impossible one. Over 40 years, the U.S. has spent more than $1 trillion in the fight. Thousands of people on both sides of the battle have lost their lives. In the end, it’s led only to cheaper, higher quality drugs at home and abroad, and by most accounts, little change in the number of people using them. While the momentum may finally be shifting away from an enforcement-first national drug policy and toward prevention and treatment, aggressive enforcement of the nation’s drug laws doesn’t appear to be going anywhere just yet.

Until the nation drastically rethinks its approach on drugs, the DEA will continue to play an integral part in the war against them, and that sometimes means resorting to controversial tactics. Below, find out how domestic spying, broken promises and a 14-year-old from Detroit have all played a part in that seemingly endless struggle.

The DEA has been spying on U.S. citizens with a surveillance program more expansive than the NSA’s.

Just months after Edward Snowden unmasked the National Security Agency’s massive domestic spying program, The New York Times broke news of the Hemisphere Project, which pairs experts from telecommunications giant AT&T with federal and local anti-drug officials, including DEA agents. It gives law enforcement officials access to "every call that passes through an AT&T switch — not just those made by AT&T customers — and includes calls dating back 26 years," according to the Times report. That’s around 4 billion call records every day, each logged with information on the location of callers. The official government slideshow describing the program suggested it had been helpful in tracking drug dealers who frequently change phones, or use disposable "burner" phones.

burner phone

The White House attempted to allay privacy concerns about the Hemisphere Project last year, noting that AT&T stores the collected data, unlike in the NSA’s program, in which data is turned over to the government. Federal officials can quickly access the records, however, often within an hour of a subpoena.

The ACLU criticized the apparent secrecy of the program, which had been in existence for six years before being revealed by the Times in 2013. The organization suggested that blanket surveillance and close federal involvement could represent a violation of the Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure.

"Hemisphere is deeply troubling, not only because the government is amassing detailed, comprehensive information about people who’ve done nothing wrong, but also because the government has deliberately kept Hemisphere secret, even from criminal defendants who’ve been subjected to the program," wrote ACLU attorney Linda Lye.

And the DEA instructs agents not to tell the truth about sources of key intelligence.

A Reuters report, also from 2013, detailed how the DEA’s Special Operations Division, or SOD, teaches agents to cover up vital tips that come from the department. A DEA document obtained by Reuters shows that federal agents are trained in "parallel construction," in which essential intelligence obtained SOD wiretaps, informants or other surveillance methods can be concealed by crediting it to another source.

An unnamed former federal agent who received tips from the SOD gave an example of how the process worked: "You’d be told only, ‘Be at a certain truck stop at a certain time and look for a certain vehicle.’ And so we’d alert the state police to find an excuse to stop that vehicle, and then have a drug dog search it," the agent said.

If an arrest was made, agents were instructed to hide the fact that the initial tip had come from SOD, and instead use "normal investigative techniques to recreate the information." This process is sometimes used to hide case details from prosecutors and judges, as well as defense attorneys. Several lawyers told Reuters that the practice could jeopardize a defendant’s constitutional right to fair trial and cover up evidence that might otherwise be inadmissible.

DEA officials defended the technique, however, calling it a common law enforcement tool that allows the SOD to crack high-profile cases.

The DEA has confidential informants who have made it a lifetime career.

Confidential informants — sometimes referred to as "snitches" — are crucial assets in the DEA’s war on drugs. In 2005, the agency told the Justice Department it has around 4,000 of these sources actively working for it at any given time. Many of these informants are recruited after being caught for drug crimes themselves, and are offered a chance to work for the DEA as a way to earn a reduced sentence. Others have made a full-time profession out of informing, a controversial practice in itself, as some critics suggest it encourages longtime informants to go after and potentially entrap low-level dealers rather than higher profile targets.

Informants can make tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars helping the government prosecute and convict drug dealers, with payment often contingent on how much money is seized in an eventual bust. That’s how Andrew Chambers Jr. once made a name for himself as "the highest-paid snitch in DEA history," with a 16-year career as a federal informant between 1984 and 2000, during which time he reportedly netted as much as $4 million in government money, nearly half of it from the DEA. A report earlier this year in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette found that Chambers was only one of the agency’s million-dollar informants.

andrew chambers jr

Chambers, seen in a YouTube video from the Speakers Agency.

The "highest-paid snitch in DEA history" was also found to have lied repeatedly in testimony. Despite his reputation, he recently resumed work with the DEA.

Chambers’ work with the DEA halted in 2000, after a review of testimony revealed he’d committed perjury in at least 16 cases, when he lied on the witness stand about his credentials. Agents who’d worked closely with Chambers during the time, however — including Michele Leonhart, who became DEA administrator in 2010 — spoke highly of him despite the criticism that made him a national story. Around the time of Leonhart’s confirmation, the DEA reactivated Chambers as an informant.

While his current role with the DEA is unclear, legal professionals have expressed concerns beyond Chambers’ record of perjury. Defense attorneys told the Arizona Republic that he regularly failed to record introductory meetings, which left open the possibility that he was entrapping suspects and compromising cases.

Shortly after news broke that Chambers had resumed working with the DEA, a case in which he served as the primary informant fell apart and federal prosecutors asked for the charges to be dismissed.

Confidential informants are given so much free rein that one top DEA source actually had his own sub-network of informants.

While the DEA has released information about the general size of the program and the basic guidelines under which it operates, less is known about exactly how — and to what extent — the agency controls its informants.

The perils of this ambiguity were exposed in 2004, when it was revealed that a star DEA informant was actually paying his own sub-informants to help him set up drug deals. In one case, in which this arrangement wasn’t initially revealed to defense attorneys, a sub-informant made a number of calls to a defendant who would later be facing charges for trafficking methamphetamines. The calls weren’t recorded, however, which opened up the possibility that the alleged meth trafficker had actually been pressured to go through with the deal that led to his arrest. A judge determined that this raised the possibility of entrapment and ordered federal prosecutors to release a full list of the cases in which the informant and sub-informant had collaborated. When the government refused, the judge threw out the indictment and freed the defendant, writing that the DEA had tried to "shield itself from accountability by hiring someone outside of law enforcement who is free to violate citizens’ rights."

In a ruling explaining her decision, the judge also blasted the DEA, suggesting it was "highly unlikely" that it was unaware of the informant’s sub-contractors. In an earlier case, the informant had testified that he’d never told his DEA handlers about his network, and that they’d never asked.

The DEA allows informants to break the law, but have no records as to how often it happens.

Federal agencies came under fire in 2012 in the wake of the Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal for not adequately tracking instances in which they authorize informants to commit crimes in the line of government duty. In the case of Fast and Furious, gun dealers working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sold 2,000 weapons to Mexican cartels, but failed to have them traced. In response to a USA Today report, both the ATF and DEA claimed they were "in compliance" with rules determining when they could advise their informants to break the law.

Both agencies also acknowledged that they didn’t track how frequently they granted such permission.

Some congressional representatives have called for more accountability among federal agencies with regard to informants. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) sponsored an unsuccessful bill in 2013 that would have required federal agencies to report to lawmakers whenever an informant commits a serious crime, with or without authorization.

One of America’s most notorious terrorists once served as a DEA informant.

In 2013, David Coleman Headley, an American of Pakistani descent, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for plotting the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, which killed at least 164 people and wounded hundreds more. Government officials with knowledge of Headley’s past spoke of a man who had grown increasingly radicalized in the years leading up to the attack, but subsequent reporting also followed up on his work as a confidential informant for the DEA between 1997 and 2005, according to sources.

The DEA, which sent Headley on a number of trips to gather intelligence on heroin traffickers in Pakistan, has denied that he was working officially with the agency as late as 2005, or at any time when he was receiving training at militant camps in the region.

mumbai terror attacks

An Indian soldier takes cover as the Taj Mahal hotel burns during gun battle between Indian military and militants in Mumbai, India. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)

Another informant allegedly shot and killed a man who confronted him for molesting his child.

Sometimes informants get caught doing unauthorized dirty deeds while on the agency’s payroll. In Albuquerque, the DEA is facing a lawsuit claiming it was negligent in supervising an informant who allegedly shot and killed another man earlier this year. The informant has been charged in the man’s death, as well as with criminal sexual penetration of a child under 13 and a host of other charges. The victim had allegedly confronted the informant over the sexual assault of his son when he was shot. The suit is seeking $50 million in damages, alleging that the informant had prior felony convictions and a history of violence and should not have been recruited by the DEA.

The DEA strung one informant along for 20 years with the promise of citizenship. She still hasn’t received it.

When Norma was just 19 years old, she became a confidential informant for the DEA. She told her story to Yolanda Gonzalez Gomez as part of a partnership between New America Media and HuffPost Voces. Norma explained how desperation and the promise of citizenship led her to sign up for a commitment she knew little about. Over the course of 20 years, Norma says she repeatedly put her life on the line for the DEA, and in return, she got paid, although she said agents sometimes refused to give her the money she was owed. Citizenship, however, never came, and now Norma fears she’ll be deported and sent back to Mexico, where she hasn’t lived since she was 5 years old. She also said she believes her life would be in danger there as a result of her work for the DEA.

Norma is an alias — she asked that her real name be withheld — but immigration attorney Jodi Goodwin knows stories like hers are not uncommon. "Federal government agencies use and abuse undocumented confidential informants for years, trample their rights with impunity, promise them permanent residency and never deliver on it," she told Gomez. "And they know they don’t have to deliver on it. But they keep pressuring them with that promise so they will keep cooperating."

The DEA has also been accused of using other exploitative means to recruit assets.

In a lawsuit filed earlier this year, a New Mexico man and former DEA informant alleged that the agency had recruited him by targeting his history of substance abuse. An attorney representing 38-year-old Aaron Romero claimed that her client had recently beaten a crack cocaine addiction in 2011, when a DEA-sponsored informant offered him the opportunity to sell drugs — provided to him by the U.S. government — and to feed the agency information on other drug dealers. His payment, Romero’s attorney alleged, came in the form of crack for personal use. Romero relapsed, his attorney said, and was eventually arrested on federal counts of distributing crack cocaine near a school, charges that were ultimately dropped after he spent a number of months in jail.

crack cocaine pipe

The DEA once turned a teenager into a drug kingpin so he could act as an informant.

In the 1980s, federal agents with the DEA and FBI plucked 14-year-old Richard Wershe from his Detroit high school and began crafting a new identity for him as a drug kingpin. Over the next few years, the teenage Wershe would live a double life, one as the legend who’d later be known as White Boy Rick, one of the most notorious drug lords in city, and the other as a valuable informant for the DEA and other law enforcement agencies.

"I was just a kid when the agents pulled me out of high school in the ninth grade and had me out to 3 in the morning every night," Wershe told The Fix in 2013. "They gave me a fake ID when I was 15 that said I was 21 so I could travel to Vegas and to Miami to do drug deals."

With intelligence provided by Wershe, authorities were able to make a series of high-profile arrests, disrupting Detroit’s rampant drug trade and the police corruption that had grown alongside it.

But in 1988, then 17 and no longer an informant, Wershe was pulled over and busted for work in the same drug business as the one to which the DEA had introduced him. The 17 pounds of cocaine found in his car resulted in a life sentence. He’s the only convict still behind bars in Michigan to receive a life sentence as a minor under the state’s now-repealed "650-lifer" law. Many of the targets whom Wershe helped put in jail have long since been released.

richard wershe

The DEA did treat one informant very nicely, giving him nearly $900,000 for information it could have gotten for free.

The Associated Press reported in August that the DEA had paid an Amtrak secretary $854,460 over nearly 20 years as an informant to pass confidential information about passenger reservations. But as the AP reported, Amtrak police are already part of an anti-drug task force that includes the DEA, and would have given the agency that information free of charge.

For more on the sketchiest things the DEA has done, read part one of this series.

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Matt Mutter Barren County Jailer 2014

Posted on October 31, 2014. Filed under: KY ELECTIONS, LATEST NEWS, Political |


Matt Mutter

 

Posted: Thursday, October 30, 2014 12:00 am

0 comments

Office seeking: Barren County Jailer

Name: Matt Mutter

Party: Democrat

Previous political positions: Currently serving as Barren County Jailer

Why are you running for this position? I am seeking re-election to the office of Barren County jailer to continue the high quality of service that we have provided the past few years. During my first term as Barren County jailer, many significant changes have taken place. The most crucial change has been moving into a new Detention Center three years ago. We are operating a larger facility, with more inmates, and less staff. Our budget and finances are in excellent condition. After everything we have achieved in the last four years, we are still capable of much more. We consistently receive excellent inspections and audits. I want the Barren County Detention Center to continue to be a model for other jails across Kentucky. I am proud of my staff and our accomplishments. When re-elected as Barren County jailer, I will maintain the forward progress that is already in motion.

What is the most pressing issue facing your office? The most pressing issues of any jail are financial stability, safety/security, and recidivism. I have been addressing these issues for the past six years. Since I began overseeing daily operations in July 2008, Barren County Detention Center’s finances have steadily improved. Our current budget is $12,500 less than it was in 2008. Our incoming revenue is paying for jail operations costs. I have taken measures to improve security of our facility. We now use X-ray machines and drug dogs to help reduce contraband in the jail. Our deputies receive more training now than ever before. It makes me proud when other Jailers/staff visit our facility to observe us and take our ideas back to their home counties. We have introduced programs to help reduce recidivism rates. For example, our Moral Reconation Therapy program has been very successful. These programs teach inmates how to prepare for re-entry into the civilian world. We intend to help as many inmates as possible, so hopefully they won’t be a returning statistic. As the Barren County jailer, These are only a few of the critical issues I am already managing.

What distinguishes you from your opponent? The most important distinguishing features between my opponent and me are experience and knowledge. I have been a public servant my entire adult life. I have served as a United States Navy gunners mate, Barren County deputy jailer, Glasgow Police officer, Barren County deputy sheriff, and now Barren County Jailer. I have accumulated over 1,500 law enforcement training hours during my 22-year career. I am the only candidate with experience in every aspect of jail operations. I have been overseeing Barren County jail daily operations since July 2008. I am knowledgeable in Kentucky Jail Standards. I supervised the move into a new facility three years ago. I have experience in balancing our $2 million budget each year. Under my leadership, revenue from housing state inmates is paying for our jail operations, at no cost to taxpayers. Not only do I spend 60-70 hours per week at the jail, I’m also very active in our community. I’ve been a Red Cross Elementary Site-Based Council member for the past seven years. I’m also an active member of many local organizations such as: Glasgow Kiwanis Club, Barren County Lions Club, Habitat for Humanity, and Junior Achievement.

If elected, what changes, if any, would you make? One aspect I would like to work on during the next four years is expanding on our rehabilitation programs. Recidivism (repeat offenders) is a concern of every jailer. During my term, I have introduced programs to help inmates re-integrate with society. Classes include: GED, AA, Why Try, Moral Reconation Therapy, and many religious services. Inmates are taught life skills needed to function in today’s world. I will continue to develop and expand these programs. Although our facility is called a Detention Center, I feel like it is our responsibility to be more than that. I would also like to focus on becoming an accredited facility through the American Correctional Association. This is a process in which the facility is held to higher standards than the Kentucky Jail Standards. Barren County Detention Center has been called a “model facility.” We are constantly striving to uphold that reputation and continue to improve.

While on the campaign trail, what have your constituents had to say about what the office should be doing? The feedback I have received from the community has been positive. The general public is pleased with our excellent inspections and audits. The general public is pleased that our budget is $12,500 less than what it was six years ago. Barren County residents have expressed to me the need for more programs to help inmates. To help reduce recidivism, a jailer must implement new and innovative programs. Our current MRT class is a perfect example. This program focuses on helping inmates to re-learn how to live their everyday lives. Citizens have told me they would like for our inmates to learn skills to help them get jobs. In the future, I would like to have a greenhouse on jail grounds. Hopefully, this would teach inmates gardening skills and help them be productive. Overall, Barren County citizens are happy with the way the Detention Center is run. They are happy with the progress we have made in my first term. Barren County Detention Center has been called a “model facility” and we strive every day to make the constituents proud of us.

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U.S. Marijuana Party

Posted on October 30, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, USMJParty | Tags: , , , , , , , |


By Christina CrapanzanoMonday, Mar. 29, 2010

dek Andrew Holbrooke / Corbis

Long before Loretta Nall campaigned on her cleavage, the activist’s cause was cannabis. The Alabama resident gained national attention during her 2006 gubernatorial campaign when she produced T-shirts with the caption "More of these boobs …" (with a photo of Nall in a low-cut shirt) "… And less of these boobs" (next to photos of her opponents). But the write-in candidate’s political roots date back to 2002, when a misdemeanor arrest for possession was the spark behind her forming the U.S. Marijuana Party (USMJP). The group — which demands "an end to the unconstitutional prohibition of marijuana" — has official party chapters in seven states, including Colorado, Illinois and Kentucky. While Nall left the USMJP to be a Libertarian Party governor nominee, the group continues to back candidates in local, state and national elections under the leadership of Richard Rawlings, who is currently running for Congress in Illinois.

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THE ABOVE WAS WRITTEN IN ‘TIME MAGAZINE’ ON MARCH 29, 2010.

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This Is Your Brain on Drugs

Posted on October 30, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana |


By ABIGAIL SULLIVAN MOORE    OCT. 29, 2014

     

    The gray matter of the nucleus accumbens, the walnut-shaped pleasure center of the brain, was glowing like a flame, showing a notable increase in density. “It could mean that there’s some sort of drug learning taking place,” speculated Jodi Gilman, at her computer screen at the Massachusetts General Hospital-Harvard Center for Addiction Medicine. Was the brain adapting to marijuana exposure, rewiring the reward system to demand the drug?

    Dr. Gilman was reviewing a composite scan of the brains of 20 pot smokers, ages 18 to 25. What she and fellow researchers at Harvard and Northwestern University found within those scans surprised them. Even in the seven participants who smoked only once or twice a week, there was evidence of structural differences in two significant regions of the brain. The more the subjects smoked, the greater the differences.

    Moderate marijuana use by healthy adults seems to pose little risk, and there are potential medical benefits, including easing nausea and pain. But it has long been known that, with the brain developing into the mid-20s, young people who smoke early and often are more likely to have learning and mental health problems. Now researchers suggest existing studies are no longer sufficient. Much of what’s known is based on studies conducted years ago with much less powerful pot.

    Photo

    A Harvard-Northwestern study has found differences between the brains of young adult marijuana smokers and those of nonsmokers. In these composite scans, colors represent the differences — in the shape of the amygdala, top, and nucleus accumbens. Yellow indicates areas that are most different, red the least. Credit The Journal of Neuroscience

    Marijuana samples seized by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency show the concentration of THC, the drug’s psychoactive compound, rising from a mean of 3.75 percent in 1995 to 13 percent in 2013. Potency seesaws depending on the strain and form. Fresh Baked, which sells recreational marijuana in Boulder, Colo., offers “Green Crack,” with a THC content of about 21 percent, and “Phnom Pen,” with about 8 percent. The level in a concentrate called “Bubble Hash” is about 70 percent; cartridges for vaporizers, much like e-cigarettes, range from 15 to 30 percent THC.

    High-THC marijuana is associated with paranoia and psychosis, according to a June article in The New England Journal of Medicine. “We have seen very, very significant increases in emergency room admissions associated with marijuana use that can’t be accounted for solely on basis of changes in prevalence rates,” said Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and a co-author of the THC study. “It can only be explained by the fact that current marijuana has higher potency associated with much greater risk for adverse effects.” Emergency room visits related to marijuana have nearly doubled, from 66,000 in 2004 to 129,000 in 2011, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

    Higher potency may also accelerate addiction. “You don’t have to work so hard to get high,” said Alan J. Budney, a researcher and professor at Dartmouth’s medical school. “As you make it easier to get high, it makes a person more vulnerable to addiction.” Among adults, the rate is one of 11; for teenagers, one of six.

    Concerns over increasing potency, and rising usage among the young, is giving new urgency to research.

    For the Harvard-Northwestern study, published in the April issue of The Journal of Neuroscience, the team scanned the brains of 40 young adults, most from Boston-area colleges. Half were nonusers; half reported smoking for one to six years and showed no signs of dependence. Besides the seven light smokers, nine used three to five days a week and four used, on average, daily. All smokers showed abnormalities in the shape, density and volume of the nucleus accumbens, which “is at the core of motivation, the core of pleasure and pain, and every decision that you make,” explained Dr. Hans Breiter, a co-author of the study and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern’s medical school.

    Similar changes affected the amygdala, which is fundamental in processing emotions, memories and fear responses.

    What is already known is that in casual users, THC can disrupt focus, working memory, decision making and motivation for about 24 hours. “The fact that we can see these structural effects in the brain could indicate that the effects of THC are longer lasting than we previously thought,” said Dr. Gilman, an instructor in psychology at Harvard’s medical school.

    The study was preliminary and small, and attempts to replicate it are underway. Meanwhile, Dr. Gilman is trying to figure out how the findings relate to brain function and behavior.

    One day in September, she was assessing Emma, a student who said her smoking — almost every day — didn’t interfere with school, work or other obligations. For $100 to go toward study-abroad plans, Emma politely plowed through nearly three hours of tests on cognitive functions that are or might be affected by THC, like the ability to delay gratification (would it be better to have $30 tonight or $45 in 15 days?) and motivation (a choice between computer games, the harder one offering a bigger payoff). For memory, Emma listened to lists of words, repeating back those she recalled. Next came risk. Would she bungee jump? Eat high-cholesterol food? (“These kids tend to be risk takers, particularly with their own health and safety,” Dr. Gilman said.)

    A final test: Did Emma crave a joint? Her response: somewhat.

    Dr. Gilman is concerned about pot’s impact on the college population. “This is when they are making some major life decisions,” she said, “choosing a major, making long-lasting friendships.”

    Dr. Volkow noted another problem: Partying on a Saturday night may hinder studying for a test or writing a paper due on Monday. “Maybe you won’t have the motivation to study, because there’s no reward, no incentive,” she said.

    Evidence of long-term effects is also building. A study released in 2012 showed that teenagers who were found to be dependent on pot before age 18 and who continued using it into adulthood lost an average of eight I.Q. points by age 38. And last year at Northwestern, Dr. Breiter and colleagues also saw changes in the nucleus accumbens among adults in their early 20s who had smoked daily for three years but had stopped for at least two years.

    They had impaired working memories as well. “Working memory is key for learning,” Dr. Breiter said. “If I were to design a substance that is bad for college students, it would be marijuana.”

    Abigail Sullivan Moore is co-author of “The iConnected Parent: Staying Close to Your Kids in College (and Beyond) While Letting Them Grow Up.”

    Education Life is a quarterly section offering news and commentary about higher education. You can reach us by emailing edlife@nytimes.com.

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

    Posted on October 30, 2014. Filed under: Cannabis/Marijuana, Federal Government, KENTUCKY, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana |


    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

    See Photos

    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…

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    NORML, Feds Agree On Benefits Of Cannabis

    Posted on October 30, 2014. Filed under: Healthcare, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law, Medical Marijuana |


    By: Jeremy Daw

    NORML, Feds Agree On Benefits Of Cannabis, Source: http://www.tokeofthetown.com/800px-Colorado_Supreme_Court_courtroom.jpg

    The third day of hearings on the constitutionality of cannabis’ federal Schedule I status presented further bizarre twists, as both federal prosecutors and NORML’s defense team appeared at times to agree on the medical benefits of cannabis.

    In one early incident, Assistant US Attorney Richard Bender, in continued cross-examination of Dr. Philip Denney, failed to rebut Denney’s testimony that plant-based cannabis effectively treated chronic pain. Instead, Bender attempted to show a marginal benefit to using dronabinol (AKA Marinol, which is synthetic THC taken orally in pill form) compared to cannabis and at one point seemed to get a little carried away with his line of questioning. Directing Denney’s attention to the results of a study which showed that both cannabis and Marinol proved effective in treating chronic pain but that the effects of Marinol lasted longer, Bender asked, “So, both smoked marijuana and oral THC were effective, but Marinol was a little better because it lasted longer?”

    Denney answered yes, and Bender continued, apparently unaware that he had just admitted that cannabis has medical value.

    Later in the same cross-examination Bender slipped again, making a similar admission in a more humorous way. Asking Denney about research showing the ability of cannabinoids to protect brain cells from damage during traumatic injuries, Bender asked, in a somewhat mocking tone, “So, if you’re going to have a traumatic brain injury, you’d better do it under the influence of marijuana?” Denney responded with an emphatic “yes,” provoking laughter in the courtroom.

    But perhaps the greatest damage to the government’s case came as a result of an apparent lapse of attention on the part of the prosecution. NORML attorney Zenia Gilg managed to elicit numerous responses from Denney on the nature of the US government’s Investigative New Drug (IND) program, under which US patients receive free tins of government-grown cannabis every month to treat severe illnesses, before Bender seemed to stir, stand and state a valid objection.

    It was apparently too late. Calling the objection “belated,” Judge Kimberly Mueller overruled it.

    This blunder proved crippling for the prosecution, as Gilg was then able to elicit further testimony from Denney about the IND program, and in particular the results of a study conducted by Dr. Ethan Russo and others in 2002 which showed remarkable long-term success treating severely ill patients who had proven resistant to traditional therapies, and with a minimum of undesirable side effects – all at the behest of the US government.

    Because the hearing also concerns the question of whether the medical use of cannabis is “currently accepted” in the US, Denney also testified regarding polls conducted of physicians about their professional opinions of cannabis. While Bender quibbled over details of a poll by the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine showing 76% approval of a medical marijuana recommendation in a hypothetical patient, he left entirely uncontested testimony about another physician poll conducted by WebMD which showed 69% support for the medical use of cannabis – again apparently conceding a point which is logically central to the question of whether cannabis belongs in Schedule I.

    Leaf co-founder Chris Conrad also took the stand as an expert witness, cross-examined by prosecutor Samuel Wong, who attempted to contradict the notions that cannabis had a known and reproducible chemistry and that it could be subjected to quality controls. Evoking the use of pesticides and other chemicals, Wong tried to suggest that use of such chemicals would lead to cannabis patients inhaling toxic substances. But Conrad pointed out that that was not necessarily the case, as many such sprays were designed to break down over time. Wong erred even worse when he tried to imply that quality control standards for cannabis didn’t exist, which opened the door for Conrad to introduce the medical cannabis quality control standards recommended by the American Herbal Pharmacopeia.

    Still, it was ultimately Dr. Denney who most succinctly summarized the tenor of the day. “I am perplexed,” he testified, “as to why there’s even a debate. Cannabis does have medical value.”

    CONTINUE READING…

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    Lawsuits: Alabama prisoners died of gangrene, constipation

    Posted on October 29, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Prison Abuse and Death, Prison Industrial Complex |


    By Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN

    updated 1:14 PM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014

    (CNN) — One prisoner died of alcohol withdrawal. Constipation killed another. A third succumbed to gangrene.

    The deaths sound like they come from the logs of a Civil War POW encampment, but all three are alleged to have befallen detainees at the Madison County Jail in Huntsville, Alabama, while they were awaiting trial.

    In 2013.

    "What connects them all is that all of these people were in the medical-watch area, supposedly under the care of nurses," said Florence-based civil rights attorney Hank Sherrod, who in the past six weeks has filed federal lawsuits on behalf of the families of the alleged victims.

    The suits target the county, jail and Advanced Correctional Healthcare Inc., the company paid to provide medical services to county inmates. The suits allege that the county and ACH reached a "deliberately indifferent" agreement to delay or deny care as a cost-saving measure.

    With county consent, the suits allege, ACH "staffed the Madison County Jail inadequately, hired substandard medical personnel willing to put cost over inmate health and safety, denied inmates medications and delayed or denied medically necessary referrals to outside providers."

    Both Madison County and ACH officials declined to be interviewed for this story because of the pending litigation. They instead provided CNN with brief statements.

    Defendants just watched Listau deteriorate and eventually die.
    Lawsuit filed by Nikki Listau’s estate

    "Advanced Correctional Healthcare is pleased to have the opportunity to deliver a high standard of health care for Madison County Jail patients while partnering with Madison County to address the need to provide quality healthcare within its budget. ACH will not try its cases in the (media)," read a statement from ACH spokesman JD Dalfonso.

    Madison County Attorney Jeff Rich said in an email he had a longstanding policy of not commenting on lawsuits.

    "Although the almost instantaneous and continual flow of information arguably calls for a more substantive response, I believe it remains wise to reserve comment and let the litigation process run its course," he wrote.

    ‘They just watched him … totally indifferent’

    The allegations surrounding the August 2013 death of Deundrez Woods of Huntsville are the most disturbing.

    Arrested in June 2013 on shoplifting and third-degree assault charges, the 19-year-old behaved normally for several weeks until "jail records show that by August 6, Woods was confused, hallucinating and unable to communicate with correction and medical personnel," according to one of the lawsuits. He was then moved to the jail’s medical unit.

    "They just watched him," Sherrod said. "They were happy to let him lie there … totally indifferent to what was really going on."

    Fifteen days later, he died of a blood clot originating in his gangrenous foot, the lawsuit states, further alleging he was treated as a problem prisoner rather than a man suffering from a life-threatening infection.

    Woods was stunned with a Taser on August 6, 9 and 14, according to the lawsuit, and no one took his vital signs from August 7 to August 19.

    On August 17, the odor emanating from his foot was so foul that guards "dragged Woods from his cell to the shower, sprayed him with water and then placed him, still naked, in a different cell," the suit states.

    "Jail records affirmatively show Woods did not eat from August 14-19 and that as of August 12, Woods’ water supply was cut off," the lawsuit states. "Jail records also show Woods was naked during this period."

    According to the lawsuit, after August 14, no ACH nurse entered Woods’ cell until August 19, the day he died.

    The report that Woods wasn’t eating left his mother incredulous. A high school football player and heavyweight wrestler, the young man would eat anything but beans, his mother said.

    "He was a big boy. He liked to eat," said Tanyatta Woods, adding that when she needs her spirits lifted, she goes to the restaurant where she and Deundrez shared their last meal and he put down "$50 worth of Mexican food."

    Jefferson took another turn for the worse. She started sweating and started having difficulty breathing.
    Lawsuit filed by Tanisha Jefferson’s estate

    The night before her phone interview with CNN, Tanyatta Woods was up all night crying over Deundrez’s death, she said. She couldn’t sleep, and her other son had to comfort her.

    She recalled for CNN on Monday how she saw Deundrez a few days before he died. He was brought into court August 15 in a wheelchair, she said.

    She asked court and jail officials why he was in a wheelchair, and they cited patient privacy laws, she said. One official told her Deundrez was suffering from mental problems, but having a nursing and pharmaceutical license, she realized something else was wrong with her son, she said.

    "I told them my son didn’t have any mental problems," she said. "They couldn’t explain to me why he was in a wheelchair."

    He seemed confused and unresponsive, she said. His lips were discolored, he was having trouble seeing and he didn’t seem to remember much, other than the name of his 2-year-old son, Jalen, his mother said.

    "I begged them to take him to the hospital," she said. "They refused."

    The next time she saw Deundrez was in the hospital August 19. He was on life support. She’d have him taken off two days later.

    Other deaths in the same jail

    Woods’ case came about five months after Nikki Listau died and about two months before Tanisha Jefferson died, after serving time in the same jail.

    Listau, 60, was arrested at her home and charged with harassing communications on March 10, 2013. She couldn’t walk and had to be booked into the jail in a wheelchair, another lawsuit states.

    The delirium tremens, or DTs, from her alcohol withdrawal was so severe that she suffered seizures and broke her left femur and fractured multiple ribs "as a result of falling off of her bunk while in a medical watch cell," according to the lawsuit.

    When a guard found her naked on the cell floor, "rambling incoherently," her March 11 video court appearance was canceled.

    Two hours later, Listau was found unresponsive in her cell, the lawsuit says. She was pronounced dead the following day.

    "Despite her condition, Listau received no treatment; defendants just watched Listau deteriorate and eventually die," the lawsuit states.

    I still keep a house full of his football (teammates). … All the kids still come by and check on me.
    Tanyatta Woods, mother of Deundrez Woods

    Unlike Listau, Jefferson, 30, was apparently cognizant that something was wrong with her, according to the lawsuit filed by her mother.

    Arrested on a harassment charge October 14, 2013, she began complaining of rectal and abdominal pain on October 19. She also told jail officials she was unable to have a bowel movement, a third lawsuit states.

    On October 25, the mother of three filed a medical grievance saying she had been sick for at least 10 days, and in an October 28 request to see a doctor, Jefferson asserted she feared for her life and warned that jail and medical staff would be responsible "if something happened to her," the lawsuit states.

    Sherrod elaborated, saying Jefferson wrote a note that read, "If I die, it’s on y’all."

    Jefferson saw a doctor the following day and was prescribed laxatives and sent back to her cell, where she told fellow inmates and jail staff she hadn’t had a bowel movement in 13 days and "she thought she would explode, that she was so weak and in pain she could hardly walk," the lawsuit states.

    "On October 30, 2013, Jefferson took another turn for the worse. She started sweating and started having difficulty breathing," according to the lawsuit, and ACH medical staff were told of Jefferson’s condition, "yet did nothing."

    She saw another nurse the next day and was sent back to her cell again, the lawsuit states.

    That evening, at about 8:40 p.m., she passed out in her cell after "complaining of even more extreme abdominal pain," according to the lawsuit.

    Even then, Jefferson was not sent to the hospital. Instead, she was taken by wheelchair to the medical department for observation. An ambulance was not called until Jefferson became nonresponsive around 9:09 p.m.

    By that time, it was too late.

    She died on Halloween "as a result of complications related to a bowel obstruction most likely caused by an extended period of constipation," the lawsuit says.

    Lawsuits allege a money-saving motive

    All three lawsuits allege that, in each case, the conditions were so severe that even a layperson would have realized they were life-threatening, but ACH ignored each inmate’s symptoms to save money.

    "ACH’s business model, reflected in the agreement, succeeds by underbidding the competition and implementing severe cost control measures, the necessary result of which is unnecessary inmate suffering and liability claims (dealt with through liability insurance)," the suits say.

    They wait and wait and wait and hope it goes away. That’s a formula for killing people.
    Attorney Hank Sherrod

    Even in the months after the three deaths, Sherrod noted, jail administrator Steve Morrison spoke at length of the financial burden of providing health care to inmates.

    In an April story published several months before any of the lawsuits were filed, CNN affiliate WAFF-TV reported the county was seeking state or federal coverage for certain health care expenses. Morrison told the station, "Constitutionally we’re supposed to provide medical care. … It doesn’t say we have to pay for it."

    The jail has $800,000 earmarked for outside care, Morrison said, but the funds can be depleted with just a few hospitalizations.

    "We had an inmate that had some type of illness from all the psychotropic drugs that he’d been taking throughout his lifetime. He was in a coma for a long time, and it was almost $300,000 for him. Now when you get just one of those out of a thousand inmates, that can really cripple your budget," Morrison told the station.

    The jail referred all of CNN’s questions to the county attorney, who issued only the aforementioned statement.

    Sherrod hopes jail and ACH staff aren’t intentionally letting people die to save money, but they’ve demonstrated a willingness to "roll the dice with people’s lives," he said.

    "They wait and wait and wait and hope it goes away. That’s a formula for killing people," he said.

    The lawsuits ask for unspecified compensatory and punitive damages and legal fees, and while that may provide some relief to the loved ones of those who died, Tanyatta Woods is more interested in answers: Namely, why would jail staff ignore her son’s suffering for days, even after he became unresponsive?

    She’s not the only one wanting answers, she said. Her son was a "lovable" fellow with many family members and friends. Deundrez even kept in touch with his middle school coaches and teachers, and they, too, were shocked by his death, she said.

    Until she gets her answers, she’ll lean on her other son as well as Deundrez’s old pals from his football and wrestling teams. They love her shrimp Alfredo, and she’s more than happy to whip up a barbecue or fish fry for them.

    "I still keep a house full of his football (teammates)," she said. "All the kids still come by and check on me."

    CNN’s Devon M. Sayers contributed to this report.

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    Pot oil "miracle in a bottle" cure could land mom in jail

    Posted on October 28, 2014. Filed under: CBD/Cannabidiol, Drug War, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law, Medical Marijuana |


    VIDEO HERE

     

    In March, one mother traveled to Colorado

    to get a bottle of cannabis oil in hopes of easing the agonizing pain her 15-year-old son has lived with for the past three years.

    What she calls a mother’s instinct may land her in jail, reports CBS News correspondent Adriana Diaz.

    "I broke the law, but I did it to save my son," Angela Brown said.

    For years, the Minnesota mom searched for a way to end her son’s chronic pain.

    Trey appeared healthy, but a baseball accident in 2011 led to a build-up of pressure inside his head.

    A line drive to Trey’s head caused bleeding in an area of his brain the size of a golf ball. Doctors feared he wouldn’t survive.

    But when he finally woke from a medically induced coma, his mother said the old Trey was gone.

    "He’s the shell of himself," Angela said. "He’s in so much pain, and that causes depression."

    With depression came daily migraines, muscle spasms and uncontrollable outbursts.

    "I cry like every day before I go to bed," Trey said.

    And the pain is intense.

    "Like my brain is about to blow up, cause there is so much pressure," he said.

    To try to ease his pain, Trey’s parents tried 18 different medications, but little helped. Angela believes some of the drugs’ side effects even made her son suicidal.

    "He told me, ‘mom, I don’t want to live, I can’t do this anymore,’" Angela said. "It’s not fair, it’s not fair. I have been so angry."

    But through out it all, she’s tried to be as positive as possible.

    "People keep saying, ‘Oh you’re so strong,’" she said. "No I’m not! I begged him and I said, ‘We will find an answer.’"

    Desperate, she began researching the benefits of medical marijuana. The family drove to Colorado and obtained a bottle of cannabis oil. It’s legal there, but not in Minnesota.

    Angela said after a few drops, Trey’s pain melted away.

    "It was a miracle in a bottle," she said.

    But the miracle didn’t last.

    "It stopped the pain and stopped the muscle spasms," Trey said. "It was helping me go to school until it then got taken away and then school was really hard again."

    It was taken away when his teachers asked why he was doing better in school.

    "I said ‘Well, I gave him an oil that we’d gotten from Colorado,’" Angela recalled. "’It’s derived from a marijuana plant.’ And then you could feel the tension in the room."

    A week later, the sheriff’s department confiscated the oil and county prosecutors charged Angela with child endangerment and requiring child protection. If convicted, she could face up two years in prison and $6,000 in fines.

    "It’s asinine," Angela said. "I didn’t hurt my son; I was trying to prevent him from being hurt."

    While she recognizes the substance is illegal in Minnesota, she defended herself saying it’s "not illegal in other states."

    CBS News reached out to the county prosecutor, law enforcement and Trey’s school district.

    All declined requests for an interview citing the on going case.

    If Angela does go to jail, she fears most for her children.

    "Who would take care of my kids?" she asked. "My boys are mama’s boys."

    As much as they need her, she admitted she needs them just the same.

    In May, Minnesota became the 22nd state to approve specific forms of medicinal marijuana. But the law doesn’t go into effect until next year.

    The Browns said they can’t afford to wait.

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    It was nearly 100 years ago that an influenza pandemic led to sweeping quarantines in American cities

    Posted on October 28, 2014. Filed under: EBOLA, Healthcare, LATEST NEWS |


    By BENJAMIN WEISER and J. DAVID GOODMANOCT. 26, 2014

      It was nearly 100 years ago that an influenza pandemic led to sweeping quarantines in American cities, and it was more than two decades ago that patients in New York were forced into isolation after an outbreak of tuberculosis.

      In modern America, public health actions of such gravity are remarkably rare. So the decisions by New York and New Jersey on Friday to quarantine some travelers returning from the Ebola zone in West Africa have taken public officials into unfamiliar legal and medical territory.

      From public health advocates and civil liberties lawyers has come sharp criticism, and the first person to be detained under the new protocol, a nurse who was quarantined in New Jersey upon returning from Sierra Leone, lashed out on Sunday at Gov. Chris Christie as her lawyer said he would mount a legal challenge to her confinement.

      Continue reading the main story

      But on Sunday night, barely two days after his joint announcement with Mr. Christie, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York announced his state would not go as far as New Jersey has.

      The nurse, Kaci Hickox, gave a critical interview to CNN on Sunday. Later, in an email to The New York Times, she wrote, “My human rights have been violated, and we must react in order to ensure that other health care workers do not endure such injustice.”

      Donna E. Lieberman, the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said the most restrictive protocols are far too broad.

      “The current order is sweeping in individuals who are asymptomatic and who may never develop symptoms,” Ms. Lieberman said. “I think there is a serious question as to whether the governor has the authority to impose the broad quarantine that he has imposed,” she added.

      The quarantine by New Jersey of medical workers returning from Ebola-afflicted areas of West Africa is virtually without precedent in the modern history of the nation, public health and legal experts said on Sunday.

      “This is, I think, pushing the envelope quite a bit and is highly counterproductive,” Lawrence O. Gostin, a professor of global health law at Georgetown University, said. “I can’t think of a situation where any jurisdiction in the United States in modern times has simply quarantined a whole class of people.”

      In a new era of mass travel and global pandemics, public health officials have seen the utility of quarantines to rein in outbreaks that appear to be spiraling out of control. But the approach, experts said, is an extreme one.

      “It doesn’t seem like we’re to that stage yet,” Steven D. Gravely said, a lawyer who helped Virginia rewrite its laws on quarantine to make it easier for the state to respond quickly to disease outbreaks. Instead, he said, “there’s so much anxiety right now, that’s become the problem.”

      Government officials, he added, need to explain “why are you doing this, what do you hope to accomplish. Because otherwise people read into it things that are not there.”

      The power to impose quarantines derives from the general police power granted to states in the Constitution. But over the last century, state and federal authorities have moved away from broadly quarantining categories of people, said Mr. Gostin, adding that one would have to reach back to the influenza pandemic of 1918 to begin to find the sort of blanket approach being employed in response to Ebola in New Jersey.

      General quarantines, seen as having only limited effectiveness even when employed against the flu a century ago, fell out of favor as antibiotics and other treatments were developed to more directly address the contagious without affecting those who might have been exposed but display no sickness.

      At the height of the AIDS epidemic, quarantines were supported in some quarters, but no such measures were ever adopted. Similarly, there were no quarantines in the United States during recent pandemics of H1N1 or SARS.

      The last time patients in New York City were forced into isolation came with the outbreak of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in the early 1990s, said Wendy E. Parmet, professor of health policy and law at Northeastern University School of Law. In those cases, officials targeted those recalcitrant patients who refused to take their medications, she said, rather than every person who tested positive, and even that practice faced court challenges. The approach resulted in the less restrictive “directly observed therapy,” in which patients were forced to take medications in front of officials, she said.

      Continue reading the main story

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      IRS Can Seize Accounts Without Charges!

      Posted on October 27, 2014. Filed under: Drug War, Federal Government, IRS, LATEST NEWS |


      Law lets IRS seize accounts without filing criminal complaint

      Using a law designed to help catch drug traffickers, racketeers and terrorists by tracking their cash, the government has gone after run-of-the-mill business owners and wage earners without so much as an allegation that they have committed serious crimes.

      By SHAILA DEWAN

      ARNOLDS PARK, Iowa — For almost 40 years, Carole Hinders has dished out Mexican specialties at her modest, cash-only restaurant. For just as long, she deposited the earnings at a small bank branch a block away, until last year, when two tax agents knocked on her door and informed her they had seized her funds, almost $33,000.
      The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents did not accuse Hinders of money laundering or cheating on her taxes. She has not been charged with any crime. Instead, the money was seized solely because she had deposited less than $10,000 at a time, which they viewed as an attempt to avoid triggering a required government report.
      “How can this happen?” Hinders said in a recent interview. “Who takes your money before they prove that you’ve done anything wrong with it?”
      The federal government does.
      Using a law designed to help catch drug traffickers, racketeers and terrorists by tracking their cash, the government has gone after run-of-the-mill business owners and wage earners without so much as an allegation that they have committed serious crimes. The government can take the money without filing a criminal complaint, and the owners are left to prove they are innocent. Many simply give up and settle the case for a portion of their money.
      “They’re going after people who are really not criminals,” said David Smith, a former federal prosecutor who is now a forfeiture expert and lawyer in Virginia. “They’re middle-class citizens who have never had any trouble with the law.”
      On Thursday, in response to questions from The New York Times, the IRS said it would curtail the practice, focusing instead on cases where the money is believed to have been acquired illegally or seizure is deemed justified by “exceptional circumstances.”
      Richard Weber, chief of Criminal Investigation at the IRS, said in a written statement: “This policy update will ensure that C.I. continues to focus our limited investigative resources on identifying and investigating violations within our jurisdiction that closely align with C.I.’s mission and key priorities.” He added that making deposits of less than $10,000 to evade reporting requirements, called structuring, is still a crime whether the money is from legal or illegal sources. The new policy will not affect seizures that have occurred.
      IRS seizures increase
      The IRS is one of several federal agencies that pursue such cases and then refer them to the Justice Department. The Justice Department does not track the total number of cases pursued, the amount of money seized or how many of the cases were related to other crimes, said Peter Carr, a spokesman.
      But the Institute for Justice, a Washington, D.C.-based public-interest law firm that is seeking to reform civil-forfeiture practices, analyzed structuring data from the IRS, which made 639 seizures in 2012, up from 114 in 2005. Only one in five was prosecuted as a criminal case.
      The practice has swept up dairy farmers in Maryland, an Army sergeant in Virginia saving for his children’s college education and Hinders, 67, who has borrowed money, strained her credit cards and taken out a second mortgage to keep her restaurant going.
      Her money was seized under an increasingly controversial area of law known as civil-asset forfeiture, which allows law-enforcement agents to take property they suspect of being tied to crime even if no criminal charges are filed. Law-enforcement agencies get to keep a share of whatever is forfeited.
      Owners who are caught up in structuring cases often cannot afford to fight. The median amount seized by the IRS was $34,000, according to the Institute for Justice analysis, while legal costs can easily mount to $20,000 or more.
      Under the Bank Secrecy Act, banks and other financial institutions must report cash deposits greater than $10,000. But since many criminals are aware of that requirement, banks also are supposed to report any suspicious transactions, including deposit patterns below $10,000. Last year, banks filed more than 700,000 suspicious-activity reports, which are reviewed by more than 100 multiagency task forces.
      There is nothing illegal about depositing less than $10,000 unless it is done specifically to evade the reporting requirement. But often a bank statement is enough for investigators to obtain a seizure warrant. In one Long Island case, police submitted almost a year’s worth of daily deposits by a business, ranging from $5,550 to $9,910. The officer wrote in his warrant affidavit that based on his training and experience, the pattern “is consistent with structuring.” The government seized $447,000 from the business, a cash-intensive candy and cigarette distributor that has been run by one family for 27 years.
      Legitimate reasons
      There are often legitimate business reasons for keeping deposits below $10,000, said Larry Salzman, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice who is representing Hinders and the Long Island family pro bono. For example, he said, some grocery-store owners in Fraser, Mich., had an insurance policy that covered only up to $10,000 cash. When they neared the limit, they would make a deposit.
      Hinders, said that she did not know about the reporting requirement and that for decades, she thought she had been doing everyone a favor.
      “My mom had told me if you keep your deposits under $10,000, the bank avoids paperwork,” she said. “I didn’t actually think it had anything to do with the IRS.”
      Lawyers say it is not unusual for depositors to be advised by financial professionals, or even bank tellers, to keep their deposits below the reporting threshold.
      In the Long Island case, the company, Bi-County Distributors, had three bank accounts closed because of the paperwork burden of its frequent cash deposits, said Jeff Hirsch, the eldest of three brothers who own the company. Their accountant then recommended staying below the limit, so the company began using the excess cash to pay vendors, and carried on for more than a decade.
      More than two years ago, the government seized $447,000, and the brothers have been unable to retrieve it. Salzman, who has taken over legal representation of the brothers, has argued that prosecutors violated a strict timeline laid out in the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act, passed in 2000 to curb abuses.
      The office of the federal attorney for the Eastern District of New York said the law’s timeline did not apply in this case. The federal attorney’s office said that parties often voluntarily negotiated to avoid going to court and that Joseph Potashnik, the Hirsches’ first lawyer, had been engaged in talks until just a few months ago. But Potashnik said he had spent that time trying, to no avail, to show that the brothers were innocent. They even paid a forensic accounting firm $25,000 to check the books.
      “I don’t think they’re really interested in anything,” Potashnik said of the prosecutors. “They just want the money.”
      Bi-County has survived only because longtime vendors have extended credit — one is owed almost $300,000, Hirsch said. Twice, the government has made settlement offers that would require the brothers to give up an “excessive” portion of the money, according to a new court filing.
      “We’re just hanging on as a family here,” Hirsch said. “We weren’t going to take a settlement because I was not guilty.”
      Army Sgt. Jeff Cortazzo of Arlington, Va., began saving for his daughters’ college costs during the financial crisis, when many banks were failing. He stored cash first in his basement and then in a safe-deposit box. All of the money came from his paychecks, he said, but he worried that when he finally deposited it in a bank he would be forced to pay taxes on the money a second time. So he asked the bank teller what to do.
      “She said: ‘Oh, that’s easy. You just have to deposit less than $10,000.’ ”
      The government seized $66,000; settling cost Cortazzo $21,000. As a result, the eldest of his three daughters had to delay college by a year.
      “Why didn’t the teller tell me that was illegal?” he said. “I would have just plopped the whole thing in the account and been done with it.”

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

        Posted on October 27, 2014. Filed under: Cannabis/Marijuana, EDUCATIONAL, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


        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)

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