Afghanistan: Democracy with the flavor of narcotics

Posted on May 26, 2015. Filed under: Drug Addiction, Drug War, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , , , , |


Submitted by TwoCircles.net on 24 May 2015 – 9:32pm

By Dr Mohammad Nazrul Bari and Milad Alimoradian,

Afghanistan has been the core of exhaustive research and analysis. This great landlocked country with an excellent ancient history has seen lots of difficult and different situations, especially in the last century; it suffered massively from several external and internal issues such as political, sociological, religious, etc. However, by looking at the internal issues we see that it’s linked to external interventions, which are not proliferating and productive for the country. This simply means that the external elements created the major devastating issues in the country: exploitation in all various forms can be seen as one of the main issues.

Due to the unique tangible and intangible sources of Afghanistan, the political merchants always had their eyes on this land and tried their best to exploit its society by all means. However, one of the greatest essential elements that has been missed in the political system and culture of this country is democracy.

There is no doubt that democracy is an essential element for the present society and contemporary world-order. Without democracy the system will lead to a closed dark era in which a number of civil rights will be sacrificed by the ruling power, and the social and public welfares will be replaced by personal agendas and motives. However, the question is how should democracy be implemented in a political system that was far away from it? How should it adjust with traditions, customs and norms of the society? Does the use of force make it a liberal country without giving birth to any other internal issue? Or should it be achieved, step by step, through a social process? An analysis of all these concerns needs more space and research. Considering its limitations, this article focuses on the trade of narcotics in the hurdles in the way of democracy in Afghanistan before and after the invasion by the US forces.

Resilient Afghans come out in large number despite Taliban threats

A man being frisked by security force outside a polling booth in Kabul on April 5, 2014 Presidential Election. Courtesy: Aaquib Khan

The 9/11 was a land mark in the history of the United States of America. In fact, it initiated a new era in the world history. Since that time the doctrine of Bush (former US President) became the agenda of foreign policy of USA all over the world. According to this policy, the United State has a right to defend itself against countries that harbour or give aid to the terrorist groups.

The first target of the US became Afghanistan because it was under Taliban rule and, more significantly, al-Qaida had sufficient backup from them. Statistically, at the time of attack, the al-Qaida had only 200 active and trained jihadists. Thanks to CIA, now most of the Islamic terrorists groups are named al-Qaida or associated to al-Qaida. This scenario has three reasons: first, the one way journalism policy of the west in which the news corporation follows only one dimensional lead; second, the socio-cultural thinking of western individuals; and the last, the framing and marketing of foreign policy of western politics that became a strategy in the political structure of policy making of the West.

For example, what the world faced during the Cold War before 1991 is a structure of ideologies and world-views of the Communists threatening the West. As a result, it became the main enemy of the West, but, later on, it was replaced by the menace of Islamic fundamentalism.

However, when the Taliban gets defeated within few days, the call for democracy becomes the agenda for development of Afghanistan as US did in the past and doing it in the West Asia. After the elapse of 14 years, still the concept of democracy is grappling with complex and inhumane issues for the civil-rights of the citizens of the country.

The recent Presidential election in Afghanistan took too much time, and in second ballot, Abdullah didn’t accept the result of election and declared the election a coup. Finally, both opponents came together for a resolution that resulted as a new form of practical bureaucratic system in which Abdullah will act as a semi kind of Prime Minister known as Chief Executive Officer. From another point-of-view, it took a long time for the president,Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai to introduce his cabinet to the Parliament. All these facts show the internal difficulties for the new government in the way of democracy.

Narcotics are one of the beneficial businesses all over the world. Opium as the mother of drugs and ancient types of narcotics has been introduced by the invasion of Alexander to minor Asia. For the first time, it was cultivated in Mesopotamia and later on brought to Egypt and from Egypt to Cyprus and from there came to Asia Minor by Alexander. Now in present day, Afghanistan is the major producer of opium not only in minor Asia but all over the world.

Taliban banned the cultivation of opium but the post-Taliban era gave a new opportunity to the people of this region to cultivate injurious drugs. Fortunately or unfortunately, under the internal chaos of the country, they would be able to produce more and more. One of the reasons for cultivation of opium is that it doesn’t need much water or care. It’s easy to cultivate and always has good market. According to the UN report of 2012, Afghanistan, the biggest producer, produced 74% of the total opium of the world. According to Din Mohammad Mobarez Rashidi, Minister of Counter Narcotics, drug mafia’s benefit is USD 80 billion each year, of which only USD 1 billion goes to the farmers. The so called Prophet of democracy, the United States spends USD 7.5 billion against narcotics in Afghanistan.

According to Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), cultivated fields of Opium poppy (Papaver Somniferum) cultivation takes up 2,09,000 hectares (516,230 acres) of land in Afghanistan, a 36% increase since 2012. About 1.3 million Afghan adults were regular drug users in 2012, which is 1 million additional to the data of 2009; the regular opium users grew to 2,30,000 in 2009 from the 1,30,000 in 2005. Another fact is the population of Afghanistan is just under 32 million. Helmand and Kandahar provinces are major producers of opium in Afghanistan. In other words, Afghanistan produces 75% of the world’s opium. According to the inspector, the reason of this massive growth in production is due to the withdrawal plan of American forces from the region. In consequence, the drug lords have safe and secure lands for their business.

However, it has another face, and the statement of the inspector has been criticized by others.

According to Le Monde magazine, there is indirect cooperation between the American forces and these drug mafias in recent years. Further Le Monde writes that drug mafia and US army are using the Taliban forces for the protection of their business lines.

The majority of American forces have left the country by the end of 2014, and this act shows the reluctant motivation of Americans in countering narcotics way. The continuous growth of narcotics shows that the Americans are not able to control these phenomena despite expending billions of dollars. Drug mafia produced 5,500 tons opium in 2013 but only 41,000 of this scale has been captured by the anti-narcotics forces.

The prevailing corruptions and loss of the sensibility of righteousness at the high level have brought down the country into a deep-state. The National Officials have closed their eyes on the activity of drug lords by receiving bribes from them. They don’t share their intelligence with counter narcotics forces and therefore it slows the process. On the other hand, there are reluctant feelings between Americans and local forces for collaboration in this regards. The scenario gets worse when most of the drug mafias are officials in the government of Afghanistan. Therefore, even Americans turn away, because first of all they supported Hamid Karzai government and now the present one. Moreover, it’s not directly related to anti-terrorism agenda. According to Thomas Schweich, the Ex U S State Department Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, almost all political parties’ hands are dirty in this trade. The benefit of this trade created a situation in which both the government and the Taliban are involved, and reluctance of the government in counter narcotics actions is a proof for this involvement.

For example, on October 28, 2010 agents of Russia’s Federal Service for the Control of Narcotics joined Afghans and Americans anti-drug forces in an operation to destroy a major drug production site near Jalalabad. In the operation 932 kilograms of high quality heroin and 156 kilograms of opium, with a street value of US$ 250 million, and a large amount of technical equipment were seized. This was the first anti-drug operation to include Russian agents. According to Viktor Ivanov, Director of Russia’s Federal Service for the Control of Narcotics, this marks an advance in relations between Moscow and Washington. Conversely, the statement of Afghan President Hamid Karzai shows another tendency. He called the operation a violation of Afghan sovereignty and international law.

The West and its allies should be more honest in their efforts to make Afghanistan as war free zone in south Asia without getting involved in the profit of opium trade. True democracy can only be established when the people of Afghanistan start thinking above the selfish and self-centric approach.

Dr Mohammad Nazrul Bari is associated with Department of History, School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Central University of Karnataka, Kalaburagi, India (He can be reached at: albari31@rediffmail.com)

Milad Alimoradian is an expert in international relation and national security, Iran (He can be reached at: milad.alimoradian@gmail.com)

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RFRA and Church of Cannabis: Partake or bust?

Posted on May 26, 2015. Filed under: INDIANA, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , , |


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J&C readers 12:14 p.m. EDT May 22, 2015

Question: Bill Levin, an Indianapolis resident, said he plans to hold the first services of his newly created, marijuana-devoted First Church of Cannabis on July 1, the day Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act goes into effect, to test the new law. How should police and the state handle the situation?

• They should ignore it. The war on (some) drugs has been an unqualified failure, needlessly destroying countless lives and trashing the precepts of our Constitution. Considering that the original federal RFRA was passed to protect the religious use of peyote, I think this is a perfect response.

Rob Keeney

Flora

• Arrest him, and let him try his defense. I assume that’s what he’s expecting. Surely he’s not as stupid as the people who attacked RFRA as if it gave carte blanche.

Roger Bennett

Lafayette

• This is why we have the Establishment Clause: the minute you start getting the government mucking around with religion — as RFRA does — you get into all sorts of nasty corners, like this one. The law is pretty clear the state cannot interfere with their religious behavior, so this this is an example of "hoist on one’s own petard" in action.

Brian Capouch

Monon

• Presumably he will be supported by all Christians who supported the law in the first place. The police should go investigate real crimes. Be careful what you wish for, Christians, you might get it.

Mark D. Rumps

Lafayette

• I don’t think drug use is covered under the law. I say bust him.

Mark Acles

Lafayette

• Well, they wanted to protect "religious freedom" with this law, didn’t they? Since when should the government determine what qualifies as a religion? This is what happens when we try to mix church and state.

Noemi Ybarra

Lafayette

• Abe Lincoln asked, "If you call a dog’s tail a leg, how many legs would it have?" His answer: "Four. Calling the tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg." Calling a criminal enterprise a church does not make it a church and should be punished as a crime.

Tom Haynie

Buffalo

• If you think this case is a problem, be glad they amended this monstrosity, or Indiana would be headed toward daily media humiliation. This case is directly similar to the one that started the federal RFRA.

Randy Studt

Lafayette

• I thought the new law was to protect the religious rights of all people? How about the Flat Earth Society? I have it from good authority that in the Star Trek Universe, there is a Flat Universe Society.

Furman A. Powell

Lafayette

• The media created the controversy by exaggerating RFRA to make Gov. Mike Pence look bad. They got their wish. Liberals tend to be the master of unintended consequences, so most rational Indiana residents already expected this type of action. Expect more legislation, more unintended consequences, more wasted tax dollars.

Dan Sommers

West Lafayette

• Join them. Sarcastically, it’s pretty much like I said when you asked a very similar question last December before the state legislature convened: "You’ll see recreation marijuana legalized long before selling ‘to go’ alcohol on a Sunday."

John Kuntz

Fowler

• Any law enforcement or state officials that show up should "take communion" just like everyone else attending the service.

Bryce Culverhouse

Lafayette

• Close the church down, it is illegal in the state of Indiana.

Carolyn Foust

Lafayette

• Shut him down and treat him to a period of time in jail. He is trying an illegal scam, and it will not work.

Harold Williams

Shadeland

• The exact opposite of how they probably will handle it. Honest to goodness.

Mike Dudgeon

Lafayette

• I think it is obvious — if it fits the law, then leave them alone.

Pat Rund

Romney

• This is what no one needs. This is Indiana, for goodness sake. Obviously, one of the more conservative states and this sort of weirdness only makes the underlying message more difficult to get out and for the public and for businesses to take seriously.

Bill Cochran

Lafayette

• If he is following the RFRA, and if the act is to allow religious freedom, what can they do? There is nothing in the law to prevent this church from practicing the rites of its religion.

Mary Finnegan

Lafayette

• Let Bill worship his idol, pot. But, should Bill or any of his followers hurt someone when "all hopped up on dope," the penalty is clear. Bill claims no faith in religion; me, either. My faith is in Jesus, who said, "No one comes to the father but through me."

Jon Held

Lafayette

• Lock them up and throw away the key.

Jack Lahrman

Sheffield Township

• The police and the state should attend the church of their choice.

David B. Dobbin

West Lafayette

• Why should the police or the state get involved unless their newfound religion is infringing on someone’s rights? The less we have Big Brother controlling our thoughts and actions, the more liberty and freedom citizens can preserve.

Edward Priest

Battle Ground

• Under the law for Indiana and marijuana, this would be a criminal act. Indiana police and the state should treat this fairly, as any one who breaks the law. I would hope the dealer’s arrested and faces Indiana courts, as anyone who commits a criminal act.

Shelby Branstetter

Lafayette

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In Siberia charred seeds have been found inside burial mounds dating back to 3000 B.C.

Posted on May 16, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana | Tags: , , , , , , |


Picture of

 

By Hampton Sides

Photographs by Lynn Johnson

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There’s nothing new about cannabis, of course. It’s been around humankind pretty much forever.

In Siberia charred seeds have been found inside burial mounds dating back to 3000 B.C. The Chinese were using cannabis as a medicine thousands of years ago. Marijuana is deeply American too—as American as George Washington, who grew hemp at Mount Vernon. For most of the country’s history, cannabis was legal, commonly found in tinctures and extracts.

Then came Reefer Madness. Marijuana, the Assassin of Youth. The Killer Weed. The Gateway Drug. For nearly 70 years the plant went into hiding, and medical research largely stopped. In 1970 the federal government made it even harder to study marijuana, classifying it as a Schedule I drug—a dangerous substance with no valid medical purpose and a high potential for abuse, in the same category as heroin. In America most people expanding knowledge about cannabis were by definition criminals.

But now, as more and more people are turning to the drug to treat ailments, the science of cannabis is experiencing a rebirth. We’re finding surprises, and possibly miracles, concealed inside this once forbidden plant. Although marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug, Vivek Murthy, the U.S. surgeon general, recently expressed interest in what science will learn about marijuana, noting that preliminary data show that “for certain medical conditions and symptoms” it can be “helpful.”

In 23 states and the District of Columbia cannabis is legal for some medical uses, and a majority of Americans favor legalization for recreational use. Other countries are rethinking their relationship to pot too. Uruguay has voted to legalize it. Portugal has decriminalized it. Israel, Canada, and the Netherlands have medical marijuana programs, and in recent years numerous countries have liberalized possession laws.

Ganja is simply around us more, its unmistakable but increasingly unremarkable smell hanging in the air. Yes, smoking it may lead to temporary laughing sickness, intense shoe-gazing, amnesia about what happened two seconds ago, and a ravenous yearning for Cheez Doodles. Though there’s never been a death reported from an overdose, marijuana—especially today’s stout iterations—is also a powerful and in some circumstances harmful drug.

Still, for many, cannabis has become a tonic to dull pain, aid sleep, stimulate appetite, buffer life’s thumps and shocks. Pot’s champions say it peels back layers of stress. It’s also thought to be useful as, among other things, an analgesic, an antiemetic, a bronchodilator, and an anti-inflammatory. It’s even been found to help cure a bad case of the hiccups. Compounds in the plant, some scientists contend, may help the body regulate vital functions—such as protecting the brain against trauma, boosting the immune system, and aiding in “memory extinction” after catastrophic events.

In the apparent rush to accept weed into the mainstream, to tax and regulate it, to legitimize and commodify it, important questions arise. What’s going on inside this plant? How does marijuana really affect our bodies and our brains? What might the chemicals in it tell us about how our neurological systems function? Could those chemicals lead us to beneficial new pharmaceuticals?

If cannabis has something to tell us, what’s it saying?

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Orbitofrontal volumes in early adolescence predict initiation of cannabis use: a 4-year longitudinal and prospective study.

Posted on May 14, 2015. Filed under: Cannabis and Religion, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana, Mental Health | Tags: , , , |


Cheetham A1, Allen NB, Whittle S, Simmons JG, Yücel M, Lubman DI.

Author information
Abstract
BACKGROUND:

There is growing evidence that long-term, heavy cannabis use is associated with alterations in regional brain volumes. Although these changes are frequently attributed to the neurotoxic effects of cannabis, it is possible that some abnormalities might predate use and represent markers of vulnerability. To date, no studies have examined whether structural brain abnormalities are present before the onset of cannabis use. This study aims to determine whether adolescents who have initiated cannabis use early (i.e., before age 17 years) show premorbid structural abnormalities in the amygdala, hippocampus, orbitofrontal cortex, and anterior cingulate cortex.

METHODS:

Participants (n = 121) were recruited from primary schools in Melbourne, Australia, as part of a larger study examining adolescent emotional development. Participants underwent structural magnetic resonance imaging at age 12 years and were assessed for cannabis use 4 years later, at age 16 years. At the follow-up assessment, 28 participants had commenced using cannabis (16 female subjects [57%]), and 93 had not (43 female subjects [46%]).

RESULTS:

Smaller orbitofrontal cortex volumes at age 12 years predicted initiation of cannabis use by age 16 years. The volumes of other regions (amygdala, hippocampus, and anterior cingulate cortex) did not predict later cannabis use.

CONCLUSIONS:

These findings suggest that structural abnormalities in the orbitofrontal cortex might contribute to risk for cannabis exposure. Although the results have important implications for understanding neurobiological predictors of cannabis use, further research is needed to understand their relationship with heavier patterns of use in adulthood as well as later abuse of other substances.

Copyright © 2012 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Comment in
PMID:
22129756
[PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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And all the green fields will runneth red with blood…

Posted on May 8, 2015. Filed under: Activists, Activists Opinions, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law, ShereeKrider | Tags: , , , , , , , |


 

 

5/8/2015

ShereeKrider

…Our blood. The blood of our children and grandchildren. The U.S. Government will lead us full circle into a pit of damnation with the temptation of a legal way to grow a federally illegal substance which in fact should never have been made illegal to begin with. The fact is that they tricked us into believing that Cannabis was the devils drug in order to make it illegal so that their “laws of commerce” would prevail eternally. This is the top 1% of the populations monetary hold over the rest of us.

Too many high profile Corporations would be endangered with the freedom of cannabis. A “new” commerce will emerge but it generally takes quite a while to build a conglomerate like the ones they have been operating off of since WWII. And that conglomerate does not include Cannabis/Hemp. Therefore we are a threat to their “law of commerce” and must be rounded up and put in our place so the conglomerate Pharmaceutical Companies can get a handle on the use of patented Cannabis Medicines – for dispense by a doctor, and received by the patient via the Pharmacies.

The war will be the most ungodly apocalypse of our generation. It will be fought over the right to sustain ourselves with food. The right not to be inundated with health debilitating chemicals in our food and medicines from the ground through production and sales. It will be fought over a plant. A plant called Cannabis Sativa. A plant over 5000+ years old. A plant that up until 1937 was a sustenance in our daily lives from food to clothing to medicine.

But it is not just one plant that will be in this upcoming annihilation of all self-sufficiency. This is the beginning of the end of life as we know it on this planet and it will not be from nuclear war in and of itself. It will be the complete regulation of gardening our own food and herbs of any kind with a very distinct possibility of losing those rights all together. In other words, anything you consume as sustenance in your body including all types of food and medicine will have to be bought and obtained from a regulated corporation. In short, no more home grown food or marijuana. Thereby they will control your health and your longevity much more than they do now. The establishment of the FDA/DEA was to do just that over a period of time so as to not draw immediate attention and to cover up the real intentions over a period of years.

The California Compassionate Use Act 1996, Cal. Health & Saf. Code, § 11362.5 (1996) was the beginning of the long war to decriminalize or legalize marijuana in the U.S.

Since then we have some sort of State legalization of either/or Medical Marijuana and Adult use in over 20+ States in the Country. But the war goes on.

The regulation of Marijuana in and of itself creates loopholes for people to be incarcerated for this plant – even though it is deemed “legal” in those States. There is a lot of chaos in the Marijuana Market since federally, it is still illegal and at any time the Federal Government can reverse course and decide to prosecute once again under current laws still standing for Marijuana federally.

Federal trumps State – That is just the way it is in this Country. And the U.N. trumps the U.S. Federal Government.

We have a real clusterfuck going on here. Is Marijuana legal or not? NOT.

We have put 20+ years into the fight for the freedom of Cannabis and every time we think we are gaining an inch we were actually gaining that inch for the freedom of the Pharmaceutical Companies to take hold/ownership thru patent seeds/distribution to pharmacies to dispense the plant in whatever form.

The work we did to try to bring this plant back to the people in fact was a quagmire in and of itself because we ramped up the population to fight for the freedom of cannabis, particularly medical cannabis, which lead right into the hands of Government and regulated pharmaceuticals. In effect we fought for Cannabis so that the Pharmaceuticals would be able to take it over.

Of course as far as the Government is concerned the people do not have the aptitude to use the Cannabis plant in the right way so therefore, since it is now being deemed a drug of value the Pharmaceuticals will have to be the ones to produce and dispense because we, the people, do not have the education or ability to use it correctly if not governed by a government entity and our Physicians. Physicians will/are responsible for tracking our drug use thru the almighty drug test which the Government has forced on to them and their Patients.

It is unconstitutional,

It is inhumane,

It is a type of genocide,

It is a means to another end through trickery on the part of the U.S. Government who used us to get what they wanted.

Smk

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THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SENTENCES VIETNAM VETERAN TO DEATH FOR USING MARIJUANA MEDICALLY

Posted on April 28, 2015. Filed under: Drug War, Healthcare, Human Rights, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law, Veterans, War and Order | Tags: , , , , , , |


 

 

 

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Written by:  Cindy Spencer

                          USMjParty Virginia

 

July 27, 2013

 

What ever happened to the land of the free?

He was certainly one of the brave.

There was no judge or jury. No trial. Just a death sentence. Handed down by Uncle Sam.

        Let’s go back a few years for a little history? My father was born in 1949. He was the youngest of three. He lost his mother very prematurely at the very early age of 12. Soon after his father remarried a very hateful and manipulative woman who had no use for her new husband’s dead wife’s baby boy. His older brother and sister were old enough to be out on their own. He was not. So he was shuffled around a bit between various relatives, meanwhile mourning the loss of his mother and now essentially his father. Add to that, the struggles of coping with having to learn to live without the affections of a mother for her baby boy, and the sting of being discarded by his father when he needed him the most, just to please this new “woman” for lack of a better word, who wanted absolutely nothing around to remind her husband of his first wife.

        Now let’s move on to June of 1967 when he began his enlistment into the United States Army. He went thru the training and arrived in Vietnam July 5 1969. My father never spoke much off his time in Vietnam, as doing so sent him back there, and as many Vietnam vets tell me, they’d do almost anything to keep from “going there”. From what I gather, he was, at least for part of the time, the man the carried the communication device in that kept them connected to base, in which air strikes were called in. because of this, I am quite sure he was definitely one that the enemy would try to “take out”. But really, weren’t they attempting to take them all out? Which they nearly did. He also spoke of the feeling of Agent Orange as it fell and landed on his skin. That their own government poisoned them with. He spent 1 year over there, and returned to the states June 19 1970. I think, it is despicable, no, criminal the way our soldiers were treated upon their return. I also firmly believe that was akin to a secondary wounding, except on friendly soil. I cannot imagine what my father and all those others must have felt after what they had gone thru in an attempt to survive while fighting for their country only to be called baby killers and be spat upon by the very people they were dying to protect. It makes me so angry.

      So, now we go to February 1971 when he weds my mother. He loved her with all the love he had to give. He was definitely wounded in the war, but because his injuries weren’t visible yet, he was not treated, much like many,  many others for PTSD. But he most definitely had it. He and my mother started their family with my birth in December of 1972. Then was my brother in March 1976. Then was my sister in January 1978.  And last but not least, was another brother in February 1980. So here he was with a wife and four kids. With no education other than combat training, he worked long hard hours setting up mobile homes for minimum wage. Which obviously didn’t go too far with a family of 6.  He and my mother struggled long and hard. It took a toll on their marriage, but they stuck it out, for now any way. But he had begun to self medicate with alcohol and marijuana that he was introduced to in Vietnam. This went on with all life’s ups and downs for many years until the kids were raised. It was quite violent at times because of the alcohol.

      After my baby brother graduated high school in 2000, he joined the United States Air Force. By now my dads drinking was daily. He was a very small man weighing in at 119 for most of his life. It didn’t take much and he would be pretty loaded. As long as he drank just beer he really wasn’t as bad. It was when the liquor entered the picture that all of his sense, reason, and self control left the building. This was a huge problem and almost broke our family up for good. Around 2002 my mother had taken all the abuse she could handle, and I mean emotional, and verbal. It only got completely physical once that I know of. And my mom was always slightly bigger than my dad, until recently that is, so she could hold her own, until he pulled the guns that is. I lived with them at this time, as my marriage had fallen apart, and I could not afford to remain on my own for many reasons. So my mom left him. Then it got real bad, he grew more and more depressed. He had been seeing a local backwoods dr. forever for whenever he got sick, and for his “nerves”. That dr. had him on some pretty powerful pills for over 20 years. 2mg of Ativan several times a day. I know he needed something, and they definitely helped him, but it wasn’t nearly enough. This entire time he used marijuana regularly. I truly believe it saved us all at times, not just his life.

             He honestly never knew that he could go to the VA for his medical treatment the whole time. But in 2003, after essentially “running his wife off”, in his mind, and trying to work with all the flashbacks he suffered because he couldn’t medicate at work, in my opinion that is, he quit his job at a very small cabinet shop where he sprayed finish. A friend of his talked him into riding with him to an appointment at the VA. So while he was there he saw someone who talked him into checking in to get off alcohol. Unfortunately after he did, the stopped his Ativan cold turkey and he had 2 Grand Mal seizures that resulted in a fall and a fractured skull. He went thru an ordeal, but emerged a recovering alcoholic. He was also off the Ativan, and no other medicine of that nature ever took its place. He even stopped smoking marijuana. For a while. But after returning home, alone, except for me being there with him in the day. He knew he would be drinking in no time if he didn’t at least smoke. The dr. at the VA refused to give him any medicine that was controlled, as she had labeled him from the word go, as a drug seeker. Which was completely untrue. He was self medicated. It was his only choice.

        It took him and my mom some hard work, but they started over in a new place in 2007. He had finally gotten his pension money for a service connected disability that he had suffered for years. And he wanted to buy the woman he loved a nice home for them to start the next chapter in their lives. He never got drunk again. As it turned out he had awesome will power once he was treated for PTSD thru counseling, antidepressants, and mostly “medicinal use marijuana”.

         Not too long after they got in the new place, my dad was surveying the wood on his land on his 4 wheeler, and as he went over a large tree root, the 4 wheeler tilted some and he instinctively threw his leg out to catch himself, and “snap” broke his leg. My mom panicking, of course, got my brother to help, and called 911 to come get him. In all the commotion, it never occurred to anyone to remove a marijuana cigarette from his shirt pocket. After they rushed him to the hospital, and began assessing his injuries, and I’m a little foggy on how, but hospital staff observed the marijuana cigarette, and alerted the law. They came, and charged him with the possession of it. Well he was in the hospital a while, but after he got out, he went to court when his paper said to, and thru confusion, they didn’t have him on the docket or something to that affect, and after thorough checking, my parents went home. Here is where it gets interesting. After someone somewhere somehow really “effed” something up, and charged him with being a fugitive from justice. They never came to arrest him at home, which is where he was confined with a broken leg, instead they called him at home from the VA to tell him his money would stop because he was a fugitive. He asked them how on earth he was a fugitive when they called him at home to tell him this. Well he had to get an expensive lawyer to fight the erroneous charges, which he did when, but not before they stopped his money for several months until it was straightened out.

            So, even after all that, he still kept his appointments, trying now to be treated for the pain he was constantly experiencing as a result of the broken leg and subsequent placement of a steel bar. Well, of course that wasn’t going to happen, after all, he was already branded with “the scarlet label”. Only now, he was under the impression that if he continued to smoke, without admitting himself for another 28 day stay, he may again risk losing his income. That, in my opinion, should be criminal. So, fearing losing his money, again, he slacked of going to the VA. He was in a no win situation. His appointments became fewer and farther between. After all, he had tried to be as compliant as possible while maintaining some sort of tolerable balance between mood stabilizers, anti depressants, whatever ineffective pain med they may send, and his old faithful plant that grows from the ground that God himself put here for us to use.

    Now, here we are to 2012. He had been feeling down, and tired, and must have been in excruciating pain, but didn’t let on too much to us. He was spending more and more time in bed. We at first thought he was depressed, as he had been before. But when he didn’t respond as he normally did, we began to urge him to let us take him to the dr. he refused. He said they would just treat him like he was looking for drugs, and he was so tired of that. Couple more months passed by, and he made himself get up more, but I think it was so we would quit trying to get him to go to the dr.  Well on Friday, July 13, 2012 my mom called me upset saying she couldn’t get him to wake up good, and would I come over and help her make him go to the hospital. So we raced over, and got him up and dressed, and I asked him if I could call an ambulance. He said no. so my mom drove him, and my son and I followed.

          From this point things went really fast. So fast, that it is almost a blur. I want to say that it was around 7:30 pm when the dr. came in and asked my dad if he wanted the news with us in there or if he wanted his privacy. My dad said”just lay it on me”. She said “Mr. Spencer, you have cancer. It is esophageal cancer and has spread to your lungs, your liver, and your lymph nodes.” I’m sorry to say that I am unaware of what she said next, as I quickly turned to step out of his view so he wouldn’t have to see my face as I fell apart. I’ve always been daddy’s girl, and have been by his side for a lot of things. I could not face him for a while after that, as I didn’t want him to be anymore afraid than I knew he must already be. He had always feared cancer. Kind of like he somehow knew that would be what got him. The next few days were filled with sobs and drs. And swollen faces, and family members we hadn’t seen in years. This was really it. I begged them to explain why we couldn’t try to treat it, even though I knew.

      My father, James R. Spencer, who fought in the deadliest war in our history, died on July 18 2012 at 12:16 am. Just 4 and a half days after being diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic esophageal cancer. Think about that as I have had to. He battled unimaginable pain and sickness for god only knows how long without the benefit of modern medicine to at the very least ease some of his pain, and for what? He deserved to be treated like a human being. If for no other reason than he was. But he was a Vietnam War veteran with honorable discharge. Why was he treated like a drug seeker just for being sick with a disease he got BECAUSE he fought for this country?  I am so angry. I cannot for the life of me ever remember hearing of anyone who battled what had to have been years of terminal cancer without so much as the mildest pain pill. He did not deserve to suffer like that. All because of the fear that was instilled in him by the Veterans Administration that he would lose his ability to support his wife and put food on the table once he lost his income because he chose a god given flower to calm his troubled mind, and ease some of his suffering once it was evident that he would not receive adequate treatment from the VA for an illness that he did not bring on himself.

     This was senseless almost manslaughter. I may not be a lawyer, nor am I a dr. but I am a human being, and I am an American. I have just as much right to be heard as anyone else. This country is falling apart. Why won’t government open their eyes to see what they are doing to America’s people?  Can someone out there help me? It is now my life’s mission to spread my father’s story to anyone who will hear, and especially to those who wouldn’t. It is those that are single minded about the subject that have cost me and my children our father and grandfather. maybe someday we can change enough minds to make sure that this Vietnam veteran hero didn’t die in vain!! That thru his story, never again would something like this happen to any American!

       Thank you for your time,

        Cynthia Spencer Mitchell

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Do You Know What’s on Your Weed?

Posted on April 28, 2015. Filed under: Cannabis/Marijuana, Farming, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana, Medical Marijuana | Tags: , , , , , , , |


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

by Tobias Coughlin-Bogue

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Kinds of Pesticides Are Recreational Marijuana Growers Using?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Kinds of Pesticides Are Medical Marijuana Growers Using?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If You Aren’t Sure, Get It Tested

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

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

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

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

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

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Marijuana Reform Activists Push for Change with DEA Head

Posted on April 22, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Political | Tags: , , , , , |


 

 

DEA administrator Michele Leonhart testifies before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in a hearing on sexual harassment and misconduct allegations at the DEA and FBI in Washington on April 14, 2015.

 

And the resignation of Chief of Administration Michele Leonhart offers the chance for change

Marijuana legalization advocates are excited about the departure of Michele Leonhart, the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, whom they long considered an obstruction in their goal of reforming the nation’s drug laws.

“We are happy to see her go,” says Dan Riffle, the director of federal policies at the Marijuana Policy Project. “She’s a career drug warrior at a time when we’ve decided the ‘War on Drugs’ is an abject failure.”

Leonhart has been at the DEA for 35 years and served as the top dog since 2007. Though the recent scandal involving agents soliciting sex from prostitutes is what will likely most clearly tarnish her reputation, her position on drug policy has led marijuana reform activists to call for her resignation, says says Neill Franklin of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Franklin, a veteran of the Maryland state police, calls her position on marijuana reform “archaic.”

Leonhart has been a major hurdle in the effort to reconsider marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance, which could pave the way for more research into the health benefits of the drug. In 2011, the agency again rejected a petition to reschedule marijuana. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, the agency spent about $100 million in 2012 alone on enforcement regarding medical marijuana laws.

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“Leonhart opposed medical marijuana, she opposed sentencing reform, she opposed pretty much everything that Obama was doing and for that matter everything Congress was doing,” says Bill Piper, the director of National Affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance.

The Drug Policy Alliance is one of several drug and marijuana policy organizations that have previously called for Leonhart’s removal. Following a speech in which Leonhart was critical of Obama’s assertion that smoking marijuana was no more harmful that drinking alcohol, the Marijuana Policy Project and over 47,000 citizens called for her to resign. A Drug Policy Alliance petition called for her removal following revelations that the DEA had been tracking citizens’ phone calls for decades. Organizations including Students for Sensible Drug Policy and the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws have also called for her resignation.

Though who will be filling in for Leonhart isn’t yet clear, activists say her replacement should be more supportive of ongoing reform initiatives, including reducing mass incarceration and taking the health impact of drugs into consideration when formulating policy. What’s more, Piper says, her removal could lead the Obama administration to reschedule marijuana before the President leaves office.

“This offers a good opportunity for marijuana reform to move forward quicker than it has been moving,” Piper says.

More than that, though, it could signal and even steeper change to policy regarding the enforcement of drug laws. As more states consider legalizing marijuana in some form—23 states have legalized medical use and four have given the green light to toking up recreationally. Six additional states could consider legalization during the 2016 election. As the nation’s stance on that shifts, so too should its approach to drug enforcement, advocates say.

“Within the next 10 years, I see massive drug policy reform and therefore really an end to the DEA,” Franklin says. The new leader, he says, should approach the role as if he or she is “dismantling a decommissioned battleship and selling the pieces for scrap metal.”

“For most part, the DEA exists because they’re enforcing prohibition,” he adds. “I believe we’re moving away from prohibition and more toward health.”

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Monsanto Creates First Genetically Modified Strain of Marijuana

Posted on April 16, 2015. Filed under: GMO, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana | Tags: , , , , , |


April 9th, 2015 | by Bob Flanagan

 

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St-Louis, MO | Monsanto, the multi-billion agribusiness giant, has announced today it has patented the first genetically modified strain of marijuana.

The news that has been welcomed by scientists and leaders of the agriculture business alike as a move forward towards the industrial use of marijuana and hemp products could bring a major shift towards marijuana policies in the U.S.A. and ultimately, to the world.

Under present US federal law, it is illegal to possess, use, buy, sell, or cultivate marijuana, since the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, although it has been decriminalized to some extent in certain states, Monsanto’s interest in the field has been interpreted by experts as the precursor to “a major shift in marijuana policy in the US” as it is believed the company would not have invested so much time and energy if it had not had “previous knowledge” of the Federal government’s “openness” towards the future legalization of marijuana.

Lawyer and marijuana law specialist, Edmund Groensch, of the Drug Policy Alliance, admits Monsanto’s involvement in marijuana projects could definitely help the pro-legalization activists.

“Currently, Federal law criminalizes marijuana and hemp derivatives because public opinion is still against it and legal commercial production in the U.S. is currently handled by a patchwork of small farmers whom are not trusted by investors. A major player as Monsanto could bring confidence within government and towards investors in the market if it were to own a large part of the exploitable lands and commercial products”.

“There is presently no way to control the production of marijuana and the quality of the strains. A GM strain produced by a company with the credentials and prestige of Monsanto would definitely lend a massive hand to pro-legalization activists within certain spheres of government and within the business world” he explains.

Although Monsanto’s testing on cannabis is only at an experimental stage, no plan has yet been released by the agriculture business firm as to what purposes the patented strain would be used for, although specialists believe answers should come this fall as rumors of a controversial new bill which could “loosen up laws around medical marijuana” is reportedly scheduled to pass before congress coming this fall.

Critics fear genetically modified cannabis will mix with other strains and could destroy the diversity of DNA, a reality dismissed by most studies claim experts.

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Myths of cannabis & hemp cross-pollination

Posted on April 10, 2015. Filed under: Farming, HEMP, KENTUCKY WEED, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana | Tags: , , , , , |


Posted on April 8, 2015 | By Vivian McPeak

 

 

Note: I invited Joy Beckerman to guest blog on this important issue. The opinions expressed are her own. – Vivian

MYTHS & REALITIES OF CROSS-POLLINATION
by Joy Beckerman

Oh, the irony. On the one hand, marijuana and hemp activists have been tortured for decades by the DEA’s exceedingly absurd stance that marijuana growers will use industrial hemp fields to camouflage their marijuana plants; and on the other hand, there has recently arisen the hysterical stance by some populations of outdoor marijuana growers that marijuana and industrial hemp fields must be kept extraordinary distances apart in order to avoid cross-pollination. To be sure – whereas the DEA stance is unequivocally non-factual and has no basis in reality, the cross-pollination hysteria is actually grounded in truth, albeit recently a distorted and emotionally-based version of the truth. Greed inspires irrationality. Let’s have an intelligent conversation based in fact because there is no need for hysteria and cross-pollination is a common agricultural issue with a common agricultural solution…and one that would never require a distance of anywhere in the realm of 200 miles between plant species types. We don’t see the State of Kentucky in an uproar. Make no mistake, Kentucky’s Number One cash crop is outdoor marijuana while Kentucky simultaneously is the country’s Number One industrial hemp producer (both feral [i.e. leftover/wild] and deliberate, now that it is legal to cultivate there).

No doubt it will be helpful to found our discussion on a necessary botany lesson, especially since the most common misunderstanding about the “difference” between marijuana and industrial hemp is that “hemp is ‘the male’ and marijuana is ‘the female.’” In fact, nothing could be farther from the truth. “Cannabis” is the plant genus, “sativa” is Latin for “sown” or “cultivated” (and is included in many scientific plant species names), and the “L.” we often see associated with Cannabis sativa merely stands for the surname initial of Carl Linnaeus, the Swiss botanist who invented taxonomy. Cannabis sativa is a member of the Cannabaceae family. Within the Cannabis sativa plant species, we have the drug type known as “marijuana” and we have the oilseed and fiber type known as “industrial hemp.”

Both plant types – marijuana and industrial hemp – can be dieocious, which is to say they can be either exclusively male or exclusively female; and they can also be monoecious, which is to say they can have the staminate (i.e. the male pollen-producing part) and pistillate (i.e. the female ovum-producing part) on the same plant. However, marijuana is a high-resin crop generally planted about four feet apart for its medicine or narcotic rich leaves and buds, whereas industrial hemp is a low-resin crop generally planted about four inches apart for its versatile stalk and seed. The different kinds of marijuana are classified as “strains” and the different kinds of industrial hemp are classified as “varieties” and “cultivars.”

Industrial hemp is non-psychoactive with a higher ratio of CBD to THC, thus smoking even several acres of it will not result in achieving a high; conversely, only a memorable headache is achieved, regardless of Herculean effort. Marijuana flower production and industrial hemp production cultivation processes are distinctly different. Finally, there is no such thing as a plant or plant species known as “Cannabis hemp” and “hemp” is not a synonym for “marijuana,” “pot,” or “ganja,” etc. Botanists have argued for ages over whether a separate plant species “Cannabis indica” exists, and that age-old debate is not being addressed here.

The significant difference between the two types that effects cross-pollination and legitimately frightens marijuana growers is that hemp plants go to seed fairly quickly and would thus pollinate any marijuana plants growing in the same field or in a nearby field. This is botanically analogous to field corn and sweet corn, one of which is grown for human consumption, and one of which is grown for animal consumption. Corn producers take great measures to prevent any cross-pollination between their field and sweet corns; including growing the different varieties of corn at different times or making sure there is sufficient distance between the different fields. Either way, these corn producers do what is necessary to ensure that pollen carrying the dominant gene for starch synthesis is kept clear of corn silks borne on plants of the recessive (sweet) variety.

Cross-pollination of hemp with marijuana would significantly reduce the potency of the marijuana plants. While hemp farmers are not going to want marijuana cross-pollinating with their hemp and increasing their hemp’s THC content, it would be entirely more disastrous for the marijuana grower if hemp were to cross-pollinate with their marijuana due to the cost of producing and value of selling medical and adult-use marijuana. The concern is real. The concern is valid. But the concern does not merit the level of hysteria that appears to have arisen in Washington. We must take a note from Kentucky.

Industrial hemp is primarily pollinated by wind, and most pollen travels approximately 100 yards, give or take. Bees, of course, can also pollinate hemp; and bees travel up to three miles from their hives. It is also true that, depending on the weight and size of any plant pollen, combined with other natural conditions, wind-borne pollen can technically travel up to 2,000 miles away from the source. Yes, it’s true, up to 2,000 miles. And also it would be beyond ridiculous to give serious agricultural consideration to this extreme factoid for entirely obvious reasons.

Cannabis case in point: Kentucky. Kentucky may not have legal outdoor marijuana grows, but you’d better believe that – like every other state in the nation – there’s a whole lotta marijuana being deliberately cultivated outdoors; and on quite a grand scale in Kentucky, which state learned centuries ago that Cannabis grows exceedingly well in that climate and soil. Kentucky was always been the heart of our nation’s industrial hemp farmlands, thus Kentucky is covered with more feral hemp than any other state. This issue of marijuana and hemp cross-pollination is old news and no news at all to the marijuana growers of Kentucky, who experience and demonstrate no sense of hysteria like that which has risen up in Washington.

Global industrial hemp leader and professional industrial hemp agrologist Prof. Anndrea Hermann, M.Sc, B.GS, P.Ag., who has been a certified Health Canada THC Sampler since 2005 and is the President of the U.S. Hemp Industries Association, has assisted with creating and reviewing hemp regulations in Canada, the European Union, South Africa, Uruguay, Australia, New Zealand, and several U.S. States. Anndrea refers to this issue of cross-pollination as the “Cannabis Clash” and “Cannabis Sex 101.” So what is the answer? What is a safe distance between marijuana and hemp fields?

The Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA), which is the global agency to which most developed countries subscribe for agricultural purposes, has completed its draft industrial hemp seed certification regulations, which rules include a range from a minimum distance of three (3) feet to a maximum distance of three (3) miles between different pedigrees and cultivars of industrial hemp. This is the same with Health Canada’s industrial hemp regulations. But we are talking about safe distances between two plant types – marijuana and industrial hemp. Absent intense research and collection of hard data that will be interesting to conduct as we move forward and funding becomes available, experts agree that a distance of ten (10) miles between hemp and marijuana fields is exceedingly appropriate to avoid cross-pollination. Or as Anndrea Hermann would say, “a nice, country road drive!”

This is not a complicated issue or a new issue. This is basic agriculture. Marijuana and industrial hemp are best friends and this is no time for them to start picking unnecessary fights with one another. Ten miles, folks; ten miles!

http://www.thesmokersclub.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/WeedBee.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/79/Cannabis_sativa_Koehler_drawing.jpg

Joy Beckerman is the President Hemp Ace International LLC, and the director of the Hemp Industries Association, Washington Chapter

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"WRITE” Obama a real letter to DECRIMINALIZE marijuana NOW

Posted on April 3, 2015. Filed under: Activists, Attention, Cannabis/Marijuana, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , |


 

Image result for obama marijuana

 

WANT it over?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOURCE

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One person from Kentucky on President Obama’s Pardon list…

Posted on March 31, 2015. Filed under: Drug War, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , , , |


Image result for no jail for pot

  • Francis Darrell Hayden (Loretto, Kentucky). Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 1,000 or more marijuana plants or 1,000 or more kilograms of marijuana; manufacture of 1,000 or more marijuana plants.
  • I want to personally congratulate #9 known as Francis Darrell Hayden, of Loretto Kentucky for being the ONLY ONE on President Obama’s “Pardon list” that had been convicted on Marijuana charges.

    MSNBC broke the story today that Obama had pardoned 22 “drug offenders” serving federal time for various offenses. 

    “To further this progress, the President has established a clemency initiative to encourage individuals who were sentenced under outdated laws and policies to petition for commutation,” White House counsel Neil Eggleston wrote shortly after the president’s commutations were announced.

    Each of the sentences commuted on Tuesday will expire on July 28, 2015.

    The rest of the individuals pardoned where doing their time for other drug offenses which include cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, etc.,

    “I am granting your application because you have demonstrated the potential to turn your life around,” Obama wrote. “Now it is up to you to make the most of this opportunity.”

    Although I am glad to see any non-violent drug offender released from prison, it is somewhat bittersweet that only one of those who were pardoned was convicted for Marijuana and that person just happened to live in Kentucky.  I would like to see President Obama release ALL Marijuana non-violent offenders from the prison system as well.  Not only is it clearly a mistake that they were convicted of a victimless crime in the first place it is equally as bad to continue to keep them confined. 

    The entire list can be seen here.

    Continue Reading…

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    Quality-Testing Legal Marijuana: Strong But Not Always Clean

    Posted on March 24, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana | Tags: , , , |


    March 24, 201511:22 AM ET

    Poncie Rutsch

     

    Recreational marijuana has been legalized in four states, but that doesn’t mean it’s a tested consumer product. Some of those potent buds are covered in fungus while others contain traces of butane, according to an analysis of marijuana in Colorado.

    Last May, after people began getting sick from edible marijuana products, the state of Colorado began requiring all products to be tested. Washington has mandated testing too, with a detailed checklist of items to analyze, including potency, contaminants, moisture and microbiology.

    Marijuana testing is a new phenomenon. Even though people have been purchasing medical marijuana in Washington since 1998, the state never mandated testing until it approved recreational marijuana in 2013. Other states are still in the process of building a list of requirements for marijuana testing.

    Each state has licensed private labs to analyze the products; they charges manufacturers a fee. Consumers can find some parts of the results, such as potency, printed on packaging, while others are available by request. And the lab must be independent from the producer and manufacturer; there’s no in-house testing like there is in the cigarette industry.

    So what are labs looking for? First, it’s important that manufacturers and producers show how potent the weed is, kind of like printing the alcohol content on a bottle label.

    "It became very clear [that we needed to test for potency] when we had people coming in from out of state," Mary Meek, director of business development for CHARAS Scientific, a Denver lab, tells Shots. "We had 21 years olds coming in on spring break and getting sick," she explains.

    Because many growers don’t yet test their weed for potency, two buds might vary in their THC content – and in effects. So even if a manufacturer uses the same recipe every time, their products might vary from brownie to brownie.

    Since labs like CHARAS Scientific are the ones evaluating every marijuana product, they are the ones who can use their analyses to look for trends. They presented some of their findings on Monday at an American Chemical Society meeting in Denver.

    They found that marijuana’s potency has been increasing, with THC content as high as 30 percent. That’s about three times stronger than marijuana in the 1980s. THC is the component that produces the marijuana high.

    Mikhail Carpenter, a spokesperson with the Washington State Liquor Control Board, told Shots that some of the labs in Washington have seen THC levels as high as 40 percent.

    As THC levels climb, the levels of cannabidiol, or CBD, have been declining. That’s problematic for medicinal marijuana users since it is more often associated with medical benefits than THC.

    "They kind of counteract each other," explains Meek. "You have these artisan growers that have been focused on cross breeding for THC and they’ve been losing CBD."

    And then there are the contaminants. Many of marijuana products contain traces of butane, a chemical used to extract the potent THC from marijuana buds. Bacteria and fungi can grow anywhere, and sure enough, they’re growing on marijuana buds, which means that they’re in marijuana products.

    "I think it’s rare that you would ever find zero fungal growth," says Meek. "But what we’re testing for is the stuff that will make you sick." Neither she nor the state of Colorado want to see E. coli or Salmonella in marijuana products.

    To add to the complication, Meek and her colleagues have to think about how each product will be used. "There’s no data for what the consequences would be for smoking rather than consuming," she says. The jury’s still out on how smoking E. coli might impact human health.

    For now, the goal is to find an acceptable level for contaminants in marijuana products, just as the FDA requires manufacturers to test food and hygiene products for bacterial contamination. Meek thinks this is only the beginning. "Eventually it will all have to be on the label," she says.

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    Protesters crash marijuana legalization press conference

    Posted on March 6, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , |


    Photo by Andrew Augustus WPRO News

     

    WPRO News

    Two pro-cannabis protesters interrupted a marijuana legalization press conference at the State House Thursday afternoon demanding that the substance be referred to cannabis and that any other term is as derogatory as referring to African Americans as the “N-word.”

    In the video taken by WPRO’s Andrew Augustus, protesters holding signs marked with Bible verses, could be heard saying that slang terms for cannabis is “offensive to their religion” and that lawmakers wouldn’t refer to supporter of the Voter’s Rights Protection Act as the “N-Word” and that they shouldn’t do the same to marijuana.

    The two activists are Allan Gordon, who says he has been fighting for legalization for 20 years, and Anne Armstrong who famously declared her write-in candidacy for Governor of Rhode Island in a YouTube video by smoking marijuana.

    “From a single cannabis plant it’s impossible to produce the small limit they allow,” said Gordon.

    Gordon and Armstrong are both in favor of legalizing cannabis but are against the regulation of it.

    “It should be treated like any other plant or any other herb and there should be a system of safeguard and controls,” added Armstrong.

    The bill is sponsored by Senator Josh Miller and Representative Scott Slater and will be introduced to both the House and Senate floors.

    Watch the Video below

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    Don’t regulate marijuana like alcohol — keep government out

    Posted on March 4, 2015. Filed under: CIVIL RIGHTS, Federal Government, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana | Tags: , , , , , , , , |


    March 02, 2015 12:00 am  •  James C. Wilson

    On Feb. 20, U.S. Representatives Jared Polis, D-Colo., and Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, introduced two new bills for federal marijuana legalization. The U.S. government’s practice of imprisoning, fining, harassing and stigmatizing marijuana users is tragic and has damaged many lives. Ending prohibition is a welcome change, but these bills have severe problems. If passed, they would turn marijuana into a cartelized industry rather than a business opportunity for everyday people.

    Blumenaur’s bill, The Marijuana Tax Revenue Act of 2015 (HR 1014) would place a federal excise tax on marijuana, and occupational taxes on the marijuana-related businesses. Polis’s HR 1013, The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, would end federal prohibition of marijuana and transfer enforcement from the Drug Enforcement Agency to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The bills would subject marijuana to the same sort of taxation and regulation as alcohol and tobacco, using Colorado as a nationwide model. Such a regime would lead to the development of "big marijuana" firms similar to "big alcohol" and "big tobacco."

    Large conglomerates dominate the alcohol (Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller) and tobacco (Philip Morris’s and RJ Reynolds) markets, under the existing system of state-imposed excise taxes, licensing and mandatory three tier distribution. The extra costs of these requirements keep small producers out of these industries. The result is stifled competition and ripped off consumers. The same process would ultimately lead to "big marijuana" conglomerates with Anheuser-Bush-like market power and advertising budgets.

    Supporters of marijuana prohibition are not getting any younger. More than 213 million Americans live in jurisdictions with some form of legal marijuana use. Growing numbers recognize marijuana as a means of relaxation, a catalyst for creativity and an exciting business opportunity. The only choice is whether to end prohibition in a way that keeps money in the hands of small producers and sellers, or one that concentrates it the hands of big business. The free market approach of decriminalization and nonintervention does the former. Polis and Blumenaur’s "regulate and tax" approach does the latter. If American twenty-somethings want to earn money by selling pot to their friends, let them. If it helps them pay their bills and keep themselves off welfare we are all better off for it.

    Government interventions tend to benefit big business and economic elites at the expense of ordinary people. Marijuana policy is no exception. The state’s current prohibitionist policies benefit violent drug cartels, just as hyper-regulatory policies will benefit cartels of big corporations. This is just another area of life to get the state out of. In a free society consenting buyers and sellers can make their own decisions about marijuana. The state and big business can stay out of it.

    James C. Wilson is an intern at the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org).

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    DEA warns of stoned rabbits if Utah passes medical marijuana

    Posted on March 4, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , |


     

     

    Utah is considering a bill that would allow patients with certain debilitating conditions to be treated with edible forms of marijuana. If the bill passes, the state’s wildlife may "cultivate a taste" for the plant, lose their fear of humans, and basically be high all the time. That’s according to testimony presented to a Utah Senate panel (time stamp 58:00) last week by an agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

    "I deal in facts. I deal in science," said special agent Matt Fairbanks, who’s been working in the state for a decade. He is member of the "marijuana eradication" team in Utah. Some of his colleagues in Georgia recently achieved notoriety by raiding a retiree’s garden and seizing a number of okra plants.

    Fairbanks spoke of his time eliminating back-country marijuana grows in the Utah mountains, specifically the environmental costs associated with large-scale weed cultivation on public land: "Personally, I have seen entire mountainsides subjected to pesticides, harmful chemicals, deforestation and erosion," he said. "The ramifications to the flora, the animal life, the contaminated water, are still unknown."

    Fairbanks said that at some illegal marijuana grow sites he saw "rabbits that had cultivated a taste for the marijuana. …" He continued: "One of them refused to leave us, and we took all the marijuana around him, but his natural instincts to run were somehow gone."

    It’s true that illegal pot farming can have harmful environmental consequences. Of course, nothing about these consequences is unique to marijuana. If corn were outlawed and cartels started growing it in national forests, the per-plant environmental toll would be about the same.

    But backcountry marijuana grows are a direct result of marijuana’s illegal status. If you’re concerned about the environmental impact of these grows, an alternative is to legalize and regulate the plant so that people can grow it on farms and in their gardens, rather than on remote mountainsides.

    Now, regarding rabbits. Some wild animals apparently do develop a taste for bud (and, yes, best to keep it away from your pets). But I don’t know that the occasional high rabbit constitutes grounds for keeping marijuana prohibition in place, any more than drunk squirrels are an argument for outlawing alcohol. And let’s not even get started on the nationwide epidemic of catnip abuse.

    There was a time, not too long ago, when drug warriors terrified a nation with images of "the devil’s weed" and "reefer madness." Now, it seems that enforcers of marijuana law conjuring up a stoned bunny?

    Not scary enough for the Utah Senate, it seems: the panel approved the bill and sent it to the full Senate, where it will be debated this week.

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    Vermont Bill would Legalize Marijuana, Effectively Nullify Federal Prohibition

    Posted on March 3, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , , |


    A bill introduced in Vermont would authorize marijuana to be taxed and regulated similar to alcohol, legalizing the plant, and effectively nullifying the federal prohibition on the same.

    Senate Bill 95 (S.95) was introduced on Feb. 18 by State Sen. David Zuckerman (D-Chittenden). If this bill is successful, Vermont would become the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes through the legislature rather than the popular vote.

    SB95 would allow “a person who is 21 years of age or older to possess limited amounts of marijuana for personal use, while retaining civil and criminal penalties for possession above the limits and for unauthorized dispensing or sale of marijuana” and would create “civil penalties for a person who is under 21 years of age who possesses marijuana or attempts to procure marijuana from a registered marijuana establishment.”

    Under the bill, Vermont residents would be authorized to possess “two mature marijuana plants; seven immature marijuana plants; one ounce of marijuana; and any additional marijuana produced by the person’s marijuana plants, provided that any amount of marijuana in excess of one ounce of marijuana must be possessed in the same secure indoor facility where the plants were cultivated.” Nonresidents would be allowed to possess a quarter ounce of marijuana.

    Dispensaries and retail marijuana shops would be allowed under SB95 if they pay the necessary fees and follow appropriate licensing procedures outlined in the bill. Marijuana distribution centers must be 1000 feet from schools and child-care facilities. Marijuana possession and distribution conducted in ways not authorized by SB95 would be punishable by a civil infraction, and then possibly jail time.

    Bills like SB95 are sweeping the nation, and for good reason. Reforms like these can affect federal policy while circumventing the Washington D.C. power structure completely. The best thing about measures such as SB95 is that they are completely lawful and Constitutional, and there is little if anything the feds can do to stop them!

    CONSTITUTIONALITY

    Congress and the president claim the constitutional authority to ban marijuana. The Supreme Court concurs. However, nearly two-dozen states have taken steps to put the well-being of their citizens above the so-called federal supremacy by legalizing marijuana to varying degrees anyway.

    “The rapidly growing and wildly successful state-level movement to legalize marijuana, either completely, or for medical use, proves that states can successfully effectively reject unconstitutional federal acts. The feds can claim the authority to prohibit pot all they want, but it clearly has done nothing to deter states from moving forward with plans to allow it, pushed by the will of the people,” Tenth Amendment Center executive director Michael Boldin said.

    The momentum is on our side, but Vermont cannot legalize it without your help. This effort needs your support to achieve victory. SB95 is currently in Senate Committee on Judiciary where it will need to successfully pass through before it can receive a full vote in the state senate.

    ACTION ITEMS

    If you live in Vermont, support this bill by following all the action steps at THIS LINK.

    All Other States, take action to push back against the federal drug war at this link.

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    Supreme Court orders Iberia ‘habitual offender’ to be resentenced

    Posted on March 3, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , , |


    Anthony Daye was sentence to life as a habitual offender.  (Source: Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office)

     

    The Louisiana Supreme Court has reversed an appellate court’s decision that an Iberia Parish’s man’s life sentence as a habitual offender was excessive and unconstitutional.

    At issue was Anthony Daye, a 34-year-old fifth-felony offender, who was convicted of second-offense marijuana possession in 2012 and sentenced to life under the habitual offender law.

    The Supreme Court agreed that Daye’s sentence should be reconsidered by the trial court in Iberia Parish, but only because there was not enough explanation in the sentencing. They reversed the Third Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling that Daye should be sentenced to "lower than the maximum" of life. The minimum sentence was 20 years in prison.

    "The court’s decision should not be read necessarily to limit the district court’s discretion in resentencing the defendant. On the facts before us, a life sentence may very well be constitutionally permissible. But it can only be so if the trial court clearly articulates its reasons," Justice Scott J. Crichton wrote in a ruling released Friday.

    Daye was arrested for possessing a little over an ounce of marijuana in 2010. His other prior felony convictions includes: introduction of contraband into a penal institution; attempted possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; aggravated second degree battery; possession with intent to distribute cocaine and distribution of cocaine.

    Daye is serving his sentence at Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola.

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    How do marijuana advocates rate Eric Holder’s legacy?

    Posted on March 2, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , , , , |


    By Paula Reid CBS News March 2, 2015, 5:59 AM

     

    When Eric Holder steps down as attorney general, he’ll leave behind a legacy on more than just civil rights issues. For advocates of recreational marijuana use, Holder was a progressive leader who played a key role in the early days of legalization at the state level.

    "He has established a foundation that other attorney generals will build on," Dr. Malik Burnett, the policy manager at the Drug Policy Alliance told CBS News during a marijuana expo in Washington, D.C. that took place over the weekend. "He’s been progressive on marijuana issues, as progressive as an AG who has to uphold the federal ban on marijuana can be."

    The key was a policy of nonintervention at the federal level. In 2013, almost a year after Washington state and Colorado voted to legalize recreational marijuana, the administration announced it would not sue those states to comply with the federal ban on marijuana. It also issued new guidelines for all U.S. attorneys, in what was known as the "Cole Memo," recommending that they only focus on prosecuting major cases. The Justice Department (DOJ) laid out eight high-priority areas for enforcement, including preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors, preventing revenue from marijuana sales from going to criminal enterprises, and preventing marijuana possession or use on federal property.

    Burnett called the memo "groundbreaking," saying it "provided a bridge that could reconcile the differences between state and local law and ultimately allowed those businesses to exist and to progress."

    Later, Holder issued guidance making it easier for lawful marijuana businesses to have access to US banks. And when some members of Congress called on him to block Washington, D.C. from legalizing the possession of marijuana for recreational purposes, Holder declined to intervene.

    Still, some enthusiasts say he could have done more.

    "Well it’s still not legal. He has not done anything to get it off of ‘Schedule 1′ (DEA designation) when it clearly has medical purposes and uses. What’s holding it up?" Michael McLay, an attendee at the convention, told CBS News.

    Marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act, the same classification for dangerous drugs like heroin and LSD. The Attorney General has the power to change these categories if there is an acceptable medical use for the drug, but Holder has repeatedly said any changes to the scheduling status of marijuana should be made by Congress.

    "There is a legitimate debate to be heard on both sides of that questions where marijuana ought to be in terms of its scheduling and taking into account all the empirical evidence that we can garner to see if it is a serious drug that would warrant class 1 categorization or should it be some other place," Holder said during a speech at the National Press Club last month. "This is something that would be well informed by having Congressional hearings and Congressional action and informed by a policy determination that the Administration would be glad to share."

    McLay said "political reasons" were behind the delay in changing the drug’s classification.

    But some see Holder’s deference to Congress as a smart move in the long game to legalize marijuana.

    "By unilaterally removing marijuana from the controlled substances act that would have been a radical step given that the marijuana legalization movement is still in its infancy. I think ultimately as you see more and more states ending marijuana prohibition, the attorney general and Congress will find a better place for marijuana," Malik said.

    He also sees Holder’s actions on marijuana as directly linked toward his efforts to reduce the U.S. prison population and create a fairer criminal justice system.

    "What marijuana is is a gateway to the criminal justice system," Malik said. "Police use marijuana as a pretext towards finding other crimes they can ultimately charge people with and put them into the federal justice system or into state jailing systems. Ending marijuana (prohibition) ultimately helps lower the criminal justice problem we have in the United States."

    But it’s still unclear whether Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s nominee to succeed Holder at the helm of DOJ, will continue down the path that Holder has taken the agency if she is confirmed.

    At her confirmation hearing in January, Lynch said she does not support legalization.

    "Not only do I not support legalization of marijuana, it is not the position of the Department of Justice currently, to support the legalization, nor would it be the position should I become confirmed as attorney general," Lynch said.

    She also said she didn’t share the same opinion as Mr. Obama, who said in an interview last year that he doesn’t believe the drug is more dangerous than alcohol.

    "I certainly don’t hold that view, and don’t agree with that view of marijuana as a substance. I certainly think that the president was speaking from his personal experience and personal opinion — neither of which I am able to share," she said.

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    Secret Marijuana Farm Beneath Brooklyn Cherry Factory Leaves Many Mysteries

    Posted on February 27, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law, Mental Health | Tags: , , , , |


    By VIVIAN YEEFEB. 26, 2015

     

     

    Arthur Mondella’s alternate life was buried behind a roll-down gate, behind a fleet of fancy cars, behind a pair of closet doors, behind a set of button-controlled steel shelves, behind a fake wall and down a ladder in a hole in a bare concrete floor.

    Here, in a weathered basement below the Red Hook, Brooklyn, maraschino cherry factory he had inherited from his father and his grandfather, he nurtured a marijuana farm that could hold as many as 1,200 plants at a time. Here, below the office where he served as chief of Dell’s Maraschino Cherries Company, he kept a small, dusty library and a corkboard pinned with notes. Most of the books dealt with plant propagation methods. One did not: the “World Encyclopedia of Organized Crime.”

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    Much about the hidden operations of Mr. Mondella, 57, who shot and killed himself on Tuesday as investigators found his marijuana plants, remains frustratingly out of reach for his family and friends. Investigators do not know how he distributed the marijuana, how long he had grown it or who helped him. Most baffling of all are Mr. Mondella’s reasons for hiding his operation under a business that was, by all accounts, healthy and growing — and for taking his life so suddenly when he was caught.

    On Thursday, the day of Mr. Mondella’s private wake, the company said the cherry business would go on. Major restaurant chains that bought Dell’s cherries, including Red Lobster and T.G.I. Friday’s, said their menus would be unaffected. But at the offices of the Brooklyn district attorney, Kenneth P. Thompson, the focus was on untangling what part of the business was cherries, and what part was marijuana, at the red-brick factory on Dikeman Street.

    “We’re looking at the actual connections between marijuana and the factory and whether or not some portion of the cherry business there really was an effort to mask the marijuana operation,” said a law enforcement official close to the investigation, who asked not to be identified because the inquiry is continuing.

    Given the thick scent of cherry processing and the large amount of electricity the factory would naturally consume, the official said, “it’s a very convenient place to be” to mask both the odor and the power needed to cultivate the marijuana plants.

    Yet because the basement labyrinth was so well concealed, it seemed plausible that the cherry factory’s regular employees were unaware of their boss’s secret. Mr. Mondella may have been the only person with access to the garage where he kept several luxury vehicles and the entrance to the basement, the official said.

    Still, the scope of the operation made it unlikely that Mr. Mondella was the only person involved. Spanning about 2,500 square feet, the underground complex included an office, a large grow room, a storage area, a freezer for the harvested plants and an elevator. A network of 120 high-end growing lamps shined on the plants with intensities that varied depending on each plant’s size; an irrigation system watered them. Investigators recovered about 60 types of marijuana seeds.

    The investigators had never seen a larger operation in New York City, the official said.

    “The way you have to set that up, there’s got to be plumbers and electricians working off the books who are very sophisticated,” he said, “and it wasn’t Arthur Mondella, as far as we know, that had that kind of skills.”

    Investigators first received a tip about Mr. Mondella and illegal drugs about five years ago, he said, but nothing came of it then.

    As part of a separate investigation into allegations that Dell’s was polluting Red Hook’s water supply, the district attorney and the city’s Department of Environmental Protection decided to search the factory for files on environmental infractions. It was during that search on Tuesday that they stumbled on the marijuana operation. (The pollution investigation is still active.)

    The drug inquiry is still in its early stages. But the official said investigators were looking closely at whether the operation had ties to organized crime. Mr. Mondella would have required help to maintain the farm and distribute his product, the thinking goes, and an organized crime syndicate could have provided it.

    To Mr. Mondella’s family and friends, the revelations about his hidden operations have been “aberrant and shocking,” Michael Farkas, the lawyer representing the Mondella family and the management of Dell’s, said in an interview.

    The company was considered among the largest producers of the cherries in the country. Although many cherry suppliers were disappearing around the time that Mr. Mondella took over the business in 1983, the market appears stable now, thanks in part to maraschino cherries’ popularity abroad, said Robert McGorrin, the chairman of the food science department at Oregon State University, where the current method of processing the cherries in brine, rather than alcohol, was developed in the 1920s.

    Law enforcement officials are just as perplexed about Mr. Mondella’s motives. Though investigators are sorting through a substantial bounty of evidence, they have no hope of gaining access to the data on Mr. Mondella’s iPhone 6, which, like other new-model iPhones, is encrypted with a user-created code that even Apple says it cannot unlock.

    “No one seems to have had any clue that this was going on, and there certainly didn’t seem to be any strange or traumatic circumstances that would’ve explained this,” Mr. Farkas said. “The business was not doing poorly; the business was doing very well. We were unaware of any major problems in Arthur’s life. Somebody knows — but we’re all waiting for answers here.”

    Correction: February 26, 2015
    An earlier version of this article misstated the size of the underground complex where marijuana was grown. It was 2,500 square feet, not 250.

    A version of this article appears in print on February 27, 2015, on page A20 of the New York edition with the headline: Secret Life and Business Surface, Along With Many Questions.

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    Rand Paul calls out Jeb Bush on marijuana

    Posted on February 27, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Politics | Tags: , , , |


    By Katie Brinn

    Sen. Rand Paul slammed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for hypocrisy on marijuana in an interview Wednesday with Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric. Responding to

    recent revelations that Gov. Bush smoked pot during his teen years at Phillips Academy, Paul pointed out the flaws in Bush’s opposition to medical marijuana in his home state.


    Sen. Paul, who has hinted about his own wild college days, was quick to clarify that he did not fault Bush for having “made mistakes growing up.” Instead, he took issue with Bush’s inconsistent views on the drug. “If you’ve got MS in Florida, Jeb Bush voted to put you in jail if you go down to a local store or a local drugstore and get medical marijuana … and yet he was doing it for recreational purposes.”
    To Paul, it was Bush’s privileged upbringing that spared him the harsh penalties many Floridians still face when they entangle with marijuana. “It was a different standard for him,” the presidential hopeful explained, “because he was from a wealthy family, going to a very wealthy school, and he got off scot-free.”

    Related video:

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    Prohibition Repeal Is A Good Model For Marijuana Legalization

    Posted on February 7, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, PROHIBITION | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |


    9:51 AM 12/05/2014

    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.

    Think I exaggerate? Here in Colorado, the Republican challenger for governor was ahead by 10 points in a September poll. Then, showing the Republican skill for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, he stated he would like to recriminalize marijuana. His lead evaporated almost overnight.

    He lost by 58,000 votes and singlehandedly damaged the Republican brand for a generation of young Colorado voters. There are over 10,000 people directly employed in this Colorado industry and hundreds of thousands of consumers. That’s a lot of voters to antagonize; many of them motivated single issue folks.

    What if the GOP could create a new supporter every 48 seconds rather than trying to throw them in jail?

    Freedom and liberty win. Prohibition and attempting to control people’s lives loses. Republicans, if you believe what you say, end the federal prohibition on marijuana. A permanent majority awaits. It is yours for the taking.

    John Conlin is a self-employed management consultant providing services to beer, wine, and spirits distributors across the country. He is also in the process of starting a marijuana-infused edibles company.

     

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    Tags: John Conlin, Marijuana, Prohibition

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    Decoding the Kentucky Marijuana Bills

    Posted on February 6, 2015. Filed under: Activists Opinions, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana, ShereeKrider | Tags: , , , , , |


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    The following is a synopsis of the proposed Bills currently in House and what they mean to us.

    HB 305/CI (BR 395) – B. Yonts

    AN ACT relating to crimes and punishments.
    Amend and create various KRS sections to convert certain misdemeanors to pre-payable violations and set fines.

    Feb 5-introduced in House

    Legislature Home Page | Record Front Page

    Thru the DIRECT LINK above can be found the newest version of the Kentucky “decrim” bill.

     

    The highlights for the cannabis users are below:

     

    (1) A person is guilty of possession of marijuana when he or she knowingly and unlawfully possesses marijuana.
    (2) Any person who violates this section shall be fined one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense

    (1) “Drug paraphernalia” means all equipment, products and materials of any kind which are used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance in violation of this chapter. It includes but is not limited to:

    (a) Kits used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, or harvesting of any species of plant which is a controlled substance or from which a controlled substance can be derived;

    (e) Scales and balances used, intended for use, or designed for use in weighing or measuring controlled substances;

    (g) Separation gins and sifters used, intended for use, or designed for use in removing twigs and seeds from, or in otherwise cleaning or refining marijuana;
    (h) Blenders, bowls, containers, spoons, and mixing devices used, intended for use, or designed for use in compounding controlled substances;
    (i) Capsules, balloons, envelopes, and other containers used, intended for use, or designed for use in packaging small quantities of controlled substances;

    (l) Objects used, intended for use, or designed for use in ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing marijuana, cocaine, hashish, or hashish oil into the human body, such as: metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic, or ceramic pipes with or without screens, permanent screens, hashish heads, or punctured metal bowls; water pipes; carburetion tubes and devices; smoking and carburetion masks; roach clips which mean objects used to hold burning material, such as marijuana cigarettes, that have become too small or too short to be held in the hand; miniature cocaine spoons, and cocaine vials; chamber pipes; carburetor pipes; electric pipes; air-driven pipes; chillums; bongs; ice pipes or chillers.

     

    My opinion on this bill is that it is a “ lesser of the evils” for us and that is IT. Period.

    In fact I am not sure how much of a lesser evil it really is when you consider that this is not any form of legalization at all.  It is just a reduction in the punishment for an illegal activity.

    SB 79/CI (BR 805) – P. Clark

     

         AN ACT relating to marijuana.
         Amend KRS 218A.1422 to make the possession of two ounces of marijuana or less a violation punishable by a maximum fine of $75; amend KRS 218A.1423 to make cultivation of five marijuana plants or less a Class B misdemeanor; name the Act the Kentucky Cannabis Freedom Act.

         Jan 9-introduced in Senate
         Feb 3-to Judiciary (S)

    Thru the DIRECT LINK above can be found the first version of the Kentucky “decrim” bill as shown below.

     

    (1) A person is guilty of possession of marijuana when he or she knowingly and unlawfully possesses marijuana.

    (2) Possession of two (2) ounces of marijuana or less shall be a violation that is punishable by a maximum fine of seventy-five dollars ($75).

    (3) Possession of more than two (2) ounces of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor, except that, KRS Chapter 532 to the contrary notwithstanding, the maximum term of incarceration shall be no greater than forty-five (45) days.

    âSection 2. KRS 218A.1423 is amended to read as follows:

    (1) A person is guilty of marijuana cultivation when he knowingly and unlawfully plants, cultivates, or harvests marijuana with the intent to sell or transfer it.

    (2) Marijuana cultivation of six (6)[five (5)] or more plants of marijuana is:

    (a) For a first offense a Class D felony.
    (b) For a second or subsequent offense a Class C felony.

    (3) Marijuana cultivation of fewer than six (6)[five (5)] plants is[:

    ] a Class B misdemeanor

    [(a) For a first offense a Class A misdemeanor.
    (b) For a second or subsequent offense a Class D felony].

    (4) The planting, cultivating, or harvesting of six (6)[five (5)] or more marijuana plants shall be prima facie evidence that the marijuana plants were planted, cultivated, or harvested for the purpose of sale or transfer.

    âSection 3. This Act shall be known and may be cited as the Kentucky Cannabis Freedom Act.

     

    My opinion on this Bill is that it would be the better of the two “decrim” Bills submitted because at least there is a “grow” clause in it as long as you are not “trafficking”.  However, Marijuana still remains illegal and prohibited by law under this Statute as well.  The laws are all about the “control” issue.  Either way they continue to make money at our expense for growing and using a “plant”.  As well as the fact that we remain criminals.

    Last but not least is the :

    Medical Marijuana Bill Kentucky 2015 , SB 43/LM/CI (BR 287)

     

    AN ACT relating to medical cannabis.
         Create various new sections of KRS Chapter 218A to establish a comprehensive system for medical cannabis in Kentucky, including provisions for medical verification of need, persons allowed to cultivate, use, and possess the drug, organizations allowed to assist in providing the drug, regulation by the state Department for Public Health, interaction with state and local governments, including law enforcement, with persons and entities coming within the purview of the Act, and the establishment of required reporting and review procedures; amend KRS 218A.040 to conform; name the Act the Cannabis Compassion Act.

         Jan 7-introduced in Senate
         Jan 13-to Licensing, Occupations, & Administrative Regulations (S)

    READ AS FOLLOWS:  Direct Link to Bill

    For the purposes of Sections 1 to 25 of this Act, unless the context otherwise requires:

    (1) "Bona fide practitioner-patient relationship" means that:

    (a) A practitioner and patient have a treatment or consulting relationship, during the course of which the physician has completed an assessment of the patient’s medical history and current medical condition, including an appropriate personal physical examination;

    (b) The practitioner has consulted with the patient with respect to the patient’s debilitating medical condition; and
    (c) The physician is available to or offers to provide follow-up care and treatment to the patient, including but not limited to patient examinations;

    (2) "Cannabis" means all parts of the plant Cannabis sp., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds orr resin or any compound, mixture, or preparation which contains any quantity of these substances. The term "cannabis" does not include industrial hemp as defined in KRS 260.850;

    (3) "Cardholder" means a qualifying patient, visiting qualifying patient, or a designated caregiver who has been issued and possesses a valid registry identification card;

    In my opinion this is an all out medical marijuana bill with all the regulations, Doctors, Pharmaceutical entities as well as Dispensaries lined up in a row.  Once again, Freedom is not involved here.  It is regulation at its finest through all aspects of the Government.   If it is regulated medical marijuana that a patient is looking for then this would be the Bill for them.  For many people it may be a good thing.  However, it still does not free the Cannabis plant to the general public and the Statutes of controlled substances will still be alive and well with this Bill.

    This is three options that we have in Kentucky that may or most probably won’t pass this year anyway.  But not one of these options repeals prohibition even on a State level and will still open up persecution of those choosing to use Cannabis which fall short of the guidelines set by the State Government even if one or more of them are passed.

    I still believe the only way to get society at large out of the mouth of the prison industrial complex for using Cannabis in any form is REPEAL of all laws pertaining to the Cannabis plant!

    Prohibition did not work – Neither will Legalization – It is time to REPEAL and nullify unconstitutional Statutes regarding the cultivation and use of Marijuana on a Human level!

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    Amend and create various KRS sections to convert certain misdemeanors to pre-payable violations and set fines.

    Posted on February 6, 2015. Filed under: KENTUCKY WEED, LATEST NEWS, legislation, Read the Bills | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |


     

    1409431642390.jpg

     

     

     

     

     

    HB 305/CI (BR 395) – B. Yonts

    AN ACT relating to crimes and punishments.
    Amend and create various KRS sections to convert certain misdemeanors to prepayable violations and set fines.

    Feb 5-introduced in House

    Legislature Home Page | Record Front Page

     

    Thru the DIRECT LINK above can be found the newest version of the Kentucky “decrim” bill.

    The following text has been copied from that record:

     

    AN ACT relating to crimes and punishments.

    Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky:

    âSection 1. KRS 218A.1422 is amended to read as follows:

    (1) A person is guilty of possession of marijuana when he or she knowingly and unlawfully possesses marijuana.

    (2) Any person who violates this section shall be fined one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense[Possession of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor, except that, KRS Chapter 532 to the contrary notwithstanding, the maximum term of incarceration shall be no greater than forty-five (45) days].

    âSection 2. KRS 218A.210 is amended to read as follows:

    (1) A person to whom or for whose use any controlled substance has been prescribed, sold, or dispensed, by a practitioner or other person authorized under this chapter, may lawfully possess it only in the container in which it was delivered to him by the person selling or dispensing the same.

    (2) Any person who violates this section shall be fined two hundred dollars ($200) for each offense[Violation of subsection (1) of this section is a Class B misdemeanor for the first offense and a Class A misdemeanor for subsequent offenses].

    âSection 3. KRS 218A.500 is amended to read as follows:

    As used in this section and KRS 218A.510:

    (1) “Drug paraphernalia” means all equipment, products and materials of any kind which are used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance in violation of this chapter. It includes but is not limited to:

    (a) Kits used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, or harvesting of any species of plant which is a controlled substance or from which a controlled substance can be derived;
    (b) Kits used, intended for use, or designed for use in manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, or preparing controlled substances;
    (c) Isomerization devices used, intended for use, or designed for use in increasing the potency of any species of plant which is a controlled substance;
    (d) Testing equipment used, intended for use, or designed for use in identifying, or in analyzing the strength, effectiveness or purity of controlled substances;
    (e) Scales and balances used, intended for use, or designed for use in weighing or measuring controlled substances;
    (f) Diluents and adulterants, such as quinine hydrochloride, mannitol, mannite, dextrose and lactose, used, intended for use, or designed for use in cutting controlled substances;
    (g) Separation gins and sifters used, intended for use, or designed for use in removing twigs and seeds from, or in otherwise cleaning or refining marijuana;
    (h) Blenders, bowls, containers, spoons, and mixing devices used, intended for use, or designed for use in compounding controlled substances;
    (i) Capsules, balloons, envelopes, and other containers used, intended for use, or designed for use in packaging small quantities of controlled substances;
    (j) Containers and other objects used, intended for use, or designed for use in storing or concealing controlled substances;
    (k) Hypodermic syringes, needles, and other objects used, intended for use, or designed for use in parenterally injecting controlled substances into the human body; and
    (l) Objects used, intended for use, or designed for use in ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing marijuana, cocaine, hashish, or hashish oil into the human body, such as: metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic, or ceramic pipes with or without screens, permanent screens, hashish heads, or punctured metal bowls; water pipes; carburetion tubes and devices; smoking and carburetion masks; roach clips which mean objects used to hold burning material, such as marijuana cigarettes, that have become too small or too short to be held in the hand; miniature cocaine spoons, and cocaine vials; chamber pipes; carburetor pipes; electric pipes; air-driven pipes; chillums; bongs; ice pipes or chillers.

    (2) It is unlawful for any person to use, or to possess with intent to use, drug paraphernalia for the purpose of planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packing, repacking, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance in violation of this chapter.

    (3) It is unlawful for any person to deliver, possess with intent to deliver, or manufacture with intent to deliver, drug paraphernalia, knowing, or under circumstances where one reasonably should know, that it will be used to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body a controlled substance in violation of this chapter.

    (4) It is unlawful for any person to place in any newspaper, magazine, handbill, or other publication any advertisement, knowing, or under circumstances where one reasonably should know, that the purpose of the advertisement, in whole or in part, is to promote the sale of objects designed or intended for use as drug paraphernalia.

    (5) Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be fined two hundred dollars ($200) for each offense[guilty of a Class A misdemeanor].

    âSECTION 4. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 218A IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

    (1) All offenses classified as violations under this chapter shall be prepayable except:

    (a) Any offense which could result in license suspension or revocation by the court;
    (b) An offense where evidence of the offense or of commission of another offense is seized by the officer and the citation is so marked and a court date set;
    (c) If the offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable; or
    (d) If an arrest is made under KRS 431.015.

    (2) If a prepayable offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable, a court appearance shall be required on all of the offenses as required by KRS 431.452.

    âSection 5. KRS 434.851 is amended to read as follows:

    (1) A person is guilty of unlawful access in the third degree when he or she, without the effective consent of the owner, knowingly and willfully, directly or indirectly accesses, causes to be accessed, or attempts to access any computer software, computer program, data, computer, computer system, computer network, or any part thereof, which results in the loss or damage of less than three hundred dollars ($300).

    (2) Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be fined two hundred fifty dollars ($250) for each offense[Unlawful access to a computer in the third degree is a Class A misdemeanor].

    âSection 6. KRS 434.853 is amended to read as follows:

    (1) A person is guilty of unlawful access in the fourth degree when he or she, without the effective consent of the owner, knowingly and willfully, directly or indirectly accesses, causes to be accessed, or attempts to access any computer software, computer program, data, computer, computer system, computer network, or any part thereof, which does not result in loss or damage.

    (2) Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be fined one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense[Unlawful access to a computer in the fourth degree is a Class B misdemeanor].

    âSECTION 7. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 434 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

    (1) All offenses classified as violations under this chapter shall be prepayable except:

    (a) Any offense which could result in license suspension or revocation by the court;
    (b) An offense where evidence of the offense or of commission of another offense is seized by the officer and the citation is so marked and a court date set;
    (c) If the offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable; or
    (d) If an arrest is made under KRS 431.015.

    (2) If a prepayable offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable, a court appearance shall be required on all of the offenses as required by KRS 431.452.

    âSection 8. KRS 511.070 is amended to read as follows:

    (1) A person is guilty of criminal trespass in the second degree when he knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in a building or upon premises as to which notice against trespass is given by fencing or other enclosure.

    (2) Criminal trespass in the second degree is a violation and shall carry a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense[ Class B misdemeanor].

    âSection 9. KRS 511.080 is amended to read as follows:

    (1) A person is guilty of criminal trespass in the third degree when he knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in or upon premises.

    (2) Criminal trespass in the third degree is a violation and shall carry a fine of fifty dollars ($50) for each offense.

    âSECTION 10. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 511 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

    (1) All offenses classified as violations under this chapter shall be prepayable except:

    (a) Any offense which could result in license suspension or revocation by the court;
    (b) An offense where evidence of the offense or of commission of another offense is seized by the officer and the citation is so marked and a court date set;
    (c) If the offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable; or
    (d) If an arrest is made under KRS 431.015.

    (2) If a prepayable offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable, a court appearance shall be required on all of the offenses as required by KRS 431.452.

    âSection 11. KRS 512.060 is amended to read as follows:

    (1) A person is guilty of criminal possession of a noxious substance when he possesses such substance under circumstances evincing an intent unlawfully to use or cause it to be used to inflict injury upon or to cause annoyance to a person, or to damage property of another, or to disturb the public peace.

    (2) Criminal possession of a noxious substance is a violation and shall carry a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense[ Class B misdemeanor].

    âSection 12. KRS 512.070 is amended to read as follows:

    (1) A person is guilty of criminal littering when he:

    (a) Drops or permits to drop on a highway any destructive or injurious material and does not immediately remove it; or
    (b) Knowingly places or throws litter on any public or private property or in any public or private water without permission; or
    (c) Negligently places or throws glass or other dangerous pointed or edged substances on or adjacent to water to which the public has access for swimming or wading or on or within fifty (50) feet of a public highway; or
    (d) Discharges sewage, minerals, oil products, or litter into any public waters or lakes within the state.

    (2) Criminal littering is a violation and shall carry a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense[ Class A misdemeanor].

    (3) Violators may prepay to the Circuit Court clerk if prepayment is so noted on the citation and if the littering offense is not combined with an offense that is not prepayable.

    (4) Notwithstanding any language or provision of this section or KRS 65.8808(3) to the contrary, the legislative body of a local government may, by ordinance, choose to classify the offenses proscribed in subsection (1) of this section as civil offenses in accordance with KRS 65.8808.

    âSECTION 13. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 512 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

    (1) All offenses classified as violations under this chapter shall be prepayable except:

    (a) Any offense which could result in license suspension or revocation by the court;
    (b) An offense where evidence of the offense or of commission of another offense is seized by the officer and the citation is so marked and a court date set;
    (c) If the offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable; or
    (d) If an arrest is made under KRS 431.015.

    (2) If a prepayable offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable, a court appearance shall be required on all of the offenses as required by KRS 431.452.

    âSection 14. KRS 516.130 is amended to read as follows:

    (1) A person is guilty of unlawfully using slugs in the second degree when:

    (a) With intent to defraud the owner, licensee or lessee of a coin machine, he inserts, deposits or uses a slug in such machine; or
    (b) He makes, possesses or disposes of a slug with intent to enable a person to insert, deposit or use it in a coin machine.

    (2) Unlawfully using slugs in the second degree is a violation and shall carry a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense[ Class B misdemeanor].

    The offense shall be prepayable except:

    (a) An offense where evidence of the offense or of commission of another offense is seized by the officer and the citation is so marked and a court date set;
    (b) If the offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable; or
    (c) If an arrest is made under KRS 431.015.

    If a prepayable offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable, a court appearance shall be required on all of the offenses as required by KRS 431.452.

    âSection 15. KRS 517.030 is amended to read as follows:

    (1) A person is guilty of false advertising when, in connection with the promotion of the sale of or to increase the consumption of property or services, he knowingly makes or causes to be made a false or misleading statement in any advertisement addressed to the public or to a substantial number of persons.

    (2) False advertising is a violation and shall carry a fine of two hundred dollars ($200) for each offense[ Class A misdemeanor].

    âSection 16. KRS 517.040 is amended to read as follows:

    (1) A person is guilty of bait advertising when in any manner, including advertising or other means of communication, he offers to the public or a substantial number of persons property or services as part of a scheme or plan with the intent not to sell or provide the advertised property or services:

    (a) At the price at which he offered them; or
    (b) In a quantity sufficient to meet the reasonably expected public demand, unless the quantity is specifically stated in the advertisement; or
    (c) At all.

    (2) Bait advertising is a violation and shall carry a fine of two hundred dollars ($200) for each offense[ Class A misdemeanor].

    âSECTION 17. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 517 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

    (1) All offenses classified as violations under this chapter shall be prepayable except:

    (a) Any offense which could result in license suspension or revocation by the court;
    (b) An offense where evidence of the offense or of commission of another offense is seized by the officer and the citation is so marked and a court date set;
    (c) If the offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable; or
    (d) If an arrest is made under KRS 431.015.

    (2) If a prepayable offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable, a court appearance shall be required on all of the offenses as required by KRS 431.452.

    âSection 18. KRS 519.030 is amended to read as follows:

    (1) A person is guilty of compounding a crime when:

    (a) He solicits, accepts or agrees to accept any benefit upon an agreement or understanding that he will refrain from initiating a prosecution for a crime; or
    (b) He confers, offers, or agrees to confer any benefit upon another person upon agreement or understanding that such other person will refrain from initiating a prosecution for a crime.

    (2) In any prosecution under this section, it is a defense that the benefit did not exceed an amount which the defendant reasonably believed to be due as restitution or indemnification for harm caused by the offense.

    (3) Compounding a crime is a violation and shall carry a fine of two hundred dollars ($200) for each offense[ Class A misdemeanor]. The offense shall be prepayable except:

    (a) An offense where evidence of the offense or of commission of another offense is seized by the officer and the citation is so marked and a court date set;
    (b) If the offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable; or
    (c) If an arrest is made under KRS 431.015.

    If a prepayable offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable, a court appearance shall be required on all of the offenses as required by KRS 431.452.

    âSection 19. KRS 525.050 is amended to read as follows:

    (1) A person is guilty of unlawful assembly when:

    (a) He assembles with five (5) or more persons for the purpose of engaging or preparing to engage with them in a riot; or
    (b) Being present at an assembly which either has or develops such a purpose, he remains there with intent to advance that purpose.

    (2) Unlawful assembly is a violation and shall carry a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense[ Class B misdemeanor].

    âSection 20. KRS 525.080 is amended to read as follows:

    (1) A person is guilty of harassing communications when, with intent to intimidate, harass, annoy, or alarm another person, he or she:

    (a) Communicates with a person, anonymously or otherwise, by telephone, telegraph, mail, or any other form of written communication in a manner which causes annoyance or alarm and serves no purpose of legitimate communication;
    (b) Makes a telephone call, whether or not conversation ensues, with no purpose of legitimate communication; or
    (c) Communicates, while enrolled as a student in a local school district, with or about another school student, anonymously or otherwise, by telephone, the Internet, telegraph, mail, or any other form of electronic or written communication in a manner which a reasonable person under the circumstances should know would cause the other student to suffer fear of physical harm, intimidation, humiliation, or embarrassment and which serves no purpose of legitimate communication.

    (2) Harassing communications is a violation and shall carry a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense[ Class B misdemeanor].

    âSection 21. KRS 525.060 is amended to read as follows:

    (1) A person is guilty of disorderly conduct in the second degree when in a public place and with intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm, or wantonly creating a risk thereof, he:

    (a) Engages in fighting or in violent, tumultuous, or threatening behavior;
    (b) Makes unreasonable noise;
    (c) Refuses to obey an official order to disperse issued to maintain public safety in dangerous proximity to a fire, hazard, or other emergency; or
    (d) Creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act that serves no legitimate purpose.

    (2) Disorderly conduct in the second degree is a violation and shall carry a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense[ Class B misdemeanor].

    âSection 22. KRS 525.100 is amended to read as follows:

    (1) A person is guilty of public intoxication when he appears in a public place manifestly under the influence of a controlled substance, or other intoxicating substance, excluding alcohol (unless the alcohol is present in combination with any of the above), not therapeutically administered, to the degree that he may endanger himself or other persons or property, or unreasonably annoy persons in his vicinity.

    (2) Public intoxication is a violation and shall carry a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense[ Class B misdemeanor].

    âSection 23. KRS 525.150 is amended to read as follows:

    (1) A person is guilty of disrupting meetings and processions in the second degree when, with intent to prevent or disrupt a lawful meeting, procession, or gathering, he or she does any act tending to obstruct or interfere with it physically or makes any utterance, gesture, or display designed to outrage the sensibilities of the group.

    (2) Disrupting meetings and processions in the second degree is a violation and shall carry a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense[ Class B misdemeanor].

    âSECTION 24. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 525 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

    (1) All offenses classified as violations under this chapter shall be prepayable except:

    (a) Any offense which could result in license suspension or revocation by the court;
    (b) An offense where evidence of the offense or of commission of another offense is seized by the officer and the citation is so marked and a court date set;
    (c) If the offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable; or
    (d) If an arrest is made under KRS 431.015.

    (2) If a prepayable offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable, a court appearance shall be required on all of the offenses as required by KRS 431.452.

    âSection 25. KRS 530.070 is amended to read as follows:

    (1) A person is guilty of unlawful transaction with a minor in the third degree when:

    (a) Acting other than as a retail licensee, he knowingly sells, gives, purchases or procures any alcoholic or malt beverage in any form to or for a minor. The defendant may prove in exculpation that the sale was induced by the use of false, fraudulent, or altered identification papers or other documents and that the appearance and character of the purchaser were such that his age could not have been ascertained by any other means and that the purchaser’s appearance and character indicated strongly that he was of legal age to purchase alcoholic beverages. This subsection does not apply to a parent or guardian of the minor;
    (b) He knowingly induces, assists, or causes a minor to engage in any other criminal activity;
    (c) He knowingly induces, assists or causes a minor to become a habitual truant; or
    (d) He persistently and knowingly induces, assists or causes a minor to disobey his parent or guardian.

    (2) Unlawful transaction with a minor in the third degree, other than a violation of subsection (1)(c) of this section, is a Class A misdemeanor. A violation of subsection (1)(c) of this section is a violation and shall carry a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense. A violation of subsection (1)(c) of this section shall be prepayable, except:

    (a) An offense where evidence of the offense or of commission of another offense is seized by the officer and the citation is so marked and a court date set;
    (b) If the offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable; or
    (c) If an arrest is made under KRS 431.015.

    If a prepayable offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable, a court appearance shall be required on all of the offenses as required by KRS 431.452.

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    Loretta Lynch’s hard-line stance on marijuana is making Colorado sweat

    Posted on February 2, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana, Politics | Tags: , , , , , |


    Attorney general nominee veers from Obama’s no-big-deal rhetoric

     

    Attorney General nominee breaks with President Obama's no-big-deal on marijuana.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

     

    By Valerie Richardson – The Washington Times – Sunday, February 1, 2015

    DENVER — Nobody in the Colorado marijuana industry is panicking, but those involved are sweating a little over the hard line taken by Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s pick to be the next attorney general, on legalization during this week’s Senate confirmation hearing.

    “Quite a few of my members were expressing concern and nervousness,” said Michael Elliott, executive director of the Colorado Marijuana Industry Group. “But I’m not sure we could have expected much more than we just heard. Even the president, who came out saying that marijuana is no more dangerous as alcohol, is also on the record as being against legalization.”

    States that have legalized or are considering legalizing recreational marijuana use butted heads continually with Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who refused to relax stricter federal laws against pot use. Judging from this week’s performance, the fight won’t end when Mr. Holder leaves.

    A federal prosecutor in New York, Ms. Lynch told the Senate Committee on the Judiciary she disagreed with the president’s no-big-deal take on pot, saying, “I certainly don’t hold that view and don’t agree with that view of marijuana as a substance.”

    “I think the president was speaking from his personal experience and personal opinion, neither of which I’m able to share,” Ms. Lynch said. “But I can tell you that not only do I not support the legalization of marijuana, it is not the position of the Department of Justice currently to support the legalization. Nor would it be the position should I become confirmed as attorney general.”

    Her stance buoyed legalization foes such as Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, who said in a statement, “We are breathing a sigh of relief.”

    “For her to come out so adamantly against legalization is extremely encouraging,” said Mr. Sabet, a former official in the White House drug czar’s office. “It will give our efforts a shot in the arm.”

    Marijuana advocates downplayed her responses, pointing out that she was testifying before the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee and that its chairman, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, opposes recent state moves to legalize recreational marijuana.

    In fact, the day before Wednesday’s hearing, Mr. Grassley took to the Senate floor to condemn the Obama administration’s decision to allow states that have legalized recreational pot for adults to proceed within certain parameters with regulated retail markets. Federal laws banning pot, he said, should trump state statutes.

    Colorado and Washington launched retail marijuana markets last year, while voters in Alaska and Oregon passed ballot measures in November allowing recreational pot use and sales for adults 21 and over. The District of Columbia has approved adult pot use but not sales.

    Mason Tvert, who led the successful 2012 ballot campaign in Colorado, argued that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and cracked, “Fortunately, [Ms. Lynch] has been nominated for attorney general, not surgeon general.”

    “We can only hope she was telling some lawmakers what they need to hear in order to get through the confirmation process,” Mr. Tvert said in an email. “It would be shocking if she is actually unaware that marijuana is far less harmful than alcohol.”

    The Department of Justice issued a guidance in 2013 that essentially allows states to proceed with adult marijuana use and sales while warning that prosecutors would still enforce eight priorities, including keeping marijuana away from children and avoiding pot diversion to other states.

    Tom Angell, who heads Marijuana Majority, said in an email that Ms. Lynch also appeared to indicate that she would follow the Justice Department guidance.

    “While it’d be ideal to have an attorney general who agrees with the majority of Americans that it is time to end marijuana prohibition, we really don’t need federal officials to personally support legalization,” Mr. Angell. “We only need them to respect the will of voters who have implemented legalization in their own states.”

    Story Continues →

    Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/feb/1/loretta-lynchs-stance-on-pot-may-be-problematic-fo/#ixzz3Qc8CBoXS
    Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

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    Jaime Montalvo–Guest Editorial WDRB, Louisville, Ky.

    Posted on January 29, 2015. Filed under: Activists, CBD/Cannabidiol, KENTUCKY, LATEST NEWS, Medical Marijuana, Patients | Tags: , , , , , |


    Guest POV | Medical Marijuana

    Posted: Jan 28, 2015 9:33 AM CST Updated: Jan 28, 2015 3:55 PM CST

    WDRB Guest Editorial By Jaime Montalvo

    I have Multiple Sclerosis. I’ve been fighting this disease for eight years.

    I have muscle spasms, tremor uncontrollably, and I’m scared. Cannabis relieves these symptoms.

    In Kentucky, thousands of Veterans suffer from PTSD and haven’t responded to treatment.

    Sadly, too many choose suicide as a last resort for escaping their demons. I have personal combat veteran friends who testify that smoking Cannabis relieves them within seconds after waking up from horrendous nightmares.

    Kentucky has the highest cancer death rate of all 50 states. You probably know someone who has had cancer. Cancer treatments also bring some of the most debilitating side effects. Twenty thousand Kentuckians a year face this diagnosis. Marijuana has been studied and proven to relieve these effects. The nausea brought about by chemotherapy is relieved within seconds of inhaling Cannabis.

    The Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana reports over 90,000 individuals suffer from epilepsy in our area. Like cancer treatments, medications used to manage seizures have debilitating side effects. Not every patient can tolerate the treatments, and the drugs often stop working. Cannabis oil has been heralded for decreasing certain patients’ seizures from 300 per week to zero or one.

    Cannabis is helping us cope with our symptoms. Please help us by contacting your legislator at 800-372-7181 asking them to support medical marijuana legislation.

    I’m Jaime Montalvo, founder of Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana, and that’s my point of view.

     

    CONTINUE READING…

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

    Posted on January 27, 2015. Filed under: Cannabis/Marijuana, CIVIL RIGHTS, Healthcare, HEMP, Human Rights, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |


    repeal.prohibition.poster

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

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

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

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

    Join me in the fight for REPEAL!

    Kentucky HEMP/HEALTH INITIATIVE:

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

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

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

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

    THE FULL TEXT OF THIS INITIATIVE IS LOCATED AT:

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

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

    PROMOTED BY: SHEREE KRIDER OF CAVE CITY, KY.

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

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

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

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

    WETHEPEOPLE1

    Kentucky Cannabis Hemp Health Initiative

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

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

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

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

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

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

    2. Definition of terms:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    5. Personal use of cannabis hemp euphoric products.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    THIS LINK IS TO CONGRESSIONAL PETITION:

    Petition2Congress Logo

    Smk:012715

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    BE IN FRANKFORT, FEBRUARY 5TH AT NOON!

    Posted on January 23, 2015. Filed under: Activists, KENTUCKY, KENTUCKY WEED, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |


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    JIM HIGHTOWER: Cannabis Americas common sense

    Posted on January 15, 2015. Filed under: Cannabis/Marijuana | Tags: , , , , , , |


     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    «12»

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    Information on “KCHHI”–Kentucky Hemp Health Initiative

    Posted on January 14, 2015. Filed under: Activists Opinions, Drug War, KENTUCKY, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana, Medical Marijuana, Patients, Petitions, Political, PROHIBITION, ShereeKrider | Tags: , , , , , , |


     

    LINK TO KCHHI :

    Petition2Congress Logo

     

    Some background on the “KCHHI” Petition.

    It was re-written by Mary Thomas-Spears and modeled after the CALIFORNIA HEMP HEALTH INITIATIVE (shown below) which was started in 2012.

    It is important because it represents “REPEAL” of “PROHIBITION” at the State, Federal and Local levels of Government in the United States, in OUR case

    KENTUCKY!

    If “WE, THE PEOPLE” want to regain our freedom as a people to be “self-governed” we must take this very important step to push for what WE

    believe is right.

    No one should be punished for growing, using as medicine or for recreational purposes and most certainly of all using “medicinal marijuana” for

    OUR children’s HEALTH needs.  This is NOT to say that it is alright to give to a child under 18/21 years old when NOT being used medicinally! 

    That having been, said NO CHILD should have to do without this God-given medicine because of Government intrusion into our lives!

    I am praying that the citizens of Kentucky will examine the evidence – what we have seen so far is nothing more than Government

    interference in our lives at the Statutory level – even when OUR children’s lives are at stake!

    I realize that those with children in dire need are pressed to see ANY form of legislation enacted that would give their CHILD this medicine!

    I can honestly say that if I were in that position I would leave the State of Kentucky for Colorado today!  NOT because I like what Colorado

    has accomplished!  It is a mess out there – but at least my child would have what they need medically – forget everything else!

    The only other alternative at this point is to try to “secretly” medicate my child and hope that I do not get caught and my CHILD be taken away

    because the LAW doesn’t approve.  We all know the LAW is BULLSHIT!

    I started preaching REPEAL in 2010 and Mary Thomas-Spears had it figured out before me.  Everyone thinks that this is not worth working on

    and it is unobtainable.  I say it is!  If enough people will get behind the idea and we start telling our Government what we need as opposed to

    letting OUR Government ‘TELL US WHAT THEY ARE GOING TO LET US DO!  WE ELECT THEM! Not the other way around – however this is changing

    rapidly.  This is  a valid reason why all those who are eligible to vote MUST do so! Regardless of the fact that the elections are, at this point a “set up” we MUST

    retain the right to the voting process – so everyone make sure they register and vote, even if you feel there is no reason!  At least it keeps the

    freedom TO vote!

    It is close to the point that our entire Country will be under total control of every aspect of OUR lives, up to and including Religion and CHILD

    rearing.  If Kentucky lets this happen – so goes the rest of the Country!  (Check out the story :

    Connecticut Girl Speaks Out After Being Forced to Undergo Chemo) – Industrialism at it’s worse in my opinion, and it is happening

    everyday!  So stop thinking we CAN’T and start thinking YES WE CAN put an end to the tyranny  that is surrounding us and moving in on ALL of OUR freedom’s

    as we speak. STAND UP AND FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT TO BE FREE FROM PROHIBITION AND GOVERNMENT INTRUSION INTO OUR DAILY LIVES

    FOR NO OTHER REASON THAN THEIR DOMINENCE OVER US!

    We lost the first Civil War to the Industrialists.   LET IT NOT HAPPEN AGAIN!

    If you do not understand this I urge you to watch “Hell on Wheels” an AMC production which very well explains how the Industrialists took over

    and forced slave labor from one entity – the Agrarian (Farming) Community into the Industrialist building of the railroads and the war effort.

    Everyone was forced into leaving the family farms for the Industrial Revolution.  As a result we ended up with corporate farming.

    Of note:  The Emancipation Proclamation which “freed the Slaves” was NOT enforced in Kentucky because Kentucky had not seceded from the Union.

    It was only a strategy of War between the North and South and Kentucky “sat on the fence”  Don’t take me the wrong way…Slavery was never RIGHT!

    And Abe Lincoln did NOT like Slavery which has been documented historically.  However, this information proves that if the Government seems to

    be doing something “right” for the people you can bet it is for an ulterior motive.  With a legalize, tax and regulate mentality the Government owns us!

    Fight for the freedom from prohibition of your freedoms!

    Smk.

     

    PLEASE FOLLOW THIS LINK AND SIGN FOR YOUR RIGHT AS A HUMAN BEING TO BE ABLE TO FARM AND USE CANNABIS!  A GOD-GIVEN PLANT!

     

    Petition2Congress Logo

     

    CALLIFORNIA HEMP HEALTH INITIATIVE 2012

     

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    O.K. EVERYONE THIS IS YOUR DAILY REMINDER THAT WE NEED SIGNATURES ON KCHHI !!

    Posted on January 13, 2015. Filed under: Activists, Attention, KENTUCKY, KENTUCKY WEED, LATEST NEWS, legislation, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , , , , , |


     

     

     

    KYUSMJP

     

    THE PETITION IS LOCATED HERE: (DIRECT LINK) http://www.petition2congress.com/9641/kentucky-cannabis-hemp-health-initiative-2013-2014/  

     

    It is my opinion that this is the Initiative we should be getting as many signatures on as possible so that we, as a group, can go to Sen. McConnells office at an opportune time and present it to him.

    At the same time we could have groups of people in each district present it to their Representatives. This represents true repeal of prohibition on the Cannabis Plant in Kentucky. It needs to be presented as soon as possible, before February 17th,  I would say, in order to have a chance at getting someone in office to back us for the 2016 Legislative Session. Please leave your comments and thoughts on this.

     Read the initiative and then just for the hell of it lets see how many signatures we can get before the 30th of January.

    Part II convenes Feb 3rd. Last day for new bill requests is the 6th. I know we can’t find a sponsor by then for this year but if we all show up in Committee meetings which would be every Tuesday at 11:30 for Agriculture and Wednesday at 10 am for Health and Welfare maybe we can give a least a good showing of taking back our human rights to this plant – medical and all.

    If we can get 1000 signatures on the petition I will print it out and mail it POSTAL to every Senator. and Representative. in the state.

    A lot of you all have been in Frankfort to the meetings, I haven’t. According to the website anyone will be admitted to them. Let me know how this works.

     http://kentuckymarijuanaparty.org/index.php/en/kchhi

    Thanks to everyone showing support for this idea.

    It may be bold but it may be the way to bring an end to (State) Prohibition in Kentucky!  We still have to worry about Federal.

    Sheree Krider

    shereekrider@usmjparty.com

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    McCollom: Time to end the marijuana insanity

    Posted on January 13, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , , |


    We have a U.S. Congress that is perfectly fine with deciding to overturn the will of the voters of our nation’s capital, to end their city’s prohibition on marijuana.

    Ironically though, with Washington, D.C. having no voting member (and say) in that vote. The fact is that marijuana prohibition results in a violation of our rights and due process.

    For example, in Michigan, a man who legally provided medical marijuana under that state’s law had his property illegally seized, and bank accounts frozen, by the state without any criminal charges against him. Marijuana prohibition fuels violence. It allows gang members to have a monopoly on the sale of marijuana.

    Heck, when is Louisiana going to legalize marijuana for even medical reasons?

    How many people have to suffer from cancer or other ailments, because of state politicians playing political games? No, I do not recommend that people smoke marijuana, just like I do not recommend they eat two Big Macs a day. I do believe though in the right of adults to make their own decisions, absent overwhelming evidence that not to prohibit is strongly harmful to society.

    Also, for something to be banned, the harm of prohibition cannot be greater than it remaining legal. Of course, the prohibition of marijuana is worse than the drug itself. This is why I support groups like the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws to bring needed reform, that is so desperately needed. It’s time to end this insanity.

    — Jerome McCollom

    Shreveport

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    Travel Author Rick Steves: Marijuana in America Is ‘Two Different Countries’

    Posted on January 10, 2015. Filed under: Activists, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , , , |


     

    Rick Steves is the affable host of public television’s best travel series, "Rick Steves’ Europe." He’s also the author of "Europe Through the Back Door," a best-selling series of travel guide books. His approachable demeanor makes him one of your grandparent’s favorite television hosts; his boyish good looks and friendliness remove any trepidation imposed by his six-foot frame.

    What your grandparents might not know about Rick Steves is that he is an unapologetic proponent of the legalization of responsible adult use of marijuana. He sits on the board of directors for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and contributed large amounts of his travel business profits into passing the legalization laws in Washington State and Oregon. It’s his frequent travels to Europe, where many countries like The Netherlands and Portugal have gone beyond what America has tolerated so far in marijuana reform, which leads him to see the two countries America has become with respect to marijuana legalization.

    In a three-part interview with SFGate columnist David Downs, Steves explains how the attitudes toward marijuana reform differ so greatly in America based on geography. "We have two different countries right now," Steves tells Downs. "I’ve traveled all over the country. Look at the East Coast. They just can’t hardly believe how far along we are and in their world it feels like they’re still behind. They’re on the dark side of the moon."

    One indication of how different the two coasts are is the plethora of business seminars now servicing the fledgling legal marijuana industry in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska, as well as the continuing evolution of the quasi-legal medical marijuana industry in California. Steves is one of many speakers presenting at the International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco next month, an event that is drawing scientists (Dr. Carl Hart, Dr. Amanda Reiman), politicians (California Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher), activists (Oregon legalizer Anthony Johnson, California Prop 19’s Dale Sky Jones) and business leaders (Harborside’s Steve DeAngelo, ArcView Group’s Troy Dayton), and others seeking to shape and grow the cannabis industry.

    Steves, however, isn’t as sanguine about marijuana reform as an issue of business profits. He’d rather people took marijuana legalization to heart as a civil rights issue. "I wish we could all just grow two plants on our windowsill and share them with each other, but that’s not going to work that way," Steves says with regret. "I’m out of the fray there. I’m sure there was lots of cannabis people that wish I was all for the investors and stuff. I’m just agnostic on it. I just want to stop locking people up for smoking pot."

    But Steves recognizes that the cannabis club ideas, like the grow-and-share system that works in Spain, aren’t going to suffice in capitalist America. "You can’t fight that. Big business, free enterprise, greed — it’s the American way," Steves notes. "So you can’t legalize marijuana and not have it legal."

    How marijuana becomes legal, though, will likely be very different on the east Coast compared to the West Coast. "There’s a huge difference between the more progressive and more regressive parts of the country. That’s just the way it is," Steves observes. "I think that’s going to change very quickly and I think after 2016, once California legalizes, and a couple other states will go along with it — it’ll be easier because it’s a presidential year — I think it will be pretty hard to deny the fact that prohibition of marijuana is on its way out."

    Steves, however, also recognizes that some true believers’ ideas about ultimate cannabis freedom without restrictions are unlikely to win at the ballot box. According to Steves, "You need a public safety law that respects the concerns of most people that don’t smoke pot. That’s just a pragmatic thing. I’m not saying that’s right — that’s just reality. I mean, my record is 2- 0. We legalized in Washington and we legalized in Oregon and we needed every bit of common sense pragmatism and respect for people that oppose us that we could."

    Follow Russ Belville on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RadicalRuss

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    Rick Steves Marijuana Legalization Washington Oregon Marijuana

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    Laws elsewhere may doom medical marijuana in Indiana

    Posted on January 7, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , , |


    Senator says Colorado, California have ‘made mockery’ of process

    2015 Legislative Logo

    Posted: Wednesday, January 7, 2015 8:15 am

    By MAUREEN HAYDEN

    INDIANAPOLIS — State Sen. Karen Tallian posted details of her plan to allow medicinal use of marijuana on Facebook this week, drawing thousands of supportive comments.

    The Democrat had given up a years-long push to decriminalize the drug, instead narrowing her focus to making pot a legal painkiller when prescribed by doctors for certain life-threatening or debilitating conditions.

    “At least we can make the exception for compassionate use,” Tallian said of Indiana’s law forbidding marijuana use. “Anyone who has terminal cancer deserves all the help they can get.”

    But as more states loosen their laws, it may be harder for the lawmaker from Ogden Dunes to make her case.

    Some potential allies in the GOP-controlled Legislature say reports of problems and pot-related crime in states with liberalized marijuana laws may chill the conversation in Indiana.

    “If you look at states that have medical marijuana or have legalized marijuana, they’ve made a mockery of it,” said state Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford. “They’ve actually tainted the well for states that want to take a more legitimate look at this issue.”

    Steele, the influential conservative who heads the Senate Judiciary Committee, stunned fellow Republicans two years ago when he came out in favor of decriminalizing marijuana. At the time he likened Indiana’s pot laws — then some of the toughest in nation — to “smashing an ant with sledgehammer.”

    He argued it was time to rethink the law, including the ban on medicinal use of marijuana.

    He’s given up the argument, at least temporarily. Steele said he won’t co-author Tallian’s medical marijuana bill — which represents a blow to the Democratic lawmaker who needs some Republican support just to get a hearing.

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    Op-Ed Cannabis crazy: It doesn’t just describe the move to legalize weed. It could happen to you.

    Posted on January 4, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |


     

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    By Susan Shapiro

    An author who had ‘an extreme addiction’ to marijuana asks society to consider: Is the high worth the lows?

    In 2014, our country went cannabis crazy, bringing to 18 the number of states decriminalizing pot. Colorado opened boutiques selling “mountain high suckers” in grape and butterscotch flavors and posted signs that proclaimed the state is “where prohibition ends and the fun begins.” In my New York home, I’m glad that someone can carry up to 50 joints and no longer get thrown in the joint. Yet I worry that user-friendly laws and such recent screen glorifications as “High Maintenance” and “Kid Cannabis” send young people a message that getting stoned is cool and hilarious.

    I’m ambivalent about legalizing marijuana because I was addicted for 27 years. … I saw how it can make you say and do things that are provocative and perilous. - 

    I know the dark side. I’m ambivalent about legalizing marijuana because I was addicted for 27 years. After starting to smoke weed at Bob Dylan concerts when I was 13, I saw how it can make you say and do things that are provocative and perilous. I bought pot in bad neighborhoods at 3 a.m., confronted a dealer for selling me a dime bag of oregano, let shady pushers I barely knew deliver marijuana, like pizza, to my home. I mailed weed to my vacation spots and smoked a cocaine-laced joint a bus driver offered when I was his only passenger.

    Back then Willie Nelson songs, Cheech and Chong routines and “Fast Times at Ridgemont High’s” Jeff Spicoli made getting high seem kooky and harmless. My reality was closer to Walter White’s self-destruction from meth on TV’s “Breaking Bad” and the delusional nightmares in the film “Requiem for a Dream.” Everyone believed you couldn’t get addicted to pot.

    Turns out I could get hooked on carrot sticks. Marijuana became an extreme addiction for me. I’m not alone. Nearly 17% of those who get high as teenagers will become addicted to marijuana, according to the 2013 edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that up to half of daily marijuana smokers become addicted — an estimated 2.7 million people in the U.S.

    The years I toked, I struggled with love and work, sometimes feeling suicidal. The brilliant addiction specialist who helped me give up pot a dozen years ago taught me that addicts self-medicate because underlying every substance problem he’d ever seen “is a deep depression that feels unbearable.” One-on-one therapy helped me untangle what I was getting wasted to escape. Being drug-free saved my health, marriage and career. Within a year, my income tripled. I came to believe my doctor’s adage: “When you quit a toxic habit you leave room for something beautiful to take its place.”

    In writing classes I teach in New York and L.A., students from many backgrounds confessed that they “smoked a bowl” or “got ripped” and then got in a car accident, fell on subway tracks, had a wallet or cellphone stolen, were sexually assaulted or had a physical altercation that landed them in the hospital or jail. My undergraduates loved the series “Weeds” and “Harold & Kumar” films and joked about being “cross-faded,” simultaneously imbibing on alcohol and marijuana.

    Yet I warn them that getting stoned greatly increases the likelihood of something bad happening, reminding them that pot blurs reality, reduces inhibitions — and regularly leads to tragedy. Consider two deaths in 2014 in Colorado that police linked to pot: a 47-year-old man who ate marijuana-infused candy and fatally shot his wife, and a 19-year-old student who ingested a marijuana cookie and jumped to his death.

    The weed of today is far stronger than in the past. President Obama admitted smoking marijuana as a teen and said it’s no worse than alcohol but hopes his daughters will avoid “the bad habit.” The new edible pot products can be 10 times stronger than a traditional joint, says a report in the New England Journal of Medicine. The strength of pot varies, and it’s impossible to predict its effect. How you react to marijuana depends on your size, what you’ve eaten, the medications you take. As I tapered off, one hit from a pipe or bong could leave me reeling, as if I’d had five drinks.

    Marijuana use doubles the risk of being in a car accident if you drive soon after smoking it, and it causes more car accidents than any other illicit drugs, according to Columbia University researchers. They found it contributed to 12% of traffic deaths in the U.S. in 2010, triple the rate of a decade earlier.

    The medical side effects are also significant. Smoking pot increases the risk of lung cancer 8%, according to British and New Zealand studies. It’s associated with bronchitis, respiratory infections and increases the risk of heart attack and stroke, concluded a New England Journal study. Another 2014 study found frequent use by teenagers and young adults causes cognitive decline and decreases IQ. Marijuana essentially fries your brain.

    Being a stoner was easy. Quitting was hard but gave me more to live for. Before jumping on the buzzed bandwagon in the new year, throwing a pot dessert party or voting to lift all restrictions across the nation, ask yourself and your kids: Is the high worth the lows? We shouldn’t send pot smokers to prison, but they don’t belong on pop-culture pedestals either.

    Susan Shapiro is coauthor of the bestseller "Unhooked: How to Quit Anything" and author of the memoir "Lighting Up."

    Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion

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    Feds stick to court argument that marijuana is dangerous

    Posted on January 4, 2015. Filed under: Drug War, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , , |


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    By Bob Egelko
    Updated 4:20 pm, Friday, January 2, 2015

     

    Two weeks after President Obama signed legislation prohibiting federal interference with state medical marijuana laws, his administration has told a federal judge in Sacramento that pot is still a dangerous drug with no medical value.

    The U.S. attorney’s office, representing Obama’s Justice Department, made the argument in a court filing Wednesday opposing a challenge to the long-standing federal law that classifies marijuana as a Schedule One drug along with heroin, LSD and ecstasy — substances that have a high potential for abuse and no safe medical use.

    While there may be “some dispute among doctors as to whether marijuana is medicine,” there is ample evidence to support the government’s conclusion that “this psychoactive, addictive drug is not accepted as safe for medical use at this time, even with medical supervision,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Broderick wrote.

    Lawyers for alleged marijuana growers countered that the government presented no credible evidence that marijuana carries the potential hazards of legal substances, like tobacco and alcohol, and that the administration’s position makes even less sense in light of the law Obama signed Dec. 16.

    That law, part of an overall government financing bill for the year, bars the federal government from spending money to prevent California and 21 other states from “implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

    Congress can’t rationally “justify a finding that marijuana has no medical benefits while demanding that the distribution of medical marijuana be protected from federal government interference,” said Zenia Gilg, lawyer for one of seven defendants charged with growing marijuana on national forest land in Trinity and Tehama counties.

    The written arguments come two months after a hearing ordered by U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller over prosecutors’ objections. She said defense lawyers had presented expert declarations showing “new scientific and medical information” raising questions about the continued classification of marijuana in Schedule One, which effectively outlaws its possession nationwide.

    At the hearing, the defendants called doctors and researchers who asserted marijuana’s medical benefits and relative safety. The administration presented its own expert, a Harvard professor and former drug official in the George W. Bush administration who said pot is both addictive and dangerous.

    In Wednesday’s filing, the Obama administration said a single expert’s testimony is enough to show the legally required “rational basis” for marijuana’s current classification. But Broderick, the government’s lawyer, also said that “most mainstream physicians agree that marijuana is a dangerous drug,” citing the American Psychiatric Association’s observation that pot use can have “serious side effects.”

    Although some ingredients of marijuana have government-approved medicinal use, Broderick wrote, there are no adequate long-term studies attesting to the medical value or safety of marijuana. In fact, he said, “there is no standard, ‘medical’ marijuana,” and neither patients nor their doctors know which substances they’re ingesting.

    Gilg argued that there are many such studies, but none the government will accept because it has refused to release federally approved marijuana supplies to independent researchers.

    Bob Egelko is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: begelko@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @egelko

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    Pot growers’ new quest: U.S. patent protection for cannabis seeds

    Posted on January 4, 2015. Filed under: Commerce, Corporate Cannabis, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


     

     

    Published: Dec 24, 2014, 5:05 pm Comments (12)

    By Jason Blevins, The Denver Post

    Ben Holmes gently lowers the turntable needle onto the album, and Traffic’s “Medicated Goo,” begins to play.

    Steve Winwood’s wistful tenor sweeps through the Centennial Seeds laboratory: “My own homegrown recipe’ll see you through.”

    “Everyone stole from Stevie Winwood,” Holmes says, his foot tapping as he injects a syringe of dark, syrupy liquid into his gas chromatograph.

    No one is stealing from Holmes, a self-taught scientist, engineer, farmer and cannabis seed geek who next month will take a rare step to apply for a patent on a laboriously created cannabis superstrain.

    Cannabis seed developer Ben Holmes uses THC to calibrate a gas chromatograph before conducting tests at his Centennial Seeds lab in Lafayette. (Craig F. Walker, The Denver Post)

    If it is awarded, the U.S. patent on Holmes’ medical-grade Otto II strain will be the first to protect a cannabis plant and a first step in establishing plant-breeder rights for growers who only a few years ago were considered criminals.

    “This industry came up in stealth, born in basements and crawl spaces,” Holmes said. “But now, with companies forming and making larger investments, the desire to protect intellectual property is becoming paramount. Bleeding-edge stuff, right here.”

    Indeed. Gone are the days when pie-eyed longhairs haphazardly hurled pollen into jungles of pot plants, hoping to meld two strains.

    Today’s top breeders are geneticists, taking years to weed through carefully engineered generations of cannabis to elevate the most desired traits.

    Some of these new superstrains are high in cannabidiol, or CBD, one of several dozen cannabinoid chemical compounds in cannabis and the plant’s major non-psychoactive ingredient. CBD has been credited with relieving some epileptic seizures, prompting widespread calls for additional research.

    Other more utilitarian superstrains are resistant to mites or the crop-killing powdery mildew that plagues grow operations across Colorado.

    Some superstrains are simply super stony, with sky-high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis.

    CONTINUE READING…

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    HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015 FROM THE USMjPARTY!!!!

    Posted on December 31, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized, USMJParty | Tags: , , , , , , , |


    HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015

                    BE SAFE AND STAY FREE!!!  DON’T

                “INTOXICATE” YOURSELF AND DRIVE!!

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    "Commonsense criminal justice reform”

    Posted on December 30, 2014. Filed under: Activists, KENTUCKY, LATEST NEWS, legislation | Tags: , , , , , , , |


    Red VanWinkle

    December 26 at 12:59pm

    As we near Kentucky’s 2015 Legislative session. I would like to bring special attention to a topic of our KY Legislators. There is so many topics for our Legislators to consider during the annual session, it would be hard to not miss something here or there. So to be sure the tax dollars spent to obtain this information, isn’t being missed, I will be giving a friendly tag to several KY legislators on this post.

    Please feel free to thank our Legislators for their up coming hard work. I would also encourage every Kentuckian to share this post, and/or tag as many KY legislators as possible in the comments.

    This post topic will be on the current Legislative topic of, "Commonsense criminal justice reform". Closely related to the 2011 enacted KY HB 463.

    The Kentucky Criminal Justice Council met September 17, 2014 at the Justice Cabinet in Frankfort, KY.
    The following agencies made presentations at the meeting detailing the impact of the 2011 KY HB 463 on their respective areas:
    •Department of Corrections
    •Department of Public Advocacy
    •Administrative Office of the Courts
    •Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
    •Kentucky Commonwealth’s Attorneys Association

    Public Advocate Ed Monahan, who serves on the Council, presented 10 ways to reduce waste in Kentucky’s criminal justice system and reduce costs for counties and the state: to be associated with 2011 KY HB 463.
    The 10 recommendations was:

    1.Reclassifying minor misdemeanors to violations
    2.Creating "gross misdemeanor" classification for low level felonies
    3.Promoting employment/reducing recidivism by creating Class D felony expungement
    4.Reducing days in the county jail by creating "clear and convincing" standard for the pretrial release decision
    5.Modifying violent offender and PFO statutes
    6.Presuming parole for eligible low-risk offenders
    7.Providing alternative sentencing plans for flagrant non-support instead of imprisonment for felony
    8.Creating alternatives to incarceration
    9.Increase the felony theft limit from $500 to $2,000
    10.Reducing waste by limiting capital prosecutions.

    I would like to reference the first of these recommendations to: Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy’s, letter to Subcommittee on the Penal Code and Controlled Substances Act, last updated on the state’s website 3/6/2012.
    The section where Chapter 218A (i.e. Kentucky Drug Laws) should be Rewritten to Reflect Modern Drug Realities.

    The section states;
    "KRS Chapter 218A, the Controlled Substances Act, was originally passed as law in 1972, prior to the current Kentucky Penal Code, KRS Chapters 500 to 534. Many of its criminal statutes have been added or amended since its creation, but no comprehensive reform has been approved in almost 4 decades. Almost all of the amendments or additions have resulted in longer sentences for a greater variety of drug activity and the time has come to review the Chapter as a whole to see if it reflects current societal desires for the criminal prosecution of drug activity. Upon review, many provisions should be changed or removed."
    Then the letter presents a list of researched recommendations.

    With the second of those recommendations(labeled "B") stating;
    " Reduce possession of marijuana to a violation, punishable by fine only"

    Marijuana possession is the lowest KY criminal misdemeanor, then shouldn’t it be lowered to a violation only? .Reclassifying minor misdemeanors to being only violations, was the number one recommendation made by Public Advocate Ed Monahan, who serves on the Council, during the Kentucky Criminal Justice Council meeting, Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at the Justice Cabinet in Frankfort, KY.

    With the 2011 KY HB 463, Marijuana possession was lowered with a max of 45 day’s in jail, and/or a $250 max fine. With provisions, that an officer does not have to arrest the person on the spot, if the officer feels the person will show up for court, and there are no other charges/issues.

    The reasons behind all this discussion may surprise people. The facts are: the KY total crime rate between 1985-2012 has decreased 6%, with the violent crime rate dropping 27%. Yet the KY incarceration rate has increased by a shocking 281%. These numbers is accredited to research done by The Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy. Which was published in their publication "The Advocate" dated March 2014.

    The KY laws need to be updated to the current era.
    One of the topics being discussed is raising the felony theft amount. I had seen where this was explained . The explanation included this: A person who steals an ipad, needs to be punished, but 5 to 10 years incarceration is way to much. So yes the felony theft amount should be raised to meet current inflation. As many other states have done. Kentucky needs to do a little catching up.
    The same logic should apply to a person convicted of Marijuana possession. A victimless act should not carry jail time.

    Many other states, including Washington D.C., only imposes a non criminal fine for simple Marijuana possession. While even more states, have Medical Marijuana/Regulated recreational use legalized. This posses an unjust hardship on Kentucky citizens, and their communities.

    By keeping Marijuana possession a criminal charge, we are creating a criminal lifestyle for many of the offenders convicted of simple Marijuana possession. This over penalty creates criminals, out of otherwise law abiding citizens.Just as what was happing during the Alcohol prohibition.

    In the same "March 2014 edition of The Advocate publication", the article states "There is a safe, less costly way forward".

    We can’t afford to stay on the current path. We are spending about $46 per day per inmate.
    For instance, if 5000 people serve just 10 days of the 45 day max for Marijuana possession, the cost is an estimated about $2,300,000. Just not worth the cost. Yet, if KY enacts the payable violation option(which has been recommended by the Kentucky Department of Advocacy), there would be a positive revenue. Revenue that could be earmarked for Drug prevention/education, and Law Enforcement.

    I personally feel as one Rep stated on the house floor during the passage of the 2011 KY HB 463. This was a great step, and I too look forward to this second part of this measure to correct the current issues at hand.

    A criminal possession of Marijuana conviction devastates a person’s ability to get a job and meet their obligations; a victimless act should not carry this life sentence. I truly hope everyone can see this issue, and react to correct the unjust burden placed on Kentuckians, and their communities.

    I tagged the Legislator in my original post, on my profile page

    Thank you all for your continued support ,’-) Aihooooo

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    Why 2014 was the year of pot

    Posted on December 23, 2014. Filed under: Cannabis/Marijuana, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , , |


     

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

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

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

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

    CONTINUE READING THIS “LONG” STORY!

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    Native Americans Perplexed by Obama’s Latest Marijuana Gift

    Posted on December 22, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , |


    A Justice Department memo sets the stage for Indian tribes to grow and sell marijuana, but do they even want to?

    Julie Bykowicz

    Julie Bykowicz t bykowicz

    There may be no better friend to Native Americans than President Barack Obama, who has gone out of his way to foster economic development by extending gaming and energy development rights, among many other benefits, to the impoverished community. But in an odd twist, his administration’s latest entreaty—to allow marijuana crops and sales on reservations—is being viewed by some tribes as not very friendly at all.

    "We actually have no idea what’s going on here," said Troy Eid, a Denver attorney and chairman of the Indian Law and Order Commission, which advises Obama and Congress on tribal criminal justice issues. "What we do know is that, for unknown reasons, there has been no consultation between the administration and tribes as to what they want to do. It’s a very unusual gap in how this president has approached things."

    The Justice Department said last week that it will treat tribal lands—and there are 300 in 30 states—as it does the four states that have legalized marijuana. In its memo, the department said it was responding to the request of "some tribes" that had asked for guidance.

    “We actually have no idea what’s going on here.”

    Troy Eid, presidential adviser on Indian criminal justice issues

    "No idea," responded Jacqueline Pata, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, when asked which tribes made the request.

    Eid, whose firm represents more than 70 tribes, said that while some of his clients might be interested in exploring their marijuana options, many more are upset and worried that this DOJ memo gives the federal government, which handles prosecution of crimes that occur on reservations, an excuse to not enforce drug laws. Lots of tribes want robust prosecution, he said. Indians have struggled with addiction, so many are sensitive to making it easier to obtain drugs of any kind.

    Wyn Hornbuckle, a DOJ spokesman, said the agency will deal with tribes as individual governments. The policy statement recognizes that "some tribes are very concerned with public safety implications, such as the impact on youth, and the use of tribal lands for the cultivation or transport of marijuana, while others have explored decriminalization and other approaches," he said, noting that marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

    So far the Mohegan Indian Tribe of Connecticut is one of the few to publicly express interest in marijuana as a cash crop. They also were trailblazers in the gaming industry, though their receipts have been flagging in recent years. As Eid points out, the Justice memo makes no mention that it took this step as a way to bolster tribal finances. "Maybe it looks like they’re doing something good, but I don’t think that’s clear," he said.

    That being said, Obama has had far better relations with Indian country than previous presidents, Eid and Pata said.

    "He has been the best president for Indian country," Pata said. Obama set the stage for this on the campaign trial in 2008, visiting reservations and making promises to respect tribes as the independent nations that are. He also made it personal a year after his historic election. “Over the last few years, I’ve had a chance to speak with Native American leaders across the country about the challenges you face, and those conversations have been deeply important to me,” Obama said in an address to Indian leaders in November 2009. “I get it. I’m on your side. I understand what it means to be an outsider.”

    In a three-part series last year, Bloomberg News explored the friendly relationship between Obama and Indian country through the lens of gambling. He has tried to usher more tribes into this $28 billion industry, to the delight of many Native Americans and the irritation of Senator Dianne Feinstein, a fierce opponent of gambling. Under President George W. Bush, new licenses for tribal casinos on off-reservation lands had all but stalled. Obama’s Bureau of Indian Affairs not only began approving long-dormant projects, but redefined what counts as highly regulated, taxed slot machines, opening up new cash flows for tribes. And when a U.S. Supreme Court ruling questioned the sovereignty of at least 50 tribes, some of which want to open casinos, the Obama administration found a work-around.

    The economic benefits of vice are hotly debated. Legalized pot in the states is too new for assessment. Economists who have studied the Indian gaming industry have found mixed results. Casinos help some individual tribes, but not the demographic as a whole. One in four American Indians was living in poverty in 2012. It’s far higher at some reservations. At one that Obama visited this year, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, nearly half of the inhabitants live in poverty.

    The DOJ’s marijuana decision has the potential to be lucrative, especially because crops would likely not face the high taxes imposed by the states. And maybe some tribes will go for it, Eid said.  "But we’re far from that," he said. "At this point the administration needs to start over, and start with some serious tribal consultation."

    CONTINUE READING…

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    Oklahoma and Nebraska Marijuana Sales in Colorado are Against Foreign Laws, So Stop it!

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


    By: Hrafnkell Haraldsson more from Hrafnkell Haraldsson

    Saturday, December, 20th, 2014, 8:32 am

    Colorados-Recreational-Marijuana-Task-Force

    It is interesting how Republicans are all state’s rights and big government keep your hands off – until a state does something they don’t like. Like Colorado’s marijuana law, which is one of four states to allow regulated production and sale of marijuana to adults.

    Nebraska and Oklahoma – both red states – don’t like that. And they want the Supreme Court to do something about it. Whatever happened to the Tenth Amendment? What ever happened to that oppressive federal government meddling where it doesn’t belong?

    Throw all that out the window and drive the bus over it.

    Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning and Oklahoma Attorney General E. Scott Pruitt say pot is crossing the state line (their state lines) and that their states are suffering “irreparable injury.” They are suing Colorado.

    In other words, they have to spend time arresting people for something that’s legal in another state. They say Sections 16(4) and (5) of Article XVIII of the Colorado Constitution (the supremacy clause of the Constitution) don’t stand up before federal law –

    Wait! They said that? Hold on now…Gosh, I wonder how they’d feel if we were talking about guns instead of marijuana, or the First Amendment?

    Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said,

    [I]t appears the plantiffs’ primary grievance stems from non-enforcement of federal laws regarding marijuana, as opposed to choices made by the voters of Colorado. We believe this suit is without merit and we will vigorously defend against it in the U.S. Supreme Court.”

    Keep in mind that what pot proponents have been saying all along happened – the state made some $60 million of sales of cannabis, and that what opponents said would happen didn’t happen – in other words, everyone woke up to the same world they had known the day before. Nary a catastrophe to be seen then and none on the horizon now.

    It is incredible that the party that talks endlessly about majorities rule suddenly cease to care about majorities at times like this. Some 55 percent of Colorado voters approved Amendment 64’s legalization of the sale of marijuana. Shouldn’t that be good enough?

    Not to mention the extremely lax ideology of the GOP. Everything is black and white on the surface, but the second anything happens they don’t like, their morals go topsy-turvy. As Bloomberg points out in this case:

    The lawsuit, readable here, is a little shot of cognitive dissonance for anyone who listens to conservative Republicans on other matters. First, most jarringly, it cites America’s agreements with foreign nations as a reason that Colorado’s law can’t stand.

    “Through its exclusive Constitutional power to conduct foreign policy,” argue the plaintiffs, “the United States is a party to international treaties and conventions under which it has agreed to control trafficking in drugs and psychotropic substances, such as marijuana.”

    Hold on a second! This is the party constantly telling us that we are being enslaved by globalization, that International law is a threat to our sacred constitutional freedoms. And now you’re saying foreign laws trump the rights of American citizens?

    The Republican Party might do well to decide what exactly it is for and against. Do states rights triumph? Does federal law triumph? Do foreign laws matter when it comes to U.S. law?

    They can’t apply it on a case by case basis, appealing to whichever is more convenient at the moment. This is the party opposed to relativism, and right now, it seems to have a much bigger problem with relativism than Democrats.

    Image from The Joint Blog

    CONTINUE READING…

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    Merry Christmas! Peace on Earth! Good Will to Men! Hark the Herald Angels sing…Glory to the newborn KING!

    Posted on December 18, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


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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

    CONTINUE READING…

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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.

    CONTINUE READING…

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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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    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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