Tag Archives: Marijuana

Marijuana makes mother nature cry: report


06/26/15 05:17 PM

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By Tony Dokoupil

 

 

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If you consume cannabis this weekend, you might also be killing fish, clear-cutting forest, and poisoning some cute-faced and endangered members of the weasel family.

That’s one takeaway from new report in the journal BioScience, which details the water-guzzling, land-destroying, pollution-spreading reality of the marijuana farming today.

The work is the most comprehensive effort to date to quantify the environmental costs of serving the country’s millions of regular marijuana users. Among the degradation recorded: diverted streams, displaced plant-life, spilled diesel fuel, reckless use of fertilizers, and dead Pacific fishers (those cute weasels).  

RELATED: Beyond coal and environmentally friendly pot

Because most marijuana consumed in America is grown here, the research adds a green front to the moral and social battle over broader legalization. Because marijuana growers are understandably secretive, however, the scope of their work is hard to measure, and easy to get wrong.

The only certainty is that this research—which did not distinguish between illegal and state-sanctioned growers—won’t be the last word on their impacts, or its relevance to the push for legalization. Softer pot laws have already swept through 23 states in one form or another, and attitudes are changing fast.

For the moment, people tend to argue over what’s best for kids, minorities, sick people, drivers, and the economy at large. Now, they might also have to consider the policy that favors fish, furry animals, forests, streams, and the majesty of nature. 

Predictably, both the pro-and-anti legalization sides see the study as an ally.

Kevin Sabet, for example, is the president of Project SAM, a campaign to keep marijuana illegal and address the failings of the drug war through other means. He instantly turned the study into a new weapon and let fire.

“Everyone thinks that weed is harmless to use, when in reality our earth is very much affected by its production,” he told msnbc. “The only answer to this environmental problem is to reduce our hunger for pot. And that doesn’t happen under legalization.”

RELATED: Are these pot farmers sucking up all California’s water?

Marijuana growers (and, one imagines, marijuana consumers) can just as easily fold the research into their own point of view. They don’t deny that marijuana is a growing threat to the environment, but they attribute that destruction to the perversions of prohibition.

Hezekiah Allen is executive director of the Emerald Growers Association, a trade group that represents state-sanctioned growers in northern California.

“Unregulated commercial agriculture is bound to have more significant impacts than regulated agriculture,” he told msnbc. “The simple solution is that 18 years after California has a legal medical cannabis industry, it’s time for the state to regulate that industry.”

The research was led by the Nature Conservancy, with help from environmental scientists at UC Berkeley and California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife. Their own conclusions tended to the growers point of view. They noted “inherent trade-offs and tension between marijuana cultivation and ecosystem needs,” but also pointed out that new policies could “prevent and mitigate” the current level of damage. 

Earlier this spring, msnbc visited a pot farm in northern California to see a model of sustainable growing, in an industry that suddenly needs one. Casey O’Neill and his brother Nathaniel are third-generation cannabis growers in the famed Emerald Triangle, and co-owners of Happy Day Farms.

Before the drought, the O’Neill brothers invested their life savings in two artificial ponds, which now hold about 2 million gallons of captured rainwater. They also installed solar panels, which power their whole grown, and they continued to rely on only natural fertilizers.

Now they’re trying to spread the good word. They believe that the quickest way to clean up the trade may be to legalize it. That would allow farmers to openly trade best practices, and regulators to easily find those who don’t adopt them, they argue.

“We can be fish-friendly and still produce this incredible economic bounty that comes from the sun through human labor,” said Casey. “It’s the translation of solar dollars into real dollars. And that’s something that we are very honor to participate in.”

Explore:

California, Drug Policy, Drugs, Environment, Green and Marijuana

CONTINUE (VIDEO)

Marijuana and Your Job: What You Need to Know


Carolyn Buppert, MSN, JD

Disclosures June 26, 2015

 

To submit a legal/professional nursing question for future consideration, write to the editor at syox@medscape.net (Include "Ask the Expert" in subject line.)

Question

Can I be fired for using marijuana at home or for using recreational marijuana on my day off, when recreational use is legal in my state?

Response from Carolyn Buppert, MSN, JD
Healthcare attorney

Fired for Use of Medical Marijuana at Home?

May an employer fire a healthcare professional for use of marijuana for a medical reason, when the employee has a medical marijuana card, medical marijuana is legal in the employee’s state, and the employee uses it off-site and on his or her own time?

It looks like the answer is "yes." An employee may be fired for legal use of medical marijuana. On June 15, 2015, the Colorado Supreme Court upheld Dish Network’s firing of a technology worker who was using marijuana for a medical purpose and tested positive on a random drug screen. Use of medical marijuana is legal in Colorado.

In that case, the employee, who is paralyzed from the chest down, uses marijuana at night to treat spasms and seizures. He was tested at work, was positive for marijuana, and the employer fired him, in keeping with the company’s drug-free workplace policy. The employee sued the employer, saying he wasn’t accused of being high on the job, he had good job reviews, the testing was random, and the firing violated the state’s "lawful activities" statute. Colorado’s lower courts held that the firing was legal, and the case went to the state Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court said, "Employees who engage in an activity such as medical marijuana use that is permitted by state law but unlawful under federal law are not protected by the lawful activities statute."[1]

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


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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He predicted similar results as marijuana prohibition eases.

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

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

Story Continues →

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


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

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

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

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

‘She Was Barely Functioning, Barely Living.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shona’s ‘Miraculous’ Recovery

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

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

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

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

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

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

A ‘Drug Education’ Discussion Sparks An Investigation

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kansas, A State Of Prohibition

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

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

The states that have legalized marijuana or softened penalties for possession have only been able to do so because of federal guidance urging prosecutors to refrain from targeting state-legal marijuana operations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next: A War On The War On Drugs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Man hid marijuana in ‘Mary Jane’ candy wrappers at airport: cops


By Philip Messing and Chris Perez

June 22, 2015 | 2:36pm

 

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This dope must of been high on his own supply.

A passenger at Newark Airport tried to sneak a stash of marijuana past the TSA — disguising it in Mary Jane candy wrappers, authorities said.

Gregory Murphy’s “bad trip” started Friday at around 5pm when he heard his name being paged over the loudspeakers as he prepared to board a plane at Gate 85, according to Port Authority police.

The 49-year-old Toms River, N.J. resident was confronted by TSA officers after they discovered Zig-Zag rolling papers and “a green leafy vegetation” inside of his checked luggage.

Murphy later admitted to Port Authority police that the greens — which was wrapped in seven Mary Jane candy wrappers and concealed in a plastic zip-lock baggie — was in fact marijuana and that it and the rolling papers belonged to him, authorities said.

Murphy was arrested and issued summonses for possession of marijuana under 50 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia. He has been released and is due in court on July 7th.

 

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Until today if you wanted to conduct marijuana research, you’d need to do the following:


In this photo taken Tuesday, May 5, 2015, marijuana plants grows at a Minnesota Medical Solutions greenhouse in Otsego, Minn.  (Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP)

 

A long-standing bureaucratic obstacle to privately-funded medical marijuana research has just been removed, effective immediately.

Until today if you wanted to conduct marijuana research, you’d need to do the following:

  1. Submit your study proposal to the Food and Drug Administration for a thorough review of its "scientific validity and ethical soundness."
  2. Submit your proposal to a separate Public Health Service (PHS) board, which performs pretty much the exact same review as the FDA.
  3. Get a marijuana permit from the Drug Enforcement Administration.
  4. Finally, obtain a quantity of medical marijuana via the Drug Supply Program run by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which maintains a monopoly on medical marijuana grown for research in the U.S.

As you might imagine, this can be a complicated, time-consuming process. Step 2, the PHS review, has been a subject of particular consternation among researchers and advocates. That step is not required for research into any other drug, including cocaine and heroin. The PHS review is nearly identical to the one performed by the FDA. Sometimes, it can take months to complete.

In recent years, advocates of overhauling marijuana laws, researchers, members of Congress, and even marijuana legalization opponents have called for the PHS review to be eliminated in the name of streamlining research. This week, the Department of Health and Human Services agreed, determining that the PHS review process is redundant with the FDA review, and that it is "no longer necessary to support the conduct of scientifically-sound studies into the potential therapeutic uses of marijuana."

"The president has often said that drug policy should be dictated by unimpeded science instead of ideology, and it’s great to see the Obama administration finally starting to take some real action to back that up," said Tom Angell of the Marijuana Majority, a pro-legalization group.

Even those who oppose legalization agreed.

"I think it’s a sensible change; but people are being delusional if they think this will result in a flood of research on the drug," said Kevin Sabet of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, an anti-legalization group. "But it’s a step in the right direction as the development of a non smoked cannabis medication goes forward."

I’ve reached out to some researchers for reaction too, and will update when I hear from them.

There are still more bureaucratic hurdles to marijuana research than to research in any other drug. NIDA’s monopoly on legal marijuana production doesn’t exist for any other drug, meaning that heroin and cocaine remain easier for researchers to work with.

"The next step should be moving marijuana out of Schedule I to a more appropriate category, which the administration can do without any further Congressional action," said Angell. "Given what the president and surgeon general have already said publicly about marijuana’s relative harms and medical uses, it’s completely inappropriate for it to remain in a schedule that’s supposed to be reserved for substances with a high potential for abuse and no therapeutic value."

Christopher Ingraham writes about politics, drug policy and all things data. He previously worked at the Brookings Institution and the Pew Research Center.

Continue Reading…

Marijuana cash is problem for Illinois tax collection


Updated: Jun 19, 2015 10:22 AM CST

CHICAGO (Associated Press) – The state of Illinois is having trouble finding a bank or financial company to process the large amounts of cash it anticipates receiving for taxes and fees from its new medical marijuana industry.

The state received no response to a solicitation published last fall. Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs has started a formal process to find out why.

The legal marijuana industry tends to operate with cash only. Experts say banks and credit card companies are wary because the federal government considers marijuana an illegal drug.

The Illinois treasurer is asking the financial industry for input by June 29. An armored car services requirement has been deleted from the new draft because it was "believed to be a deterrent to proposals."

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Ohio election officials warned about pro-marijuana group’s voter registrations


Marijuana leaves

By Jackie Borchardt, Northeast Ohio Media Group
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on June 17, 2015 at 2:38 PM, updated June 17, 2015 at 7:02 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted on Wednesday advised election officials to "carefully analyze" new voter registrations being submitted by The Strategy Network, which is collecting signatures for pro-marijuana legalization group ResponsibleOhio.

County boards of elections have reported an increase in errors and registrations that appear to be fraudulent turned in by the group, Husted said.

"As the state’s chief elections officer, I have a duty to work with our local boards of elections to ensure fairness at the ballot box and a primary component of that responsibility is to maintain clean voter rolls and establish safeguards against fraud," Husted said in a news release. "ResponsibleOhio’s suspicious voter registration efforts seem to be simply another step in a growing trend of irresponsible behavior."

According to Husted’s office, counties have reported:

  • Registrants who report non-existent addresses;
  • Signatures that are illegible or do not match the signature on file for the applicant in the voter’s existing registration record;
  • Multiple applications submitted on the same day for a single applicant at different addresses;
  • Applicants who are underage and will not turn 18 before the next general election; and
  • Multiple registration forms that appear to be completed in the same handwriting.

ResponsibleOhio announced last week it had collected more than 550,000 signatures and about 10 percent of those also completed new voter registration forms. ResponsibleOhio Executive Director Ian James also owns The Strategy Network, a well-known Columbus consulting firm that specializes in collecting signatures for ballot issue campaigns.

James said Husted’s letter was the first the campaign had heard of problems with its voter registrations. James said petition circulators follow the law for voter registrations, which allow them to complete portions of the registration form.

"[My company] has collected 5.6 million signatures  and we’re registering tens of thousands of people to vote. We take the responsibility of compliance with Ohio election law very seriously," James said.

James said Husted’s warning is the latest move by elected politicians to thwart ResponsibleOhio’s effort. State lawmakers are considering their own constitutional amendment targeted at ResponsibleOhio that would nullify amendments that benefit an economic interest .

"There is somewhat of a concern that we’re going to qualify for the ballot, that voters are going to be able to vote for the issue that they overwhelmingly support, that voters are going to legalize marijuana in Ohio," James said. "And there are some who don’t want to have that happen and are pulling all the stops to try to stop voters from having their say on this matter."

ResponsibleOhio wants to legalize marijuana for personal and recreational use for adults over age 21 and limit commercial growing to 10 sites promised to campaign investors. The group must collect more than 305,591 valid signatures of registered Ohio voters by July 1 to qualify for the November ballot.

Signatures are sent to county boards of election for verification, and groups often register signers to vote in Ohio in hopes of increasing validity.

In at least two counties, Husted wrote in a letter to James, registrations were turned in for 16-year-old applicants. One of those applicants told the county elections board director he was advised to complete the form even after explaining he was not old enough to vote.

Husted spokesman Joshua Eck said the office didn’t have a total number of irregularities but boards in Cuyahoga County and 12 others have reported suspicious registrations: Butler, Clermont, Delaware, Erie, Fairfield, Franklin, Hamilton, Meigs, Paulding, Ross and Scioto counties.

Earlier this year, Husted joined fellow Republican statewide elected officials in denouncing the amendment. At that time, Husted said it was offensive to ask Ohioans to give a constitutional monopoly to the marijuana industry and he would "vigorously" ask voters to defeat it.

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"Pot Heard Around the World"


FRANKFORT – Hoping to end the prohibition against hemp and cannabis, a group traveling the United States will rally today at the Capitol as part of their

"Pot Heard Around the World" campaign.

A nationwide campaign to raise awareness and educate Americans about the numerous uses for hemp and cannabis, the "End Of Prohibition Capitol Tour" started bringing local pro-hemp and cannabis organizations together in the beginning of June at capitols across the country.

From Georgia, Kentucky to Kansas the tour members are working to propel cannabis and hemp legislation forward in 10 state capital cities in a 17-day Southeast U.S. tour.

Working with doctors, patients, politicians and business owners the goal is the establishment of a responsible, safe industry.

A news conference will take place in the Capitol Rotunda from 3-4 p.m. today with a rally to follow from 4-5:30 p.m.

This isn’t a typical pep rally for pot, but campaign member, COO and co-founder for the campaign Nashville Rizzi said the campaign helps educate people about the rules and regulations of opening businesses where cannabis and hemp is legal.

"We do a lot of bringing different local organizations together that may be working toward the same goals," Rizzi said.

"Some people support medical marijuana or hemp legislation. We raise awareness, provide a place to introduce those groups to each other and strengthen support in the area."

Jaime Montalvo, president of the nonprofit Kentuckians for Medical Marijuana, isn’t a stranger to legislators at the Capitol as he has lobbied for medical marijuana legislation in Kentucky for several years.

He will attend the event today with three other patients.

After going through a gauntlet of steroids, muscle relaxers, chemotherapy, interferon injections and opiates to manage his multiple sclerosis, Montalvo found using marijuana less debilitating than the side effects of his prescription medications.

Montalvo advocated during the 2015 legislative session for the Cannabis Compassion Act which would have made Kentucky the 24th state in the U.S. with Washington D.C. to legalize medicinal marijuana.

When asked why he is an advocate and why is he going to the rally, Montalvo said it is for others who can’t.

"We do this for those patients who are far too sick to travel across the state, those who fear the stigma, or those who fear being labeled a criminal for doing what they have to do for a better quality of life," Montalvo said.

"We’ve seen far too much pain and suffering to walk away from this fight and allow our legislators to do nothing. We know the relief it can provide to the sick and disabled patients of Kentucky."

 

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Senator Whose Family Was Caught With Smuggled Cocaine On Cargo Ship Says ‘No’ To Legalized Marijuana


 

A cargo ship which has been linked to anti-drug Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell was stopped and searched before departing from Colombia recently, with approximately 90 pounds of cocaine found on board by the Coast Guard. But now, Senator McConnell is doubling down on his reputation as an “Anti-Drug Senator” by railing against legalized marijuana.

The Senate Minority Leader said that he is firmly “against legalizing marijuana,” even while this has put him at odds with his Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes.

McConnell acknowledge that marijuana is “not in the same category as heroin,” even if it is treated as such by the DEA. Still, he said that legalizing the plant could “completely transform your society in a way that I think certainly most Kentuckians would not agree with.”

“I don’t think an answer to this, honestly, is to go in a direction of legalizing any of these currently illegal drugs,” McConnell explained. “This whole movement in various parts of the country is a big mistake.”

This is rather ironic, as The Free Thought Project reported back in November that drugs found on the ship, the Ping May, were carried by the vessel operated by the Foremost Maritime Corporation. That’s a company owned by Mitch McConnell’s in-laws, the Chao family.

Free Thought explained that “this connection is not only relevant because of the family connection, but also because the Chao family has often made large donations to McConnell’s campaigns.”

“In fact,” they continue, “the Chao family has been funding McConnell since the late 1980s. Years later, in 1993, McConnell married Elaine Chao and secured the Chao family as one of his primary sources for investments.”

A gift worth somewhere between 5 and 25 million dollars from the Chao Family made McConnell one of the richest senators in the country in 2008.

The Foremost Maritime Corporation is currently operating 16 dry bulk cargo ships, most of which are currently still in service.

What makes this case even more interesting is that McConnell is well known as a staunch prohibitionist. In 1996, McConnell sponsored “The Enhanced Marijuana Penalties Act”, a bill designed to increase the mandatory minimum sentencing for people caught with marijuana.

Luis Gonzales, an official with the Colombian Coast Guard in Santa Marta told The Nation that the Ping May’s crew were questioned as part of the investigation, but that they have yet to file any charges in the case.

Do you think there is anything strange about McConnell’s war on weed, considering his family’s link to smuggled, black market cocaine?

Perhaps those who deal in black market, unregulated drugs are trying to keep drugs illegal to make sure they maximize their black market profits?

(Article by M. David)

CONTINUE READING….

IRS Approves First Church Of Cannabis. What’s Next For Marijuana?


Welcome to the First Church of Cannabis Inc., approved by Indiana’s Secretary of State under its controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Even bigger that state law approval, the church has even been granted tax-exempt status by the IRS. Tea Party conservatives evidently had a lot more trouble with their tax exemption applications. The stated intent of the upstart church is “to start a church based on love and understanding with compassion for all.”

Bill Levin is the self-described “Minister of Love and Grand Poobah” of the Church. The first church service is set for July 1, 2015. It is no coincidence that July 1 is the day the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act takes effect. The church has a Facebook page with clever notes like “The Deity Dozen,” “Don’t be an asshole” and “Do not be a ‘troll’ on the Internet.”

First Church of Cannabis

The Indianapolis Star says First Church of Cannabis could test the new religious freedom law. And many are probably wondering if the Church of Cannabis a real church. The State of Indiana and the IRS think so. For others, it may depend on how you define a church and how well this fits the pattern. There are some strange court cases that have looked at the question. For example, U.S. v. Myers, examined five factors to determine whether a “Church of Marijuana” was authentically religious: ultimate ideas, metaphysical beliefs, a moral system, comprehensiveness of beliefs, and the ‘accoutrements of religion,’ such as important writings, a priesthood, etc.

The Church says that “Cannabis, the ‘healing plant,’ is our sacrament.” Its founder plans to grow hemp. though the church will not buy or sell marijuana. But smoking in church will evidently be permitted. “If someone is smoking in our church, God bless them,” Levin said. “This is a church to show a proper way of life, a loving way to live life. We are called ‘cannataerians.’”

There are many tax advantages of church status and an IRS determination letter. Even compared to other tax-exempt organizations, church status is the crème de la crème. Churches reap a vast array of tax advantages. They even include special rules limiting IRS authority to audit a church. A “church” is not specifically defined in the tax code, but the IRS lays out buzzwords in its tax guide for churches and religious organizations, including these characteristics:

  1. Distinct legal existence;
  2. Recognized creed and form of worship;
  3. Definite and distinct ecclesiastical government;
  4. Formal code of doctrine and discipline;
  5. Distinct religious history;
  6. Membership not associated with any other church or denomination;
  7. Organization of ordained ministers;
  8. Ordained ministers selected after completing prescribed study;
  9. Literature of its own;
  10. Established places of worship;
  11. Regular congregations;
  12. Regular religious services;
  13. Sunday schools for religious instruction of the young; and
  14. Schools for preparing its members.

The IRS considers all facts and circumstances in assessing whether an organization qualifies. But unlike other exempt organizations, a church need not actually apply for tax exemption. Most churches do, but it is technically not required. The Nonprofit Risk Management Center reports that over one hundred 501(c)(3) organizations lose their tax-exempt status each year. The reasons vary, but the losses of tax-exempt status do suggest that the mere fact that the First Church of Cannabis obtained a tax exemption does not necessarily mean it will keep it forever.

For alerts to future tax articles, follow me on Forbes. You can reach me at Wood@WoodLLP.com. This discussion is not intended as legal advice, and cannot be relied upon for any purpose without the services of a qualified professional.

CONTINUE READING….

Another Perspective Pot Possibilities and Problems Banking on legal marijuana is proving dicy, especially thanks to the feds.


By Ross Kaminsky – 5.26.15

marijuana leaf

 

Often the first thing I’m asked when traveling outside of Colorado is a half-question half-joke about how many people in the state I now call home are stoned. Although I’m pro-legalization, I’ve never touched marijuana and it seems as if I’m not alone: even though the state passed — by a 10-percent margin — a constitutional amendment in 2012 legalizing “recreational” (but still highly regulated) marijuana sale and use, sales tax receipts have underperformed expectations.

I have more context than the average American on this issue: I used to live in Amsterdam. In that wonderful city — where, I repeat, I never touched the stuff — you drink coffee at cafés but at “coffee shops” you ingest marijuana, whether by smoking or eating cookies or brownies or by who knows whatever clever delivery system the 21st century has on offer. What I noticed the few times I was in a coffee shop with friends or even just walking by The Bulldog was that the majority of the patrons were not Dutch.

I suspect the same is happening here, with marijuana tourism fueling a substantial fraction of the recreational pot sales in the state. One company in Colorado’s fledgling pot tourism industry offers four-hour tours during which participants visit dispensaries and “grow” operations, “enjoy free sampling on the cannabis friendly luxury party bus” and “end our day with a smoke out…with delicious munchies, ganja and drinks.”

It sounds like a bad ’70s movie but this is serious business which other states are watching closely, wondering whether the potential public revenue and private employment benefits are worth the cost and effort of regulation, of reforming state banking laws and pushing for parallel federal reforms, of how to deal with “edibles” (one of the biggest post-legalization issues in Colorado) and the impact of legalization on children — including everything from accidental ingestion to the prescription of high-CBD strains such as “Charlotte’s Web” to treat seizure disorders. (CBDs are pharmacologically active ingredients in marijuana but do not get you “high,” a feeling created by another chemical called THC. Many high-CBD strains are specifically engineered to be low in THC.)

Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of families have moved to Colorado seeking help and hope in the smoke or oil of what the federal government still classifies as a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning that according to Uncle Sam it has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” While pot is on Schedule I, meaning that doing medical research on it is nearly impossible, drugs on Schedule II — laughably categorized as less dangerous and more useful than weed — include oxycodone, methamphetamine, and cocaine.

Politicians outside of Colorado are starting to pay attention. Three U.S. senators, Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and, not surprisingly, Rand Paul (R-KY), have introduced the CAREERS Act which would, among other things, move marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II within the Controlled Substances Act, remove CBD from the definition of marijuana (thus removing high-CBD low-THC strains from current regulation as controlled substances), abate the risk of federal prosecution for marijuana-related activities that are legal under state law, and prevent banks or banking regulators from discriminating against marijuana-related businesses that are operating legally under state law.

The banking issue is critical: Without an ability to deposit the cash from its sales at a bank, a legal marijuana business becomes an obvious target for violent crime while being tempted toward tax evasion. But banks, being federally regulated, are wary of becoming involved with a business selling a Schedule I substance directly to consumers.

Guidance issued last year by the Treasury’s Financial Crime Enforcement Network (FinCEN) did not help given its laundry list of burdensome requirements for banks including “reviewing the license application (and related documentation) submitted by the business for a state license to operate its marijuana-related business” and “ongoing monitoring of publicly available sources for adverse information about the business.” What bank manager is going to want to deal with all that and still face the risk of an officious federal regulator saying that the bank has abetted money laundering?

A Colorado-approved application for a marijuana- and hemp-related credit union has been sitting at the Federal Reserve for six months, waiting for approval of a Fed “master account” that it would need to operate. One of the backers of the credit union says that he hopes the Fed will act within the next few weeks as it has no legal basis on which to deny approval.

Last month, an Oregon-based bank that had begun to offer similar services in Colorado not only canceled those plans but, due to the cost of regulatory compliance, said it would close the accounts of businesses that had thought they’d found a banking home. As the bank’s CEO noted, those people would probably need to take their money in cash since “I can’t think that a cashier’s check would be of any help to them.” I bet the Bandidos would love to know the dates of those transactions.

In February, the IRS fined a Denver dispensary for not electronically paying employee withholding taxes. When the company argued that it could not pay electronically because it could not get a bank account, the IRS denied its appeal even though the firm’s taxes are paid by the due date (and in cash, of course) directly at the local IRS office.

The national implications of Colorado’s marijuana legalization don’t end with banking. Bordering states such as Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma are none too happy to have marijuana coming into their states. Since they can’t stop every car driving east on I-70, the latter two states have filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court of the United States arguing that “The Constitution and the federal anti-drug laws do not permit the development of a patchwork of state and local pro-drug policies and licensed distribution schemes throughout the country which conflict with federal laws” and that “In passing and enforcing Amendment 64, the State of Colorado has created a dangerous gap in the federal drug control system enacted by the United States Congress.”

Colorado’s new Attorney General, Cynthia Coffman, recently filed a brief with the Court asking for summary dismissal of the suit, saying that “The Plaintiff States’ attempt to selectively manipulate Colorado’s marijuana laws—leaving legalization intact but eliminating large swaths of state regulatory power—is a dangerous use of both the Supremacy Clause and the Court’s original jurisdiction, and it is unlikely to redress the Plaintiff States’ alleged injuries.” This less than neighborly conflict is only possible because of the senseless federal position on marijuana.

Congress has a particular problem now that the District of Columbia has — with a stunning 70 percent of the voters in support — legalized pot. Perhaps a little Maui Waui might make legislators get along better, or at least make C-SPAN a lot more fun for the rest of us to watch.

I don’t smoke pot and I warn my young children away from it. But the genie of marijuana legalization is not going back into the bottle, nor should it in a free society. All jokes aside, Colorado is leading the way in understanding both the benefits and perils of legal pot and of its regulatory framework. Other states, rather than stamping their feet and running to the feds, should watch this laboratory of democracy and learn from our success and our temporary failures.

Read more at http://spectator.org/articles/62824/pot-possibilities-and-problems

Afghanistan: Democracy with the flavor of narcotics


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?


-031_levin.JPG_20150520.jpg

 

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.


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?

PLEASE CONTINUE READING…..

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


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]

CONTINUE READING…

And all the green fields will runneth red with blood…


 

 

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

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


 

 

 

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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

     CONTINUE READING….

Do You Know What’s on Your Weed?


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

by Tobias Coughlin-Bogue

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Kinds of Pesticides Are Recreational Marijuana Growers Using?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Kinds of Pesticides Are Medical Marijuana Growers Using?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If You Aren’t Sure, Get It Tested

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

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

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

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

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

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Marijuana Reform Activists Push for Change with DEA Head


 

 

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.

More

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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.”

CONTINUE READING…

Monsanto Creates First Genetically Modified Strain of Marijuana


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 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


 

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

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


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…