Tag Archives: Marijuana

9 States to Vote Soon on Expanding Legal Access to Marijuana


SAN FRANCISCO — Sep 28, 2016, 2:35 AM ET

Marijuana National Vote

From California, with its counterculture heritage, to the fishing ports and mill towns of Maine, millions of Americans in nine states have a chance to vote Nov. 8 on expanding legal access to marijuana. Collectively, the ballot measures amount to the closest the U.S. has come to a national referendum on the drug.

Five states — Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada — will consider legalizing the recreational use of pot. Three others — Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota — will decide whether to permit marijuana for medical purposes. Montana will weigh whether to ease restrictions on an existing medical marijuana law.

As the most populous state, with a reputation for trend-setting, California is attracting the most attention — and money — in an intensifying debate over Proposition 64.

Silicon Valley tycoons and deep-pocketed donors with connections to the legal medical marijuana industry are among the top financial backers of a pro-pot campaign that has raised almost $17 million. Opponents have raised slightly more than $2 million, including a $1.4 million contribution from retired Pennsylvania art professor Julie Schauer.

Advocates on both sides say passage in California would likely ignite legalization movements in other states, especially when the tax dollars start adding up. California’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office estimated the state could collect up to $1 billion a year in marijuana taxes.

"As California goes, so goes the nation," said University of California, Berkeley political science professor Alan Ross.

If "yes" votes prevail across the country, about 75 million people accounting for more than 23 percent of the U.S. population would live in states where recreational pot is legal. The jurisdictions where that’s already the case — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington state and the District of Columbia — have about 18 million residents, or 5.6 percent of the population. Twenty-five states allow medical marijuana.

According to national polls, a solid majority of Americans support legalization. Gallup’s latest survey gauged support at 58 percent, up from 12 percent from when the question was first posed in 1969. Gallup says 13 percent of U.S. adults report using marijuana at present, nearly double the percentage who reported using pot in 2013.

California voters rejected an attempt to legalize recreational marijuana in 2010 after campaign leaders struggled to raise money and support for a four-page ballot measure hastily written by the owner of a small medicinal marijuana store.

This time, the 62-page ballot measure was crafted by political professionals and has the backing of many elected officials, including Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is running for governor in 2018. Current Gov. Jerry Brown says he’s close to announcing his position.

The measure would allow people 21 and older to legally possess up to an ounce of weed and grow six marijuana plants at home. Pot sales would be subject to various tax rates that would be deposited into the state’s Marijuana Tax Fund. Most of that money would be spent on substance-abuse education and treatment. Some would be used to repair environmental damage caused by illegal growers.

Opponents argue that the measure will do more harm than good by opening a marijuana market dominated by small farmers to corporate interests and encouraging children to use the drug through pot-laced sweets like gummy bears, cookies and brownies.

The proposal "favors the interests of wealthy corporations over the good of the everyday consumer, adopting policies that work against public health," said Kevin Sabet, co-founder of the California-based advocacy group Smart Approaches to Marijuana.

Napster founder and early Facebook investor Sean Parker has contributed more than $3 million to the legalization effort, which has also attracted sizable contributions from an organization backed by billionaire George Soros and another backed by Weedmaps, which rates pot stores throughout the state.

"It’s a huge deal and it’s long overdue," said Steven DeAngelo, owner of one of the nation’s largest medicinal marijuana dispensaries and a Proposition 64 supporter.

In most of the states with marijuana ballot measures, polls have shown the "yes" side leading. Sabet believes opponents of legalization would attract more support if they could narrow a large fundraising gap and spread their cautionary messages. He does not buy the other side’s argument that nationwide legalization will come sooner or later.

"Repeating that this is inevitable, and repeating they are so excited, is part of their narrative to makes folks like us feel helpless," he said.

Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project, a leading pro-legalization group, said his side has a chance to win in most of the nine states, but some losses will not derail the movement.

"Even if a measure doesn’t pass, support will grow," he said, citing failed ballot measures in Oregon and Colorado that preceded the victories for legalization.

"Most people believe marijuana should be legal. It’s a question of whether opponents do a good job of scaring them out of doing it now," Tvert added. "We might see people opt to wait a couple more years."

All five states voting on recreational marijuana have seen intense debate over the effect of legalization in the states that have already taken that step.

Opponents of the ballot measures make an array of claims, contending, for example, that Colorado’s legalization of pot has coincided with an increase in crime in Denver and fueled a jump in the number of traffic fatalities linked to marijuana use.

However, an analysis by three academic experts, published this month by the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute, asserted that the impact of legalization has been minimal.

"The data so far provide little support for the strong claims about legalization made by either opponents or supporters," the analysis said.

Harvard University economist Jeffrey Miron, one of the co-authors of the study, predicted Californians would approve Proposition 64, but he was less certain of the outcome in his home state of Massachusetts, where the Republican governor, Charlie Baker, and the Democratic mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh, have teamed up to oppose legalization.

Miron said it’s difficult to predict when legalization might get support in Congress or surge to approval in a majority of states.

"I’m not sure if this November will get us to the tipping point. It may be two or four more years," he said. "Certain things seem impossible, until all of a sudden they are possible, and they happen fast."

———

Crary reported from New York.

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Facebook’s Relationship To Marijuana? It’s Complicated


Debra Borchardt

Contributor

I write about the business of marijuana.

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

 

Facebook FB +1.08% can’t decide where it stands on cannabis.

On the one hand, it says it doesn’t want to promote drug use and bans what it believes is content that approves of marijuana use, like pictures of people smoking pot. On the other hand, it sometimes allow cannabis-related companies to promote their businesses. Then Facebook reverses course and censors journalism about cannabis.

The logic that a story about legalization of marijuana or scientific studies on cannabis-related medicine is promoting cannabis is completely ridiculous. A story about war doesn’t promote war nor does a story about wine entice readers to go get drunk. Facebook didn’t respond to a request for clarification on its policy towards marijuana.

“Facebook doesn’t have any written rules,” said Isaac Dietrich of social media website Mass Roots. “So we’re flying in the dark with arbitrary rules that are enforced at the whim of people.” Mass Roots is actually a separate social media site for cannabis friendly businesses and people, but it recognizes the power of Facebook and that is why they are trying to maintain a presence there and has hosted Facebook live events.

“We’re one step removed from the plant, but our Instagram page has been suspended five times this fall. We got it back after we defended ourselves,” said Dietrich. The business has also had some videos deleted by Facebook. He’s also not happy with the discrepancies over who Facebook does approve.

They verified Weedmaps and gave them a competitive advantage because they were officially accepted,” he said. Weedmaps is a website and app that helps people locate dispensaries and gives reviews. Dietrich isn’t bitter, he knows the dispensaries have a harder time and ultimately, the problems with Facebook just gives Mass Roots more users.

Dispensaries in particular bear the brunt of Facebook’s censorship. Medicine Man, the largest dispensary in Denver, where marijuana is legal said, “Yes, we have had our social media accounts shut down a number of times.”

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SOURCE

Could marijuana become a treatment for heroin addicts?


Some think it offers a gateway out of opioid use

Matt Koesters | WCPO contributor

7:00 AM, Sep 25, 2016

 

Is marijuana a gateway drug? Carrie Roberts sure hopes so.

%page_break%Roberts, a consultant with Colorado-based Medicine Man Technologies, doesn’t believe that marijuana use leads to abuse of harder drugs, though. Instead, she thinks it might present a gateway out of risky drug use for people struggling with opioid dependency.

"I think we could save a lot of lives," Roberts said. "Right now, it’s really about needing to focus on harm reduction. That’s so much of what we’re seeing in other states."

Roberts points to a 2014 study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that concludes "medical cannabis laws are associated with significantly lower state-level opioid overdose mortality rates." States with medical marijuana laws saw about 25 percent fewer overdose-related deaths than states without, according to the study.

Roberts argues that this could be the case in Ohio, a state in the throes of an opioid epidemic that saw fentanyl-related overdoses spike in 2015. Fentanyl continues to cause heroin users to overdose, and the more recent introduction of carfentanil into the drug ecosystem has provided cause for further alarm.

"There is a lot of anecdotal evidence regarding being able to use cannabis as a treatment, either for people coming off of opioid pain medication to help them through the withdrawal phase of it, or just to keep people from having to use it in the first place," Roberts said.

WCPO Insiders can find out how this idea relates to Ohio’s new medical marijuana legislation, and why some people think it’s a distraction.

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Marijuana Possession Played Key Role in Police Shooting of Keith Scott


By Daniel Politi

610189124-kerr-putney-chief-of-the-charlotte-mecklenburg-police

Possession of marijuana played a significant role in the police killing of Keith Lamont Scott on Tuesday. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Chief Kerry Putney said during a news conference that officers were trying to serve a warrant for someone else when they spotted Scott rolling “what they believed to be a marijuana ‘blunt’" in his car. At first they allegedly didn’t think much of it, until they saw Scott had a weapon and thought, “uh oh, this is a safety issue for us and the public,” Putney said.

Putney spoke at a news conference in which he announced police would release body cam and dash cam videos of the encounter.

Along with the videos, the police also released a statement on what is known about the case. Although at first “officers did not consider Mr. Scott’s drug activity to be a priority” that changed once they saw him hold up a gun. “Because of that, the officers had probable cause to arrest him for the drug violation and to further investigate Mr. Scott being in possession of the gun.”

The police released photographs of the gun, ankle holster and joint he had on him at the time of the shooting.

“It was not lawful for [Scott] to possess a firearm. There was a crime he committed and the gun exacerbated the situation,” Putney said. The press conference marked the first time law enforcement had mentioned the detail about the marijuana.

“Due to the combination of illegal drugs and the gun Mr. Scott had in his possession, officers decided to take enforcement action for public safety concerns,” notes the statement.

Putney continued to insist that Scott “absolutely” had a gun, although he acknowledged that wouldn’t be clear from the released video. He also stood by earlier statements that the shooting was justified and officers acted lawfully. “Officers are absolutely not being charged by me at this point,” he said.

The official police statement says officers “gave clear, loud and repeated verbal commands to drop the gun” but Scott “refused to follow the officers repeated verbal commands.” And then Scott “exited the vehicle with the gun and backed away from the vehicle while continuing to ignore officers’ repeated loud verbal commands to drop the gun.” That was seen as “an imminent physical threat” and an officer opened fire. A lab analysis “revealed the presence of Mr. Scott’s DNA and his fingerprints” on the gun that was loaded, notes the police statement.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today’s Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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A "repealer’s" opinion on the subject of marijuana "legalization"… (We must REPEAL PROHIBITION of Cannabis and all other plants!)


 
sheeple
 
Angalee Jones

34 mins ·

By Chris:

I can’t speak loudly enough or harshly enough against the Fucking Sell Out RATS at groups like NORML, MPP and DPA and their associated allies at various commercial enterprises growing up across the country.
All of the aforementioned groups are useless and no good for the American Cannabis Consumer.

They are GREAT for anybody wanting to try to go into business. They are GREAT for the Police, and the Taxman.

But they represent pure POISON for the ordinary cannabis consumer.

By focusing efforts on the creation of commercial opportunities instead of civil rights, the aforementioned groups show themselves to be utterly unconcerned with what is the best interest of Cannabis or what is best for it’s consumers.

They also show themselves to be more interested in creating financial empires than in making pot available to all.

I have been trying tirelessly for over 40 years to try to ELIMINATE cannabis regulation, with the end result being the ability of allowing the private person to grow smoke and sell their own weed which they grow themselves.

Unfortunately, the loudest and best financed voices in this effort don’t have this in mind.

They have in mind owning a series of state licensed and regulated outlets which will both limit production and distribution to a small group of wealthy investors who are seeking to monopolize the markets and prevent the average person from growing their own.

I have taken a look at how this is working out across the country.

In states where pot is supposed to be “Legalized”, it is still illegal to grow your own unless you have a special permission to do so from the police.
This is the exact opposite of what I wanted when I first started putting on Smoke In’s back in the early eighties.
But it fits in just FINE with what SCOTT Inc wants.

 
I cannot adequately describe my utter despair over what has happened.

I blame the people at NORML for this. For creating an atmosphere of privilege and entitlement instead of creating an environment of equality and access.
For trying to create private commercial empires instead of making medicine available to those who need it with a minimum of cost instead of being squeezed for exorbitant prices upwards of $30.00 a gram.
What is happening is more like extortion and price gouging instead of easy access and affordability.
The whole lot of asshole ripoff artists who bleat “Legalize” like a pack of sheep instead of trying to get rid of this evil unwanted law, and EVIL THOUGHTLESS CRIMINALS who are bent on creating a corporatized monopoly of limited access and higher prices need to be punished.
They have done personal freedom and universal access a grave injury.
They are DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE for making the counterculture revolution that was starting to grow in my youth FAIL.

Shame on Keith Stroop. Shame on Ethan Nadelman. Shame on Rob Kampia.
A curse should be laid at your feet for being willing cohorts to promoting business profits over human liberty.

I have had enough.
I refuse to cooperate.
I will insist on growing my own weed myself, not pay taxes on it, and encouraging people to attack state licensed cannabis outlets wherever they exist.
Fuck Legalization. It’s just another pot law designed to raise prices and limit access.
ABOLISH ALL POT LAWS NOW… (or ELSE!)

(And when I say “Or Else”, I mean that I hope that you have plenty of broken window and paint balloon and shoplifting security and insurance available, as I and my supporters plan to try to make it almost IMPOSSIBLE for you to afford to stay in business in retribution against your anti-people and pro capital practices.)
Fuck Legalization. Fuck those who support Legalization instead of grow your own.
You are not a patriot or even a good hippie if that is what you want. Instead, I am calling you out for being a DEMON, an EVIL BAD PERSON, instead of a decent human being.
You have had your chance. You choose poorly.
Now you get to pay the penalty for those bad decisions.

Fuck NORML.
Fuck MPP.
Fuck DPA.
Fuck SAFER.
Fuck Rob Kampia.
Fuck Ethan Nadelman.
Fuck Keith Stroup.

These are the leaders who are to blame.
These are the guys who are more interested in continuing to handle pot cases as lawyers than they are in letting people grow their own pot.
They deserve the harshest criticism possible, they need to be pied in public, de-pantsed, and embarrassed every time they show themselves in public to speak.
They are doing a great service to the dollar, and a complete sell out against the end consumer.
They are also hurting pot itself by limiting research and development and production by designing systems with built in limitations designed to create personal wealth instead of creating systems designed around allowing universal public access.
They are a pack of dastardly evil worms who deserve to be crushed and burned.

Needless to say, I an no longer a pot activist, but rather a pot revolutionary.
Until the weed is TRULY FREE and ALL can PARTAKE AND GROW, I will not be stopped or silenced.

Fuck You if you disagree, because if you support Legalization instead of abolition, you are no better than some southern plantation owner talking about how good the slave system is because it is the source of your wealth.

Fuck Legalization.

Fuck YOU if you support Legalization.

Abolition is the way.

SOURCE

U.S. Attorney General Admits Marijuana Is Not a Gateway Drug


Top federal official crushes this popular anti-legalization argument.

https://files.merryjane.com/uploads/article/hero_image/1934/main_content_US_ATTORNY_GENERAL_LORETTA_LYNCH_WIDE.jpg

One of the most popular arguments against the legalization of marijuana is that pot is a “gateway” drug with the potential to turn the great American populous into a nation of dope fiends. But today the country’s leading law enforcement official denounced this common misconception by admitting that the consumption of marijuana does not lead to the use of harder drugs.

As part of what President Obama has declared National Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week, U.S Attorney General Loretta Lynch appeared at town hall meeting this morning in Richmond, Kentucky to discuss the dangers of opioid abuse with a group of teens.

In her opening statement, Lynch was adamant that the leading culprit behind Kentucky’s heroin epidemic was the use of prescription drugs.

“When you look at someone that, for example, has a heroin problem, it very often started with a prescription drug problem. Something totally legal. Something in every medicine cabinet. Something you can have prescribed to you in good faith by a doctor,” Lynch said before taking questions from the audience.

It did not take long before the discussion turned to the issue of marijuana.

Tyler Crafton, a student at Madison Central High School, took the opportunity to ask Lynch whether she thought the recreational use of marijuana among high school kids would lead to opioid abuse.

Shockingly, Lynch, the top dog at the U.S. Department of Justice, did provide the young man with a response straight out of the federal government’s propaganda handbook.

“There a lot of discussion about marijuana these days. Some states are making it legal, people are looking into medical uses for it, and I understand that it still is as common as almost anything,” Lynch replied. “When we talk about heroin addiction, we unusually, as we have mentioned, are talking about individuals that started out with a prescription drug problem, and then because they need more and more, they turn to heroin. It isn’t so much that marijuana is the step right before using prescription drugs or opioids.”

For a moment, it sounded as though the Attorney General was preparing to backtrack on her statement to some degree, adding that, “if you tend to experiment with a lot of things if life you may be more inclined to experiment with drugs.”

But then Lynch followed up with what should be considered one of the most important statements a federal official has made in 2016.

“It’s not as though we are seeing that marijuana is a specific gateway,” she said.

The attorney general’s admission that marijuana is not a gateway drug is fairly consistent with the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which finds “the majority of people who use marijuana do not go on to use other, “harder” substances. Yet many of marijuana’s opposing forces are going up against ballot measure in several states this election season by trying to convince the general public that legal weed will cause the opioid epidemic to spin further out of control.

Interestingly, an investigational report published earlier this week by the Associated Press and the Center for Public Integrity found that lobbyists for the drug makers responsible for the same prescription drugs that Attorney General Lynch says is responsible for the opioid epidemic have spent $880 million legally bribing state representatives and senators to vote against legislation concerning the restricting of opioid use. It stands to reason that these lobbyists are also responsible for getting federal lawmakers to turn a blind eye to marijuana.

Attorney General Lynch will be speaking at more than 250 events this week in support of Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week. It will be interesting to see if she offers additional comments about the safety of marijuana.

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The Law of Unintended Consequences: Illicit for Licit Narcotic Substitution


Image result for heroin plant

Originally written July 15, 2014 at LINK below

Martin R. Huecker, MD and Hugh W. Shoff, MD, MS

 

The dealers will not use it. Heroin dealers have explicit knowledge of the addictive properties of their product. The heroin addict is no longer the desperate character living under a bridge. She is a 17-year-old high school senior who runs out of her grandmother’s oxycodone. He is the stockbroker who weighs the economics of purchasing one oxymorphone on the street for $100 or ten doses of heroin for $200. Because these people are ingesting and injecting products of unknown composition and unfamiliar potency, they can potentially overdose. If lucky, they end up in the emergency department rather than the morgue.

Kentucky ranks third in the nation in drug overdose mortality rate per 100,000 persons, with opioid pills making up the majority.1 In response to these statistics, the State of Kentucky passed House Bill One (HB1) in April 2012, effective October 2012. Also known as “the pill mill bill,” HB1 contains provisions intended to limit opioid prescriptions by pain management physicians and by other acute care providers such as emergency physicians. To prescribe narcotic pain medications, physicians must perform a full history and physical, prescribe only a short course, educate the patient on risks of controlled substances, and obtain a report from a statewide prescription monitoring program (PMP) (Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting [KASPER]).2

As a result, the number of registered KASPER users in Kentucky has gone from 7500 to 23,000 from December, 2011 to November, 2012. Reports are up from 3300 to 17000 in the same time frame.3 According to the same press release, Kentucky witnessed a decrease of 10.4% total prescriptions in the first six months since HB1 was enacted.3

Mandating PMP reports, as sixteen states currently do, leads to an increase in reports, but so far no statistical difference in opioid overdose mortality.1,4,5,6 In fact, this legislation may not even lower the rate of opioid consumption, rather may shift which opioids are being prescribed.6

Researchers in Ohio looked at the impact of real time PMP information on opioid prescriptions. With PMP data, providers changed prescriptions in 41% of cases; 61% giving fewer opioids but 39% prescribing more opioids.7

House Bill One was intended to and has reduced opioid prescriptions in Kentucky. Forty-four pain clinics in Kentucky closed overnight.8 Preliminary analysis at a large, metropolitan emergency department has shown a decrease in prescriptions for hydrocodone and oxycodone, along with a decrease in ED administration of these medications. This type of “pill mill” legislation has been passed in Louisiana, Florida, Texas and California with varying results.9

Florida had a sharp decrease in opioid prescriptions after similar legislation. Having 90 of the top 100 physicians on the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) 2010 list of top opioid purchasers, Florida saw the number decrease to 13 in 2011, and zero as of April 2013.10 In 2011, Ohio passed a “pill mill bill” to crack down on pain management clinics.11 This legislation led to seizing of 91,000 prescription pills with 38 doctors and 13 pharmacists losing their medical licenses. In the end, 15 medical professionals were convicted on diversion charges.11 With all of this, pill overdose deaths began to decline, but heroin overdoses “skyrocketed.”11

The unintended but foreseeable consequence of such measures has been increase in distribution, abuse, and overdose of heroin. Heroin has gained market share in a similar way in the past. In 2010, Purdue Pharma began manufacturing a reformulated OxyContin after a $600 million fine for misrepresentation.12 Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc. followed in 2011 with an Opana ER reformulation. This resulted in making the pills harder to crush into powder for snorting or injecting.13,14 States such as Florida, Ohio, Minnesota, and Utah have seen patients turn to heroin after crackdown on prescription opioid availability.11,14

The New England Journal of Medicine warned us of what would be a two-fold increase in heroin use after the reformulation of Oxycontin.15 In the 2010 ODLL report, the United States DEA also attempted to warn health care organizations that Oxycontin users might switch to heroin.16,17 The first paper we know of to report this warning was published 3 years later in 2013.16 This paper, a qualitative study of the transition of opioid pill users to heroin users, provides insight into the economic and convenience factors associated with the switch. The researchers interviewed a small sample of heroin users, forty-one in all. All but one of the 19 heroin users aged 20–29 started with pills and progressed to heroin – “termed pill initiates.”16

Numerous popular news reports directly implicate decreased opioid pill availability in the rise of heroin abuse and overdose.16 However, very little discussion of this phenomenon has entered the emergency medicine literature.

The drug cartels have capitalized on the United States opioid appetite and now decreased supply of pills. The route from Mexico to Detroit, then south through Ohio, ends up in northern and central Kentucky. The Kentucky State Police recovered 433 samples of heroin in 2010. In 2012 the number was 1349.13 In Lexington, KY, the eight total heroin arrests in 2011 exploded into 160 in the first 6 months of 2013.18,19 Undercover narcotics officers in Lexington find it easier to buy heroin than marijuana.

Heroin-related overdoses in Kentucky increased from 22 cases in 2011 to 143 cases in 2012, and 170 in the first 9 months of 2013.8,20,21 Kentucky’s percentage of overdose deaths involving heroin went from 3.2 in 2011 to 19.5 in 2012 and up to 26 in 2013.8.21 This phenomenon has occurred in Florida, California, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Washington and Ohio.11,2224

The emergency medicine literature has minimal recent discussion of heroin overdose management in the ED; nor have we discussed secondary prevention. Supportive therapy suffices in the ED, with liberal naloxone use and airway protection. State and federal actions to curb heroin deaths can be effective. Good Samaritan laws, present in only one third of states, protect from prosecution those lay individuals attempting to help themselves or companions in overdose situations.

Also present in only one third of states are laws to expand community access to reversal agents such as naloxone. Twenty-two states have laws requiring or recommending education for opioid prescribers. Medicaid expansion to cover substance abuse treatment has occurred thus far in less than half (24) of states.1

As more states enact measures intended to reduce total opioid prescriptions, legislators and healthcare providers alike must be aware of the predictable and devastating rise in heroin sales, abuse, and overdose. Funding for this legislation should include monies allocated toward substance abuse treatment programs and availability of naloxone. Similarly, pill mill bills could universally be coupled with Good Samaritan laws in anticipation of the increase in parenteral opioid overdoses. Funds could be allocated to lay population education via public service announcements. Stricter punishments for drug traffickers could accompany such legislative changes. Many of these measures have been presented as interventions to combat prescription opioid abuse and can now be applied to the subsequent heroin abuse and overdose dilemma.9

At the first line of medical care, emergency physicians must be involved in efforts to minimize collateral damage in this long-term process of curing America’s addiction to opioid drugs and their horrible consequences.

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The Bayer-Monsanto Deal Won’t Eat the Cannabis Industry. Yet.


Submitted by Marijuana News on Fri, 09/16/2016 – 08:10

 

The news that Monsanto is being bought by Bayer probably won’t be well received in the cannabis sector. The deal brings together two research powerhouses that, reportedly, have long eyed cannabis as a possible new business. The worry is that the combined firm will have the financial and political influence to do to cannabis what it has already done to corn, tobacco, and other cash crops—namely, use pricy patented cannabis seeds (Roundup Ready Blue Dream, anyone?) that favor large-scale operators and rigidly control how all cannabis farmers farm. The merger, in other words, could be the first step toward Big Cannabis.

In truth, it’s far from certain just how worried “small cannabis” should be. On the one hand, Bayer clearly has designs on the multi-billion-dollar cannabis market. The German firm has been working with GW Pharmaceuticals on a cannabis-based medicinal extract since 2003. And while Monsanto says it “has not and is not working on GMO marijuana,” the company will soon enjoy access to Bayer’s cannabis expertise, which, given Monsanto’s control-through-litigation tactics, might lead one to imagine some pretty bleak scenarios.

That said, it’s hardly clear that this merger makes those scenarios—or Big Cannabis generally—any more plausible.

First, as a practical matter, the merger itself is still just a theory. Monsanto’s shareholders accepted Bayer’s $66 billion buyout offer, but the mega-dealneeds approval from American and German regulators. And given the firms’ massive market share (it would control more than a quarter of the world’s seed and fertilizer business) on top of strong antitrust sentiment worldwide, that approval is hardly assured. And, as a side note, 60 to 80 percent of all mergers fail.

Second, even if approved, a Bayer-Monsanto enterprise likely wouldn’t launch a cannabis product until federal prohibition is lifted. It’s the same reason Big Tobacco hasn’t completely taken over cannabis, despite a decades-old interest in doing so: Massive corporations need massive volume sales, which, in the case of cannabis, is hard to do without a fully open national marketplace. Yes, some in Big Pharma are now reportedly lobbying in favor of legalization—but there’s hardly a sector-wide consensus, as the recent anti-legalization effort by Insys Therapeutics underscores.

Third, even if the feds legalized cannabis tomorrow, a Bayer-Monsanto mega-corporation probably won’t result in any retail cannabis products for some time. It’s true that Bayer has already partnered with pharmaceutical firms that are doing trials of cannabis drugs. Also, Monsanto may be less than candid when it says it hasn’t (yet) tinkered with cannabis’s genetics. But however far along their respective cannabis research efforts are, turning research into commercial product takes years, especially in a market as heavily regulated and politically fragmented as cannabis will continue to be.

Fourth, when it comes to the rise of Big Cannabis, a Bayer-Monsanto merger would merely add to a process that is already well underway. The seed and drug industries are hardly the first mainstream sectors to try to colonize cannabis. Since the start of state legalization, nearly every outside industry with a conceivable cannabis play—tobacco of course, but also food and beverage, clothing, health & wellness, tourism, and Silicon Valley venture capital—has been scrambling to bring the cannabis sector out of the margins and into the mainstream.

More to the point, as the cannabis community itself has matured, it has been moving incrementally toward a business model that, if one didn’t know better, looks surprisingly corporate. For example, with competitive pressures squeezing retail margins, a steady stream of independent retailers have been selling out to larger, more cost-efficient retail chains. This is especially the case in Colorado. Likewise, in a mirror image of the larger faming business, struggling small-scale cannabis farms are being consolidated into larger scale operations whose managers (and investors) are anxiously adopting any method, or technology, that might help them boost output and lower costs. Five or ten years from now, will those farms turn their noses up at a genetically engineered cannabis strain that promises more bang for the buck? More to the point, will their customers?

And therein lies the rub. It may be tempting to see mergers like this one as a threat to the traditional cannabis community, a culture that values a diverse mix of independent small-scale operators. Make no mistake: A merger of this magnitude does promise big changes for global agriculture. But in a cannabis sector that is looking more and more like any other consumer sector, the larger factor may the changing priorities of the cannabis consumer. In the end, the customer’s dollar determines which products—and companies—succeed or fail.

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Leafly

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Jesse Ventura Calls For Legalizing All Drugs


JESSE VENTURA

VIDEO AT THIS LINK

By Jason Devaney   |   Thursday, 08 Sep 2016 04:54 PM

Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura wants to see marijuana and every other drug made legal in order to regulate them better.

During a series of interviews with Newsmax TV, Ventura — the author of the book “Marijuana Manifesto” — said Wednesday legalizing marijuana would also create jobs and help the economy.

“We’ve got an entire industry out there waiting to happen,” Ventura told J.D. Hayworth on “America Talks Live.”

“It hasn’t got any of these negatives they’ve sold to you over the years. The experiments in Colorado and Washington are phenomenal. In fact, in the state of Washington, their first trickle-down effect of legalizing marijuana, their statewide judicial budget fell 15 percent. In Colorado, they’ve got $300 million more to spend on schools and infrastructure because of the legalization of marijuana.”

Ventura added that someone he knows used medical marijuana to treat epileptic seizures. The seizures went away with the use of the drug.

“That’s why I’m so passionate that it needs to be legalized,” he said. “There’s people out there suffering and marijuana can help them.”

In a separate interview on the “Steve Malzberg Show,” Ventura claimed marijuana is not a gateway drug like people say it is.

“The gateway drug is tobacco,” Ventura said. “I was a kid, the first thing I did was smoke tobacco. Second gateway drug was alcohol. Marijuana might have been third.”

Malzberg and Ventura later went back and forth about legalization. Ventura said he would legalize heroin, and then answered yes when asked if he would make all drugs legal.

“You know what? Then you ensure the addict, addiction is a disease, it’s a medical condition,” Ventura said. “We choose to treat it criminally rather than medically.

“If you bring it above board, anything that isn’t brought legally is then run by criminals. So you bring in a criminal element, the price goes up 10 times as high because it’s illegal and then crimes are committed to support the addiction. You don’t see crimes being committed to support cigarette smoking, you don’t see crimes committed to support drinking. Why? Because they’re legal and you can get it.”

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Ninth Circuit Rules Marijuana Card Holders May Not Own Firearms


Monday, 05 September 2016

Written by  Bob Adelmann

Ninth Circuit Rules Marijuana Card Holders May Not Own Firearms

 

Last Wednesday a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s decision that holding a marijuana card precludes its owner from keeping and bearing arms. In the process, the panel threw out the First, Second, and Fifth Amendment rights.

Rowan Wilson, a Nevada resident who held a state-issued marijuana card but didn’t use the weed, tried to purchase a firearm from Custom Firearms and Gunsmithing in Moundhouse, Nevada. She applied for the card to show her support for the freedom of people to make their own decisions about what they might or might not imbibe or inhale. It was a political statement only. It became personal when she tried in October 2011 to purchase a firearm for personal protection.

She was confronted with Question 11e on the required federal disclosure Form 4473 issued by the ATF, which reads: “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance? Yes or No.” She showed the question to the gun shop owner, who knew that she had a card, and he denied her request to purchase the firearm. It was based not only on federal laws that still make marijuana users criminals, but on an “open letter” the ATF sent to all firearm dealers holding that mere possession of the marijuana registry card was enough to allow them to prevent a potential buyer from completing the sale. That letter stated, in part:

[Anyone] who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her state has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes — is prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition.

Such persons should answer “yes” to question 11.e. on ATF Form 4473 … and you may not transfer firearms or ammunition to them.

Further, if you are aware that the potential transferee is in possession of a card authorizing the possession and use of marijuana under State law, then you have “reasonable cause to believe” that the person is an unlawful user of a controlled substance.

As such, you may not transfer firearms or ammunition to the person, even if the person answered “no” to question 11.e. on ATF Form 4473.


Wilson sued and her complaint was dismissed. The three-judge panel heard her appeal in July and issued its decision affirming the lower court’s ruling on August 31. The opinion, penned by Senior District Judge Jed Rakoff, included this bit of reasoning:

It may be argued that medical marijuana users are less likely to commit violent crimes, as they often suffer from debilitating illnesses, for which marijuana may be an effective palliative. But those hypotheses are not sufficient to overcome Congress’s reasonable conclusion that the use of such drugs raises the risk of irrational or unpredictable behavior with which gun use should not be associated.

The panel threw out all of Wilson’s complaints that the federal law and “open letter” violated three of the 10 rights contained in the Bill of Rights. First was her right to free expression under the First Amendment:

The panel held that any burden the Government’s anti-marijuana and anti-gun-violence efforts placed on [Wilson’s] expressive conduct was incidental…

Next to go was the Second Amendment:

Applying intermediate scrutiny, the panel … held that the fit between the challenged provisions and the Government’s substantial interest [in] violence prevention was reasonable, and therefore the [lower] court did not err by dismissing [her] Second Amendment claim.

Finally, the Fifth Amendment was overridden:

The panel held that the challenged laws and Open Letter neither violated [Wilson’s] procedural due process rights protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment nor violated the Equal Protection Clause as incorporated into the Fifth Amendment.

[Wilson] did not have a constitutionally protected liberty interest in [both] holding a registry card and purchasing a firearm….

Reactions to the ruling were predictably swift. Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, was outraged:

There’s absolutely no evidence to support the notion that marijuana use leads people to be more violent, as inferred in the Court’s opinion. Regardless of how you feel about guns, no one should be discriminated against … by the government just because they happen to enjoy marijuana. That should be especially true for people who consume cannabis for medical purposes in accordance with state law and their doctors’ recommendations.

Wilson’s attorney, Chaz Rainey, was equally upset with the panel’s ruling, declaring,

We live in a world where having a medical marijuana card is enough to say you don’t get a gun, but if you’re on the no-fly list your constitutional right is still protected.

Then Rainey touched on the core issue: states’ rights, adding:

Responsible adults who use cannabis in a manner that is compliant with the laws of their states ought to receive the same legal rights and protections as other citizens.

For the moment at least, the ruling applies to only the nine states covered by the Ninth Circuit: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Rainey has promised to appeal the ruling either to the full circuit court or to the Supreme Court. If the appeal goes that far, Wilson’s lawsuit might give the newest member (replacing deceased Justice Scalia) of the high court a chance to rule on the matter next year. 

A graduate of an Ivy League school and a former investment advisor, Bob is a regular contributor to The New American magazine and blogs frequently at LightFromTheRight.com, primarily on economics and politics. He can be reached at badelmann@thenewamerican.com.

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UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALSFOR THENINTH CIRCUIT