Will the Greens Stand up for BC Bud?

Will the Greens Stand up for BC Bud?

BC’s Green Party says they will work something out with either the Liberals or NDP by next Wednesday. Someone will form government and that’s too bad because a hung parliament is the best parliament.

Government services haven’t ceased without Christy Clark or John Horgan at the helm. The taxman is still collecting.

There are just no busy-body policy-makers ready to infringe on your liberties while serving special interests.

Spain went without a federal government for 10 months. People were happier.

Even Somalia, already a decrepit third-world environment, has improved marginally without a central state authority. Albeit, there are plenty of war lords ready to assume that power and they are killing each other over it.

In British Columbia, with no majority government now official, the Liberals and NDP rely on the Greens, and the Greens claim to stand up for craft BC bud.

Since the NDP are in the pockets of labour unions, they’ve always been a write-off, favouring a model where Ottawa’s federally-licensed producers can sell in state-owned liquor stores.

But unlike in Ontario, where the government and a corporate beer cartel control booze, BC has private establishments, a robust craft beer and wine industry, and so despite what Horgan may or may not have the chance to do, he can’t stop BC Bud from doing what it wants.

The NDP, like the Liberals, will adhere to any federal regime. The BC Liberals are small-c conservatives and wish to pass the marijuana buck, as it were. No cannabis connoisseur wins when governments are in power. Doesn’t matter what brand they are.

But what about the Greens and their support for craft cannabis? What about their core identity as environmentalists? Industrial hemp can do a lot of things on a sustainable basis, provided government restrictions don’t impede entrepreneurs and consumers with hefty regulations and taxes.

Since the Greens hold the balance of power, do cannabis connoisseurs have an advantage? Is this our “in” to promoting a free BC Bud market?

If the Greens support our agenda, we win political capital against the federal Liberals who wish to usurp BC Bud by federally licensing producers and restricting advertising and promotion.

Green Party leader Andrew Weaver is on record saying, “The feds should simply remove cannabis from their Controlled Drug and Substances Act and stay out of the business of saying who can or can’t produce it.

“We favour policies that support a craft cannabis industry that is provincially regulated, tested, taxed and is local.”

Now is the time to hold his feet to the fire. There are only three Green MLAs.

(Why?)

Published at Fri, 26 May 2017 02:59:22 +0000

Study: Pot eases epilepsy seizures

Study: Pot eases epilepsy seizures

The Columbian / Associated Press

NEW YORK — A new marijuana study joins a limited record of scientific knowledge about the harms and benefits of pot.

The research published Wednesday is the first rigorous test of a marijuana compound in treating a certain form of severe epilepsy. It found that an ingredient of marijuana — one that doesn’t give pot smokers a high — reduced the number of seizures in children.

In the U.S., more than two dozen states allow medical use of marijuana. Federal drug regulators have not approved marijuana itself, but they have allowed man-made, chemically related medicines to treat loss of appetite in people with AIDS, and nausea and vomiting caused by cancer therapy. A marijuana extract is sold in Britain for nerve pain and other problems from multiple sclerosis.

In January, a U.S. advisory committee concluded that the lack of scientific information about marijuana and its chemical cousins, called cannabinoids, poses a risk to public health. The experts called for a national effort to learn more.

In a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, they also rounded up what is known. Here are some of its conclusions.

There’s strong evidence that marijuana or cannabinoids:

• Can treat chronic pain in adults

• Can ease nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy

• Can treat muscle stiffness and spasms in multiple sclerosis as measured by what patients say, but less strong evidence if the changes are measured by doctors

On the other hand, it also found that pot smoking may be linked to:

• Risk of developing schizophrenia and other causes of psychosis, with the highest risk among the most frequent users

• Risk of a traffic accident

• More frequent chronic bronchitis episodes from long-term use

• Lower birth weight in offspring of female users

There’s evidence that pot or cannabinoids may:

• Improve short-term sleep in people with some medical conditions

• Boost appetite and ease weight loss in people with HIV or AIDS

• Ease symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and improve outcomes after traumatic brain injury

Similarly, some evidence suggests pot use may be linked to:

• Triggering heart attack

• An increased risk of developing a lung condition called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

• Pregnancy complications when used by the mother

• Impaired school achievement and outcomes

• Increased suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, especially among heavier users

• Risk of developing bipolar disorder, especially among regular users.

There’s not enough evidence to know if marijuana or cannabinoids can:

• Treat cancer

• Ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome

• Help with movement problems associated with Parkinson’s disease

(Why?)

Published at Thu, 25 May 2017 04:27:29 +0000

As more states legalize pot, more employees failing drug tests

As more states legalize pot, more employees failing drug tests

The Columbian / Associated Press

Workers at McLane drive forklifts and load hefty boxes into trucks. The grocery supplier, which runs a warehouse in Colorado, needs people who will stay alert — but prospective hires keep failing drug screens.

“Some weeks this year, 90 percent of applicants would test positive for something,” ruling them out for the job, said Laura Stephens, a human resources manager for the company in Denver.

The state’s unemployment rate is already low — 3 percent, compared to 4.7 percent for the entire nation. Failed drug tests, which are rising locally and nationally, further drain the pool of eligible job candidates.

“Finding people to fill jobs,” Stephens said, “is really challenging.”

Job applicants are testing positive for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamine and heroin at the highest rate in 12 years, according to a new report from Quest Diagnostics, a clinical lab that follows national employment trends. An analysis of about 10 million workplace drug screens from across the country in 2016 found positive results from urine samples increased from 4 percent in 2015 to 4.2 percent in 2016.

The most significant increase was in positive tests for marijuana, said Barry Sample, the scientist who wrote the report. Positive tests for the drug reached 2 percent last year, compared with 1.6 percent in 2012.

Although state laws have relaxed over the past four years, employers haven’t eased up on testing for pot, even where it’s legal.

California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada moved last year to legalize recreational marijuana, joining Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia, meanwhile, permit medical marijuana.

Under federal law, however, weed remains illegal — and employers in the United States can refuse to hire anyone who uses it, even if they have a prescription, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

In the oral fluid testing category, which picks up on recent drug use, and is typically used to test workers on the job, positive drug tests for marijuana surged about 75 percent in the United States over the past four years — from 5.1 percent in 2013 to 8.9 percent in 2016, according to Quest. The data show smaller increases in urine and hair testing (a 4.2 percent increase over the past year).

Colorado and Washington, which became the first two states to legalize weed in 2012, showed the largest growth in positive tests. Urine screens that detected pot rose 11 percent in Colorado and 9 percent in Washington, the first time either state outpaced the national average since residents could lawfully light up a — joint.

Quest noted that employers are also increasingly encountering job applicants who take other illicit substances. Tests that turned up cocaine increased 12 percent in 2016, hitting a seven-year high of 0.28 percent, up from 0.25 percent in 2015. Positive test results for amphetamine jumped 8 percent.

The culture change in pro-marijuana states hasn’t broadly altered the way employers screen applicants, said Sample, the scientist. “Ninety-nine percent of drug panels we perform in Colorado and Washington,” he said, “still test for marijuana.”

Companies such as McLane, where employees operate heavy machinery, keep testing for marijuana out of concern for everyone’s safety, said Stephens, the human resources manager. The firm conducts follicle tests, which can catch traces of weed for up to three months after someone smokes.

(Why?)

Published at Sun, 21 May 2017 12:54:31 +0000

Nutritional High Getting High in Colorado

Nutritional High Getting High in Colorado

TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – May 18, 2017) – Nutritional High International Inc. (the “Company” or “Nutritional High“) (CSE:EAT)(CSE:EAT.CN)(CNSX:EAT)(OTCQB:SPLIF)(FRANKFURT:2NU) is pleased to announce an update on operations in Pueblo, CO.

Nutritional High is impressed with the progress that has been made since the launch announcement on February 22, 2017. Palo Verde team has been focused on streamlining the production process in anticipation of radically scaling up the throughput, while maintaining strong extraction yields.

Since the initial launch Palo Verde has manufactured over 7,000 grams of cannabis oil distillate and approximately 3,000 FLI cartridges. The focus of equipment and extraction process calibration has been to achieve higher THC content for the final oil product, while ensuring that the gross extraction yields remain in line with expectations. The THC content has improved from high 70s percent for the initial batches to over 90% for the more recent batches, with some batches achieving over 95% THC content. At this time, the throughput is estimated at 20-40 lbs of trim per day with an estimated yield of 8-10%. The throughput has been increasing as a result of the new equipment being installed since the initial launch. The process upgrades also allowed to remove more unwanted compounds out of the oil, which has resulted in higher purity product.

Palo Verde continues to accept sales orders for FLI cartridges and bulk oils, which have performed well in the Colorado market and there have been repeat orders. The average wholesale price of the FLI cartridges has been $16 per 0.5g cartridge, which ranges depending on the final THC content of each product. In order to accelerate product sales Palo Verde has also augmented its sales team by hiring another sales representative and intends to bring on more to strengthen its salesforce.

Jim Frazier, CEO of Nutritional High commented: “We’re very pleased with how the production ramp-up is progressing. The team has come a long way since commencing commercial production in late February and we look forward to FLI cartridges building a strong consumer market presence in Colorado, and nationally as Nutritional High established facilities in other states.”

About Nutritional High International Inc.

Nutritional High is focused on developing, manufacturing and distributing products and nationally recognized brands in the hemp and marijuana-infused products industries, including edibles and oil extracts for nutritional, medical and adult recreational use. The Company works exclusively through licensed facilities in jurisdictions where such activity is permitted and regulated by state law.

For updates on the Company’s activities and highlights of the Company’s press releases and other media coverage, please follow Nutritional High on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ or visit www.nutritionalhigh.com.

NEITHER THE CANADIAN SECURITIES EXCHANGE NOR OTC MARKETS GROUP INC., NOR THEIR REGULATIONS SERVICES PROVIDERS HAVE REVIEWED OR ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ADEQUACY OR ACCURACY OF THIS RELEASE.

This news release may contain forward-looking statements and information based on current expectations. These statements should not be read as guarantees of future performance or results. Such statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those implied by such statements. Such statements include submission of the relevant documentation within the required timeframe and to the satisfaction of the relevant regulators, completing the acquisition of the applicable real estate and raising sufficient financing to complete the Company’s business strategy. There is no certainty that any of these events will occur. Although such statements are based on management’s reasonable assumptions, there can be no assurance that such assumptions will prove to be correct. We assume no responsibility to update or revise them to reflect new events or circumstances.

Company’s securities have not been registered under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “U.S. Securities Act“), or applicable state securities laws, and may not be offered or sold to, or for the account or benefit of, persons in the United States or “U.S. Persons”, as such term is defined in Regulation S under the U.S. Securities Act, absent registration or an applicable exemption from such registration requirements. This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy nor shall there be any sale of the securities in the United States or any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful.

Additionally, there are known and unknown risk factors which could cause the Company’s actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking information contained herein.All forward-looking information herein is qualified in its entirety by this cautionary statement, and the Company disclaims any obligation to revise or update any such forward-looking information or to publicly announce the result of any revisions to any of the forward-looking information contained herein to reflect future results, events or developments, except as required by law.

Nutritional High International Inc.
David Posner
Chairman of the Board
647-985-6727
dposner@nutritionalhigh.com
www.nutritionalhigh.com

(Why?)

Published at Fri, 19 May 2017 14:59:48 +0000

Canada tests lower age for pot legalization

Canada tests lower age for pot legalization

The Columbian / Associated Press

TORONTO — The most controversial thing about Canada’s move to legalize marijuana nationwide may be setting the minimum age for use at 18 — three years lower than in U.S. states that have embraced legalization — a move that is being closely watched across the continent.

Advocates for the measure, expected to pass Parliament next year, say putting the limit at 21 would encourage a black market and drive youths into the hands of criminals.

“Taking this business away from them I think is an obligation,” said former Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, parliamentary secretary to Canada’s justice minister and the man in charge of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s plan to legalize.

The task force that drafted the measure reported that experts said “that setting the minimum age too high risked preserving the illicit market, particularly since the highest rates of use are in the 18 to 24 age range.”

But health experts are worried that the provision will encourage use of a substance that can have long-term consequences on still-maturing brains.

“Our recommendation is still to postpone as old as possible, ideally after 25,” said Dr. Granger Avery, president of Canadian Medical Association, which proposed setting the age at 21 only after it became clear that the government wanted it at 18.

Legalization will inevitably lead more young people to smoke marijuana in the mistaken belief that it isn’t harmful, said Christina Grant, a professor of pediatrics at McMaster University in Ontario. “One in seven youths who have used cannabis will develop an addiction to cannabis and that impacts your life, schooling, job prospects, social and emotional relationships,” she said.

The legislation introduced last month would make Canada the second country to have nationwide legalization, after Uruguay, which also set the minimum age at 18. While eight U.S. states and Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana, users there must be at least 21.

Colorado State Rep. Jonathan Singer, whose state became the first to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012, said it too should lower the age to 18 in order to stamp out the lingering black market.

“If you are old enough to go to war then you should be old enough to be trusted to use a recreational substance,” Singer said.

U.S. teens have long crossed the border into the province of Quebec, where the drinking age is 18, and some say a lower recreational marijuana age allowance in Canada could mean an influx of pot tourism among young Americans.

Canadian youth already have higher rates of cannabis use than their peers worldwide, with 21 percent of those aged 15-19 reporting they consumed cannabis and 30 percent of those aged 20-24, according to government figures.

The Canadian legislation would give each of the 10 provinces power to set the minimum age, with at least Quebec, Alberta and Manitoba likely to choose the younger option of 18 to match the drinking age. The drinking age is 19 in the other provinces. Anyone caught selling or providing pot to someone under the age of 18 could face up to 14 years in prison.

Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott has said “no product is without risk” and noted tobacco and alcohol are legal although both pose serious health risks.

“Just because a product is legal it does not mean it is advisable or recommended to use that product,” Philpott said.

David Hammond, a professor in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at University of Waterloo, said the government will have to do more to educate young people on the health risks. Anyone arguing for pot age restrictions until 25 should be doing the same for alcohol and tobacco, he said.

“It will be hard to argue that legalizing won’t normalize it to some extent,” he said. “You are loosening the restrictions.”

(Why?)

Published at Thu, 18 May 2017 19:35:01 +0000

Compton Grinder: US Made Grinders You Should Try

Compton Grinder: US Made Grinders You Should Try

In the past few years, vaping has become a subculture embraced by those who also listen to hip-hop. You even have rappers like Snoop Dogg that have their own line of vaping and strong relations with the vaping community. And for this reason, it isn’t even surprising that you have a large following for the Compton Grinders.

You even have rappers like Snoop Dogg that have their own line of vaping and strong relations with the vaping community. And for this reason, it isn’t even surprising that you have a large following for the Compton Grinders.

And for this reason, it isn’t even surprising that you have a large following for the Compton Grinders.

As the name suggests, Compton Grinders have the West Coast hip-hop scene as its strong influence. Compton is a premium brand that offers different varieties of grinders ranging from the 2-piece all the way to the 4-piece grinder. They offer great designs that make their products stand out from the rest of the other grinders in the market.

Compton is a premium brand that offers different varieties of grinders ranging from the 2-piece all the way to the 4-piece grinder. They offer great designs that make their products stand out from the rest of the other grinders in the market.

They offer great designs that make their products stand out from the rest of the other grinders in the market.

Apart from their branding that breathes the hip-hop culture, they are also a serious brand following because of the solid materials and functionality that makes them among the top brands in the industry.

And unlike other brands that have outsourced the work from some off-shore factory, Compton made an unusual move to bring their production to US soil!  And because of this, it has allowed them to maintain the highest quality

Because of this, it has allowed them to maintain the highest quality of their products since they have control of every part of the production process.

The Good

In terms of material, Compton Grinder can stand toe to toe against top brands.

They make use of anodized aluminum that meets the industry standard in terms of durability. This prevents scratches and chipping while using the vape accessory.

It also has a magnet that keeps the compartments of the grinder in place. This prevents the device from spilling your material accidentally.

Included in their device is a screen that is made of steel mesh. This is perfect for those who love to maximize the kief on the herbs that they use.

Another thing that makes Compton Grinders a great option is because of the varieties of sizes available.

Are you the type who prefers to keep a small amount of herbs? Or maybe, you like a more standard medium sized grinder? They have them all. All kind of grinders from 2 inches to 2.5 inches.

They also utilize sharp diamond shaped teeth known in the industry to help maximize churning of herbs. As each tooth is perfectly spaced, it offers consistent texture once the herbs have been cut into smaller pieces.

Compton Grinder has created a loading zone which allows the user to know exactly where to place the material in for an efficient grind.

The Bad

If there is anything that Compton can improve on, first that would have to be their warranty and return policy.

Unlike other products in the market, you get 30 days to return the product. Another downside about the return policy is the fact that they don’t accept returns if it has been used.

Though their products aren’t bad in any way shape or form, the company simply doesn’t want to deal with demanding clients who only want to try out their product and return it after the next few days.

Aside from their weak product return policy, their products aren’t considered cheap. This could easily be the drawback for being a product made from America. But of course, given the number of options that enthusiasts have, it is quite surprising that they are still keeping a hefty price tag on their products.

This could easily be the drawback for being a product made from America. But of course, given the number of options that enthusiasts have, it is quite surprising that they are still keeping a hefty price tag on their products.

But of course, given the number of options that enthusiasts have, it is quite surprising that they are still keeping a hefty price tag on their products.

Design and Performance

Priority for Compton is the ergonomic design of their products. You can easily grip on the grinder and churn the material without any problem. It has been designed to prevent slippage.

It also has an option that gives you the chance to remove the screen for maintenance or for easy replacement. And because of the material which the screen is made of, you will not have any trouble keeping the Compton Grinders clean and in its best condition.

Even if you load a good amount of herbs in your Compton grinder, you still get consistent and smooth output.

What makes the Compton Grinders great is the fact that you can ensure that every session gives you clean herbs. You can remove the screen and have it replaced or cleaned. This gives you the

You can remove the screen and have it replaced or cleaned. This gives you the best-filtered material every single time you use the Compton Grinders.

Maintenance

As mentioned, the Compton grinders do have a removable screen that makes it easier to clean and maintain the device. One of the things that Compton addressed is the difficulty of removing the screen on the grinders. What they did is to add a knob style tool that serves as a screen remover. This makes it easy to remove the kief and clean all the parts of the device.

Different types of Compton Grinders

  • 4-Piece Compton Grinders

Made of aircraft grade aluminum according to their website, the 4-Piece Compton Grinders make a good option if you are interested in having the right amount of herbs grounded consistently. It has a built-in loading zone which allows you to load just the right amount for this particular grinder.

It also makes use of perfectly spaced razor sharp teeth that can break your herbs down to smaller pieces in the most efficient manner. The first grinder has a locking ring that gives you the freedom to replace and maintain the stainless steel micron screen that is used to screen the herbs. With consistent sizing, you also get uniform sized herbs for your sessions.

Another thing that makes the 4-piece Compton Grinders unique is its Teflon grade O-rings. What it simply does is to make sure that there is no metal on metal contact that causes friction and adds to the wear and tear of your device.

And on its exterior, the 4-piece Compton Grinders are made of anodized finish with that makes it corrosion resistant. This allows the grinder to still look brand new even after years.

There are three available sizes for the Compton 4-Piece grinders.

Unlike other brands wherein you have the small, medium, and the large version, Compton Grinders are either small or medium sized for the 4-piece grinders.

If you are the type who loves to regularly vape, it is highly suggested that you turn to the medium sized version. You can also choose from different colors ranging from gray to green.

The 4-piece grinder is ultimately for those who love to use the kief. Though generally, the 4-piece grinders are more expensive but they will get the job done!

  • 2-Piece Compton Grinders

If you are a fan of simple and handy grinders that are easy to use and keep inside your pocket, you might find the 2-Piece Compton Grinders interesting. The aesthetics of the 2-Piece Compton Grinders range in different colors from red to gun metal grey. As for the price, the 2-piece grinder costs around $35.

Give the number of individuals who are looking to vape outside the comfort of their home, this product makes the perfect accessory to your handy vaporizers. Just like the 4-piece Compton Grinders, the material used on this product is made of aircraft grade aluminum that can withstand the usual wear and tear from the usual grinding process. It also makes use of an anodized finish that allows the grinder to withstand corrosion.

It is a functional grinder that has a specific loading zone for your herbs as well. This allows the razor sharp diamond shaped teeth of the 2-piece grinder to break down the herbs in an efficient manner. And aside from its maximum cutting efficiency, the 2-piece grinder is also easy to maintain.

Unfortunately, if you are very particular about the kief and pollen of the herbs, you may not be able to enjoy it in these Compton grinders. However, you can still expect evenly sized herbs that have been cut.

Final Verdict

Regardless whether or not you love to listen to hip-hop music, Compton makes a good choice if you are out in the market looking for durable and efficient grinders.

Compton produced different interesting products over the years. They’ve come up with variations of grinders and other accessories loved by their market. They made a reputation making interesting designs in different colors on ashtrays aside from the grinders.

For this all-American brand, they do offer great products that can fit different vape enthusiasts’ taste and preference. However, there is always room for improvement. Perhaps, they can improve on their return policy and make it less constrictive for the consumers. This can go a long way, especially if they really care about their customer’s overall experience with the brand. They also offer 2 and 4 compartment options that you can check that have limited options when it comes to size. These could be some of the things the brand can improve on.

In terms of the design on the grinders, Compton has provided some of the best designs in the market. Aesthetically, they provided a wide variety of loud and subtle colors that make the products stand out. In terms of the performance, they have added features that make their device stand out. For instance, they have specified the area where to place the herbs to get the best results.


(Why?)

Published at Sun, 07 May 2017 17:28:24 +0000

Liquor and Cannabis licenses

Liquor and Cannabis licenses

The Columbian / Associated Press

The following have applied to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board:

Shelby E. Piersol and Leigh J. Piersol, for a license to sell beer and wine at A Beer at a Time Tap Room, 216 N.E. Third Ave., Camas.

Iurii A. Kovalchuk and Tamila S. Kovalchuk, for a license to sell beer and wine at Tamila’s Euromarket, 6300 N.E. 117th Ave., Suite B-5, Vancouver.

Craig D. Lester and Letitia Lester, for a license to sell beer and wine at The Pick-Me-Up Modern Take-Away, 3510 N.E. Everett St., Camas.

Sunny M. Parsons and Jaime M. Parsons, for a license to sell beer and wine at Heathen Estate Winery, 9400 N.E. 134th St., Vancouver.

Trinh Nguyen and Tung S. Nguyen, for a license to sell beer and wine and to provide catering from Mars Inn, 13503 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd., Suite 5, Vancouver.

Jeremy C. Brown and Heather M. Brown, for a license to sell beer and wine at Rusty Grape Vineyard, 16712 N.E. 219th St., Battle Ground, and also off-premises.

Peter Lee and Mira Lee, for a license to sell beer and wine at Gogo Sushi, 8605 N.E. Highway 99, Suite 100, Vancouver.

Peter S. Renault and Carlota E. Renault, for a license to sell beer and wine at Renault Enterprises, 19805 S.E. 26th Way, Camas.

Billie Jo J. Moore, Mark C. Moore, Dawn M. Rowe and Stuart V. Rowe, for a license to sell beer and wine at Buckets, 112 S. Main Ave., Ridgefield, and off-premises.

(Why?)

Published at Mon, 15 May 2017 12:55:33 +0000

A frantic push for medical marijuana in Texas, bureaucratic heartbreak and renewed resolve

A frantic push for medical marijuana in Texas, bureaucratic heartbreak and renewed resolve

AUSTIN, Texas — On the afternoon of Tuesday, May 9, Jax Finkel, the executive director of Texas NORML, was frantically trying to find a bill. Somewhere, deep in the catacombs of the Texas state Capitol, House Bill 2107, the first comprehensive medical marijuana bill to clear a committee in the state’s history, was getting shuttled around. It needed to be located immediately. She says, “I was literally walking between offices looking for the cart.”

Just days before, HB 2107 had passed out of the House’s Health Committee by a vote of 7-2. From there, it was a five-step process to move the bill through the system to the Calendars Committee, which would then schedule the bill for a debate and vote on the House floor. Finkel says this process “usually takes three business days, but it can be done in a matter of hours.” At this point, hours were all they had left.

The Calendars Committee met at 5:30 p.m. for a quick five-minute roll call of approved bills, which Finkel livestreamed on Facebook in the hopes HB 2107 would be on the list. It wasn’t. Finally, at 7:30 p.m., the bill arrived, ready for approval. But if the Calendars Committee didn’t reconvene to schedule by 10 p.m., then the bill would crash. And the Legislature wasn’t going to meet again until 2019. Actual human lives hung in the balance of a minor bureaucratic procedure.

It was a political miracle that Texas had even reached this point. In 2015, against most predictions, Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law the Compassionate Use Act, a limited and highly restrictive bill that allowed a small number of children with intractable epilepsy access to low-THC cannabis medicine containing non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD). But not only did the law exclude the vast majority of potential medical marijuana patients, and not only did it keep patients from having access to any cannabis products containing THC, it still has yet to be fully implemented. Story after story continue to appear in the local and national news about Texas medical marijuana “refugee” families, forced to leave their homes and head to states where medical marijuana is legal so their children could get the treatment they needed.

When it came to medical, most advocates in the Texas marijuana-rights movement didn’t expect much from this legislative session, which ends May 29. They instead turned their attention to decriminalization legislation (HB 81 and companion SB 170) that would establish a system of civil penalties for weed possession, which cleared committee early but then later died on the House floor without a vote.

In the state Senate, José Menendez filed a comprehensive medical bill last November, SB 269, but it has sat dormant in committee as the GOP-dominated body pursued other legislative priorities, like banning sanctuary cities and telling transgendered teens which bathroom to use.

In the House, Rep. Eddie Lucio III, a Democrat from Brownsville, saw a political opportunity, and a chance to do some good. After watching a heartwrenching YouTube video in which the Zartlers, a North Texas family, treat their teenage daughter’s severe autism with vaporized cannabis, Lucio III checked to see if a companion medical bill had been filed in the Texas House. It hadn’t. Thus HB 2107 was born. “We filed it right away,” Lucio III tells The Cannabist. “Just based on what I had read, I knew it was the right thing to do.”

Lucio III reached out to Rep. Jason Isaac, a Republican from Dripping Springs who had shown sympathy toward medical-marijuana reform, to sign on as cosponsor to HB 2107. But it languished in the House for months after it was first filed in mid-February. With the end of the legislative session on the horizon, activists decided that something had to be done quickly.

Speaking to lawmakers’ minds, hearts

In the last week of April, they hastily put together a press conference on the Capitol steps, emphasizing testimony from conservative Christian mothers and veterans with PTSD. “It is God’s plant and he gave it to us for good,” one mom said. Others held signs that said, “Cannabis saves lives.”

Behind the scenes, advocates were also working the phones. The bill’s fate lay in the hands of Walter T. “Four” Price, an outspoken Christian Republican who serves as chairman of the House Committee on Public Health. Three families from his district in Amarillo pressed his office with phone calls, including relatives of a teenager with Crohn’s disease and another family that had recently been forced to move to Trinidad, Colorado, to take care of a young child with epilepsy.

Growing fields of hemp
Legislation to allow patients access to whole-plant medical marijuana progressed further than it ever had in Texas in 2017. (Denver Post file photo)

Says Heather Fazio, the Texas political director of The Marijuana Policy Project: “We wanted him to see that it’s not just Austin that wants medical marijuana. There are even people in Amarillo.” On April 27, Price scheduled HB 2107 for a hearing.

Because of scheduling conflicts, that hearing didn’t begin until almost 10 p.m. on Tuesday, May 2, and it ran into the early hours of the morning. Yet the Public Health Committee stayed riveted as advocates ran through an extraordinary series of testimonies. Doctors and medical researchers testified about marijuana’s vast potential as a medicine. One after another, constituents presented a series of tragic stories that would have broken Scrooge’s heart. The politicians heard from disabled veterans, desperate mothers and fathers, the sick, the sad, the dying, people in pain. At one point, HB 2701 cosponsor Isaac, who’s not on the committee but was there in support, had to step off the dais to grab some tissues. Few dry eyes were left in the room by the time the hearing ended.

Word got around the House fast. “Some hearts were changed on that night because of the reality of what families and veterans were going through,” says Terry Franks, Isaac’s chief of staff. “It hit them hard. I don’t think they realized what an important issue this is for folks.”

Early the next day, Lucio III and Isaac were on the House floor, looking for support. It was easy to find. When they started, the bill had five cosponsors. By the time they were done, it had 77, including 28 Republicans. A majority of the House now not only supported medical marijuana, but they supported it so wholeheartedly that they wanted their names on the bill. In an absurdly partisan political season, only medical cannabis had been able to bring people together.

Lucio III credited the activists, who have been working tirelessly to change people’s minds. “These advocates have been reaching out to these members, sharing their hearts, talking about the difference in quality of life,” he says. “People had already been educated. I was just the one to execute it.”

Then Price, even though he’d voted against the Compassionate Use Act in 2015, scheduled HB 2107 for a committee vote for Friday, May 5. He voted against this bill, too, but it sailed out of committee on a 7-2 vote. “Allowing that to happen makes Representative Price a hero,” Fazio says. “He demonstrated incredible professionalism, and we value that.”

The nail-biting began. Could HB 2107 make it through the bureaucratic process in time? “We don’t see anyone on the Calendars committee who would have an opposition to this bill,” Lucio III says in a phone call from the House floor after the bill cleared the committee. “But the timing is not our friend.”

Over the weekend, advocates were in overdrive, calling, emailing, pleading. Out of nowhere, whole-plant medical cannabis had an upset chance to become the law in Texas, prompting an early response: “Rejoice!” Finkel posted on the Texas NORML Facebook page.

At 7:30 p.m. on May 9, as HB 2107 officially arrived at the Calendars Committee office, Isaac desperately called for a point of order on the House floor, asking that the committee quickly convene. The House, which was busy debating (and eventually approving) a bill to allow state-funded adoption agencies to reject applications from LGBT, Jewish, and Muslim families, didn’t hear his plea. By 10 p.m., the dream was dead.

“We will continue to fight”

A visibly disappointed Lucio III and Isaac recorded a hasty video (watch below), saying that they would continue to fight on for the families and veterans of Texas. “In this time of divisive politics,” they wrote in a letter to grieving supporters, “we have found bipartisan agreement that the well-being of our loved ones suffering from debilitating conditions should rise over the fray of Left and Right. … We will continue to fight for the patients suffering in Texas who could benefit from medical cannabis.”

Lucio III and Isaac both stressed that in 2019, a medical cannabis law would be their top priority from Day One of the legislative session, which could prevent further bureaucratic tragedy. This assumes that they’re re-elected, as every Texas House member has to run every two years. In an interview, Lucio III says: “My level of commitment has grown significantly. It’s become a labor of love. My wife keeps saying, ‘This should be your legacy work, to help these families.’”

Meanwhile, activists are going to have to spend another legislative session looking to gain rights that, by 2019, likely will be commonplace throughout much of the country. Heather Fazio says it’s “going to be a campaign issue.”

“People want someone’s head on a pitchfork,” Texas NORML’s Finkel said after the bill’s demise. “They are frustrated and angry. And you know what? They should be. They are dying. It’s awful. But they’re going to have to get involved during the full cycle…We finally find this bipartisan bill that so many people could agree on, and it was too late.”

Video by Rep. Jason Isaac and Rep. Eddie Lucio III after HB 2107 failed to get to the House floor for debate and vote:

(Why?)

Published at Tue, 16 May 2017 20:17:10 +0000

Liquor and Cannabis licenses

Liquor and Cannabis licenses

The Columbian / Associated Press

The following have applied to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board:

Shelby E. Piersol and Leigh J. Piersol, for a license to sell beer and wine at A Beer at a Time Tap Room, 216 N.E. Third Ave., Camas.

Iurii A. Kovalchuk and Tamila S. Kovalchuk, for a license to sell beer and wine at Tamila’s Euromarket, 6300 N.E. 117th Ave., Suite B-5, Vancouver.

Craig D. Lester and Letitia Lester, for a license to sell beer and wine at The Pick-Me-Up Modern Take-Away, 3510 N.E. Everett St., Camas.

Sunny M. Parsons and Jaime M. Parsons, for a license to sell beer and wine at Heathen Estate Winery, 9400 N.E. 134th St., Vancouver.

Trinh Nguyen and Tung S. Nguyen, for a license to sell beer and wine and to provide catering from Mars Inn, 13503 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd., Suite 5, Vancouver.

Jeremy C. Brown and Heather M. Brown, for a license to sell beer and wine at Rusty Grape Vineyard, 16712 N.E. 219th St., Battle Ground, and also off-premises.

Peter Lee and Mira Lee, for a license to sell beer and wine at Gogo Sushi, 8605 N.E. Highway 99, Suite 100, Vancouver.

Peter S. Renault and Carlota E. Renault, for a license to sell beer and wine at Renault Enterprises, 19805 S.E. 26th Way, Camas.

Billie Jo J. Moore, Mark C. Moore, Dawn M. Rowe and Stuart V. Rowe, for a license to sell beer and wine at Buckets, 112 S. Main Ave., Ridgefield, and off-premises.

(Why?)

Published at Mon, 15 May 2017 12:55:33 +0000

Sessions overturns Holder memo, returns to harshest drug sentencing policy

Sessions overturns Holder memo, returns to harshest drug sentencing policy

WASHINGTON – Attorney General Jeff Sessions overturned the sweeping criminal charging policy of former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. and directed his federal prosecutors Thursday to charge defendants with the most serious, provable crimes carrying the most severe penalties.

The Holder memo, issued in August 2013, instructed his prosecutors to avoid charging certain defendants with drug offenses that would trigger long mandatory minimum sentences. Defendants who met a set of criteria such as not belonging to a large-scale drug trafficking organization, gang or cartel, qualified for lesser charges – and in turn less prison time – under Holder’s policy.

But Sessions’ new charging policy, outlined in a two-page memo and sent to more than 5,000 assistant U.S. attorneys across the country and all assistant attorneys general in Washington, orders prosecutors to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense” and rescinds Holder’s policy immediately.

The Sessions memo marks the first significant criminal justice effort by the Trump administration to bring back the toughest practices of the drug war, which had fallen out of favor in recent years with a bipartisan movement to undo the damaging effects of mass incarceration.

“This policy fully utilizes the tools Congress has given us,” the attorney general’s memo says. “By definition, the most serious offenses are those that carry the most substantial guidelines sentence, including mandatory minimum sentences.”

The new policy is expected to lead to more federal prosecutions and an increase in the federal prison population. In February, Sessions seemed to prepare for that inevitability, reversing a directive from previous deputy attorney general Sally Yates for the Justice Department to stop using private prisons to house federal inmates.

Yates said at the time that doing so was possible because of declining inmate numbers. Sessions, though, said it had “impaired the [Bureau of Prisons’] ability to meet the future needs of the federal correctional system” – hinting that he saw a very different future for putting people behind bars.

In speeches across the country, including his first major address as attorney general, Sessions has talked of his belief that recent increases in serious crime might indicate that the United States stands at the beginning of a violent new period. He has noted that the homicide rate is half of what it once was, but he has said he fears times of peace might be coming to an end if law enforcement does not quickly return to the aggressive tactics it once used.

Sessions recently ordered the Justice Department to review all its reform agreements with troubled police departments across the country – which he says stand in the way of tough policing – and marijuana advocates fear he might crack down on the drug even in states that have legalized it.

The Sessions memo was largely crafted by Steven H. Cook, a federal prosecutor who was president of the National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys and is now detailed to the Justice Department. Cook was a harsh critic of the Obama administration’s criminal justice policies. The implementation of Sessions’s memo will be overseen by Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who has come under criticism in recent days for the firing of former FBI director James B. Comey.

The new policy revokes Holder’s previous guidance to prosecutors to not specify the quantity of drugs in the charges they brought to avoid triggering mandatory minimum sentences – provided the defendant did not have a significant criminal history, was not violent, or was not a leader of an organization or tied to a gang.

That was particularly significant, because large quantities of drugs typically forced judges to impose stiff sentences – 10 years for a kilogram of heroin, five kilograms of cocaine or 1,000 kilograms of marijuana. Prosecutors, too, could use the threat of a mandatory minimum penalty to facilitate plea bargains, and some were irked that Holder’s memo stripped them of that tool.

Cook has said that the Holder memo “handcuffed prosecutors” and it limited when “enhancements” can be used to increase penalties, an important leverage when dealing with a career offender and getting them to cooperate.

Sessions’ memo says there could be exceptions, but those cases must be approved by a U.S. attorney, assistant attorney general or other supervisor, and the reasons documented in writing.

The memo also directs prosecutors to always pursue sentences with the range calculated by federal guidelines – which are sometimes above even the mandatory minimums – unless a supervisor says it is OK to do otherwise.

“There will be circumstances in which good judgment would lead a prosecutor to conclude that a strict application of the above charging policy is not warranted,” the memo says. “In that case, prosecutors should carefully consider whether an exception may be justified.”

Read the memo

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Memo on Department Charging and Sentencing Policy (Text)

(Why?)

Published at Fri, 12 May 2017 14:04:04 +0000