Expert Joints LIVE!: Cruisin’ With My Buds

Expert Joints LIVE!: Cruisin’ With My Buds

This week Craig and Jen welcome back a number of familiar faces to the show, with a plethora of updates. Guest include Riel (Glacial Gold & Socialweedia) and Remo (Urban Grower & Remo Nutrients), as well as Clint & Aaron of MMJ Canada; who area all a part of upcoming The High Cruise. Also returning is Creative Roller Cody Van Gogh from the National Joint League; and the Saltwater Cowboy Tim McBride for a very special “Q & A’ edition of Tim’s Tales! All these fine folks, plus a whole lot more… so toke up and tune in.


(Why?)

Published at Sun, 04 Jun 2017 17:01:06 +0000

It took the Trump Administration just a month to turn Obama-era drug policy on its head

It took the Trump Administration just a month to turn Obama-era drug policy on its head

My third son, William, was born on April 28. I’ve spent the past month or so getting to know him (thanks, Washington Post’s generous parental leave policy!), and not paying much attention to federal drug policy.

As it turns out I missed quite a bit. In the month of May alone, the Trump administration, particularly Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department, steadily ratcheted up its tough-on-crime rhetoric and put in place some policies that give that rhetoric some real-world bite.

You may have missed them too, as many of the decisions were made with little fanfare, and all of them came amid a steady string of revelations about Russia, Paris, Comey, Kushner and even covfefe. Here’s a recap of everything that happened while I was out changing diapers.

Mandatory minimums are back

The big news last month was a memo from Sessions directing federal prosecutors to pursue the most severe penalties possible for any crime, including drug offenses. That means more mandatory minimum sentences for federal drug crimes, a policy that the Justice Department administration had backed away from under President Barack Obama.

In the latter years of the Obama administration, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. had instructed federal prosecutors to seek less severe prison sentences for certain nonviolent drug offenders. Sessions’s directive reverses that policy.

The net effect of the change is that more people will be going to federal prison, reversing a decline in the federal prison population in recent years. Sessions laid the groundwork for this in February when he directed the Justice Department to start using private prisons again to “meet the future needs of the federal correctional system.”

Sessions defended the move as a “key part of President Trump’s promise to keep America safe,” citing a recent uptick in homicides in some cities.

But the best available research suggests that harsh prison sentences do little to deter crime. Sessions’ own Justice Department, citing decades of research, states that “sending an individual convicted of a crime to prison isn’t a very effective way to deter crime” and that “increasing the severity of punishment does little to deter crime.”

Indeed, imprisonment often has the opposite effect, according to the DOJ’s research division: “Inmates learn more effective crime strategies from each other, and time spent in prison may desensitize many to the threat of future imprisonment.”

A drug war hardliner is reevaluating federal marijuana policy

One of the key architects of Sessions’ sentencing memo was Steven Cook, a former federal prosecutor and a lifelong hard-liner on criminal justice issues. Cook is now considering changes to policies governing marijuana and civil asset forfeiture, according to the Associated Press.

While Cook didn’t give away any details of his agenda, he told the AP that “when you put criminals in prison, crime goes down.” As noted by the Justice Department research above, Cook’s formulation is simplistic and largely inaccurate.

“Steve Cook thinks that everyone who commits a crime ought to be locked up in jail,” said Bill Killian, a former U.S. attorney who worked with Cook in the past.

Marijuana use remains a crime at the federal level, regardless of what state regulations say. The Obama administration chose to largely ignore state-level legalization efforts. If Cook intends to reverse that approach, even partially, it could prove disastrous for the country’s $6.7 billion legal marijuana industry – to say nothing of the 33 million adults who use the drug.

Trump signals possible trouble ahead for medical marijuana

For several years now, the Justice Department has been prevented from aggressively targeting medical marijuana operations in states where they’re legal due to a provision, known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, included in omnibus spending bills. The amendment simply states that the Justice Department cannot use federal funds to interfere with the operation of medical marijuana programs in places where they’re legal.

That provision was recently renewed through Sept. 30. But in signing the spending bill it was attached to, Trump added a twist: a signing statement indicating he would “treat this provision consistently with my constitutional responsibility to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

Prior presidents have used such statements to ignore or undermine policies they disagreed with. If Trump were to do so on medical marijuana, it could set up an awkward showdown with one of his staunchest allies in Congress: Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), co-author of the amendment.

For his part, Rohrabacher doesn’t think that will happen: “It would be a huge waste of his time and money, and why would he do that?” he told the Orange County Register last month.

The DEA continues to wage war on marijuana, regardless of what the research says

At a speech at the Cleveland Clinic last week, Drug Enforcement Administration acting chief Chuck Rosenberg reiterated his belief that “marijuana is not medicine.” This flies in the face of decades of research into the effects of marijuana use, most recently outlined in a massive report by the National Academies of Sciences, Medicine and Engineering.

Rosenberg said that any potential medical application of marijuana should be approved by the Food and Drug Administration. But such approval is nearly impossible to obtain because of the drug’s strict regulation under federal law, creating a Catch-22: Marijuana is tightly regulated because it has no accepted medical use, and it has no accepted medical use because it’s so tightly regulated.

A rhetorical escalation

In the past month, leading law enforcement figures have been deploying some of the apocalyptic anti-drug rhetoric that characterized much of federal drug policy in the ’80s and ’90s. Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein recently gave a chest-thumping speech before DEA employees, calling them “warriors of freedom” who were fighting an epidemic that is laying waste to society. Demand for illegal drugs is creating “a cycle of death and despair,” he added.

Sessions, meanwhile, has been attempting to tie drug use with the rise of violent crime in some cities. “We know that drugs and crime go hand-in-hand,” he said recently. “Drug trafficking is an inherently violent business. If you want to collect a drug debt, you can’t file a lawsuit in court. You collect it by the barrel of a gun.”

At another speech in West Virginia, Sessions warned of opiate-dependent babies who “scream inconsolably and suffer from tremors, vomiting and seizures” and who are “at risk for developmental and health problems throughout the rest of their lives.” The language echoes the early ’90s panic over “crack babies” that turned out to be largely unsubstantiated.

Trump admires a dictator’s brutal anti-drug crusade

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has encouraged his constituents to kill drug addicts and has overseen a bloody anti-drug crusade that’s resulted in thousands of deaths at the hands of law enforcement officers and groups operating extrajudicially.

In late April, Trump called Duterte to praise his drug war and invite him to the White House.

“I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem. Many countries have the problem, we have a problem, but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call and tell you that,” Trump said.

Trump’s budget proposes deep cuts to addiction treatment

Medicaid provides coverage for substance abuse treatment for roughly one-third of all Americans dependent on opioid drugs.

Trump’s budget would cut Medicaid nearly in half by 2020, jeopardizing substance abuse coverage for the roughly 2.3 million opiate-dependent people who use it.

That change is of a piece with the administration’s general views on drug use – a crime to be policed and punished, rather than a public health problem.

(Why?)

Published at Fri, 02 Jun 2017 17:36:21 +0000

Mama P’s Grinder: Build To Last – Expert Review

Mama P’s Grinder: Build To Last – Expert Review

Can I be honest with you? 

The best vaping experience doesn’t just come from your vaporizer.

You’ve heard the advice a million times,

You need to have the right accessories to get the best vaping experience.

If you are tired of making a mess when prepping your herbs, it’s time that you explore the Mama P’s Grinder.

Mama P is a brand known for its high-quality grinders that you can use for your vaping needs.

The company is a five-time cannabis cup winner and is popular for their award-winning products.

Mama P’s classic grinder received the 1st place for Best New Product at the High Times Cannabis Cup in Detroit in 2012.

Not only are Mama P’s grinders popular among random recreational cannabis users, their innovative products have also received praises from the medical community as well.

They’ve won the 2012 Los Angeles Medical Cannabis Cup for the Mama P’s Wholesome Grinder.

Apart from the different grinders, they are also known for other cannabis related products.

They are the makers of the first only magnetic lighter. They also have water pipes, and pollen presses to name a few. What this means is that they have the ability to create out-of-the-box ideas using high-quality materials and craftsmanship.

Mama P is one of the brands that still manufacture their products in the US.

In fact,

They inspect each product no less than 10 times before it reaches circulation. Considered even by connoisseurs as one of the top companies in the US, Mama P implements top-notch materials on all of their grinders such using 100% aircraft grade aluminum on their products.

They also made it a practice to make use of a 60-micron titanium screen that ensures uniform sized herbs to pass through once the herbs have been churned by the grinders’ teeth.

The Good

There are a lot of positive things that can be said about Mama P’s as a company.

In today’s day and age wherein companies would most likely purchase from Alibaba and rebrand these items as their own product, Mama P took the effort to do their own research and build their grinders in the US.

And for this reason, they’ve been able to provide high-quality products above the usual products that you would see in the market.

They are also known for providing products that are known for their durability.

They’ve made products with high-quality materials including aircraft grade aluminum that can withstand a good amount of grinding sessions.

Also, Mama P specifically made their screen replaceable and easy to clean. Made not of your typical stainless material but of titanium, you can take it out whenever it already becomes messy.

And if you are the type who is taking cannabis for medical reasons, might as well pair your high-end vaporizer with a Mama P’s grinder.

The Bad

There are not a lot of bad things that we can say to a multi-awarded company that brought us some of the best grinders in the business.

So what are the things that customers usually don’t like about Mama P’s grinders?

If there is anything that the company can improve on, let’s take a closer look at the price. Yes, their grinders are more expensive than your average grinders.

However, let’s admit that you pay for what you get.

As a multi-awarding company that produces grinders that can surpass any of its competitors, you just can’t expect anything cheap from this company.

Design and Performance

Classy, durable, and efficient are just some of the things that can describe the usual Mama P products that you see in the market. The design of each grinder is known for its durability given that the company made use of the very same aluminum used on aircraft. It is said to have all the elements of what an all American made product is all about.

In terms of its performance, it offers precision by providing the right sized herbs for each user.

And if you think that they are simply offering the usual herb grinders, they also have the likes of a 1-inch mini herb grinder. It can even be placed on your neck and fit your fashion statement.

If you are a fan of making the most out of your herb, Mama P doesn’t disappoint. The four piece grinders made by the company also has high-quality stainless steel mesh that allows you to maximize the kief for later use. It has 60-micron holes in order to make sure that only the finest excess goes into the compartment where the kief is stored.

Sharp diamond shaped teeth can efficiently grind down the herbs into small pieces. And as long as you are placing the ideal amount of herbs on the grinders, you can expect nothing but the high-quality output from Mama P grinders.

Maintenance

Maintenance is another thing that you will love about the medical grade Mama P grinders. Aluminum is not only a great option if you like grinders that can last the usual wear and tear; it is also an easy to clean material that guarantees the clean herbs for every session.

You can also remove the titanium screen for easy cleaning. And if it is time to replace the screen, you can easily get a new one preventing you from changing the entire grinder.

Different Types of Mama P’s Grinder

Mama P’s Classic Herb Grinder

The Classic Herb Grinder by Mama P is probably the most popular product that came from the company.

This product is a four stage herbal grinder that gives you the chance to enjoy not only the herbs that have been grounded but also the kief.

It offers an easy to clean and durable material that you can use for years.

In terms of performance, it is also easy to use the grinder. It is best known for its ergonomic design and even praised by people in the medical cannabis industry. It was made to function with minimal friction that caters to users that have mobility concerns.

The 60-micron screen filter made of titanium is also what makes the product a great choice. You can easily get a new one for this screen if it already needs replacement due to wear and tear.

Mama P’s Custom Two Color Herb Grinder

If you prefer grinders that are out of the ordinary, Mama P’s Custom Two Color Herb grinder is probably the best option that you can go for. It offers a chance for users to express their personality with these hand painted grinders. According to Mama P, this makes no two Custom Two Color Herb Grinders have the same design.

It isn’t just about the looks. It has been viewed by some of the most respected figures in the vaping industry including High Times Magazine and was even dubbed as the “world’s best grinder, period”.

The Neodymium magnets is a cool feature that holds the herbs in place, to make sure that everything is air tight inside the unit.

There are few interesting features that you rarely see from the other products:

It has an ashtray that can hold a pipe and Lighter mate lighter.

It also offers replaceable titanium screen. Making sure that you can simply get a new screen once it has been ruined or gets funky from regular use. And because of Mama P’s confidence to its product, it has a lifetime warranty.

Mama P’s Exclusive Color Herb Grinder

Mama P’s Exclusive Color Herb Grinder is another stand out product from the company. For starters, it makes use of the same aluminum used on aircraft. Similar to Custom two Color Herb Grinders, this product also has room for a pipe or a Lighter mate lighter.

It also offers smooth grinding operations and a removable titanium filter.

This filter can come in handy in its maintenance or when having a new screen.

And if you opt to use the herb grinder as your herb container they cover it too.

You can rest assure that its magnet can keep the materials air tight to maintain maximum freshness.

Final Verdict

In terms of reputation and products in the market, Mama P is undeniably among the best out there.

They provide the best grinders that caught the attention of vape enthusiast and even by medical cannabis industry users.

It says a lot that they have won many prestigious awards given to exceptional products for the medical cannabis niche.

Mama P Grinder is the perfect product if you are looking for:

  • An all American-made product
  • Great quality
  • Can produce the best results.

Unfortunately, their items don’t come cheap.

But is it really worth it?

If you are the type of vaping enthusiast who prefers the cleanest vape experience, consider their products as a good investment that can last for years.


(Why?)

Published at Thu, 01 Jun 2017 12:59:12 +0000

Nevada's July 1 recreational weed sales start in jeopardy

Nevada's July 1 recreational weed sales start in jeopardy

RENO, Nev. — The July start of Nevada’s recreational marijuana sales could be delayed after a group of alcohol distributors filed a legal challenge to a licensing deadline, arguing they have the first rights to distribute recreational pot.

A judge in Carson City on Tuesday evening sided with the alcohol distributors and barred Nevada’s Department of Taxation from enforcing a May 31 deadline to apply for marijuana distribution licenses.

The ballot initiative legalizing pot in Nevada gave liquor distributors first dibs on licenses to act as middle-men between marijuana growers, producers and retailers.

Nevada officials said there wasn’t enough interest from alcohol wholesalers so medical marijuana license holders were allowed to apply.

A lawyer for the liquor distributors told Reno Gazette-Journal that dozens of distributors were interested but state officials withdrew applications amid worries about conflicts with federal law.

Information from: Reno Gazette-Journal

(Why?)

Published at Thu, 01 Jun 2017 19:34:55 +0000

States take steps to entice minority marijuana entrepreneurs

States take steps to entice minority marijuana entrepreneurs

The Columbian / Associated Press

Some states that have legalized marijuana are encouraging minorities to enter the growing cannabis industry after years of drug enforcement that had a disproportionate effect on black and Hispanic communities. A look at some of the efforts nationwide:

WASHINGTON

Recreational pot was legalized in Washington in 2012. The state has nearly 500 licensed retail stores.

Nearly 3 percent of retail license holders are African-American in a state where black people are 3.5 percent of the population . In 2015, African-Americans made up 11 percent of marijuana arrests.

Brian Smith, spokesman for the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, said the board is interested in diversifying licensees and may use targeted outreach to ethnic communities if they decide to license more people in the future.

——

CALIFORNIA

California voters legalized recreational marijuana in November. The first retail sales are expected in January.

Oakland officials approved a program that initially sets aside half of the city’s marijuana licenses for low-income residents who have been convicted of a cannabis crime or who live in a specified neighborhood where drug enforcement has been intense. Advocates are urging similar programs statewide, including in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

African-Americans made up 5.6 percent of the state but 16 percent of marijuana arrests in 2015, according to an AP analysis of statistics collected by the FBI.

——

COLORADO

The first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use does not track industry demographics. A spokesman for the Denver department that oversees marijuana policy, Daniel Rowland, said individual businesses have programs to employ minorities, but nothing is mandated by the city.

A report by the Colorado Public Safety Department found that arrest rates for African-American and Latino juveniles increased after legalization, while the rate for white juveniles went down.

African-Americans made up nearly 4 percent of the Colorado population in 2015 and 11 percent of arrests.

——

FLORIDA

Florida lawmakers passed a bill last year to address issues that arose with the state’s 2014 medical marijuana law, including provisions to favor black farmers.

The provisions ensure that once the state’s medical marijuana patient registry reaches 250,000, three additional cultivation licenses will be made available, with one of them designated for a member of the Florida Black Farmers and Agriculturists Association.

Black farmers in Florida were among thousands across the country who sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture for racial discrimination, saying they had been unfairly denied government loans and subsidies in the 1980s and 1990s. The case ended with an historic settlement in 1999.

——

MARYLAND

The state’s rollout of medical marijuana has been marred by lawsuits filed by groups that were not among the 15 chosen by the state for cultivation licenses. None of the 15 was minority-owned, despite language in the law that requires regulators to seek “racial, ethnic and geographical diversity” in the awarding of licenses.

The General Assembly ended its legislative session last month without acting on a bill designed to create diversity by allowing up to seven more licenses to grow marijuana, with two going to companies that are suing the state and five others for minority-owned companies after a disparity study is conducted. The Legislature’s Black Caucus has called for a special session to consider the bill.

Minority groups comprise about 48 percent of Maryland’s population, including nearly 30 percent African-American. Blacks made up roughly 57 percent of cannabis arrests in 2015.

——

MASSACHUSETTS

The 2016 ballot question that legalized recreational marijuana included language to encourage participation in the cannabis industry by people who were “disproportionately harmed” by enforcement of marijuana laws in the past. The law does not exclude people with past marijuana convictions from applying for a retail license or working in a cannabis business.

Boston City Council member Ayanna Pressley has drafted proposed legislation that would direct 20 percent of unexpended revenue from state and local marijuana taxes toward programs to assure racial equity, including efforts to reduce financial barriers to ownership of businesses.

In 2015, African-Americans made up nearly 7 percent of the state’s population but 34 percent of cannabis arrests.

——

OHIO

The state’s 2016 medical marijuana law included some licenses set aside for minority businesses, but it’s questionable whether that provision would stand in court.

The benchmarks require at least 15 percent of Ohio’s marijuana-related licenses to go to the businesses of one of four economically disadvantaged minority groups — blacks, Hispanics, Asians or Native Americans — so long as an adequate number apply.

Legal experts have questioned whether the racial-preference provision would stand up in court, though no legal challenge has been filed to date.

African-Americans made up 12 percent of the state’s population in 2015, but 35 percent of arrests.

——

PENNSYLVANIA

Lawmakers passed a medical marijuana law in 2016, and subsequent regulations written by the Pennsylvania Department of Health included policies to ensure that medical cannabis organizations “foster participation of diverse groups in all aspects of their operations.”

Specifically, the rules require that applicants for cultivation and dispensing permits include in their initial applications a diversity plan that spells out how they will achieve racial equity through ownership, employment and contracting.

The agency is also required to make special efforts to help minorities learn how to apply for cultivation and dispensing permits. At least four predominantly minority groups have applied for medical marijuana permits, according to Philadelphia City Councilman Derek Green.

African-Americans were nearly 11 percent of the state in 2015 and made up 35 percent of arrests.

——

WEST VIRGINIA

The state in April became the 29th in the U.S. to approve of marijuana use for certain medical conditions. The new law includes a provision requiring state regulators to seek ways of encouraging minority-owned businesses to apply for growing licenses.

African Americans were nearly 4 percent of the state in 2015 and made up 19 percent of arrests.

(Why?)

Published at Wed, 31 May 2017 18:05:16 +0000

To understand the Trump administration, look at their renewed war on drugs

To understand the Trump administration, look at their renewed war on drugs

What’s the standard line on President Donald Trump these days? That he’s an erratic creature of no fixed commitments and no stable policy objectives? Not so fast. In fact, Trump’s entire administration can be understood through the lens of his weird, consistent, unwavering adherence to a 1980s concept of the War on Drugs.

This adherence unifies his policy actions: not only the appointment of drug-war hard-liner Jeff Sessions as attorney general but also his approach to immigration and “the wall,” his calls for a revival of “stop and frisk” and “law and order” policies, key features of the Republican House health-care bill, the bromances with Rodrigo Duterte and Vladimir Putin, and even the initial proposal to defund the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

After descending that Trump Tower escalator in July 2015, Trump made headlines when he kicked off his campaign by proclaiming that Mexico was sending us “rapists.” Less noted has been that he began his list of woes coming from the South by castigating Mexican immigrants for “bringing drugs.” Already in that speech the solution he offered to this caricatured problem was “the wall.” Almost two years later, the wall is still meant to solve the problem of drugs, as in this tweet from April: “If the wall is not built, which it will be, the drug situation will NEVER be fixed the way it should be!”

Trump’s well-received joint address to Congress in February also explained his desire to limit immigration by focusing on drugs: “We’ve defended the borders of other nations while leaving our own borders wide open for anyone to cross and for drugs to pour in at a now unprecedented rate.”

No surprise, then, that Sessions has been working steadily, since his confirmation, to restore the building blocks of the War on Drugs that political leaders from both parties have been quietly removing for the past five years. He has ordered a review of federal policies on state legalization of marijuana and appears to be seeking an end to the policy of federal non-interference with the cascade of legalization efforts. He has ordered a review of consent decrees, whose purpose is to spur police reform, and sought to delay the implementation of Baltimore’s. He has recently handed down guidance requiring federal prosecutors to seek the stiffest possible sentences available for drug offenses.

To support these efforts, Trump has proposed hiring 10,000 immigration officers and 5,000 Border Patrol agents and beefing up support for police departments. According to the White House website, “The Trump Administration will be a law and order administration” for a country that “needs more law enforcement.”

The Obama administration had begun to drive toward replacing criminal-justice strategies for drug control with public-health strategies. It wasn’t whistling in the dark but following, at least in part, the innovative model of drug control pioneered by Portugal. Use and modest possession of marijuana and other drugs have been decriminalized, but large-scale trafficking is still criminal. The criminal justice system focuses on those large-scale traffickers, while public health strategies and harm-reduction techniques pinpoint users and low-level participants in the drug economy. Adolescent drug use is down, the percentage of users seeking treatment is up, and Portugal is interdicting increased quantities of illegal narcotics.

Countries across Central and South America would like to follow Portugal and transition from a criminal-justice paradigm to an individual and public-health paradigm for drug control. They have advocated for this change at the United Nations but have been blocked by Putin’s Russia. Indeed, Putin is one of the world’s most steadfast advocates for the 1980s War on Drugs concept.

Of course, Trump has expressed a strange affinity for Putin and also for Duterte, the president of the Philippines. Duterte has called for the “slaughter” of the Philippines’ estimated 3 million addicts. The death toll from extrajudicial killings that he seems to have sparked has already reached into the thousands. The response from the United States? Trump praised Duterte for doing an “unbelievable job on the drug problem” and invited him to the White House.

Yet Trump’s initial budget plan involved proposing nearly complete defunding of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which was founded by congressional legislation in 1988. How does that square?

The Obama administration deployed that office to “restore balance” to U.S. drug-control efforts, increasing emphasis on treatment, prevention and diversion programs, and fostering a move toward a health-based strategy. The expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and requirements that insurers support mental-health and addiction treatment undergirded this effort, supporting the emergence of programs designed to divert low-level drug offenders out of the criminal-justice system and into treatment. This has made for the very promising beginnings of a health-based approach to drug control.

The Trump administration has painted a bullseye on this new policy strategy and is firing away. While the White House has backed off defunding the Office of National Drug Control Policy, it continues to pursue the reversal of the Medicaid expansion. The administration appears to think narcotics control can be achieved entirely through the tools of criminal justice.

But we tried that in the 1980s, the decade of “Miami Vice,” the era when the Los Angeles police chief, Daryl Gates, could testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee that casual drug users “ought to be taken out and shot.” We know where that story ends: with increased incarceration, further degradation of urban neighborhoods, no durable change in rates of drug use and a failure to address addiction.

So, yes, Trump has a vision, and he’s moving steadily toward it, wrongheaded though it is, dragging us along with him, as if into a wall.

Allen is a political theorist at Harvard University and a contributing columnist for The Post.

(Why?)

Published at Tue, 30 May 2017 21:05:55 +0000

Colorado bill adding PTSD to medical marijuana list heads to gov's desk

Colorado bill adding PTSD to medical marijuana list heads to gov's desk

A bill to add PTSD to the list of Colorado’s medical marijuana qualifying conditions is headed to the governor’s desk.

The Colorado Senate on Tuesday voted 32-2 to re-pass Senate Bill 17, which was amended in the House.

What’s happened to this point:

The state House on Friday passed SB 17 by a vote of 39-25, with one member absent. The vote came a day after the bill was amended in second reading to add a stipulation that one of the two recommending physicians required for minor patients be a pediatrician, board-certified family physician or board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist who is part of the family’s medical care plan.

In February, the bill cleared the Senate by a vote of 34-1.

The Colorado Board of Health, which has not added any new qualifying conditions to the state’s medical marijuana law since it was implemented in 2001, has denied petition requests to put PTSD on that list, most recently in 2015. Previous legislative maneuvers had stalled.

A legal challenge to the Colorado Board of Health’s 2015 rulingis currently before the Colorado Court of Appeals.

Proponents argue that recreational marijuana is not cost-effective for PTSD patients and there is limited availability of the low-THC/CBD-heavy products claimed effective for symptoms such as anxiety, nightmares and sleep disorders. They also note that veterans could be at risk for losing their military benefits if they use recreational marijuana. Having PTSD as a qualifying condition opens an honest dialogue between doctors and patients, they add.

Members of the medical community frequently caution that more qualified research is needed to determine the effectiveness and any health risks associated with using medical cannabis to treat a complex psychological condition. Psychologists have argued that such treatment would likely need to be used in conjunction with other forms of therapy — be it talk therapy or practices such as yoga or meditation — so as to not simply mask an underlying condition.

Some research is happening. A Colorado-funded, placebo-controlled clinical trial of veterans suffering PTSD is getting underway in Arizona. However, a number of researchers have expressed concern that the federally approved study drug does not accurately reflect what’s available on the market.

(Why?)

Published at Tue, 25 Apr 2017 21:18:07 +0000

American Legion calls on Trump to take cannabis off Schedule I to help vets

American Legion calls on Trump to take cannabis off Schedule I to help vets

America’s largest veterans service organization has a message for President Donald Trump: Reschedule marijuana to permit research into its medical efficacy for treating vets suffering from traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The appeal by the American Legion was included in a letter sent to the White House last month. The letter requests a meeting with Trump to discuss critical veterans’ issues including opiate addiction and suicide, and calls on the Trump administration to “clear the way for clinical research in the cutting edge areas of cannabinoid receptor research,” according to portions of the draft letter shared with The Cannabist.

“It’s time the federal government took action to remove barriers to scientific research on this very important subject,” said Joe Plenzler, American Legion Director of Media Relations, in an email to The Cannabist.

Under the Controlled Substances Act, cannabis is listed alongside heroin, LSD and ecstasy as a Schedule I substance — the strictest of classifications, defined as having a high potential for abuse and no “currently accepted medical use.”

The American Legion’s request is an attempt to extricate the federal government from a “policy Catch 22,” said Louis Celli, the organization’s national director of veterans affairs and rehabilitation.

“On one hand the government claims that there is no federally approved scientific evidence to support cannabis being used in a medical environment, so they refuse to consider reclassifying it,” he said via email. “And on the other hand they refuse to permit scientific research because it’s a Schedule 1 substance.”

American Legion officials stress that they are not advocating for marijuana legalization.

“Rather we are advocating for re-scheduling so that more research can be done,” said Plenzler. “That (research) will enable our elected leaders and the American people to have a national discussion on the matter based on scientific evidence.”

The American Legion has received feedback from many veterans who report access to medical cannabis has been “effective” in helping them cope with issues such as traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Plenzler said. He called those afflictions “the signature wounds of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

“Some veterans have told me that access to cannabis is the very reason they are alive today,” he said. “Others have told me that they have been able to come off of every other pharmaceutical that they have been prescribed. Certainly, this is anecdotal evidence, but it is compelling.”

The American Legion’s request that marijuana be reclassified doesn’t come as a complete surprise. At its national convention last August, the group passed a resolution urging the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to license privately-funded U.S. medical marijuana production operations to enable “safe and efficient cannabis drug development research.” The resolution also calls on Congress “to remove marijuana from Schedule I and reclassify in a category that, at a minimum, will recognize cannabis as a drug with potential medical value.”

Last December, Legion officials met with then President-elect Trump’s transition team to lay out top priorities, including the reclassification of marijuana so that quantifiable medical research can be conducted.

In addition to the American Legion’s advocacy, there are efforts underway in Congress to allow veterans safe access to medical marijuana in states where it is legal. The Veterans Equal Access Act, introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this year by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, would authorize Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care providers to give recommendations and opinions to veterans regarding participation in state marijuana programs.

The VA states on its website that while some states have approved the use of marijuana for medical and/or recreational use, the department is “required to follow all federal laws” regarding cannabis.

Veterans taking part in state medical marijuana programs should therefore be aware, the website states, that while they won’t be denied access to VA healthcare, the VA doctors and clinical staff will “record marijuana use in the Veterans VA medical record along with its impact on the Veterans treatment plan.”

Among the groups supporting the American Legion’s call to advance research on medical marijuana is the newly-formed Veterans Cannabis Project, a nonprofit organization educating veterans on the benefits of medical marijuana while also promoting cannabis industry career opportunities available to them.

“Medical marijuana is a political issue. It is a legal issue. But most important, it is a health issue that is playing an increasingly significant role in the quality of life for America’s veterans,” said Nick Etten, the group’s executive director and a former Navy Seal, in an email. “In their request to seek support from the president to clear the way for expanded clinical research of cannabis, the American Legion is once again demonstrating, as their membership consistently has for almost 100 years, the leadership required to ensure that neither partisan politics nor failed policy will impede safe and effective treatment options for those who have served us.”

(Why?)

Published at Mon, 22 May 2017 22:07:38 +0000

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