By D. Paul Stanford, CRRH
Oregon's Ballot Measure 91 qualified for the vote on July 22nd, almost exactly two weeks after Washington state began regulated sales of marijuana just across the mighty Columbia River from Oregon. New Approach Oregon's petition campaign turned in enough valid signatures to qualify the Control, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Act for the November 4, 2014 ballot. On the same day in November, both the state of Alaska and the federal capitol, Washington, DC, will also vote on their own initiative petitions to end marijuana prohibition.
According to the Oregon Secretary of State's website, 145,030 unverified signatures were submitted for verification on Measure 91. Of those, 88,584 signatures, or 64.41 percent of the 135,722 accepted for verification, were valid. To qualify for the ballot, 87,213 were needed, so, according to the Oregon Secretary of State Elections Division, Measure 91 qualified with 1,371 more signatures than the minimum required..
The proposed Oregon ballot measure would allow for licensed and regulated cultivation and sales of marijuana. Sales would be taxed to generate money for schools, state and local police and drug treatment, prevention and mental health programs.
It is important for medical marijuana patients to note that Measure 91, when passed, will not change nor effect the current medical marijuana law in Oregon. Measure 91 taxes will not be charged for people with an Oregon medical marijuana permit.
By Steve Elliott
It was a short-lived triumph. The approval of medical marijuana that had been granted by Norfolk Island's government was overturned on Thursday by the Australian Commonwealth.
The island's administrator, former Liberal MP Gary Hardgrave, vetoed the decision made by Norfolk Island authorities, reports Sam Ikin at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Hardgrave said the license issued to THC under section 7A of the Dangerous Drugs Act's 1997 provision, which was included for the purpose of establishing an industrial hemp industry on Norfolk Islasnd. "There is no reasonable prospect of a hemp industry being established on Norfolk Island in the near future and Tascann's proposal to cultivate cannabis for medical treatments is fundamentally different to, and inconsistent with, that purpose," Hardgrave said in a prepared statement.
The Australian Government has a range of obligations under international law regarding the cultivation and trade of illicit drugs," Hardgrave said. "The licence issued to Tascann may not adequately address these obligations and it was issued without consulting the relevant federal authorities."
"This smacks of U.S. meddling and is a further instance of monopoly medical marijuana with GW being the only provider globally," Mark Heinrich of Australia told Hemp News early Thursday. "In Australia we believe Novartis has been meddling and lobbying the Feds to force this outcome."
The 2014 Portland Hempstalk Festival occurs at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland, Oregon on September 27 and 28. Hempstalk provides educational awareness opportunities regarding the the medicinal, emotional and mental benefits of cannabis while advocating for its decriminalization for medicinal, industrial, and recreational use.
Founded in 2005 by The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation, the festival features live music, guest speakers, food and goods vendors and information booths. This public event has always been free to attend, with a suggested donation of $10 per person.
According to Paul Stanford, founder and presenting sponsor of the event, "Hempstalk is about the many uses of agricultural hemp fiber, oil, protein, fuel and medicine. We are working to end adult cannabis prohibition, allow adults to grow their own and license the legal sale of psychoactive cannabis to adults.
"We believe that hemp will save the Earth's biosphere with the adoption of hemp seed for bio-diesel fuel, which will solve the energy and world hunger problems, and stop deforestation when hemp fiber is used for paper and building materials," Stanford said. "We shall overcome!"
Event coordinators estimated that last year’s two-day Hempstalk festival, held at Kelley Point Park, was attended by 60,000 people. With recent years increases in festival attendance, growing awareness of popularity of its cause, Hempstalk organizers and city officials felt it had outgrown its previous location.
By Steve Elliott
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin on Wednesday announced she wants to work with lawmakers in the next session of the Legislature to legalize cannabidiol oil (CBD) on a limited, medically supervised, trial-only basis.
CBD is a component of the marijuana plant; unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), it does not produce a high. The compound has shown effectiveness in quelling seizures in toddlers with epilepsy and other conditions. The CBD oil isn't smoked; it is not considered a recreational drug.
"I do not support legalizing the recreational use of marijuana," Fallin said, reports Laura Noland at KFOR-TV. "Nor do I support a broadly defined 'medicinal' marijuana use that makes it easy for healthy adults and teenagers to find and buy drugs."
"I do support allowing potentially life-saving medicine to find its way to children in need," the Republican Governor said. "I am very interested in allowing limited, heavily supervised use of non-intoxicating CBD to be delivered on a trial basis to sick children in Oklahoma."
Rep. Jon Echols is preparing to lead a legislative study of allowing medical trials for CBD in treating children affected by severe seizures. Echols said he decided to take on the issue when his niece was told CBD may help with her medical condition.
By Steve Elliott
Marijuana, it seems, often leads to pizza. Now at least one company is cutting to the chase and combining the two.
Unique Pizza and Subs Corporation on Tuesday announced it will "explore the possibility" of developing a signature Unique Pizza with cannabis infused into it.
The company said it believes, with the increasing demand for marijuana in Colorado under legalization, "it would utilize Dr. Reddy's world renowned skills, laboratories and test kitchen to develop a signature line of marijuana enhanced Unique Pizzas, that could be sold at adult bars and night clubs throughout the state."
"Utilizing Dr. Reddy's superior scientific technology affords the company a Unique opportunity to explore the various possibilities in the fast growing marijuana industry," the company's prepared statement reads.
After the legalization of cannabis, Colorado began the testing of marijuana edible products on May 1, putting the state in the developmental forefront of the industry.
"Unique Pizza would like to be on the vanguard of the hot and ready edible cannabis industry and believe that bringing together Dr. Reddy's superior scientific skills with Unique Pizza's industry leading gourmet taste is the perfect blend of flavors to lead this new frontier," the press release reads.
Florida MMJ Seminars on Wednesday announced in collaboration with HighDrive Digital Group, marketers for the medical marijuana industry, a seminar in Florida on the benefits and science of medical marijuana and the importance of voting “Yes” on Amendment 2 to make it more accessible to patients in need.
Educators at the seminar have more than 150 years of combined experience, according to the group, which called it "a must attend for everyone who will be involved in the medical marijuana industry – doctors, lawyers, nurses, educators, and entrepreneurs."
"Growing medical marijuana can be very lucrative, and there are only a couple of hundred seats available for the seminars," reads a prepared statement from Florida MMJ Seminars.
Florida is experiencing a huge demand for the cannabinoid medical treatment, especially considering that it is the largest homestead for baby boomers and holistic medical centers. The Florida Veterans Affairs department is one of the largest in the country with more than 1.5 million veterans residing and many in need of the medical marijuana treatment.
The topics covered in the seminars will be aimed at potential patients, clients, business partners and medical professionals:
• The role of Endocannabinoid System in the medical treatment
• Potential use of cannabinoids and a general overview of the history, licensing, and Charlotte’s Web
• Proposed Florida law guidelines and business growth
• Economics of dispensaries, grows, security systems and holistic treatments
By Steve Elliott
A top federal official on Tuesday said that 105 banks and credit unions are now doing business with legal marijuana merchants, and suggested that revised federal rules giving financial institutions the green light to provide services to cannabis businesses are starting to work.
The financial institutions in question cover about one-third of the United States, and have reported relationships with marijuana-related businesses, the top U.S. anti-money laundering official said, reports Jeffrey Sparshott at The Wall Street Journal.
The Obama Administration in February gave the go-ahead to the banking industry to offer financing and accounts to marijuana distributors who are legally conducting their business according to state laws, reports Danielle Douglas of The Washington Post.
"From our perspective the guidance is having the intended effect," said Jennifer Shasky Calvery, director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. "It is facilitating access to financial services, while ensuring that this activity is transparent and the funds are going into regulated financial institutions."
By Steve Elliott
A federal judge has dismissed a Washington lawsuit challenging the state's authority to tax marijuana.
The case was dismissed last week by U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman for lack of jurisdication, reports the Associated Press.
Martin Nickerson, who operates the Northern Cross Collective Gardens medical marijuana dispensary in Bellingham, sued because at the same time he was being prosecuted for marijuana distribution, he was also targeted by the state Revenue Department for not collecting taxes on cannabis sales.
Nickerson had argued that he couldn't pay the tax without incriminating himself, violating his Fifth Amendment rights. His suit named Washington Governor Jay Inslee, Attorney General Bob Ferguson and state tax chief Carol Nelson, reports CBS Seattle.
His complaint argued that the state could not "grant authority to local and county government to authorize licensing and collect taxes on an activity that is a crime" under federal law.
Nickerson's medical marijuana dispensary, Northern Cross Collective, opened in April 2011. He argued that he should be protected from tax liens and other legal actions as he defends himself from federal criminal charges stemming from raids on his property and home in March 2012.
The Green Joint, a recreational marijuana dispensary in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, opened its doors to the pot-loving masses on August 1. Owned by locals Cheryl and Dan Sullivan, The Green Joint is the third recreational marijuana shop to open in Glenwood Springs since recreational weed became legal January 1.
The Sullivans have served the greater Roaring Fork Valley for the last five years with Green Medicine Wellness, a medical marijuana dispensary, and now the Green Joint and Green Medicine Wellness operate out of the same appropriately green Victorian in the heart of Glenwood Springs.
“Bringing high quality recreational products to the masses has been a dream of ours for a long time,” said Dan. “We’ve seen visitors from France, the UK, and all over the U.S. in the short time that we’ve been open. It’s been incredible to see the excitement on the face of every customer that has walked through our door.”
Located at 1030 Grand Avenue in Glenwood Springs, The Green Joint offers a central
location and a discreet, comfortable atmosphere, according to Sullivan. Recreational patrons are greeted upon entry and can browse the marijuana selection upstairs in a relaxed setting (medical customers stay on the main level).
Guests can make themselves at home on couches if there is a wait, and everyone from weed veterans to weed novices are encouraged to ask questions and learn about favorite strains and different offerings at The Green Joint.
By Steve Elliott
A former pastor in Mississippi has something he wants you to know about marijuana.
"If you believe in God, you have to believe in cannabis," Al Pollard said in an interview with WDAM-TV. "It's a plant."
Pollard, a paraplegic who is on an exuberant mission to educate Mississippians about cannabis, wants it to be legalized, taxed, and regulated, reports The Clarion-Ledger.
"It's God's medicine," Pollard said.
He became paralyzed in a diving accident at age 18. Pollard said that during the first six months after his accident, he was prescribed to more than a dozen medicines a day, including prescription narcotics for pain.
After leaving physical therapy, he stopped taking those prescription drugs and starting using marijuana.
"I recently came clean with my doctor telling her I've never taken medicine since my release from rehab," Pollard said.
"She was shocked, but believed me. I told her marijuana is my medicine and that it helps me," he said. "Maintaining a moderate use has proven to be the cause of my healthy condition."
By Steve Elliott
Despite falling 47 signatures short of getting a marijuana decriminalization petition on the ballot in Wichita, Kansas, supporters aren't giving up.
Interim City Attorney Sharon Dickgrafe on Tuesday told the Wichita City Council that it could not legally put the issue on the ballot as a ballot petition, but the council then voted for city staff to work with the marijuana petitioners to address the language of a ballot petition that could be carried for a signature election, probably for a vote next spring when city elections are held, reports Kelsey Ryan at The Wichita Eagle.
But supporters also plan to fight the Wichita elections office on the signature count done last week during the primaries, and still hold the goal to meet the county deadline later this month to get the issue on the November ballot.
Initiative leader Esau Freeman said there have been concerns over two missing pages of signatures that were turned over to the county, with 2,928 valid voter signatures needed to put the issue on the ballot.
At least one of the missing pages contained the signature of his wife, Freeman said. He said petition gatherers weren't allowed to observe the counting, which was done by the Sedgwick County elections office.
"[Kansas Secretary of State] Kris Kobach says we have open and fair elections, but I think the first case of voter fraud has been perpetrated by the Sedgwick County election office," Freeman said.
By Steve Elliott
A 48-year-old woman in Chile has become the first legal medicinal cannabis patient in Latin America after being granted special permission by the Institute for Public Health due to having both systemic lupus and breast cancer.
"I feel like I am burning up inside," Cecilia Hayder said, reports NBC News. "Everything hurts. I don't have the strength to take a step, and I often have to use a wheelchair. My body rejects opiates so cannabis is the only thing that works for me."
Heyder, a mother of two, will be treated with Sativex, extracted from cannabis, with equal amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Sativex isn't considered to be psychoactive, as the CBD mediates the effects of the THC. Although she's already permitted to take Sativex, a new law will have to be rushed through Chile's Congress to allow the public health system to pay for it.
That process will take at least two more months; with Sativex costing more than $3,000 monthly, Heyder simply cannot afford the stuff without government help.
"I am very happy and grateful to the parliamentarians, she said. "But I don't see why my case had to become so emblematic for this to change. Too many people have suffered because of this taboo."
Hickenlooper’s Marijuana Prevention Campaign Eerily Reminiscent of Failed “This is Your Brain” Effort
Approach Emphasizes Scare Tactics over More Effective Reality-Based Education
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has introduced his administration’s marijuana prevention campaign to deter underage consumption -- and unfortunately, it uses scare tactics rather than a reality-based approach. The campaign is slated to waste $2 million of taxpayer money.
The theme of the campaign is marijuana’s potential impact on the developing adolescent brain, using the slogan “don’t be a lab rat.” The administration plans to place human sized rat cages throughout the city of Denver, particularly at high-traffic bus stops.
While flashy and memorable, the campaign has raised concerns among advocates who question the credibility of this approach. Drug policy reformers and prevention experts invoke the cynicism generated by 1980s-era scare tactic efforts such as the notorious “This is your brain on drugs” ad, widely recognized today as far more attention grabbing than drug deterring.
Advocates recommend instead an approach that focuses on credible drug education delivered through programs and initiatives that focus on overall youth health and development. Reality-based efforts engage students and prevent the cynicism resulting from simplistic scare tactics. Furthermore, to be successful, parents and/or guardians should be directly involved in drug education and prevention efforts.
By Steve Elliott
The Miami-Dade Police Department on Friday morning invited news media to an event so secret, only two members of the media were actually allowed to watch. The event was the burning of 225 55-gallon barrels of marijuana at a secret location.
The department organizes such top-secret burns of cannabis and illegal drugs several times a year, reports Emma Court at the Miami Herald. How many times? Well, we don't know, since that's a secret, too.
Multiple police stood guard at the secret Broward County location with machine guns while the marijuana was burned. Clearly, this was Serious Business.
Two or three pallets of boxed narcotics were destroyed along with the 225 barrels of marijuana, said police spokeswoman Elena Hernandez, who said the drugs were no longer needed as evidence.
It wasn't possible to calculate how much marijuana was burned, since the weight of each barrel differed, according to Lt. Alberto Somoano, who works in the evidence section of the Miami-Dade Police Department's forensics bureau.
That, of course, makes it mighty convenient for pot to be pilfered by partying police. If they don't know how much they're destroying, it would be mighty easy for some uniformed oinker to stuff his pockets full, don't you think?
Americans for Safe Access and Leafly team up to educate public on therapeutic effects of cannabis for chronic pain
Medical marijuana advocacy organization Americans for Safe Access (ASA) has teamed up with cannabis information resource Leafly to run advertisements starting Sunday in USA Today's NFL Special Edition, which will be read by football fans across the country.
The quarter-page ads will run for 30 days, followed by digital online ads, and will focus on the markets for the Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Giants, and Philadelphia Eagles.
The USA Today advertisement depicts a football player with the captions "100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain," and "9 in 10 retired players suffer from pain on a daily basis." The ad then points readers to further information on the therapeutic effects of medical marijuana on chronic pain. "Medical marijuana works on pain even when opiates don't," reads the ad before directing readers to the website: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/football.