By Steve Elliott
Kentucky Baptists may have won a major legislative victory by helping to defeat a measure in the General Assembly that would have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes, but they managed to give themselves a public relations black eye in the process, showing themselves to both be out of touch with modern medical research, and severely lacking in compassion, as well.
Almost as distressing as the fact that they were able to stop this compassionate legislation in its tracks is the fact that these heaven-dazed idiots were proud of themselves for doing it.
Legislators finished the 2015 session early Wednesday morning without passing a bill which would have made cannabis available for medical purposes.
Kentucky Baptist Convention Executive Director Paul Chitwood, who apparently was determined to flaunt his ignorance in front of large numbers of people, had called on lawmakers to reject the proposal, claiming Kentucky shouldn't follow the lead of other states that have done the same.
The KBC is Kentucky's largest religious organization, and as such has a powerful voice in the state, where 1 million of the state's 4.4 million residents self identify as Southern Baptists. Those demographics -- which correlate strongly with conservative political positions -- filter into the Legislature, where almost half the Senate and a third of the House identify themselves as Baptists.
The Colorado Cannabis Chamber of Commerce (C4) on Thursday called for a marijuana testing reference library in support of amended HB 15-1283 currently underway in the Colorado Legislature.
“The mandatory testing requirements for retail marijuana were put into place before there were standards established for the labs,” C4 President Tyler Henson explained. “Unfortunately this led to a wide disparity in testing results from lab to lab.”
The C4 Chamber possesses documented surveys by members who have submitted samples from the same batches to different licensed labs in Colorado, only to receive drastically different results – upwards of 40 percent.
“Because of these issues, the standards and methodologies should be established properly within a reference library, just like any other industry that utilizes testing before we subject the industry to even more costs in an unproven system,” Henson said.
The current system also does now allow for variance in test results, as currently, even if a product is less than 1-milligram over the 10-milligram serving size, the whole batch must be destroyed.
An allowance for testing variance in products is common across many industries, particular with pharmaceutical companies. A reference library would be able to establish standards for testing variance in cannabis, in order to make both laboratories and manufactures more efficient.
By Steve Elliott
The first medical marijuana dispensary to open in the state of Nevada is opening in Reno -- but it'll be awhile before medicine is available to patients. They have to grow the stuff first.
Before it can be harvested, medical marijuana grown in Nevada must be tested in an independent lab to ensure it's safe before it is officially released to cardholding patients.
"This is an important milestone for our program," said Chad Westom, bureau chief with the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health. "There are nearly 9,000 patient cardholders in Nevada who could benefit from medical marijuana for ailments such as cancer, glaucoma, seizures, AIDS and PTSD."
Several other medical marijuana dispensaries are expected to open in Nevada in the coming months.
Dozens of Texas mothers from all across the state with seriously ill children came together in the state capitol to call for passage of legislation that will help reduce their children’s suffering
A new statewide network of Texas moms and caregivers came together on Thursday in the Committee Hearing Room to lobby in support of legislation addressing access to medical marijuana.
Twenty-three states, one U.S. territory (Guam) and the District of Columbia have passed laws legalizing the use of marijuana for qualifying patients under state law. Rep. Marisa Márquez (D-El Paso) the House sponsor of Texas’ first ever comprehensive medical marijuana legislation, HB 3785, said “as a state that leads the nation in innovative medical research, Texas needs to take a scientific and reasoned approach to the known benefits of medical marijuana.”
Sen. José Menéndez (D-San Antonio) who introduced a companion bill in the Senate believes that “these mothers are doing what any parent would be doing -- advocating for safe medicine and relief for their suffering children. We have to stop criminalizing being a mother and help them gain access to effective treatment."
Two additional bills have also been filed in the Legislature this session, one specific to sufferers of epilepsy and another that would give medical marijuana patients an affirmative defense in court should they be arrested on charges of marijuana possession. The mothers will be lobbying in support of a solution to the endless suffering their children endure.
By Steve Elliott
The Colorado Cannabis Chamber of Commerce (C4) on Wednesday emphasized its commitment to advancing responsible, common sense labeling of marijuana products in order to prevent accidental ingestion and promote child safety.
“If we’re truly interested in protecting our children and encouraging responsible cannabis use, it is absolutely imperative that we operate on facts over fear,” said Tyler Henson, President of C4. “We cannot allow the ‘newness’ of edible marijuana products to cause false panic and cloud our judgment or our lawmaking.”
As such, the C4 Chamber announced it strongly supports legislation that will increase the effectiveness of cannabis packaging by reducing “white noise” and drawing attention to child safety through proper storage.
Current label regulations require information that does not allow for the average-sized product packaging to have the room to provide important warnings in large enough font to be effective.
By advocating for highlighted warnings on packaging, like “Keep the Products out of Sight and Reach of Children” and to “Keep this Product in Its Original Packaging”, the C4 Chamber joins other government and health agencies in echoing this step as the most solvent reform.
By Steve Elliott
Two Texas men could be facing life in prison after a marijuana-infused brownies were discovered during a traffic stop Monday afternoon.
Potter County sheriff's deputies arrested Eli McCarthy Manna, 30, and Andrew Bruce George, 27, after pulling them over on a traffic violation on I-40 west of Amarillo, according to authorities, reports JC Cortez at Amarillo.com.
A deputy got suspicious during the stop and asked for permission to search the vehicle, which was denied, according to authorities. Deputies detained the men and asked for the help of a police dog from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The dog alerted them to the presence of "drugs" in the vehicle, the deputies claimed, giving them probable cause to search it.
The search revealed more than 650 grams of marijuana brownies in plastic bags, along with a small amount of raw marijuana, according to authorities.
Deputies booked the men into Potter County Jail, charging them with possession of a controlled substance, more than 400 grams. Under the idiotic practice of charging defendants for the weight of a carrier as well as the marijuana itself, they are being charged for the full weight of the brownies.
If convicted, the charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.
To help pay for its upcoming legal battle with the City of Los Angeles, medical marijuana delivery service Nestdrop has launched a GoFundMe campaign to seek donations from medicinal cannabis patients, fellow tech companies, dispensaries and supporters across the country.
After sending a letter to the City Attorney’s office offering to work with them on sensible medical marijuana enforcement -- which went unanswered -- Nestdrop has moved forward with appealing the injunction.
The City Attorney’s injunction has done absolutely nothing to stop medical marijuana deliveries in Los Angeles; a quick search online search will bring up dozens, if not hundreds, of medical marijuana delivery services that are still operating to this day in the city. Nestdrop was targeted simply for being a technology company that received national attention.
Since they are a small tech company, Nestdrop said it doesn't have the budget for a long legal fight and are seeing donations from supporters at http://www.gofundme.com/freenestdrop. Nestdrop has a goal of $70,000 and any funds raised over its final legal bill will be donated to local L.A. causes that tax payer dollars could have gone to instead of this lawsuit.
Nestdrop, which descrinbes itself as "the technology company behind the country’s first in-App, on-demand medical marijuana service," launched the GoFundMe campaign to help raise $70,000 in funds for its legal fight.
One-Day Conference Brings Elected Officials Together with Leading Drug Policy and Criminal Justice Experts to Chart a Health-Based Approach to Drug Policy
Louisiana Leads Nation in Incarceration Rates; Prison Population Has Doubled in Last 20 Years, With Staggering Racial Disparities
An unprecedented collection of drug policy stakeholders – including judges, elected officials, public health workers, law enforcement, and community advocates – will come together to chart a new course for Louisiana’s drug policies at New Directions New Orleans on Thursday, April 2 from 9 am-5 pm at Dillard University.
The one-day conference will provide Louisianans with the opportunity to engage many of the leading minds on drug policy and criminal justice reform from across the country and around the world, who will discuss strategies for moving beyond Drug War policies and toward a health-centered approach to drug use.
“Louisiana continues to strive to become a more population health focused state, but one of the outstanding issues we face are antiquated drug and criminal justice policies,” said Joe Kimbrell, CEO, Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI). “This collaborative conference will be a strong starting point for these extraordinary partners to begin outlining what new policies and best practices we can utilize to educate our policymakers and create a safer, healthier Louisiana.”
Report Provides Comprehensive Data on Marijuana Arrests and Charges in Colorado After Legal Regulation for Adult Use
Marijuana Possession Charges Decrease From 30,000+ in 2010 to Less Than 2,000 in 2014
All eyes are on Colorado to gauge the impact of the country’s first-ever state law to tax and regulate the sale of marijuana to adults 21 and older. Since the first retail marijuana stores opened on January 1, 2014, the state has benefitted from a decrease in traffic fatalities, an increase in tax revenue and economic output from retail marijuana sales, and an increase in jobs, while Denver has experienced a decrease in crime rates.
Now, a new report from the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) brings another jolt of good news by providing comprehensive data on marijuana arrests in Colorado before and after the passage of Amendment 64 in 2012. The report compiles and analyzes data from the county judicial districts, as well as various law enforcement agencies via the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS).
The report’s key findings include:
• Since 2010, marijuana possession charges are down by more than 90 percent, marijuana cultivation charges are down by 96 percent, and marijuana distribution charges are down by 99 percent.
• The number of marijuana possession charges in Colorado courts has decreased by more than 25,000 since 2010 – from 30,428 in 2010 to just 1,922 in 2014.
By Steve Elliott
Some may see medical marijuana as a long shot in Texas, but don't tell that to nine-year-old Alexis Bortell. Alexis plans to be the poster girl who gets medicinal cannabis legalized in the Lone Star State.
"I think it should be legal in Texas because every child should have a normal life," Alexis said, reports Robert Wheeler at NewsFix.
For most of her life, Alexis has had to deal with daily epileptic seizures. Her parents were advised by a specialist and doctors that medicinal cannabis might help. But getting ahold of it was another matter in Texas.
"We've always said if Alexis' health or life was in danger we would leave," said her father, Dean Bortell. After one particularly bad seizure last month, the Bortells reluctantly decided to move to Colorado, where Alexis now has access to the medicine she needs.
The Team Alexis Facebook page shows an amazing transformation. "Since the first dose, she has not had a single symptom or seizure and we're on day 22 now," Dean said.
Alexis' dad said the family hasn't stopped trying to get medical marijuana legalized in Texas. This session, the Texas Legislature has an unprecedented 11 marijuana bills.
Alexis and her family said they would love to come home to Texas, but can't do that without the passage of the House medical marijuana bill they support.
Bill Follows Historic Introduction of the CARERS Act by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Dean Heller (R-NV), and Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Support for Letting States Set Their Own Marijuana Policies Without Federal Interference Growing Rapidly in Congress
By Steve Elliott
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tennessee) and Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) have introduced the House companion to a groundbreaking bill legalizing marijuana for medical use that was introduced in the Senate two weeks ago by Senators Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York). Senators Dean Heller (R-Nevada) and Barbara Boxer (D-California) co-sponsored the bill soon after.
“Reforming our nation’s failed drug policies is one of the few issues Democrats and Republicans can agree on,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “The tide is quickly turning against marijuana prohibition and the war on drugs in general.”
Eighteen-year veteran domain broker Neal Sutz of Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday released his list of available dot com domain names for the cannabis industry.
“There are very few industries which can take advantage of the enormous benefits of using a 'generic' dot com domain name to strengthen their brands and increase their profits than can the MJ industry,” Sutz said.
As dispensaries, both medical and recreational, are buying up 'generic' dot com domain names for both their online and offline marketing efforts, Sutz’s domains are of particular interest to those in the marijuana industry.
Included in his offering are the following domain names:
CAMedicalMarijuanaCard.com (and the plural of this domain)
While some of Sutz’s marijuana domains are of a premium quality, demanding considerable investment from their new owners, many of the domains offered are priced starting from only $500 each.
“I say to all those who are in the MJ industry…there are no better domains on the market for sale in the MJ industry than the domains I am offering today and based upon those I have sold already," Sutz said. "I anticipate the remainder of my MJ domain collection will be sold out by the end of this week.
Petition with more than 2,400 signatures demanding veto to be delivered to Gov. Ducey
Community groups will be rallying outside Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s office Tuesday afternoon to speak out against SB 1445, a proposal that would require law enforcement agencies to conceal police officers’ identities for months following their involvement in violent or deadly incidents.
During the rally, a petition with more than 2,400 signatures will be delivered to Gov. Ducey’s office demanding he veto this legislation if it reaches his desk.
This bill is unnecessary, takes discretion away from local officials, promotes mistrust of the police and threatens Arizona’s proud tradition of open government, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona. Furthermore, police officers’ extraordinary powers are much more likely to be abused when their use is concealed from the public.
WHAT: Speakers will encourage Gov. Ducey to veto this dangerous legislation if it reaches his desk and address the harm this law would inflict on communities of color, people with mental illness and their families, immigrants, and LGBT people, among others. A representative of the family of Michelle Cusseaux, who was killed by a Phoenix Police officer last summer, and representatives of the community group Justice for Rumain Brisbon, who was fatally shot by a Phoenix Police officer in December, are scheduled to speak.
Scientists, patients, doctors, advocates, lawyers, policymakers unite to further advance public health policy reforms
Medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA), will hold its third annual national Unity Conference, "Wellness is Winning," in Washington, D.C. on March 27-31, 2015.
The conference will highlight medical and legal experts, policymakers, and a wide array of workshops and panels focusing on scientific research, strategic planning, and skills building. On Tuesday, March 31, ASA will host a press conference at 11 a.m., followed by a lobby day with hundreds of patient advocates.
What: Third Annual National Unity Conference, "Wellness is Winning"
When: March 27-31, 2015, including a press conference at 11 a.m. on March 31
Where: Loews Madison Hotel, 1177 15th Street NW, Washington, D.C.; press conference will be on the Capitol grounds
Media is invited to attend the conference at no charge; participants are encouraged to register in advance.
"Patients and advocates are excited to be gathering this year after an historic victory in Congress, which paved the way for a very promising bill in the U.S. Senate," said ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer. "Hundreds of patients and advocates will gather in the nation's capitol next week with a unified goal to urge Congress to adopt sensible federal medical marijuana policy reform."
Measure backed by diverse committee of Maine citizens — including state and local officials, businesspeople, and clergy — would establish a legal market for licensed businesses to sell marijuana to adults 21 and older
A statewide ballot initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol will be filed Tuesday with the Maine Secretary of State.
The leader of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, David Boyer of Falmouth, will submit the language along with the signatures of five registered Maine voters who support the measure, as required by state law. The five signers will be State Rep. Diane Russell of Portland; local farmer and former Republican State Rep. Aaron Libby of Waterboro; Androscoggin County Commissioner and Lewiston School Board Member Matt Roy; Rev. Deane Perkins of Belfast; and Sherry DaBiere, a York-based real estate agent and grandmother.
“I am supporting this initiative because it will make Maine a safer place for my children and my grandchildren,” DaBiere said. “Marijuana should be regulated and controlled so that we know who is selling it, what they’re selling, and where it’s being sold.
"I do not want future generations to be exposed to the same failed prohibition laws that I had to grow up with," DaBiere said. "It’s time to end the reefer madness.”