By Steve Elliott
Two companies will supply qualifying Minnesotans with medical marijuana as soon as July 2015, but some patients will be forced to drive hours if they want to participate in the program.
The Minnesota Health Department on Monday announced that Leafline Labs, in Cottage Grove, and Minnesota Medical Solutions, in Otsego, have been licensed to grow marijuana and process it into liquid, pills and vapor, reports Don Davis at the West Central Tribune.
The reason that all this "processing" is necessary is that Minnesota's poorly written medical marijuana law doesn't allow the use of herbal cannabis flowers in any form, and specifically forbids smoking them (a method of quick relief for many patients). Moronically, the law allows the use of processed concentrates, but not the plant itself.
A dozen organizations have submitted applications to grow and process medical marijuana in Minnesota.
Leafline, owned by the Bachman family of floral fame, plans to open a distribution center in Eagan, Minn., next year, with satellite sites in Hibbing, St. Cloud, and St. Paul opening by July 1, 2016. Groundbreaking on the firm's Cottage Grove growing and processing facility is expected before the end of this year.
By Steve Elliott
A bill that would decriminalize possession of an ounce or less of marijuana has been introduced by Virginia state Sen. Adam P. Ebbin (D-Alexandria) for the upcoming General Assembly session.
Ebbin said there have been unsuccessful decrim bills in the Virginia House of Delegates in the past, but that this is the first bill he's aware of which has originated in the Virginia Senate, reports Frank Green at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
"It would decriminalize simple possession of an ounce or less, but not decriminalize it to the extent recently done in Colorado and Washington state," Ebbin said of the legalization measures approved by voters in those states. (Oddly, he didn't mention Alaska and Oregon, where, along with the District of Columbia, voters also approved legalization last month.)
"I had requests to do it for a number of years, and I decided this year to go ahead," Ebbin said. "There's about 25 million Americans who smoked marijuana in the past year, and our public policy should start to reflect reality and not deny it."
New Bilingual Editions of Seminal Safety First Publication Offer Pragmatic Drug Education Strategies, with New Sections on Adolescent Brain Development and Marijuana Legalization
Marijuana legalization is raising fresh questions – and many age-old ones – for parents and others who play important roles in the lives of teenagers.
On Thursday, December 4, the Drug Policy Alliance is releasing new, updated English- and Spanish-language editions of the seminal publication, Safety First: A Reality-Based Approach to Teens and Drugs by Marsha Rosenbaum, PhD. Safety First has provided hundreds of thousands of parents with the tools needed to foster open and honest dialogue with their children around the risks and consequences of drug use.
DPA is planning to reach many more parents and educators in light of the nationwide momentum in favor of marijuana legalization and other drug policy reforms.
Patients expected to have access by July 2015
Patients and advocates praise Minnesota Department of Health for selecting the two manufacturers in accordance with the legislative timeline
The Minnesota Department of Health on Monday announced that they have selected two entities to operate as medical cannabis manufacturers under the provisions of the medical cannabis law enacted in May 2014. The successful applicants were chosen among 12 competing proposals.
This announcement is on schedule with the legislatively-enacted timeline, which aims to have distribution sites open and dispensing medical cannabis products to registered patients and their caregivers by July 1, 2015.
Minnesota’s implementation was among the most rapid of any medical marijuana program that includes regulated dispensing. Each manufacturer will be allowed to have up to four distribution points across the state to serve the estimated 5,000 seriously ill Minnesotans who will qualify under the law.
“Selection of the medical cannabis manufacturers is a big step forward toward safe and legal access to the medicine my son needs,” said Jessica Hauser, whose son Wyatt suffers from a condition that can cause hundreds of seizures a day. “After traveling to Oregon, my family knows that Wyatt will benefit from using medical cannabis products.
"We are excited for the day where we can get in our car, instead of on a plane, to obtain medicine that we know improves his quality of life,” Hauser said.
U.S. Senate expected to take up measure restricting Justice Department funding for such prosecutions later this week
A new judge assigned to hear the widely watched federal medical marijuana case of the Kettle Falls Five has continued the federal trial scheduled to begin today in Spokane, Washington. Senior Judge Fred Van Sickle has been replaced by Judge Thomas O. Rice, who set a new trial date of February 23, 2015.
The change in trial date comes as the U.S. Senate plans to consider a measure later this week that would prohibit Department of Justice (DOJ) funds from being spent on medical marijuana enforcement in states where it's legal. Advocates say that federal prosecutions like the Kettle Falls Five, as well as pending asset forfeiture cases in California, would be impacted by the passage of such a measure.
After the House made its historic 219-189 vote in May to curb DOJ funding for medical marijuana enforcement, U.S. Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) filed a similar budget amendment in the Senate. The bipartisan amendment filed in June is expected to be voted on in a House-Senate conference committee as early as Wednesday.
Frente Amplio Candidate Tabaré Vázquez Wins, Promises He Will Implement The Law
Frente Amplio (Broad Front) candidate Tabaré Vázquez defeated opposition candidate Luis Alberto Lacalle Pou in a Sunday presidential run-off election in Uruguay by 53.6 to 41.1 percent. The vote that had major implications for the future of Uruguay’s historic marijuana regulation.
While Vázquez has promised to continue implementing marijuana regulation, National Party opposition candidate Lacalle Pou had said that if he were to become president, he would repeal major parts of the law, including government-regulated sales to adults – the most distinguishing feature of the Uruguayan initiative.
“Sunday’s presidential election result safeguards Uruguay’s historic marijuana legalization,” said Hannah Hetzer, policy manager of the Americas at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “The Uruguayan people determinedly chose the presidential candidate who will continue the country’s progressive policies, including the roll out of the world’s first national legally regulated marijuana market.”
By Steve Elliott
Colorado is welcoming once-shunned marijuana researcher Dr. Sue Sisley, who in a controversial move was fired from her former position at the University of Arizona.
Dr. Sisley, who was sacked in July, has been nominated for a $2 million grant from the state of Colorado to continue her medical research, reports Nina Golgowski at the New York Daily News.
The research pioneer expressed suspicion that her abrupt termination was due to political influence. Up until now, Dr. Sisley had feared that her study of the effects of cannabis on post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, would be halted without a lab.
With the proposed generous grant -- awaiting a board's December 17 decision -- Sisley's study into the potential benefits of cannabis, especially, to U.S. veterans, could continue.
"That's the beauty of this grant," Sisley told AZ Central. "The Colorado Health Department believed in the quality of this research regardless of whether I was aligned with an Arizona university or not."
Sisley's study plans to examine 76 veterans with PTSD, half of whom will be in Arizona -- where a private donor has offered her free lab space -- while the other half will be at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.
By Steve Elliott
The Navarre Parliament in Spain on Thursday approved an act legalizing and regulating collective cannabis clubs.
Members of the ILP (People's Legislative Initiative), the group which pushed for this new law, followed the progress of the legislation from the visitors' gallery, reports Noticias de Navarra.
The law's aim is to establish general standards for "the establishment, organization and functioning" of cannabis clubs which serve consumers. It is intended to give "legal certainty" to the clubs' existence and operation.
PSN party spokesman Cerdán Santos has favored regulating the clubs due to the "legal limbo" under which the clubs have existed through an ambiguity in the law.
Saying that the previous legal framework "ignores social reality," Santos noted that prohibition of marijuana is not the solution, and said that citizens have already given the government a "warning" that they don't want that.
BILDU party spokesman Victor Rubio said the effort main by promoters of the ILP in Navarre -- through which they gathered nearly 10,000 signatures -- was worth it to get this legislation before the House.
Rubio said it was a good idea to give legal existence to something that already exists, and that to "prohibit, ignore or look the other way will not solve any problem."
UsCBDpur, an importer of CBD extracted from industrial hemp and containing no THC, on Tuesday announced that they are now offering 100 gram to 1 kilo lots.
UsCBDpur says its cannabidiol is non-synthetic and represents a breakthrough in the clean extraction of CBD from thousand year old cultivars of Asian hemp (old strains bred for high fiber with little regard for any THC content).
"UsCBDpur contains no heavy metals, no THC and no residual cannabinoids/terpenes," states a prepared releasea from the company. It is simply PURE CBD, consistently testing at 99%+ pure!"
The company has what it calls "an affordable 100g entry level" beginning at $12,000. This means they are charging a stiff $120 a gram even at that volume. Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) and Full Extract Cannabis Oil (FECO) often sell for $25 to $40 a gram in the medical marijuana community -- at the single-gram level -- for comparison purposes.
"We decided to provide affordable entry levels for smaller manufacturers and formulation or consultation companies," said company director David Mouser. "If you do the math, it's a 7:1 ratio in costs.
"Everyone will enjoy cutting their CBD oil costs," Mouser said. "And think of the possibilities of pure powder formulations! That's huge, plus it is 100 percent CLEAN."
By Steve Elliott
“I never thought it’d be a problem to give money away,” said marijuana farmer Randy Williams, the owner of Fireweed Farm, just north of Prosser, Washington. School officials on Monday flatly turned down a $14,000 donation from Williams, claiming they were "taking a stand" against youth marijuana use.
"We're not taking it. End of story," snapped Ray Tolcacher, Prosser School District superintendent.
"That's a mistake on their end because they're not helping anything," Williams said after visiting the school district office last week to try to make the donation. Tolcacher, who was out at the time, called the would-be donor on the telephone on Monday to turn down the money.
Williams said his next choice for the donation is the Boys & Girls Club of Benton and Franklin Counties; that youth nonprofit will "evaluate internally," according to executive director Brian Ace. If they turn him down, he might offer the money to the VFW, Williams said, reports Ross Courtney of the Yakima Herald-Republic.
Williams, one of the few legally licensed marijuana farmers in Yakima Valley, promised at a first-ever marijuana auction November 15 at his farm to donate the proceeds of one "low-grade" lot to local schools. The weed brought in about $13,500; Williams kicked in the difference to make it an even $14K.
Next Friday, December 5, Palm Pictures will revive the great tradition of "midnight movies" with an exclusive online screening of the legendary reggae classic Countryman. Directed by Dickie Jobson, the film is a 1982 cult classic, featuring classic tracks from Bob Marley, Steel Pulse, and Toots and The Maytals.
Preceding the movie screening, at 11:30 pm on Friday 12/5, the film's co-star Carl Bradshaw will live-chat from Jamaica via Google Hangouts On Air with veteran reggae journalist Rob Kenner. The live chat with Bradshaw and the special "Midnight Movie Streaming" will be broadcast live via Google Hangouts here.
Countryman, a real life Jamaican fisherman and mystic, played himself in the 90-minute art house film. His feats of skill and daring in that movie made him an “ital” (natural) Rasta superhero and were an accurate reflection of his way of life.
The film's depictions of ganja use only serve to further endear it to a devoted cult audience.
Island Records founder and Countryman Executive Producer Chris Blackwell recalls, “He was a unique character, able to live in the jungle. We decided to do a film with him because you could never find a movie star who could wrestle with alligators and run through swamps the way he did.
"Countryman was an amazing person, always positive and full of humor," Blackwell ssaid. "Being of African and Indian descent, he embodied the Jamaican motto, ‘Out of Many, One People.’”
Expanding from its home market in Los Angeles, Nestdrop, which calls itself "the country's first completely in-App, on-demand medical marijuana delivery service," is now available for San Francisco patients on Android smartphones and tablets.
Medical marijuana patients will be required to upload a photo of valid ID and either a doctor's recommendation or medical marijuana identification card to Nestdrop's securely encrypted vault to receive approval before ordering. Unlike other online medical marijuana delivery services, Nestdrop says it is the first to provide an entirely in-app marketplace experience and orders will be fulfilled within an hour or less.
Nestdrop's medical marijuana service is currently available on Android throughout San Francisco as well as parts of Oakland and San Jose. More cities in the Bay Area will be added regularly.
"Expanding into San Francisco marks a milestone for us as we continue our mission of providing a safe method for medical marijuana patients to get the medicine they need in a convenient, discrete fashion," said Nestdrop co-founder Michael Pycher. "We are also excited to be the first medical marijuana delivery service in two major markets, with more on the way."
Panel of Councilmembers Approves Legislation that Would Establish Licensing and Regulation of Marijuana in Washington, D.C.
Council Acts Just Weeks After Nearly 70% of D.C. Voters Approved Ballot Measure Legalizing Marijuana
D.C. lawmakers on Tuesday voted in favor of legislation that would legally regulate and license the production, distribution and sale of marijuana in the District of Columbia during a meeting of the Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, which is chaired by D.C. Councilmember Vincent Orange (D-At Large).
Tuesday's action by D.C. lawmakers on a tax and regulate bill comes just three weeks after nearly 70 percent of voters in the District of Columbia approved Initiative 71, a ballot initiative that legalizes possession of up to two ounces of marijuana for adults over the age of 21 and allows individuals to grow up to six marijuana plants in their home. However, due to D.C. law, the initiative was not allowed to address the taxation and regulation of marijuana sales.
The panel of Councilmembers voted to approve sections six through eight of the “Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Act of 2013” (Council Bill #20-466), which was introduced in 2013 by Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large). Tuesday's vote followed a hearing on Council Bill 20-466 that was jointly held by the Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and the Committee on Finance and Revenue.
"Unlike New York-based High Times events or L.A.-based Hempcon, The Emerald Cup is presented by locals, for locals, and the state’s definitive county fair draws much of California’s original cannabis industry." ~ SFGate, "Smell The Truth"
“Not only is the spirit of the event responsible, it is vital that the lessons it has to offer are heard and understood by those outside it. Sustainability, earth-friendly practices, clean medicine and better business standards all take center stage during the event, one which is beginning to attract a global audience.” ~ John Vergados, SKUNK Magazine
The Emerald Cup will make its highly anticipated return to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, California, on December 13 and 14. For more than a decade, The Emerald Cup has become synonymous with setting the highest standards for sustainable, sun-grown, outdoor cannabis and is the largest, most respected, organic, outdoor, medicinal cannabis competition in the world, making it “The Definitive Cup for the Fall Harvest.”
For the third year in a row, SKUNK Magazine will present the Emerald Cup’s grand prize of an all-inclusive stay for two at their resort, Pure Garden, in Negril, Jamaica.
“The Empty Chair at the Holiday Table” Campaign Highlights Those Not With Us Because of Incarceration, an Overdose Death or Prohibition Violence
Each holiday season, A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment & Healing) and moms from around the country share their stories of loss while calling for an end to the War On Drugs -- which has been so disastrous for tens of millions of families. Many of the moms leading this campaign have been personally impacted by the War On Drugs.
The holidays are a particularly painful time for families – whether they are separated because of a loved one’s incarceration, lost on the streets due to drug problems, in danger because of drug war violence, or have lost a loved one to accidental overdose.
“I have painful memories of holidays when my son was absent because he was locked behind bars for drug use, and of family celebrations when one of my sons wasn’t included because he was lost in the maze of his addiction,” said Gretchen Burns Bergman of San Diego, founder of A New PATH, Moms United lead organizer and the mother of two sons who have struggled with heroin addiction and incarceration.
“We haven’t celebrated the holidays since 2008, when my son died of an accidental overdose," said Denise Cullen of Palm Desert, California. "We can’t escape the emptiness.”