By Steve Elliott
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) on August 20, at its annual meeting in Toronto, voted on and approved a delegate resolution opposing the smoking of medical marijuana and other other plant material. Now Bedrocan Cannabis Corp., a licensed Canadian producer of medicinal cannabis, has come out in support of the CMA motion.
"The CMA is quite right to point out that there are particular hazards associated with smoking any plant material, including medical cannabis," Bedrocan Canada's statement reads. "While some patients, particularly those who use small quantities, choose to smoke medical cannabis, the preferred method of delivery is via the use of a vaporizer -- a device that heats cannabis to release the cannabinoids (the active ingredients), but does not burn it.
"There is good clinical evidence to show that vaporized cannabis contains significantly lower levels of toxins and harmful chemicals," Bedrocan's statement reads.
"In addition, there is one medicinal cannabis vaporizer, the Vapormed Volcano Medic®, approved in Canada as a class 2 medical device," Bedrocan's statement reads. "The use of a vaporizer allows patients to use cannabis to manage the symptoms of health conditions such as chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, anxiety, insomnia and other conditions, while avoiding the degree of risk involved in smoking a plant product.
The third annual International Conference on Cannabinoids, a multilingual conference bringing together industry experts and stakeholders, will be held at the Faculty of Medicine of Strasbourg, France, on October 22.
Cannabis Science, Inc., a U.S. company specializing in cannabis formulation-based drug development and related consulting, on Friday announce its sponsorship of the conference, hosted by L'Union Francophone pour les Cannab inoides en Medecine (UFCM iCare). Researchers, health professionals, and patients will discuss the development of medical cannabis in Europe and North America.
"Cannabis Science is delighted to contribute to the UFCM iCare initiatives to encourage discussion and promote innovation in the medical cannabis arena as the company strives to move forward in bringing cannabinoid-based medicines to patients on a global basis," said Dorothy H. Bray, Ph.D., director, president and CEO of Cannabis Science, Inc.
French law provides for a regulatory framework for the research and development of cannabinoid-based medicine that will then be available to patients in mainstream pharmacies. The upcoming conference of international experts is intended to facilitate patient-driven dialog with the researchers and with the industry.
UFCM, the leading medical cannabis charity in France, has assembled a team of prominent speakers including Professor Raphael Mechoulam from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in Israel and Professor Jerome Sèze from Department of Neurology, University Hospital of Strasbourg in France.
By Steve Elliott
A taxpayer-funded anti-drug group has canceled an October summit in Madras, Oregon, after complaints were raised by sponsors of Measure 91, a ballot measure which would legalize marijuana for recreational purposes. The event, like 12 other local appearances, was scheduled just before the November vote.
The summit was to feature Kevin Sabet, a prominent opponent of cannabis legalization, reports Jeff Mapes at The Oregonian. Sponsors of Measure 91 this week charged that it was wrong for organizers to use federal funds to help pay for an appearance by Sabet, a former White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) adviser who has formed Smarter Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), an anti-pot organization.
The taxpayer-funded "Oregon Marijuana Education Tour" was billed as a supposedly non-political event, since it would likely violate campaign rules for funds to be used for political purposes -- and this was flagrantly scheduled for just before the marijuana vote. Sabet had claimed that he wouldn't talk about the ballot measure on the tour.
The summit was canceled because he "could see from an outside perspective that it could look like a conflict," admitted Rick Treleaven, executive director of BestCare Treatment Practices and organizer of the event.
By Steve Elliott
A Minnesota mother has been charged with child endangerment for giving her son medical marijuana to treat his pain.
Cannabis oil has been a lifesaver for 15-year-old Trey Brown, according to his mother Angela Brown, reports Liz Collin at WCCO.
"No mother should have to hold their child so they don't hurt themselves," Angela said, "He didn't want to live."
Three years ago, Trey suffered a traumatic brain injury at a baseball game. "It's been a very, very rough three years," said David Brown, Trey's father.
One pitch at a game of baseball with friends changed Trey's life forever.
"It just hurts my brain everywhere," Trey said. "I really can't explain the pain."
Trey gets headaches, muscle spasms and seizures. His condition got so bad, he wasn't able to go to school, and started to punch and cut himself.
"I was afraid to go to the bathroom; he'd be harming himself," Angela said.
Minnesota doctors seemed unable to help. Last winter, the Browns went to Colorado, where they found something that worked.
"Within an hour of him taking it, we could tell a difference," Angela said. They brought some cannabis oil back with them from Boulder, Colorado.
"I felt better -- the pain went away," Trey said. But when he school asked why Trey was doing so much better, teachers didn't like his parents' answer.
By Steve Elliott
A Canadian man who was one of New York's biggest marijuana suppliers, and who was known as the "Pot Playboy," was sentenced on Wednesday to 27 years in prison for leading a $1 billion international drug trafficking enterprise, according to prosecutors.
Jimmy Cournoyer pleaded guilty in May 2013 to money laundering charges, along with conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana and cocaine, reports the Associated Press. The 34-year-old native of Laval, Quebec was sentenced in Brooklyn federal court.
Gerald McMahon, Courtnoyer's lawyer, said prosecutors dropped a more serious charge of being a drug kingpin which carries an automatic sentence of life in prison without parole, reports Allan Woods at The Star.
His sentence will also involve him forfeiting $1 billion to the U.S. government along with $11 million in drug proceeds, prosecutors said in a statement which thanked 19 police departments including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Cournoyer's organization, based in Montreal, had ties to international drug cartels and organized crime, prosecutors claimed. His lifestyle of hanging out with celebrities like Leonard DiCaprio included a Brazilian supermodel girlfriend and a super-expensive Bugatti Venyon automobile.
CannaSearch, which is being billed as the nation's first and largest cannabis career and educational fair is scheduled for Denver on September 16.
CannaSearch, LLC says it designed the event to help match career seekers with cannabis employers from all over the United States.
"Currently, we are observing numerous states preparing for cannabis business and are seeing companies become increasingly more sophisticated around the hiring process," said Todd Mitchem, co-organizer of the event. "This includes a desire to hire more employees for traditional career roles such as management, retail, sales, marketing, accounting, IT, quality control, administration and horticulture."
"The added educational component to this job fair was designed to guide job seekers who lack understanding of what it takes to work in this budding industry," Mitchem said (nice pun, by the way). "Participants will be able to sit in on one-hour presentations, which will cover a broad range of topics spanning from bud tending to executive leadership advice."
CannaSearch says it is "securing 50 of the country's top cannabis brands as well as a collection of major sponsors" who will participate in the event, which, the company says, is "a project that is certain to gain global attention."
By Steve Elliott
Connecticut's first medical marijuana dispensary opened on Wednesday night in South Windsor, and the state's other five dispensaries reportedly won't be far behind.
The grand opening of Prime Wellness of Connecticut gave potential patients and the public a chance to see the facilities, meet pharmacists and growers, and get information, reports Amanda Cuda at Ctpost.com. There's just one thing, though: The dispensary won't have any actual marijuana until next month, though staff members have been consulting with patients since last week, according to Director of Operations Brett Sicklick.
"I think people have been really shocked and surprised when the enter the facility for the first time," Sicklick said. "We really took as much of a medical approach as we possibly could."
Prime Wellness is one of six dispensaries in Connecticut approved for a license from the state Department of Consumer Protection. The others are in Hartford, Branford, Bethel, Uncasville and Bristol. Sicklick said Prime Wellness will serve patients from all over the state.
Some patients have already been registered for about two years, according to Sicklick, and are looking forward to finally receiving treatment through the dispensary. He said the shop expects from 200 to 300 patients seeking marijuana when the medicine arrives.
By Steve Elliott
An opposition campaign to Oregon's Measure 91 marijuana legalization initiative is taking shape -- and it's being funded with taxpayer money.
You'd think voting on a public policy initiative wouldn't require tax money to advocate one side or the other; after all, the voters are supposed to be able to decide for themselves on questions like cannabis legalization, without having to fund the "no" sign of things. But a taxpayer-funded tour will usher notorious anti-pot zealot Kevin Sabet on a 13-city tour around the state, reports Kate Willson at Willamette Week.
Sabet, on his taxpayer-funded tour, will be spreading ridiculous "reefer madness" myths and outright lies about cannabis around Oregon. Do you feel as if you're getting your money's worth, Oregon taxpayers?
A recent poll showed eight of 10 Oregonians believe it's a matter of when, not if, marijuana is legalized. Many of them believe that will happen on November 4, when pot legalization initiative Measure 91 appears on the ballot.
Measure 91 enjoys support from donors and middle-of-the-road endorsements, including from a retired Oregon Supreme Court judge and the City Club of Portland; it's similar to measures that voters in Colorado and Washington approved two years ago. New Approach Oregon, the pro-Measure 91 campaign, has already spent $1.1 million, and the group announced this week it'll be spending an additional $2.3 million on TV ads.
The economic impact of legalizing marijuana in Oregon is difficult to estimate because the potential market will depend in large part on what kind of policies would be adopted if a proposed ballot measure passes in November, according to an Oregon State University sociologist who studies the issue.
“Marijuana is already a serious economic force in Oregon,” said Seth Crawford, an expert on the policies and market structure of marijuana in Oregon. “When you consider the proposed excise tax and additional revenue from income taxes, it could become a sizeable income stream for the state.”
Oregon voters will decide in November whether to legalize recreational marijuana production and use. Policymakers are trying to determine the economic impact of legalizing marijuana and Crawford’s research was recently cited in an economic report commissioned by backers of the ballot initiative, as well as by the state legislative revenue office.
If marijuana is legalized in Oregon, the state could net anywhere from $35 million to $105 million in new tax revenue per year, Crawford estimated in research published earlier this year in the Humboldt Journal of Social Relations.
By Steve Elliott
A bicycle officer who was briefly reassigned after it was discovered he had personally written 80 percent of the tickets for public marijuana use issued in the city this year has returned to his regular job, the Seattle Police Department announced Monday afternoon.
Police claim they're still investigating the conduct of Officer Randy Jokela, who has been with the force 24 years and who seems to be having real trouble adjusting to the implementation of I-502, the limited marijuana legalization measure approved by Washington state voters in 2012.
Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole and Pierce Murphy, director of the SPD's Office of Professional Accountability, "conferred and ultimately decided that there was nothing that precludes this employee from returning to his normal duties," according to department spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb.d
While the department did not name their officer -- apparently they aren't all that proud of him -- Jokela, was identified by sources within the department as a patrolman who joined the force in 1990. He wrote 66 of 83 tickets for public use of marijuana issued in the first half of 2014, O'Toole said.
Southern Colorado recreational marijuana dispensary Cannasseur has large customer base from surrounding states
Cannasseur, a recreational marijuana dispensary serving Southern Colorado, experienced a surge in out-of-state customers upon opening their doors in May, as their location in Pueblo West, Colorado is a mere hour and a half from the state border.
However, unlike many Colorado dispensaries that offer discounts to local patrons only, Cannasseur welcomes and embraces the tourism their business brings to the area.
“We’ve found that upwards of 80 percent of our revenue is coming from bordering states that have not yet legalized recreational marijuana,” said Ryan Griego, managing partner at Cannasseur. “We want these visitors to the dispensary to feel welcomed and at ease.”
Many of Cannasseur’s customers are from neighboring states to the south, west and east including Oklahoma, Kansas and Utah, with the largest factions coming from Northwest Texas, Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
Cannasseur anticipates that the Colorado State Fair (August 22-September 1) will draw even more tourists to the Pueblo area, many of whom will visit the dispensary.
This comes as no surprise to Griego who made sure that Cannasseur’s business model has a heavy emphasis on customer service, highly educated staff members and a relaxing, inviting environment.
Tasmanian Minister for Primary Industries Jeremy Rockliff has been exposed for misleading the public over the extent of poppy industry concerns about a medicinal cannabis trial and potential industry in Tasmania, Greens Health spokesperson, Cassy O’Connor MP, said on Wednesday.
“When Mr Rockliff came out on 3rd of July this year in support of the Health Minister’s rejection of a medicinal cannabis trial in Tasmania, he cited concerns expressed by the poppy industry as a reason for the trial’s rejection,” O’Connor said. “We now know, as a result of Right to Information requests of three government agencies, that Mr Rockliff was misrepresenting the industry and using a fallacious argument to support the Health Minister’s unpopular and poorly argued rejection of a medical cannabis trial in Tasmania.”
“Since then, a number of poppy industry leaders -– including Mr Rockliff’s own father -– have stated that they can see no conflict between the existing world class Tasmanian poppy industry and medicinal cannabis in Tasmania, and indeed that there is enormous potential for Tasmania to establish a medicinal cannabis industry building on that strong reputation,” O'Connor said.
“The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association has expressed a similar view," O'Connor said. "They can see no issue for the established poppy industry in Tasmania but do see the potential medicinal cannabis has as a regulated crop for Tasmanian farmers.
By Steve Elliott
Some of you are lucky -- you already know that S.T. Oner's Cannabis Sativa series, like its Cannabis Indica companions, is a trip through the rarest and phattest marijuana flowers on the planet. Now the third volume in the Sativa series haas been released, matching the three Indica volumes.
The new book, like the previous volumes, features the most up-to-date information about the genetics, growth traits, taste, smells, and effects of the world's finest cannabis strains. But that's not all, oh no -- what keeps me coming back to these gorgeous volumes, time after time, are the gorgeous, glossy photographs.
Any grower or connoisseur looking for a little inspiration need go no farther than the photos and descriptions of amazing strains like Mango Haze, Peptide, Dragon's Teeth and Jack the Ripper.
Cannabis plants are, of course, divided into two main groups, sativa and indica. This book, and the two previous Cannabis Sativa volumes, unsurprisingly focus on sativa, a lanky, intriguing plant producing energetic, psychoactive flowers that often result in happiness, creativity, laughter, art, and dance.
No other strain guide series has looked at cannabis sativa so deeply. Volume 3, with a cover price of $20, features 100 strains of sativa-dominant genetics by an array of skilled breeders.
By Steve Elliott
For almost six weeks now, Seattle's lone recreational marijuana store, Cannabis City, has struggling to stay open, repeatedly running out of legal cannabis priced around $25 a gram. Now, a second pot store, Herbal Nation, has finally opened in the Emerald City.
The new state-licensed marijuana store, at 19302 Bothell Everett Highway in Seattle, held its grand opening on Monday, and staff said they believe they have enough weed to stay open seven days a week, reports Jake Ellison at the Seattle PI.
"Judging by the initial line at opening, there will be plenty of folks trying to run 'em dry," Ellison reports.
"It's a very exciting day for us, but it's more of an exciting day for the community," said Lauren Downes, spokeswoman for Herbal Nation. "Washington state voted this in and we feel privileged to be in the position that we're in.
"We do not consider ourselves to just be retailers of cannabis," Downes said. "We are here to set a standard in the industry, and implement positive change and evolution in the recreational cannabis industry."
By Steve Elliott
Four men have been beheaded by sword after being convicted of smuggling marijuana into Saudri Arabia, the interior ministry announced on Monday.
The government-run SPA news organization identified the Saudi men as two sets of brothers, Hadi and Awad al-Motleq, and Mufarraj and Ali al-Yami, reports Malta Today.
The four men were beheaded at Najran, a city in southwestern Saudi Arabia, after they were found guilty of smuggling "a large quantity of hashish" into the country. The government didn't say when the executions took place.
The four beheadings raised to 32 the number of executions announced so far this year in Saudi Arabia, according to the AFP news agency. Amnesty International denounced what it called a "disturbing surge" in executions there.
"The Saudi Arabian authorities must halt all executions," Amnesty said, adding that the executions of the two sets of brothers occurred "reportedly on the basis of forced confessions extracted through torture."
The latest executions "bring the number of state killings in Saudi Arabia in the past two weeks to 17 -- a rate of more than one execution per day," the organization said.