Planned discharge petition would remove SB 3 from House Health Committee where it has stalled and permit a vote in the full House of Representatives
Pennsylvania State Rep. Nick Miccarelli (R-Ridley Park) filed a discharge petition in the House of Representatives on Friday to remove a medical marijuana bill from the House Health Committee and bring it to the full floor for a vote. SB 3 would allow seriously ill Pennsylvanians to access medical marijuana with recommendations from their doctors.
Rep. Matthew Baker (R-Wellsboro), who chairs the Health Committee, has stated that he will not call the bill for a vote there.
“There is no reason this compassionate legislation should not get a full vote,” said Christine Brann of Dauphin County, whose son has an intractable seizure condition called Dravet Syndrome. “SB 3 passed overwhelmingly in the Senate and is supported by the vast majority of Pennsylvania doctors as well as residents. We know this works. The time to allow our most vulnerable residents to access medical marijuana is now – not in the fall.”
Rep. Ron Marsico (R-Harrisburg) announced his plans to introduce a new medical marijuana bill in the coming weeks but details have not been finalized.
“Thousands of seriously ill Keystone State residents are depending on our representatives to support this discharge petition and SB 3,” said Mike Whiter, a combat veteran from Philadelphia who suffers from PTSD. “Chairman Marsico's proposal — that he write a bill that would not be considered until fall — is not a reasonable alternative.
By Steve Elliott
Three years after the state overwhelmingly voted to allow legal marijuana, the first dispensary in Massachusetts opened on Thursday: Alternative Therapies Group, based in Salem. The dispensary will accept patients by appointment only.
Unlike many other states, no marijuana will be grown on site, and most uniquely, no products will be on display – patients will have to choose their products via a computer screen. So much for the old smell test!
“The highly coveted license was approved on Friday and the facility will be operating in the neighborhood of Downtown Crossing," reports Lynda Johnson CapitalWired.com. "Patriot Care Corp. had already been approved to open such a dispensary in Lowell although provisionally. The corporation won the permit for a location in Greenfield as well thus becoming the only company that has been authorized to run three marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts."
State officials also said they are willing to allow another company to open dispensaries in Northampton and Brookline. "The decision to award Patriot Care Corp. the license has drawn sharp condemnation from a number of critics who claim that the company was being given a special kind of treatment,” reports CapitalWired.com.
Top Experts in Policy, Science and Regulation Discuss the Public Health, Social Justice and Environmental Issues Related to Marijuana Legalization
In an effort to educate the public and discuss pressing issues related to the legalization of marijuana in California in 2016, the Drug Policy Alliance held three symposia, each focusing on a different aspect of marijuana regulation. Videos from those symposia are now available online to view for free.
The first symposia, held in Los Angeles, addressed issues related to marijuana use and public health. Speakers included Alison Holcomb from the ACLU, Tista Ghosh from the Colorado Department of Public Health and the environment, and Rep. Jonathan Singer from Colorado. The goal of this symposium was to address concerns related to how marijuana legalization might impact road safety, teen drug use and criminal activity. This symposium can be viewed in its entirety or by individual speaker here.
Guide Compares An Ounce Of Weed To A Voodoo Doughnut
By Steve Elliott
With Oregon set to legalize marijuana on July 1, the Portland Police Bureau has released a guide for cannabis consumers which explains just how much weed is legal under the new law.
The guide explains how much weed you can carry "in the most Portland was possible," reports KATU, by comparing an ounce to the size of a Voodoo doughnut. (Voodoo Doughnuts, recently experienced for the first time by this reporter, is a Portland institution, popular among both cannabis users and the public at large for its large, tasty creations.)
While Oregon's law allows just an ounce to possess while you're out and about, you can have up to 8 ounces at home. Anything more is still illegal.
Driving under the influence of marijuana can get you a ticket, as can using it in a public place. But if you see someone smoking pot in public, police urge you NOT to call 911, unless there is an immediate public safety risk; they truly don't want to be bothered. Even the COPS know that it's a dumb waste of their time and your money to arrest folks for smoking weed.
The same goes for any scenario where you smell marijuana from your neighbor's home or yard; if it's bothering you, Portland police said you should discuss it directly with your neighbor and not call 911.
Transporting marijuana from Oregon to Washington -- as tempting as that might be, sine it's going to be a lot cheaper in Oregon -- would be a violation of federal drug laws.
By Steve Elliott
Oregon House lawmakers on Wednesday passed a bill 52-4 setting up the state's legal marijuana market after voters approved legalization under Measure 91 last November. The bill, HB 3400, now heads to the Oregon Senate.
The bill creates regulations for both medical and recreational cannabis, including a compromise allowing local jurisdictions to "opt out" of legalization, reports Sheila Kumar at the Associated Press. Members of a House joint committee charged with implementing Measure 91 had previously been unable to agree on the issue of local control, stalling the measure for weeks.
Counties or cities that voted against Measure 91 can choose to ban cannabis sales if at least 55 percent of their residents opposed the ballot measure in last November's election. Other counties would have to put banning pot sales to a vote.
"I did not support Measure 91," said clueless Rep. Bill Post (R-Keizer). "I am voting for this bill because it allows local jurisdictions to prohibit the sale of this drug."
The bill also creates a marijuana tracking system, so bureaucrats can trace weed from seed to sale in order to keep it out of the black market. The Oregon Health Authority would be in charge of creating and maintaining a database tracking the path of marijuana to market.
The bill requires grow sites to register and submit information on how much cannabis is processed and transferred every month.
Broad Array of Community Stakeholders Sign Memorandum of Understanding To Collaborate on Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion – LEAD
Working Group Includes Albany Police Department, District Attorney, Albany Mayor’s Office, County Executive and Departments, Business and Community Leaders, and Health Organizations
Officials and community leaders on Thursday announced that the City and County of Albany, New York, will be developing an innovative program to reduce recidivism while advancing public safety and public health. The program is known as Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, or LEAD.
Under LEAD, police officers may exercise their discretion and divert individuals for certain low-level criminal offenses like drug possession; instead of being arrested and going through the regular criminal justice process, the individual is referred to a case manager, who then facilitates access to a comprehensive network of social services.
Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion was launched in 2011 in Seattle. LEAD emerged from a growing consensus that the war on drugs has failed, its associated racial disparities are unacceptable, and there is a need for innovative, effective approaches to reduce the number of people unnecessarily entering the criminal justice system.
Santa Fe became the second jurisdiction to implement the program in 2014. Albany is the first East Coast city and the third city in the nation to begin developing LEAD.
GreenRush, an on-demand medicinal cannabis marketing and technology platform, on Thursday announced the launch of its mobile-optimized web service with delivery and express pickup options to the San Francisco Bay area market.
Designed as a dispensary-focused platform, GreenRush works with eCann Inc, one of the largest investors in the cannabis industry, to equip businesses with the foundation necessary for market growth. GreenRush provides access to a new patient acquisition channel by developing brand loyalty through a simplified, one-time patient verification and streamlined order/reorder process. GreenRush also provides comprehensive delivery and logistics tracking for customer care.
“The cannabis industry lacks the comprehensive comparison tools needed for patients,” says GreenRush founder and CEO Paul Warshaw. “We designed our platform with convenience in mind, with services that increase patient satisfaction and showcase innovative dispensaries.”
"Many companies are competing for a share of the cannabis delivery market," said Steve DeAngelo, executive director at Harborside Health Center. "So far, we feel most comfortable with the GreenRush business model. It allows dispensaries to retain full control over the fulfillment process and maintain the quality of the medicine, and is more reasonably priced than other competitors."
Kind Financial Acquires the Assets of Agrisoft Development Group
Kind Financial, a financial solutions company to the cannabis industry, on Thursday acquired the assets of Agrisoft Development Group, a seed-to-sale compliance software company.
The Agrisoft platform is used in cannabis dispensaries and cultivation operations in numerous states and Canada. It provides these facilities with back-office, inventory, biometric security, state regulation reporting systems and payment system adaptability.
Kind explained that with the expansion of legalized cannabis there's been more stringent regulations for inventory requirements including mandates for tracking cannabis and cannabis products from seed-to-sale.
Agrisoft's platform is the most advanced and detailed technology created specifically for the cannabis industry, offering 100 percent accountability and transparency of reporting to all levels of government, according to the company. "Its team of experts in law enforcement, regulatory compliance, software development and data security have combined their expertise to build the industry's most reliable and comprehensive tracking system," a prepared statement avers.
Agrisoft's platform documents every step in cannabis manufacturing, wholesaling and retailing, according to the company.
U.N. Preparing to Reconsider International Drug Control Policies
Activists will march from the U.S. State Department to the White House on Friday morning, demanding that the Obama Administration do more to end the failed War On Drugs and the human rights violations it causes. The advocates especially want the U.S. to ensure that international aid it provides is not used to support the death penalty for nonviolent drug offenses.
The march is part of a global day of action called "Support, Don't Punish," with events taking place in 150 cities around the world, including New York. It coincides with the annual United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which some governments use to focus on prevention and awareness, but which others have used to highlight large drug busts and seizures, or even to carry out executions.
WHO: Organizations that oppose the War On Drugs and support human rights
WHAT: March -- part of an international day of action in 150 cities -- featuring signs with slogans like "Prohibition => Crime + Violence," "No Drug Executions With Our Dollars" and “Drug Execution Agency"
WHEN: Friday, June 26 at 9:30 AM ET
WHERE: From the State Department (2201 C St NW) to the White House (1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW)
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News
Last Thursday, June 18, the cannabis community lost a colorful and dedicated freedom fighter, photographer and Army veteran, Larry LK Kirk. Known globally simply as "LK", Larry traveled the country to bring awareness to the injustice, which is the drug war. He believed no one should go to jail for a plant.
A long-time Hemp News and High Times photojournalist, LK captured thousands of historic photos in his effort to document the path to legalization. There was no distance too far in his effort to, as he stated, "document freedom as it happened.” LK had the ability and access to get the camera angles and photographic perspective that most could only imagine.
As an avid supporter of NORML, he had many friends in the organization from founder Keith Stroup to board member Rick Steves. LK was an Oregon NORML board member for several years and through his tireless efforts helped to persuade Oregonians to regulate cannabis in 2014.
LK was a regular attendee and judge at the High Times Cannabis Cups across the United States and in the Netherlands. Over the years, due to his dedication and charm, he became close family with the entire High Times crew.
Actions To Take Place In Over 100 Cities Around The World
Events Offer Alternative Vision To United Nations’ Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking
A rally will be held on Friday, June 26 at 1 pm in New York City in front of the United Nations Headquarters as part of the global Support. Don’t Punish campaign, where thousands of activists in over 100 cities around the world will make their voices heard.
The campaign calls on governments to put an end to the expensive and counter-productive War On Drugs. This war has failed to reduce drug use or supply, it costs in excess of $100 billion each year to enforce, it has led to the mass incarceration of the vulnerable and the poor, and it fuels human rights violations and HIV epidemics.
June 26 is the United Nations’ International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which coincides with the release of the United Nations’ annual World Drug Report. It is also a day which has traditionally been used by governments to ‘celebrate’ drug arrests, seizures and even executions.
The Support. Don’t Punish “Global Day of Action” aims to change the narrative, and to highlight the need for a better approach.
FDA and NIDA officials express support for ending NIDA’s DEA-mandated monopoly on marijuana available for research purposes
By Steve Elliott
At a Wednesday hearing, Senators Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand pressed federal officials to eliminate political barriers that are preventing research on the potential medical benefits of marijuana. The hearing, “Cannabidiol: Barriers to Research and Potential Medical Benefits,” was held by the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control.
Officials from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) echoed the Senators’ concerns and expressed support for removing barriers to research that have been created by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
NIDA has a DEA-mandated monopoly on the supply of marijuana available for research purposes, which is grown at the University of Mississippi. Researchers have repeatedly criticized the DEA for refusing to license additional marijuana producers, which they say is preventing the study of marijuana’s medical benefits and the development of marijuana-based medicines.
They have also criticized the poor quality and low potency of the scant marijuana that is currently available, which they say further hinders meaningful research. A DEA administrative law judge ruled that licensing additional producers would be in the public interest, but the DEA has refused to follow the non-binding ruling.
CBD Sourced from High-Quality, Colorado-Grown Organic Hemp Flowers
Mary's Nutritionals on Tuesday announced that its Elite CBD™ products, including gels, compounds, Muscle Freeze and Remedy Oil, are now available for nationwide online purchase and shipping via marysnutritionals.com.
Mary's Elite CBD™ is derived from Elite Botanicals' Colorado-grown, 100 percent organic and natural industrial hemp cannabis plants.
"Mary's is committed to providing products made from plants selected for their optimal cannabinoid content so we can provide the best value to our customers," said Nicole Smith, Mary's Nutritionals CEO. "Plants with a higher concentration of quality CBD deliver more bang for the buck."
Elite Botanicals is a family-run organic hemp farm that produces Elite CBD plants in full compliance with Colorado Department of Agriculture, the 2014 Farm Bill and the pending Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015.
"We receive calls and emails every day from individuals across the country looking for high-quality CBD options," said Smith. "With Elite Botanicals' unique industrial hemp, we are now able to create new products with the benefits of whole plant-derived CBD that can be distributed to everyone in need—regardless of where they live."
• Mary's Elite CBD™ Gel Pen is the perfect resource for quick, discreet delivery of CBD. Mary's proprietary dispenser pen contains 50-2mg doses of CBD Gel. Users apply it to the wrist, ankle, temples, or any other veinous area. Contains 100mg CBD.
By Steve Elliott
Most labels on edible marijuana products are inaccurate when it comes to levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, researchers reported on Tuesday.
An analysis of 75 products sold to patients in Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles found that just 17 percent of the labels accurately described THC levels, reports Catherine Saint Louis at The New York Times. Sixty percent of the products had less THC than claimed on the packaging, and 23 percent of them had more THC than advertised.
"We need a more accurate picture of what's being offered to patients," said Dr. Donald Abrams, chief of hematology and oncology at San Francisco General Hospital. Dr. Abrams wasn't involved in the study, which was published in JAMA.
Products with too little THC may fail to deliver symptom relief, and those with too much may make users feel uncomfortable or anxious.
Cannabis candy, drinks and baked goods from 47 brands were tested in the new study by the Werc Shop, a laboratory with branches in Washington state and California. The study was paid for by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine except for the cost of the testing, which was covered by the Werc Shop; the company's CEO, Jeffrey Raber, is listed as a study author.
The National Cannabis Patients Wall, a nonprofit advocacy organization working to humanize and change medical marijuana laws founded in 2014 in Tennessee, now reaches 40 countries around the world and has more than 17,000 members, organizers announced on Tuesday.
"We endeavor to help patients find support, encourage and support activism while educating the public about medical cannabis and its advantages, and raising funds to build display walls to represent patients from every state," explained NCPW founder Dana Arvidson of Nashville, Tennesseee.
“The National Cannabis Patient's Wall not only signifies our solidarity as patients in need of a safer and effective alternative to harsh pharmaceuticals, but also the barriers we must overcome, our current State and Federal laws, which keep us from the medicine we desire and need," Arvidson said.
Arvidson said the group, which maintains a prominent social media presence including on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Google+, aims to help patients in every state and country reverse the prohibition of cannabis this year, "and to end the needless suffering, before more people die."
"We work daily to assist the repeal of marijuana prohibition, opening the door to common sense regulation," Arvidson said.
According to Arvidson, one of the best parts of NCPW is letting patients know they aren't facing illness and often legal persecution all alone.
"We provide patients with a place to gather with others who feel the same way," she said. "It truly helps when a patient knows they are not along in their struggle.