Ad is Part of Campaign to Influence Obama’s Next DEA Pick, End Agency’s Opposition to Marijuana Law Reform, and Ultimately Reform or Abolish the Agency
As States Legalize Marijuana and Tide Turns Against the Failed Drug War, DEA Increasingly Scrutinized
The Drug Policy Alliance has placed a mock “Help Wanted” ad in Roll Call seeking a new head of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to “prolong the failed war on drugs.” Primary areas of job responsibility include “Mass Incarceration,” “Police State Tactics,” “Obstruction of Science,” “Subverting Democracy” and “Undermining Human Rights.”
The ad comes in the wake of numerous DEA scandals and DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart’s recent announcement she will resign sometime in May.
“Drug prohibition, like alcohol Prohibition, breeds crime, corruption, and violence – and creates a situation where law enforcement officers must risk their lives in a fight that can’t be won,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “It’s time to reform not just the DEA but broader U.S. and global drug policy.
"The optimal drug policy would reduce the role of criminalization and the criminal justice system in drug control to the greatest extent possible, while protecting public safety and health,” Nadelmann said.
A provocative television ad in support of legislation to reduce penalties for simple marijuana possession in Texas began airing Tuesday in the state’s four largest media markets.
The ad is scheduled to air on CNN, ESPN, and Fox News Channel across Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin through Thursday at midnight, the deadline by which the House must approve HB 507 in order for it to advance to the Senate.
You can watch the ad below, or online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E83Uv4VtpsE.
In the ad, Russell Jones, a Texas Hill Country resident who served 10 years as a police officer and narcotics detective in California, highlights the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol and says limited law enforcement resources should not be wasted on arresting and jailing people for using the less harmful substance.
“I know of no instance in my entire career where someone was acting out under the influence of marijuana,” Jones says. “People under the influence of alcohol are much more problematic.
"Law enforcement officials have more important things to do with their time than arrest people for marijuana possession," Jones says in the ad. "They need to be there to protect the public, to respond to crimes such as robbery, burglaries, rape, and murders.”
The ad cites annual arrest reports produced by the Texas Department of Public Safety that show more than 360,000 arrests for marijuana possession were made in Texas from 2009-2013.
Cannabis Science, Inc., a U.S. company specializing in the development of marijuana-based medicine and related consulting, has announced the acquisition of Equi-Pharm LLC, an American manufacturer and distributor of specialty horse and pet grooming and topical applications.
"We are excited about the future of Equi-Pharm under the medical direction and leadership of Cannabis Science, we already have a great response from our customers on the limited sales from our five horse related grooming and health products for the Equestrian market," said Dana Kennamer, vice president of Equi-Pharm, LLC. "We are currently developing the first three new cannabinoid-enriched pet products right now and will be available to the pet market within a matter of weeks through our current distribution channels.
"Right now we have a limited market share across the USA utilizing distributors and retail outlets in California, Kentucky, Ohio, Louisiana, Tennessee, and we just started European expansions," Kennamer said. "We expect that the enrichment of our current products and the development of our new formulas using Cannabis Science medical expertise we envision substantial growth year by year.
"Our goal of course, is to push Equi-Pharm and Cannabis Science to the front of the pack in the pet care industry," Kennamer said.
Call Comes After World Health Organization Research Arm Exposes Health Risks of Herbicide Used in Colombia
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Saturday called for the suspension of Colombia’s aerial spraying program to eradicate illicit crop cultivation. This came after the recent release of a study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a research arm of the World Health Organization, which found that the main chemical used in the aerial spraying program, glyphosate, is likely carcinogenic to humans.
“Few presidents have been as bold as President Santos in calling for global alternatives to the failed drug war,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “His suspension of the spraying program suggests that he recognizes the need to promote reforms not just on the global stage but at home as well.”
After the report was released, Colombian Health Minister Alejandro Gaviria made a strong recommendation to cease aerial spraying, stating that the report’s findings on glyphosate represent an “inescapable warning of possible adverse health effects.” However, Colombia's Defense Minister responded by saying that the country would continue to use glyphosate until President Santos orders otherwise, exposing a rift between the response and perspective of the two agencies – Health and Defense – on drug control.
A new Harris Poll finds that the growing acceptability of marijuana among state lawmakers reflects attitudinal shifts amongst the general American public since 2011. Support for the legalization of marijuana for both medical treatment and recreational use has increased by seven percentage points over the past four years.
Currently, four in five adults (81 percent) favor legalizing marijuana for medical use, up from 2011 when three quarters of Americans (74 percent) indicated the same. Meanwhile, according to Harris, half of Americans are supportive of legalizing marijuana for recreational use (49 percent), up from the two fifths (42 percent) who felt that way in 2011.
• Nearly nine in ten Democrats and Independents are in favor of legalizing marijuana for medical treatment (87 percent & 86 percent, respectively) and over half support recreational use (58 percent & 55 percent, respectively)
• While a majority - albeit a slimmer one - of Republicans also support the legalization medical marijuana (69 percent support, 23 percent oppose), a similar majority opposes legalizing marijuana for recreational use (27 percent support, 65 percent oppose).
These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,221 U.S. adults surveyed online between February 11 and 17, 2015. Full results of this study, including data tables, can be found here.
Federal law or each state for itself?
Industrial hemp products specialists USHempWholesale.com on Thursday announced they are now selling wholesale CBD oil on their website.
As a company spokesperson for US Hemp Wholesale explained, cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is a chemical compound from the cannabis genus. The compound is non-psychoactive, and it may have anti-anxiety properties. For people who wish to purchase CBD oil wholesale, US Hemp Wholesale says it is a one-stop CBD shop.
Even though the wholesale CBD oil was only just launched, it is already getting a lot of positive attention from customers, according to US Hemp Wholesale. For example, the High CBD Hemp Oil is already selling briskly.
As the company spokesperson noted, the Gold Version of the oil is the most potent type of CBD hemp oil supplement that is available. The oil is shipped in oral syringes with concentrations ranging from 12 to 30 percent CBD.
The non-psychoactive dietary supplement is naturally rich in CBD while being very low in THC.
A Blue Version of the CBD hemp oil is also available; this dark and paste-like substance will become soft when the syringe is placed into warm water. A Raw Version has also been added to the inventory at USHempWholesale.com; it's similar in consistency to the Blue Version but contains both CBD and CBD-a.
Sage Analytics, developers of portable laboratory quality cannabis potency measurement systems, on Wednesday announced that they will introduce their newest product, the Luminary™ Beacon, at the Marijuana Business Conference and Expo, to be held in Chicago, May 19-21.
Unlike any other product on the market, according to Sage, "the Beacon provides instant, on-the-spot feedback, and is expected to be a vital tool toward standardization in cannabis potency profiling, and accuracy in consumer information and labeling."
"The Luminary™ Beacon is a small, portable desktop system that is simple to use in any location and requires little training to obtain on-site, instantaneous, laboratory-grade accurate measurement of THC, CBD, and CBN," the company's press release states. "Unlike gas chromatography (GC) or high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), the Luminary™ Beacon uses optical spectroscopy (light) to instantly measure the potency of cannabis products at the molecular level.
Spectroscopy offers a number of distinct advantages over alternative methods, according to Sage Analytics: It is portable and can be used virtually anywhere, it is easy to use and requires just minimal training to become proficient, requires no toxic chemicals for preparation or analysis, and it leaves the sample intact for future use.
Dr. Hart Will Take Questions from Listeners
Dr. Carl Hart, Columbia University professor and the best-selling, award-winning author of High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society will join the Drug Policy Alliance’s asha bandele on Thursday, May 14, from 1 – 2 p.m., EDT for a discussion on how our current approaches to teaching our children about drugs fail – and actually make them more vulnerable to the harms of drug use.
Hart is also expected to explore the impact of drugs on the developing adolescent brain, as well as the myths and prejudices at the roots of drug prohibition.
Dr. Hart has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, Jon Stewart’s "The Daily Show," and other national media outlets. He is a dedicated scientist, activist and educator who has spent his career researching drugs and their impact on human beings.
His work addresses the rampant misinformation about drugs and their perceived harms, dispelling the prevailing myths that link crime, drugs and poor people of color.
Dr. Hart’s talk is the fifth in a series of quarterly telephone town halls sponsored by the Drug Policy Alliance. The conversations seek to bring some of the most learned and influential people working in the field of drug policy before the general public so that together we can create an ever-more informed and shared understanding about drugs and society.
House will now consider measure that is intended to allow access to low-THC marijuana extract for qualifying seizure patients
The Texas State Senate on Thursday approved a bill 26-5 that is intended to allow qualifying patients with intractable seizure conditions to access a marijuana extract containing high levels of cannabidiol, or CBD, and only trace levels of THC. SB 339, introduced by Sen. Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler), will now be considered by the state House of Representatives.
“We’re pleased to see a majority of the Senate recognizes the medical benefits of marijuana, but it’s of little comfort if patients aren’t able to experience them,” said Heather Fazio, Texas political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “Texas needs a comprehensive medical marijuana program that allows patients to take full advantage of the various compounds found in different types of marijuana.”
SB 336 requires doctors to “prescribe” marijuana to patients, which exposes doctors to federal criminal sanctions. By contrast, doctors “recommend” medical marijuana or “certify” patients to use medical marijuana in the 23 states with comprehensive medical marijuana laws and the District of Columbia.
Unlike “prescriptions,” recommendations and certifications are federally legal and protected under the First Amendment.
The American Seed & Oil Company on Tuesday highlighted plans to expand its existing beverage line to include cannabis infused sexual health, weight loss, and fitness drinks.
The drinks will be marketed nationwide, and will not contain any THC (the main psychoactive ingredient found in cannabis). They will contain hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD), which has health benefits but produces no high.
The company currently offers the DuBe Hemp Energy Shot, a CBD drink, for sale online and through retail distribution, and recently disclosed ongoing negotiations to acquire a health beverage company. Management said it anticipates the beverage company acquisition to be completed within 30 to 45 days.
"The American Seed & Oil Company has been in discussions with a Dallas, Texas based health beverage company for almost one year regarding the joint development of a line of cannabis infused drinks," said CEO Steven Rash. "Those discussions evolved to include specific negotiations for the American Seed & Oil Company to acquire the health beverage company.
"Yesterday, the American Seed & Oil Company received an investment commitment supporting the proposed acquisition to include the post acquisition initial focus on introducing hemp infused beverages for sexual health, weight loss and fitness," Rash said.
By Steve Elliott
The Louisiana Senate on Monday approved legislation which would legalize the medicinal use of cannabis. Senate Bill 143, which spells out how the state's medical marijuana industry would work, was approved on a 22-13 vote.
If the bill is approved by the Louisiana House, patients with a doctor's authorization could obtain cannabis in non-smokable form at one of 10 dispensaries across the state, reports Emily Lane at the Times-Picayune. The bill passed on Monday approves one growing site.
SB 143, sponsored by Sen. Fred Mills (R-New Iberia), would restrict the use of "CBD only" medicinal cannabis in non-smokable forms to patients with glaucoma, spastric quadriplegia and for those undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer.
The Louisiana Legislature legalized medical marijuana in 1978 and then again in 1991, but neither bill allowed for legal dispensing of the herb; the Department of Health and Hospitals was supposed to write rules for dispensing it nearly a quarter century ago, but never did.
Three state agencies would have rule-making authority under Mills' bill: the Louisiana Board of Medical Examiners would set rules about doctors' authorizations; the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy would set rules about dispensaries; and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture would set rules for the single grow site.
The United Nations' high-level review of global drug polices that's getting underway in New York today has already yielded some exciting results.
Mark Golding, the Jamaican minister of justice, on Thursday morning spoke at the UN debate session and called for the establishment of a Committee of Experts to begin exploring how to revise international drug treaties that threaten to stand in the way of nations' marijuana reforms. (Jamaica recently enacted a law allowing marijuana cultivation and use.)
The proposal is very significant, and is one of the main requests of a group sign-on statement released earlier this week, according to Tom Angell of Marijuana Majority. "Existing US and global drug control policies that heavily emphasize criminalization of drug use, possession, production and distribution are inconsistent with international human rights standards and have contributed to serious human rights violations," the groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, Global Exchange and the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, wrote in a sign-on letter released on Tuesday.
Others who spoke out Thursday morning against the ongoing War On Drugs included top officials from Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala and Argentina, among others.
The Texas House of Representatives Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on Wednesday approved a bill 5-1 that would end marijuana prohibition in the state.
HB 2165, introduced in March by Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview), would strike references to marijuana offenses from Texas statutes, resulting in marijuana being treated similarly to other legal crops.
Nearly three out of five Texas voters (58 percent) support making marijuana legal for adults and regulating it like alcohol, according to a statewide survey conducted by Public Policy Polling in September 2013.
Four states have adopted laws that regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol. Two of them, Colorado and Washington, have established regulated systems of marijuana cultivation and sales. Alaska and Oregon are in the process of implementing similar systems.
“Marijuana prohibition’s days are numbered in the Lone Star State," said Heather Fazio, Texas political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "Texas voters recognize that punishing adults for consuming a substance that is safer than alcohol is a waste of law enforcement resources and an affront to individual liberty. It appears most of the committee members agree.
“State officials are increasingly becoming fed up with the failed federal government policy of marijuana prohibition, and they’re taking action," Fazio said. "Like most Americans, most Texans are ready for a more sensible, fiscally sound marijuana policy.”
The Delaware House of Representatives Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday approved a bill 5-4 that would remove criminal penalties and potential jail time for possession of a small amount of marijuana and replace them with a civil fine similar to a traffic ticket. The bill now moves to the full House for consideration.
HB 39, introduced by Rep. Helene Keeley (D-Wilmington South), would make possession of up to one ounce of marijuana a civil violation punishable by a $100 fine with no possibility of jail. Under current Delaware law, possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $575 fine and up to three months in jail.
“This is a modest, commonsense policy change that is long overdue in Delaware,” Rep. Keeley said. “Simply possessing a small amount of marijuana does not warrant jail time and the other serious consequences of a criminal conviction. The punishment should fit the crime, not cause more harm than the crime.”
More than two-thirds of Delaware voters (68 percent) support removing criminal penalties for marijuana possession and making it a civil offense, punishable by a fine of up to $100 with no possibility of jail time, according to a statewide survey conducted in March by Public Policy Polling. Only 26 percent said they were opposed. Full results are available at http://www.mpp.org/DEpoll.
In Celebration of National Nurses Week, the American Cannabis Nurses Association will be sharing and presenting “Every Patient Deserves a Nurse” at Women Grow Signature Networking Events on Thursday, May 7
What is a Cannabis Nurse? The rapidly changing climate surrounding science & research of the endocannabinoid system and cannabinoid therapeutics, makes a nurse’s role essential within the cannabis world spectrum.
Cannabis nurses understand cannabis as a treatment within a continuum of care which involves interacting components including other drugs and treatments, state/federal laws, and the physiology of illness, disease, daily living and aging. Cannabis nurses cultivate and maintain an attitude of respect and acceptance towards people who choose to use cannabis for health and well-being.
Above all, Cannabis nurses are educators. The American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA) provides continued education for nurses by offering courses such as the Core Curriculum for Cannabis Nursing and the Advanced Curriculum: Beyond the Basics. Both courses will be offered as preconference workshops at the 20th Anniversary of the Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics: "Celebrating the Past -- Embracing the Future" May 21-23, West Palm Beach, Florida.