By Steve Elliott
Yet another scientific study has been added to the mountain of evidence debunking to so-called "gateway theory," which maintains that marijuana use leads to harder drugs.
Teens instead smoke cannabis for very specific reasons, researchers report in the new study, and it is those same reasons which sometimes prompt them to try other drugs, reports Dennis Thompson at HealthDay News.
Youths who use marijuana because they are bored, for example, are more likely to also use cocaine, while kids using weed to achieve insight or understanding are more likely to try psilocybin mushrooms, according to the findings, recently published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.
"We found that marijuana use within itself wasn't a risk factor for use of other drugs," said lead author Joseph Palamar, assistant professor in the department of population health at New York University's Langone Medical Center. "People do generally use marijuana before other drugs, but that doesn't marijuana is a cause of [using] those other drugs."
The researchers based their conclusions on data gathered from Monitoring the Future, on ongoing study of the behaviors of American high school students. About 15,000 high school seniors are questioned each year.
By Steve Elliott
Travelers at Portland International Airport in Oregon can legally board airplanes with up to an ounce of marijuana for in-state flights under the state's new law legalizing recreational cannabis, UPI reported on Thursday.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is not focused on finding marijuana, but rather on security and safety issues, according to airport officials, UPI reported. If TSA agents at Portland International Airport find marijuana, local police will be notified to ensure it is within the legal weight limit (up to an ounce), the passenger is of legal age (21), and the boarding pass indicates an in-state flight. If all that checks out, the passenger is free to go.
"Traveling across state lines [with marijuana] is still a federal crime," said Steve Johnson of the Port of Portland. "However, if someone is flying within the state to another destination in the state, traveling with recreational marijuana is allowable if they meet all the legal requirements."
Passengers with marijuana who don't meet the legal requirements will be given the option to store the cannabis in a safe place (like a car), give it to someone 21 or older who is not traveling, or surrender it to law enforcement to be "destroyed" (yeah, right, probably a joint at the time, man).
Oregon's legalization law, which took effect July 1, prohibits taking weed out of the state since it's still illegal federally. That includes taking it across the state line to Washington, where it is also legal.
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News
Earlier this month, AJ+ traveled to Oregon's first legal social cannabis celebration, "Weed the People", to produce a documentary titled "How High Is Too High?". The comedic documentary showcases the emerging cannabis industry and brings awareness to social cannabis in America. At the event, growers distributed free cannabis samples, Obama Kush, Purple Alien Dawg and, the most popular, Girl Scout Cookie. Cannabis industry vendors educated the masses on their methods of cultivation. Most attendees received approximately seven grams of cannabis. The cost of the event was $40 per person.
Using their comedic point of view, AJ+ highlights the common assumptions about people who consume cannabis and then proceeds to discount those assumptions by talking with the event attendees and getting real opinions. One of the attendees, a computer programmer, states, "Sometimes when I'm stuck on a problem I don't understand, I can smoke and see things in a different way."
Since the passage of Oregon Measure 91, individuals over 21 are allowed to possess an ounce of cannabis in public and may possess eight ounces of cannabis in their home. Oregon residents may cultivate four plants for personal use, per household, and individuals are allowed to give away an ounce to friends and family.
Hemp Health Inc., a maker of cannabidiol (CBD) products, on Tuesday introduced THC Buzzkill, a patent-pending CBD supplement that counteracts the "high" of marijuana.
Sold as an oral spray, THC Buzzkill absorbs into the bloodstream rapidly and lessens the psychoactive effects of THC using all-natural ingredients, according to Hemp Health, which called THC Buzzkill is the first supplement designed for marijuana users who need to sober up quickly.
"When you have things to do and places to be, being stoned usually doesn't help you get it all done," said Katarina Maloney, president of Hemp Health Inc. "For marijuana users who smoke too much, react strangely to a new strain, or just need to get into a more functional state, THC Buzzkill does exactly what the name implies.
"Think of it as fire extinguisher for marijuana emergencies," Maloney said.
THC Buzzkill's primary ingredients come from high-CBD, low-THC cannabis. Kosher, vegan and non-GMO, the cannabis is sourced from sustainable farms in Germany, Denmark and other European countries.
THC Buzzkill is legal all 50 states and 42 countries, according to Hemp Health.
THC Buzzkill pilot users report that the tincture lessens the effects of marijuana within 15 minutes. The supplement does not remove chemical traces of THC from the human body, and it does not make it safe for the marijuana user to drive an automobile or operate machinery, according to the company. Taking THC Buzzkill prior to consuming marijuana will not block the effects.
By Steve Elliott
Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg and Sheriff John Urquhart must have envisioned quite a different news conference than the one which actually happened Wednesday morning, when they announced the closure of medical marijuana dispensaries operating in King County.
The medicinal cannabis dispensaries, which in some cases after years of smooth operation have now been suddenly defined as "unlicensed" in a money grab by I-502 recreational marijuana store operator, represent the only safe and affordable access to cannabinoid medicines for many limited mobility and low income patients in King County.
The dispensaries have to shut down in 30 days, if they don't have a license -- oh, and did we mention that there aren't any licenses available?
Satterberg and Urquhart -- who maybe expected to be hailed as heroes at their news conference -- were joined by Russ Hauge of the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB), at the Sheriff's Office White Center Storefront. But that's not what happened, reports Gwen Davis at the West Seattle Herald.
They were greeted by a vocally hostile crowd of about 30, with hecklers screaming at the prosecuting attorney and the sheriff as they were trying to give their prepared speeches, which were rendered mostly inaudible.
"You are horrible people!" one woman yelled at Satterberg.
MarijuanaMedInfo Inc. on Wednesday introduced www.MarijuanaMedInfo.ca a free, online resource for patients and healthcare professionals. The website provides scientific, clinical, regulatory, reimbursement and access information on the medical use of marijuana.
"The new Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations simplified the process for patients and physicians and removed some barriers to access" said Dan Rego, president of MarijuanaMedInfo. "What has been lacking is the provision of an educational initiative on the clinical use of cannabinoids for healthcare professionals and the public."
MarijuanaMedInfo.ca is designed to allow visitors easy access to published medical information on the use of marijuana for medical purposes, sorted by condition or disease. Information is provided around all aspects of medical cannabis use in Canada including the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, the Guidelines of the Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons, the Licensed Producers and the strains of medical marijuana available, coverage/ reimbursement of drug costs, medical marijuana clinics, routes of administration, precautions and warnings, as well as the medical document Healthcare professionals must complete.
Additional educational materials focused at healthcare professionals managing medical cannabis can be obtained at no cost.
By Steve Elliott
Texas has a law allowing law enforcement to write a ticket rather than taking someone to jail for less than two ounces of marijuana, and it's been on the books since 2007 -- but most cops statewide aren't using it.
That's where Yvette Gbalazeh, a graduate of the University of Houston, comes in. Gbalazeh spends her days educating people about the law, reports Shaun Rabb at Fox 4 News.
"Over the past week, I've spoken to 13 out of the 26 chiefs of police for all the cities in [Dallas] County," Gbalazeh said.
Balch Springs, Texas police are now trying the cite and release option.
“You make an arrest on it, then you have to process the marijuana, you have to put it into evidence or into the property room,” said Lt. Mark Maret with the Balch Springs Police Department. “Plus you go back and you have to file the paperwork, your arrest report for our police department, but then you also have to file all the paperwork to file charges though Dallas County.”
The cite and release bill was written by former state Rep. Jerry Madden of Plano back in 2007. "We passed it as a voluntary law," Madden said.
"We knew it would be voluntary and we knew it would take time and we hope it would just gain strength," Madden said. But Texas law enforcement seemed to prefer to keep arresting people for pot rather than just writing them a ticket for it.
Legislation Would Allow Marijuana Businesses Access to Financial Services
Marijuana Businesses Currently Operate as Cash-Only Causing Huge Public Safety Concerns
By Steve Elliott
Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Michael Bennett (D-CO), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) on Thursday introduced the Marijuana Business Access to Banking Act, a bill that would allow banks to provide depository and other financial services to state-legal marijuana businesses.
Currently, because marijuana is illegal under federal law, both medical and non-medical marijuana businesses are unable to access banking services like any other business. Consequently, many cannabis businesses operate on a cash-only basis, leading to huge public safety issues as businesses become the target of robberies, and are forced to hire armed security to protect their takings.
“One of the motivations for legalizing marijuana is to eliminate the black market and put marijuana in the hands of a legitimate regulated market,” said Michael Collins, policy manager at Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs. “Whether you are for or against legalization, you have to recognize that having marijuana businesses handling huge amounts of cash with nowhere to deposit the money is a public safety concern that Congress has to tackle.”
By Steve Elliott
Dreams of a new era of federal tolerance of cannabis cultivation on Native American tribal lands took a big hit Wednesday as law enforcement officers from at least four agencies raided land occupied by two tribes in California, seizing at least 12,000 plants and more than 100 pounds of processed marijuana.
"Other than contraband marijuana and items of evidentiary value, no tribal property was seized and no federal charges are pending," claimed U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner of the Eastern District of California, which includes Modoc County, where the raids occurred, reports Denny Walsh at The Sacramento Bee.
Warrants signed on Tuesday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Carolyn K. Delaney gave federal agents the authority to search "two large-scale marijuana cultivation facilities located on federally recognized tribal lands at the Alturas Indian Rancheria and the XL Ranch in Modoc County." The county is in the northeast corner of California, with Oregon directly to the north and Nevada directly to the east.
By Steve Elliott
Aides expect President Barack Obama, sometime in the coming weeks, to issue orders freeing dozens of federal prisoners locked up for nonviolent drug offenses. With the stroke of his pen, the President will likely commute more sentences at one time than has been done in half a century, since the days of LBJ.
Flexing his clemency power is part of a bigger effort by the President to correct what he sees as the excesses of the "tough on crime" crowd, where politicians threw away the key even for minor criminals, reports Peter Baker at The New York times. With many Democrats and even Republicans now admitting the nation went too far, Obama holds the power to make a difference, especially for many young minority males who are disproportionately affected by biased enforcement of the drug laws.
The total number of sentence commutations by Obama may surpass 80 in the coming weeks, but more than 30,000 federal inmates have come forward after his administration's call for clemency applications. A slow-as-molasses review process has advanced only a few of those, and just a tiny fraction have reached the President's desk for a signature.
The latest episode in a series of ongoing podcast interviews offered by Ganjapreneur, a cannabis business website and online resource, explores the cannabis testing world with Dr. Michelle Sexton, founder of Phytalab.
Dr. Sexton is a naturopathic doctor, an editor and advisor on the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia Cannabis Monograph, and was a consultant in the development of Washington's recreational cannabis market.
With legalization continuing to spread, regulators are beginning to take a serious look at cannabis science and the ways it can benefit the distribution of safe, quality products. One of the more common regulatory demands — that all products be tested for potency, contaminants and other criteria by a state-certified laboratory — is a uniquely difficult scientific process in today's world. In fact, many dispensary owners and other cannabis retailers have complained that when submitting samples from the same plant to different testing facilities, they frequently receive varying results.
During the interview, Dr. Sexton establishes that "there's a difference between certification and proficiency. That's the bottom line." Essentially, the people setting the regulations for cannabis testing aren't actually scientists, and there is a disconnect between the way things have wound up and the way things should have been done.
Amendment to 21st Century Cures Bill Would Encourage Marijuana Research
Republican Congressmen H. Morgan Griffith (VA-09) and Andy Harris, M.D., (MD-01), and Democratic Congressmen Sam Farr (CA-20) and Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) on Wednesday introduced the “Credible Research on Medical Efficacy of Marijuana Amendment” to the 21st Century Cures Act, or H.R. 6, which is currently scheduled to be considered on the House floor this week.
The amendment focuses on removing barriers that inhibit research on marijuana. This amendment encourages the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to work with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to initiate and collaborate on research about the medical risks and benefits of marijuana.
This does not change marijuana from a Schedule I drug, but does create a new subclassification within Schedule I – “Schedule 1R” for marijuana that would make research easier to conduct.
“There has been little research into potential therapeutic benefits and risks of medical marijuana use," said Congressman Griffith. "In many cases, research into specific relief it provides, how it can best be used, etc. has been obstructed by federal obstacles.
"This amendment is a responsible approach to increasing research and pursuing the answers to questions being asked by so many patients, doctors, researchers, and policy makers about medicinal marijuana,” said Griffith said.
By Steve Elliott
Chile has made a move towards decriminalizing marijuana after the lower house of congress approved -- by a wide 68-39 margin -- a bill that would change the cannabis laws in this South American country.
Observers believe Chile, while not quite ready to follow neighboring Uruguay's lead on full legalization, may be ready to decriminalize personal use and cultivation of cannabis, reports Reuters.
The lower house of congress on Tuesday, to loud cheers from the public galley, voted to push forward with marijuana law reform. The bill would allow possession of up to 10 grams of cannabis, and the growing of up to six plants.
Current marijuana penalties in Chile can get up you to 15 years in prison, reports the BBC.
A health committee will now study the bill before the lower house again votes on each of its specific elements. It will then go to the Senate.
The vote was important, according to lawmaker Karol Cariola, part of President Michelle Bachelet's lefist coalition. "It is a historic day for medicinal users who wish to stop being persecuted and be able to access a medicine that they can grow in their gardens," she said.
By Steve Elliott
If things go according to plan, the world's very first hemp airplane could make its maiden flight as early as this fall.
The plane, composed of 75 percent hemp, will take off from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, chosen for its symbolic value as the site of the first flight by the Wright Brothers. The project is part of Canadian Derek Kesek's plan to help get industrial hemp use noticed, reports Deb Hopewell at Outside.
"There are many advantages to using hemp," said Kesek, who founded Hempearth, a Waterloo, Ontario-based company focused on developing hemp products for mass use. "This plane project is just our first experiment with industrial hemp, and we plan to explore many uses.
"Once we establish structural testing and information from the hemp project, we will take that and work on the next best implication," Kesek, a former organic-restaurant owner in Burlington, Ontario, said. "The sky may not be the limit."
Kesek believes hemp can be used to replace the fiberglass currently used to build airplanes. This is important because hemp is carbon neutral, whereas the fiberglass manufacture creates air pollution, releasing styrene into the atmosphere.
“Our experts have tested the strength and durability of woven hemp material compared to fiberglass, the traditional material for aircrafts, and determined that in most cases hemp is as strong, or stronger, than fibreglass,” according to Hempearth.
An Emergency Access Bill Passed NYS Legislature with Overwhelming Bipartisan Support But Needs Cuomo’s Signature to Become Law
Advocates: Not One Patient Has Yet Received Medical Marijuana; Cuomo Must Sign a Bill or Take Other Action to Provide Relief to Suffering Patients
On the one year anniversary of the signing of New York’s medical marijuana law, patients and families on Tuesday gathered in front of Governor Cuomo’s New York City Office to urge him to sign a new bill to expedite access to medical marijuana for critically ill patients.
Since the medical marijuana law passed a year ago, not one patient in New York has been able to access medical marijuana, and at least four children, who could have likely benefited from it, have died while waiting to obtain this much-needed medicine.
“It’s a year and a half since Governor Cuomo announced in the State of the State message that he would re-activate the 1980 Olivieri Law to make medical marijuana available to patients in need, and a year since he signed the Compassionate Care Act," said Assembly Health Committee chair Richard N. Gottfried, sponsor of last year’s medical marijuana legislation. "In July 2014, he wrote to Health Commissioner Zucker about ‘the urgent help children with epilepsy desperately need,’ and said ‘I look forward to hearing of any progress you can make to provide relief to the children of our state living with epilepsy.’