The New York State Department of Health (DOH) on Friday announced five companies would be awarded one of the coveted licenses to grow and dispense medical marijuana in New York: PharmaCann LLC, Empire State Health Solutions LLC; Columbia Care NY LLC; Etain, LLC; and Bloomfield Industries Inc.
The announcement came after a competitive bidding process through which 43 industry groups contended for the five licenses. Each producer is restricted to opening only four dispensaries each, they will only be allowed to produce five strains or brands of medical marijuana, and all products must be in pill, oil or tincture form. The price of the medicine will be set by the Commissioner of Health.
DOH has said that New York’s medical marijuana program will be fully operational by January 2016. Before the program can become operational, the state must also create a system for registering doctors and patients.
Since July 2014, advocates have been fighting for an emergency access program to get medicine to the critically ill sooner than the January 2016 deadline. But despite a year of advocacy and passing an emergency access bill in both the Senate and Assembly, to date, not one patient in New York has received medical marijuana.
By Steve Elliott
Keith Richards likes to wake and bake. "Wait... I need a NEWS STORY for this?" You may be thinking. But the guy's 71 now, and he quit cocaine a decade ago.
"I smoke regularly, an early morning joint," Richards told Mojo Magazine. "Strictly Californian."
Richards, who lives in a home in Sussex, England, which he bought in the 1960s and has a Manhattan apartment, praised the legalization of cannabis in some American states, reports The Telegraph.
"One of the most pleasant things to watch is a map of American [showing states where pot is legal], where it goes, green... green... green," Richards said. "Whether it's a good thing in the long run, I don't know."
Richards gave up cocaine back in 2006 after falling out of a tree and undergoing brain surgery. He said he hasn't taken heroin since 1978. He still drinks, he told Mojo, but "other than that, I'm pretty straight."
According to Richards, the Stones may return to the studio at the end of this year.
Photo: High Times
This October 27 and 28, the inaugural Southwest Cannabis Conference & Expo kicks off at the Phoenix Convention Center with more than 300 floor exhibits, interactive workshops, leading industry guest speakers, a job fair, business-to-business networking and more. The event is expected to draw tens of thousands of attendees from all over the Southwest.
“The subject of this convention is too important to overlook,” said Rory Mendoza, executive director of the event. “The U.S. market for legal cannabis grew by 74 percent last year alone, according to researchers at the ArcView Group.”
Anyone interested in learning more about the wealth of business and employment opportunities presented by the booming $2.7 billion legal marijuana industry is invited to attend. “We’re expecting visitors from California to Texas and beyond in large part
because several of our states are evaluating policy and legislation affecting medical and recreational cannabis usage,” said Mendoza. “This conference is designed to allow policy makers and national industry leaders, investors, business executives, health experts, job seekers and entrepreneurs a place to learn, share ideas and connect with others on the national cannabis scene.”
The Federal Court of Canada has certified a class action commenced on behalf of more than 40,000 medical marijuana licensees alleging that Health Canada violated their privacy.
In November 2013, Health Canada sent notices to more than 40,000 participants of the Marihuana Medical Access Program (MMAP) to advise of changes to regulations governing the use of medical marijuana in Canada. The notices were delivered in oversized envelopes that had the words "Health Canada - Marihuana Medical Access Program" on the return address, revealing to anyone who saw the envelope that the recipient was licensed to possess or produce medical marihuana for medical purposes.
Previously, Health Canada's mailings to MMAP members were discreet and made no mention of marijuana on the envelopes. Despite the Government of Canada's acknowledgement of the error, it insists that no one was harmed by the breach.
Recipients were upset, and maintain their privacy had been violated. Some said they worried they'd lost their jobs or become victims of a home invasion, reports CBC News.
"It opened us up for discrimination," said Debbie Stultz-Giffin, chair of Maritimers Unite for Medical Marijuana Society. She was one of 2,105 Nova Scotians who received the letter, and she said it left patients and caregivers open to everything from condemnation from family and friends to robbery.
Kaya Holdings, Inc. on Wednesday announced that it has signed a lease on a 6,000 square foot facility in central Portland to serve as the company's expanded marijuana and cannabis manufacturing complex and West Coast operations base.
The company announced it will consolidate Kaya Farms and the newly acquired assets of OC Harley Gardens, including equipment, plants and all related licenses into the new facility for a substantially expanded grow with significantly increased volume capacities. "The Grow will continue uninterrupted to produce high quality, connoisseur-grade marijuana, as the expansion occurs to prepare the Company for the October 1st commencement of recreational sales in Oregon," a prepared statement reads.
"Additionally, the new facility allows for industrial level marijuana product manufacturing for our coming roll-out of proprietary strain-specific concentrates, extracts and related products, as well as the establishment of a commercial grade kitchen to produce a complete Kaya Kitchens line of cannabis-infused baked goods and candies," the announcement reads.
New Art Show Escaping Time Showcases the Therapeutic Power of Art for America's Inmates
Governor’s Island Show Opens August 1st, Runs Through September 27
This August, experience a different view of a life behind bars with Escaping Time: Art From U.S. Prisons, a unique show of artwork created by inmates. Curated by Anastasia Voron, director of exhibitions at Wallplay, the show is a production of the Safe Streets Arts Foundation, which aims to rehabilitate men and women in prison through the use of art.
On view from August 1 through September 27 on Governors Island, the show includes more than 200 pieces collected from prisons across the country and on view for the first time, including works from renowned painter Anthony Papa and display-only pieces attributed to Charles Manson.
Each piece for purchase includes an accompanying handwritten letter from the artist. The groundbreaking art show highlights the therapeutic properties of art, and calls attention to the struggle many prisoners face when attempting to reintegrate into society after their release. The show aims to help the prisoners by building their credibility as artists, giving them a platform on which to build a new career.
A coalition of immigrant rights and criminal justice reform advocacy organizations are calling on Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of Chief Counsel to allow green card holder Garfield Kenault Lawrence, who was deported away from his U.S. Citizen wife and child to Jamaica, to reopen his immigration case.
After a year of being held in an immigration detention prison (including during the birth of his first child), Kenault (A# 045 612 966) was wrongfully deported in 2013 based on an incorrect legal standard applied by an immigration judge who labeled his two minor 2009 marijuana convictions to be “drug trafficking aggravated felonies.”
However, just a few months later, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Moncrieffe v. Holder that “characterize[ing] a low-level drug offense as 'illicit trafficking in a controlled substance,' and thus an 'aggravated felony' . . . defies the 'commonsense conception' of these terms."
Despite this clear decision, ICE is refusing to reopen his case so that he can have a proper hearing under the correct law, and is fighting his lawyers’ attempts by claiming that too much time has passed.
“An Immigration judge got the law wrong and fractured an American family when he ordered Kenault deported,” said Heidi Altman, legal director of the Capital Area Immigrant Rights Coalition. "We call on ICE to right this wrong by allowing Kenault to come home and have his day in court."
By Steve Elliott
Charges have been dropped against an injured Iraq war veteran in Florida who was arrested after deputies said they found marijuana plants in his home.
Mathew Young was charged with cultivation after Pasco County deputies conducted a raid, reports Laurie Davison at Bay News 9. Young said a lawyer from Jacksonville gave him paperwork and false information that using medical marijuana is legal in Florida.
"I really to this day don't believe I did anything wrong," Young said. He said the marijuana gave him relief from medical problems he's had since returning from combat.
"It wasn't until I tried cannabis that everything turned around," Young said. "I could start functioning and start having a day. You have to have a day before you can start a life."
The State Attorney's Office dropped the charge against Young, saying he is "a cooperating witness in an ongoing investigation."
Young's attorney, Steve Gearhart, called it "justice." "Once I came back on the case in April, it was just getting the dialogue open with the State Attorney, providing them with information we had and working with them toward a common goal," Gearhart said.
Young said his condition has gotten worse since he was forced to stop using medical marijuana. "The reality and the prognosis is not all that positive for me," he said. "In eight months, I'm back in a wheelchair. Where am I going to be in 12 months?"
By Steve Elliott
Tourists in South Dakota may soon be able to go to a Native American reservation, buy a joint of marijuana for $10 to $15, then try their luck at the nearby casino.
The Flandreau Santee Sioux expect in December to become the first tribe in the nation to grow and sell cannabis for recreational use, taking the Obama Administration at its word when it says all 566 federally approved Indian tribes are free to enter the marijuana industry, reports Rob Hotakainen in the Bellingham Herald.
"The fact that we are first doesn't scare us," said tribal president Anthony "Tony" Reider, 38, leader of the tribe for almost five years now. "The Department of Justice gave us the go-ahead, similar to what they did with the states, so we're comfortable going with it."
Sixy strains of marijuana will be available from the tribe, according to Reider, who is hoping for hordes of visitors. He predicted that sales could bring in $2 million per month.
"Obviously, when you launch a business, you're hoping to sell all the product and have a shortage, like Colorado did when they first opened," he said.
But other tribes haven't been as gung-ho about cannabis. "Look at Washington state, where marijuana's completely legal as a matter of state law everywhere, and you still have tribes adhering to their prohibition policies," said Robert Odawi Porter, former president of New York's Seneca Nation.
Head of the Drug Enforcement Administration Says 'I'm Not An Expert'
By Steve Elliott
It's progress -- of a sort.
The new head of the Drug Enforcement Administration admitted on Tuesday that heroin "probably" is more dangerous than marijuana, an admission his predecessor, the embattled Michele Leonhart, would not make, reports Steven Nelson at U.S. News.
Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg said federal DEA agents aren't prioritizing marijuana enforcement, but he's not ordered them off it.
"If you want me to say that marijuana's not dangerous, I'm not going to say that because I think it is," Rosenberg claimed. "Do I think it's as dangerous as heroin? Probably not. I'm not an expert."
"Let me say it this way," he added. "I'd rather be in a car accident going 30 miles an hour than 60 miles an hour, but I'd prefer not to be in an accident at all."
Rosenberg's predecessor, Leonhart, claimed comparisons of marijuana to crack cocaine or heroin would be "subjective" and claimed cannabis is an "insidious" drug.
"This is not a matter of opinion," said Dan Riffle, director of federal policies at the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "It's far less harmful than heroin and it's encouraging that the DEA is finally willing to recognize that."
In an effort to expand their production and improve the quality of their products, MMJ America, a supplier of medical marijuana in Colorado, invested in a greenhouse. The facility was equipped with environmental control systems, custom designed for their specific application based on ideal growing conditions.
The company was able to test and verify the marijuana growth in their newly designed greenhouse, compared to their historical method of indoor growing. Identical sized propagated plants were placed in the marijuana greenhouse and under supplemental lighting at the same time. The vegetative plants are seeing anywhere from 30 percent to 80 percent increases in size and weight after just 6 weeks, according to MMJ America.
Malek Noueiry, the general manager of production at MMJ America’s multi-facility operations, said he was very surprised at how dramatic the growth was in the marijuana greenhouse. “The plant growth was so much faster than what is typical in an indoor grow, so we had to adjust our fertigation to double the amount of nutrients that plants were capable of absorbing,” he said.
MMJ America hired Rough Brothers to design, supply, and install the greenhouse systems to support the controlled environment. The greenhouse was covered with high quality diffused glazing material specifically chosen to allow deeper sunlight penetration into the canopy of the marijuana plant. The control system operates the fertigation, daily light integral (DLI), temperature, and humidity.
About Rough Brothers, Inc. (RBI)
New Campaign Aims to Deepen Public Knowledge about Medical Marijuana
Americans for Safe Access (ASA) on Wednesday launched "The Truth About Medical Marijuana" educational website and accompanying event series. The Truth About Medical Marijuana will focus on emerging issues in the area of medical marijuana, including understanding the research behind the medicine, emerging policies issues surrounding cannabidiol (CBD) and consumer safety issues.
During each of the next three months, event hosts will focus on these issues and prepare attendees to share that information with politicians and key decision makers, as well as providing tools to counter misinformation in the media.
“With the majority of Americans living in states that allow at least some kind of medical marijuana it’s time to move beyond rhetoric and headlines and foster a genuine understanding of this too often misunderstood medicine,” said Steph Sherer, ASA executive director. “With the Truth About Medical Marijuana, we’re filling a void by giving people straightforward explanations of the science behind medical marijuana and explaining how medical marijuana relates to them and their families.”
Medical marijuana policy has recently undergone a significant series of developments with the passage of several new state laws in a short period of time. In total, 40 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the District of Columbia allow some legal medical use of marijuana.
By Steve Elliott
Oregon Governor Kate Brown on Tuesday signed legislation allowing medical marijuana dispensaries in the state to start selling recreational cannabis to adult consumers on October 1.
Consumers 21 and older will be able to buy up to a quarter-ounce of pot per day at dispensaries, as well as seeds and up to four immature plants, under Senate Bill 460, reports Jeff Mapes at The Oregonian.
This will be the first time medical marijuana dispensaries are allowed to sell to people who don't have a medical card. Supporters of the measure said Oregon should go ahead with sales to divert traffic from the black market. Dispensary owners were also anxious to move into recreational marijuana sales, because the market is oversaturated on the medical side.
There will be no tax on products in the dispensaries until January 4, under the temporary sales program. After that, a 25 percent sales tax will kick in.
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission plans to license a network of recreational cannabis retailers and plans to allow them to open sometime in the second half of 2016. Many medical dispensaries are expected to switch to the recreational market.
Recreational marijuana retailers are expected to offer a wider range of products, and will be allowed to sell up to an ounce at the time to adults.
By Steve Elliott
The amount of THC in Sandra Bland's system was negligible, and equal to placebo, according to neuroscientist Dr. Carl Hart, who has spent nearly 20 years researching the neurophysiological, psychological and behavioral effects of marijuana.
"Of course, the scientific evidence almost never supports these fantastic distractions," Dr. Hart said. "Yet, the 'drug-crazed black person' myth continues to be revitalized decade after decade by racists masquerading as public servants."
"I find this line of reasoning insulting and offensive," Dr. Hart said. "It seeks to misuse the science of behavioral pharmacology to excuse reprehensible acts perpetrated by the state or state proxies."
"As part of my research, I have given thousands of doses of marijuana to people and carefully studied their immediate and delayed responses," Dr. Hart said. "And I have never observed a marijuana-induced violent and self-destructive attack or anything remotely similar to the summer reefer madness put forth by desperate public officials."
"Bland's levels were well below the THC levels that I have found necessary to induce intoxication," Dr. Hart said.
"It was Encinia who behaved irrationally and escalated the situation, not Bland," Dr. Hart said. "There is no indication that she was under the influence of marijuana or that it caused her to behave foolishly.
By Steve Elliott
One supposes it was predictable. A production manager at a licensed Washington recreational marijuana producer, has endorsed genetically modified marijuana in an interview with the CannabisRadio.com network.
Tyler Markwart, founder of Allele Seeds and production manager/breeder at Monkey Grass Farms, is a proponent of GMO cannabis and argued in the interview that many potential benefits could come from genetically modifying strains.
"The idea is you could remove the cold resistant genes from a salmon and put it in a plant, allowing that plant to exhibit better growth conditions under freezing temperatures or near freezing temperatures," said Markwart, who said he studied organic agriculture "and philosophy" at Washington state University, and writes for High Times, the Northwest Leaf, Ladybud and Culture. (It would presumably just be too easy to grow non-GMO, non-salmon weed in non-freezing conditions.)
"It hits really two main people when we want to talk about it: the growers and it also hits the end consumer at the same time," Markwart said. "The growers are looking to be profitable, that's mainly their goal so that they can have another season to plant another round of crop and live and pay their bills like everybody else."