Florida voters back medical marijuana 9 to 1, poll finds

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If the latest poll is right, it’s a safe bet that Florida will legalize medical marijuana this November.

A new Quinnipiac University poll finds that 88 percent of voters support the legal use of marijuana for medical purposes, while 10 percent do not. Those attitudes were unchanged from May, but support was six percentage points up from November. The lowest level of support was among senior citizens, who still back the measure roughly 6 to 1. The youngest segment of voters backed it 19 to 1.

A ballot measure that would legalize the drug was narrowly approved in January, which means that voters will have the chance in just a few months to add their state to a growing number with legal medical pot, which seems likely given the poll.

Among all demographic groups, support for medical marijuana was lowest among Republicans, 80 percent of whom support legalization with 19 percent opposing.

When asked whether they would support a legal medical marijuana dispensary in their own town or city, 71 percent of voters said yes while 26 percent said no. Support for a dispensary in one’s own town was lowest among seniors, who still backed the idea 57 percent to 37 percent.

A majority of voters even supported legalizing marijuana simply for recreational use. The only demographic groups where majorities opposed the idea were Republicans and seniors. Overall support for recreational legalization was up seven percentage points from November.

There was a 23-point different in support between Democrats, who support recreational pot roughly 2 to 1, and Republicans. Support among men was 61 percent, a dozen points higher than that for women.

When asked confidentially, 44 percent said they’ve tried the drug. Seniors had the far and away lowest rates of trying pot, at 23 percent.

Federal marijuana bill would legalize some cannabis strains

By Caleb Hellerman, CNN

updated 12:24 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014

(CNN) -- Doctors in Macon, Georgia, told Janea Cox that her daughter, Haleigh, might not live another three months.

That was the middle of March, when Haleigh's brain was being short-circuited by hundreds of seizures a day, overrunning the array of five potent drugs meant to control them. Worse, the drugs were damaging Haleigh's organs.

"She was maxed out," Cox said. "She'd quit breathing several times a day, and the doctors blamed it on the seizure medications."

Cox had heard that a form of medical marijuana might help, but it wasn't available in central Georgia. So a week after hearing the ominous diagnosis, she and Haleigh packed up and moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado. There, Haleigh began a regimen of cannabis oil: four times a day and once at night.

Janea Cox and her daughter, Haleigh, fly to Colorado Springs, Colorado.

By summer, she was down to just a handful of seizures a day. In less than three months, doctors were able to wean her off Depakote, a powerful medication that had been damaging her liver.

Haleigh had never been able to walk or talk. But freed from seizures in Colorado, "She said 'Mama' for the first time," Cox said. "She's playing with puzzles; she's walking. She's almost being a normal child."

Click here for the rest of the story and video

We know about Carter and Deal, but who is Andrew Hunt?

We know about Carter and Deal, but who is Andrew Hunt?

By Raoul Duke III

The 2014 Georgia gubernatorial election will take place on November 4, 2014. Though there has been much talk and coverage about the Republican candidate Nathan Deal and the Democratic candidate Jason Carter, there has been little reference to the Libertarian candidate Andrew Hunt.

Who is Hunt and what does he stand for?

This is a valid question for Georgia voters to be asking, especially if they want to be truly informed on who they will vote for this November.

According to his official website, Hunt claims he is running for the Governor because he believes that the time has come for a better path forward for Georgia - one based on personal freedom and responsibility.

Running under the Libertarian platform, Hunt believes that there are three important factors that need to be restored in order to get the state back on track. Those factors are outlined as personal liberty, economic liberty and securing liberty in the Libertarian platform.

"There will be a transition over time to achieve the end objectives [of the party]," said Hunt. "First, people need to see the benefit of initial changes so that more Libertarians are elected and more can be corrected in government. We must move to a free enterprise system and away from the crony capitalism that has been instigated by special interest groups working with Democrats and Republicans."

If elected, Hunt has proposed a Job Powerhouse program, a Top 20 Education program and a Freedom and Fairness program.

The Job Powerhouse program would reward any and all employers by eliminating the effects of employment penalty taxes. This would help to cut down the influence of the special interest groups that have benefited from a long history of crony capitalism.

When describing his Top 20 Education program, Hunt believes that education is key to securing liberty for Georgians.

"Liberty works best with educated citizens," Hunt said. "We need to have quality schools everywhere and give parents the right to choose the school their children attend."

The Freedom and Fairness program would be used to direct and measure success in all other programs run by the state.

"This will bring greater personal freedom by reducing government control over how we live our lives while also having services and benefits being cost effective and properly implemented," Hunt said.

Hunt understands the obstacles that might block his way if elected this November.

"I am a practical Libertarian," Hunt said. "I will promise what I can most likely achieve. With the House and Senate controlled by Democrats and Republicans, I can only get so much accomplished. As we make progress, people will vote in more Libertarians and more can be done."

When the Libertarian party first came onto the political scene, one of the items that the party did not shy away from were the failed policies of the War on Drugs. Many Libertarian candidates since the beginning have been huge proponents of ending the drug war. As a Libertarian, Hunt is concerned by the effects of these failed policies on the citizens of Georgia and the nation as a whole. Hunt's political platform covers a wide spectrum within the War on Drugs.

"I am putting forth a broad medical marijuana bill as well as allowance of industrial hemp," Hunt said. "If a bill decriminalizing [marijuana] does pass, I will gladly sign it."

Hunt is also in favor of prison reform and early release programs.

"Texas closed three prisons and reduced crime rates at the same time," Hunt said, "The punishment for victimless crimes should be just fines, and I will move in this direction as much as possible. I hope to show a majority of people that moves toward greater Liberty are great for society. I will support changes to the War on Drugs to reduce the impact that drugs have on our society. Much of the impact is the crime related to the drugs being illegal and people being pulled out of society to serve time in prison. I would like to have net savings in our budget by having drug rehabilitation program versus jail time, and would work to get such changes passed into law and implemented. Police could then focus more on protecting the people versus attacking them."

Hunt's ideologies were shaped by his background as the founder and former CEO of a leading nanotechnology company (nGimat) for twenty years.

"I am an engineer and innovator who wants to solve problems in the most cost effective ways," Hunt said. "I work my faith in God to carry out Christ's teachings of love and not judging people. I firmly believe we need to give people a hand up and reduce handouts. Effectively enabling people to be capable and independent produces less need for social support. I, also, believe we do not need law makers, but instead need law erasers that will restore our freedoms and rights. Government should not determine the 'right way' to live life nor restrict personal choices."

Hunt is aware that the history of third party candidates running for office has been bleak, but stays optimistic that he can win the gubernatorial race based on his belief that citizens are tiring of the failings of the two major parties.

"I am here to serve the people and not my party nor special interests," Hunt said. "There are too many attorneys in office already and industry has shown them not to be effective leaders of organizations. Deal and Carter are both attorneys with strong ties to federal government, while I am an engineer and business man. I am a non-career and non-family politician unlike Deal and Carter. I am a constitutionalist while they are federalists. I am a fiscal conservative while Deal and Carter have and will continue to increase Georgia's budgets. Carter will take government to the greatest size possible. I am for a fair and level playing field of free enterprise while Deal and Carter have voted in support of crony capitalism."

Despite his underdog status in the 2014 gubernatorial election, Hunt believes true change is desired by the citizens of Georgia and will only happen through the voting process.

"It is possible to win," Hunt said. "But, we the people must take action and vote in great numbers. The best way to take government back is by voting. We need the media to let people know it is possible, just like the Brat win over Cantor in Virginia. The underdog or long shot can win. More than half of the people are upset with the big parties. We need to let them know that there is a superior choice for Governor that is not a part of these two parties, but a Libertarian that will bring freedom and fairness. There have been a number of independent and other party Governors voted into office in other states, and we really need this in georgia now. We are a run-off state, so each vote needs to be for the candidate that truly will represent the people. Do not worry about keeping one person from being elected, but focus on getting the right one in office."

To find out more about Hunt's campaign go to: andrewhunt.us.

Cannabinoid Profile: A Crash Course in CBN

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In this issue of Cannabinoid Profiles, the properties of CBN are broken down and the therapeutic benefits are explored. Get to know this cannabinoid and discover what studies are currently being done to determine its wide variety of medicinal benefits.

Formula: C21H26O2
Molecular Mass: 310.4319 g/mol
Decarboxylation Point: 77 °C (171 °F)

Boiling Point: 185 °C (365 °F)

LD50 (Lethal Dose): 13500mg/kg for mice (Compare to Nicotine: for mice – 3mg/kg for humans – 40–60 mg/kg)

Cannabinol (CBN) is what tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) will break down into over time due to exposure to oxygen and heat. By this time CBN will become only mildly psychoactive, and much less intense than when it was THC. However, just because this cannabinoid isn’t very psychoactive doesn’t mean it isn’t potent. In fact, CBN is the strongest cannabinoid identified for promoting sleep, which makes cannabis rich in CBN an ideal treatment for insomnia. Indica strains appear to have more CBN than sativa strains, which would explain the commonly held belief that indicas make you sleepy and give you a body high. CBN is a CB2 and CB1 receptor agonist and may inhibit immune cell functionality.

 

Therapeutic Uses

Analgesic – Relieves pain.

Antibacterial – Slows bacterial growth.

Anti-Emetic – Reduces vomiting and nausea.

Anti-Epileptic – Reduces seizures and convulsions.

Anti-inflammatory – Reduces inflammation systemically.

Anti-Insomnia – Aids with sleep.

Anti-Proliferative – Inhibits cancer cell growth.

Appetite Stimulant – CBN appears to be a mild appetite stimulant.

Bone Stimulant – Promotes bone growth by stimulating osteocytes.

Currently Being Studied For

Analgesic: Both THC and CBN have been identified as pain killers, though THC is far more powerful. A 2002 study identified that both THC and CBN cause a release of certain gene-related peptides from sensory nerves and are the only identified cannabinoids to use this mechanism.

Appetite Stimulant: Everyone knows that THC stimulates the appetite, giving users the  ‘munchies’ that many people describe. It was only in 2012 that it was discovered that CBN also stimulates the appetite, though this effect appears to be not as strong as THC.

Cancer: A 2006 study revealed that CBN joins THC and numerous other cannabinoids in having the ability to control the growth of cancer cells. CBN specifically was found to control a type of lung tumor known as a Lewis carcinoma.

*Note: Decarboyxlation - A chemical reaction that removes a carboxyl group and releases  CO2, often triggered by heat or exposure to sunlight.

Click here for a crash course on the other cannabinoids   http://theleafonline.com/c/science/2014/07/cannabinoid-profile-crash-course-cbn/

Dr. Oz: Marijuana is Hugely Beneficial

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The issue of medical marijuana has managed to achieve a great deal of coverage and support through the credible voices of celebrity physicians like CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who has made it his mission to spread the good word about the healing benefits of marijuana. Now it appears as though Dr. Mehmet Oz has decided to hang out with the cool kids.

Earlier this week, Dr. Oz made an appearance on “Larry King Live,” during which King asked him if he had changed his mind about marijuana. “I have,” Oz replied, explaining to King that his beliefs surrounding marijuana have matured. “I grew up like most of my generation believing that marijuana was something Satan was throwing at Americans, a communist plot. But I think most of us have come around to the believe that marijuana is hugely beneficial when used correctly for medicinal purposes,” said Oz.

Not only is Oz willing to stand in support of marijuana for medicinal purposes, he seems to encompass the moral mindset of most cannabis supporters, in which there is a sense of responsibility in establishing regulations that will keep weed out of the hands of children. Yet, it may take awhile before Oz is ready to get on board with the idea of full legalization. “We pervert its use at times,” Oz continued. “I don’t think it should be widely used, certainly not by kids, because that creates a dependence that is unhealthy in any setting. But it absolutely should be widely available in America [for medical use].”

There is a definite shift in the opinion of medical marijuana here in United States. Unfortunately, even though 21 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, Americans will not be able to relish in the full potential of cannabis medicine until the federal government decides to remove the herb from its Schedule I dangerous substance classification.

Medical marijuana could bring big tax revenue to Florida

State projects up to $5.6 billion in sales

Published On: Jul 22 2014 11:06:18 AM EDT   Updated On: Jul 22 2014 11:08:32 AM EDT

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

Florida could rake in big bucks in sales and tax revenue if Amendment 2 passes in November and medical marijuana becomes legal.

State projections of sales range from $138 million to $5.6 billion. State projections of tax revenue range from $8.3 million to $338 million, according to Local 6 News partner Florida Today.

The numbers are based on the number of medical marijuana patients, the amount of pot they may use and the price per ounce.

The state Department of Health estimates there will be 417,000 patients. In addition, the department estimates 250,351 personal caregivers will be needed as well as 1,789 "treatment centers," or dispensaries.

Meanwhile, the estimated cost of carrying out the amendment is just a fraction of possible revenue: About $1.1 million for each of the first two years.

Robert Calkin, founder of the Cannabis Career Institute, believes some of the numbers are conservative but said it's understandable the state would start out that way.

Calkin, a medical marijuana expert from California, holds seminars across Florida and in other states on how to start a medical marijuana business. Florida will have to deal with unanticipated costs, he said. Bureaucracies have been created to regulate the medical pot programs in some other states, without proper training provided to carry them out.

The National Cannabis Industry Association has its own projections of what the Florida market could look like, including the possibility the state could be the second-largest legal market in the country.

The industry projects about 260,000 patients, based on its own criteria, said Taylor West, deputy director. That's 62 percent of the state's projection. "All of this stuff is hard to predict," West said. "It vastly depends on what regulatory scheme they put in place."

Because there is no state data to make estimates, the research office had to look at data from some of the other states that have legalized medical marijuana, said Amy Baker, coordinator of the state Office of Economic and Demographic Research. The office prepared the amendment financial analysis.

The figures were in a report sent to state Attorney General Pam Bondi on Nov. 4, exactly one year before Election Day. There have been no new numbers since, Baker said.

Obama Ends Drug War….Just Like He Closed GITMO and Pulled Out of Iraq

John Vibes

 

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The Obama administration has mastered the art of propaganda better than any administration in the history of American politics. While in the past, politicians were forced to explain the wrongs of government and make up excuses for their transgressions, the Obama administration has learned that all they need to do is deny that those transgressions are even taking place to begin with.

The sad thing is, a majority of the American public pays so little attention to what is going on, that they rarely ever notice when they are being lied to.  Additionally, the mainstream media is complicit as well, standing by the illegitimate claims that are made by the administration.

While running for president during elections, Obama promised to shut down the controversial torture prison at Guantanamo Bay.  Of course, that promise was never fulfilled, and many of his supporters never gave this issue a second look.

While in office, Obama claimed that he was going to order the US military to pull out of Iraq.  This promise was never fulfilled, but the mainstream media has continued to back him up, despite the fact that things have become more dangerous and deadly in Iraq since that war was said to be over.

Now the Obama administration is at it again.  While millions of people are either getting arrested, or still sitting in jail the Obama administration has declared the end of the drug war.

According to The Washington Postofficials recently released a report called the National Drug Control Strategy, which promised a more humane and sympathetic approach to drug users and addiction. Rather than more police and more prisons, officials talk about public health and education. They promise to use evidence-based practices to combat drug abuse. And they want to use compassionate messaging and successful reentry programs to reduce the stigma drug offenders and addicts face.

This sounds all well and good, and this is exactly what the American public wants to hear, but as usual, they aren’t getting what they are being promised.

There has been no real change in policy in regards to the drug war, only empty promises.

Just as the promises that Obama has made to the anti-war movement and the LGBT community, this promise will go unfulfilled as the state continues to arrest and persecute people for nonviolent actions.

Even in areas where certain drugs have been legalized, they are so heavily regulated that people still end up risking their lives by trading these substances; just as moonshiners still risk being arrested nearly a century after the times of alcohol prohibition.

Although it is filled with empty promises, this report does signify that the attitude towards legalization among the general public is changing quickly.  Stay tuned to The Free Thought Project in the coming weeks as we plan our own movement to end the drug war.  The tides are finally turning in the hearts and minds of the people, so now is the time to close the deal.

 


John Vibes is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war. In addition to his writing and activist work he is also the owner of a successful music promotion company. In 2013, he became one of the organizers of the Free Your Mind Conference, which features top caliber speakers and whistle-blowers from all over the world. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can find his 65 chapter Book entitled “Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance” at bookpatch.com.
 

Medical Marijuana 101: 10 Things You Should Know Before Using The Drug

July 21, 2014 | 6:03 AM | Martha Bebinger

 

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As medical marijuana is introduced in Massachusetts, here are 10 things to know about using it.

Whether you are using marijuana for the first time, or trying it for a new ailment, those who praise its benefits say you should be prepared for a period of trial and error. Because:

1) What works for one patient may not work for you. The difference may be in the marijuana, but patients also respond to drugs differently based on age, race, gender, genetics and other factors. (The Food and Drug Administration takes many of these factors into account when testing legal drugs.)

2) All pot is not alike. Every strain of marijuana has a different balance of cannabinoids, the chemical compounds that are unique to marijuana, some of which have medicinal value. The two most common are THC, which can make people high, and CBD, which offsets the effects of THC and is believed to prevent muscle spasms and seizures.

3) Even within the same strain, the intensity of cannabinoids will vary. Take Blue Dream, one of the more popular strains these days. Blue Dream from one grower might have 5 percent THC, but if you change buyers, your next batch of Blue Dream might have 25 percent THC and produce a strong high.

(Here are some examples of the range of chemicals from the first marijuana testing lab to open in Massachusetts.)

4) Patients with a weak or compromised immune system should confirm that their marijuana is free of contaminants: heavy metals, mold, mildew and pesticides. Testing for these contaminants will be required of products sold by dispensaries in Massachusetts.

5) Once you find a strain that has the balance of THC, CBD or other cannabinoids that you want, you’ll have to figure out how much to take. Dispensaries will set doses in Massachusetts. These recommendations may or may not be based on scientific research, because the research is limited.

6) There are many ways to ingest marijuana. You can smoke it, use a vaporizer, eat it in prepared foods, or your own cookies or sauces, or in a concentrated liquid form, or drinks. In this state, dispensaries will be required to make all the marijuana-infused products that they sell. Products sold outside a dispensary may not have been tested and may not be considered legal.

7) How often you take or use marijuana may depend on how you ingest the drug. The effects of smoking or vaporizing are immediate but don’t last as long as eating cookies, where digestion slows but prolongs the effects. If you’ve had a few bites of a cookie baked with marijuana and you don’t feel anything, wait at least one hour before eating more to avoid taking too much.

8) How you store your marijuana may affect the potency. Some patients say heat degrades the potency of tinctures and food products, so they recommend refrigeration.

The state will require expiration dates, but the science used to set these dates may vary from one dispensary to the next.

9) THC in particular may produce side effects, and some heavy marijuana users report the effects of withdrawal when they stop or cut back.

10) Keep in mind that there is a separate charge for testing. At MCR Labs in Framingham, for instance, testing one sample is $70. Three or more are $50 each.

Marijuana news: James Garner, longtime pot smoker, supported legalization

By Noelle Crombie | ncrombie@oregonian.com
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on July 21, 2014 at 6:30 AM, updated July 21, 2014 at 8:49 AM

 

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James Garner, famous for his role as Jim Rockford, the private eye in the 1970s hit show "The Rockford Files," was a longtime marijuana consumer who thought pot should be legal and alcohol outlawed.

Garner died Saturday. He was 86.

Celebstoner's Steve Bloom and Jake Ellison at The Seattle PI point out Garner's memoir, "The Garner Files," in which the actor explains: 

“I started smoking marijuana in my late teens. I drank to get drunk but ultimately didn’t like the effect. Not so with grass. Grass is smooth. It had the opposite effect from alcohol: it made me more tolerant and forgiving. …

“I smoked marijuana for 50 years. I don’t know where I’d be without it. It opened my mind to a lot of things, and now it’s active ingredient, THC, relaxes me and eases my arthritis pain. I’ve concluded that marijuana should be legal and alcohol should be illegal. But, good luck with that.”

Couple other marijuana-related headlines worth a look Monday morning:

Hours before Washington, D.C.'s new marijuana decriminalization law took effect, D.C. police continued to make arrests for pot-related offenses, reports Peter Hermann and Keith L. Alexander, Washington Post staff writers.

According to the Post:

The five are among those who were arrested hours before the District’s new drug law took effect midnight Thursday, making possession of one ounce or less of marijuana a civil penalty instead of a crime. They were in various predicaments, from allegedly smoking dope to perhaps selling it, and some went to jail for the night while others were in handcuffs a few hours and then released with criminal citations, neither of which might happen under the revisions.

Each case’s circumstances are unique, and it was difficult to discern from initial arrest reports whether any of the suspects would have been spared arrest had their encounter with police occurred Thursday instead of Wednesday. D.C. police are reviewing the reports, and spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said that some cases “may not meet the criteria for an arrest under the new law.”

In Seattle, police responded to a suspicious package outside of a hotel room only to find it was marijuana, the Associated Press reports.

And in case you missed it, a Portland man with land in Wasco County is ready to plant industrial hemp, but the Oregon Department of Agriculture rejected the proposal, saying the state's still writing rules for the industry.

-- Noelle Crombie

The Real Reason Pot Is Still Illegal

By Lee Fang

Opponents of marijuana-law reform insist that legalization is dangerous—but the biggest threat is to their own bottom line.

This story was reported in partnership with The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute.

This story was reported in partnership with The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute.

Patrick Kennedy, son of the late Senator Ted Kennedy, did several stints in rehab after crashing his car into a barricade on Capitol Hill in 2006, a headline-making event that revealed the then–US congressman for Rhode Island had been abusing prescription drugs, including the painkiller OxyContin. Kennedy went on to make mental health—including substance abuse—a cornerstone of his political agenda, and he is reportedly at work on a memoir about his struggles with addiction and mental illness. In 2013, he also helped found an advocacy group, Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana), which has barnstormed the country opposing the growing state and federal efforts to legalize pot.

Taking the stage to rousing applause last February, Kennedy joined more than 2,000 opponents of marijuana legalization a few miles south of Washington, DC, at the annual convention of the Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America (CADCA), one of the largest such organizations in the country.

“Let me tell you, there is nothing more inconsistent with trying to improve mental health and reduce substance-abuse disorders in this country than to legalize a third drug,” Kennedy boomed. The former congressman also praised his fellow speakers for standing up to the “extremist responses” from legalization advocates.

Given that CADCA is dedicated to protecting society from dangerous drugs, the event that day had a curious sponsor: Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of Oxy-Contin, the highly addictive painkiller that nearly ruined Kennedy’s congressional career and has been linked to thousands of overdose deaths nationwide.

Prescription opioids, a line of pain-relieving medications derived from the opium poppy or produced synthetically, are the most dangerous drugs abused in America, with more than 16,000 deaths annually linked to opioid addiction and overdose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that more Americans now die from painkillers than from heroin and cocaine combined. The recent uptick in heroin use around the country has been closely linked to the availability of prescription opioids, which give their users a similar high and can trigger a heroin craving in recovering addicts. (Notably, there are no known deaths related to marijuana, although there have been instances of impaired driving.)

People in the United States, a country in which painkillers are routinely overprescribed, now consume more than 84 percent of the entire worldwide supply of oxycodone and almost 100 percent of hydrocodone opioids. In Kentucky, to take just one example, about one in fourteen people is misusing prescription painkillers, and nearly 1,000 Kentucky residents are dying every year.

So it’s more than a little odd that CADCA and the other groups leading the fight against relaxing marijuana laws, including the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids (formerly the Partnership for a Drug-Free America), derive a significant portion of their budget from opioid manufacturers and other pharmaceutical companies. According to critics, this funding has shaped the organization’s policy goals: CADCA takes a softer approach toward prescription-drug abuse, limiting its advocacy to a call for more educational programs, and has failed to join the efforts to change prescription guidelines in order to curb abuse. In contrast, CADCA and the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids have adopted a hard-line approach to marijuana, opposing even limited legalization and supporting increased police powers.

A close look at the broader political coalition lobbying against marijuana-law reform reveals many such conflicts of interest. In fact, the CADCA event was attended by representatives of a familiar confederation of anti-pot interests, many of whom have a financial stake in the status quo, including law enforcement agencies, pharmaceutical firms, and nonprofits funded by federal drug-prevention grants.

The anti-pot lobby’s efforts run counter to a nationwide tide of liberalization when it comes to marijuana law. In 2012, voters legalized pot in Colorado and Washington State; this year, voters in Alaska appear poised to do likewise. Since 1996, twenty-two states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana or effectively decriminalized it, and a contentious ballot initiative in Florida may result in the South’s first medical marijuana law. Meanwhile, legislatures across the country are debating a variety of bills that would continue to ease marijuana restrictions or penalties. On the federal level, a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers has challenged the Drug Enforcement Administration in testy hearings, and many have called for removing marijuana as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, which puts it in the same class as heroin and LSD.

The opponents of marijuana-law reform argue that such measures pose significant dangers, from increased crime and juvenile delinquency to addiction and death. But legalization’s biggest threat is to the bottom line of these same special interests, which reap significant monetary advantages from pot prohibition that are rarely acknowledged in the public debate.

Read the rest of this in-depth article here

Cannabis May Protect Against Ischemic Cardiomyopathy

by TheJointBlog

 

An interesting new study published in this month’s issue of the journal Basic Research in Cardiology has found that the endocannabinoid system plays a key role in protecting the body in the early development of ischemic cardiomyopathy, indicating that cannabis, which regulates and activates the body’s cannabinoid receptors, may provide a potential treatment option for the condition.

Ischemic cardiomyopathy, which is inadequate oxygen delivery to the myocardium (the heart muscle), is most commonly caused by coronary artery disease and can lead to heart failure.

According to the study; “Ischemic heart disease is associated with inflammation, interstitial fibrosis and ventricular dysfunction prior to the development of heart failure. Endocannabinoids and the cannabinoid receptor CB2 have been claimed to be involved, but their potential role in cardioprotection is not well understood. We therefore explored the role of the cannabinoid receptor CB2 during the initial phase of ischemic cardiomyopathy development prior to the onset of ventricular dysfunction or infarction.”

For the study, researchers at the University Clinical Centre Bonn’s Department of Cardiac Surgery used CB2 [cannabinoid receptor type 2]-deficient mice, which “underwent daily brief, repetitive ischemia and reperfusion (I/R) episodes leading to ischemic cardiomyopathy. The relevance of the endocannabinoid-CB2 receptor axis was underscored by the finding that CB2 was upregulated in ischemic wild type cardiomyocytes and that anandamide level was transiently increased during I/R.”

Researchers found that; “CB2-deficient mice showed an increased rate of apoptosis, irreversible loss of cardiomyocytes and persistent left ventricular dysfunction 60 days after the injury, whereas wild type mice presented neither morphological nor functional defects. These defects were due to lack of cardiomyocyte protection mechanisms, as CB2-deficient hearts were in contrast to controls unable to induce switch in myosin heavy chain isoforms, antioxidative enzymes and chemokine CCL2 during repetitive I/R. In addition, a prolonged inflammatory response and adverse myocardial remodeling were found in CB2-deficient hearts because of postponed activation of the M2a macrophage subpopulation.”

Having discovered this, researcher conclude; “Therefore, the endocannabinoid-CB2 receptor axis plays a key role in cardioprotection during the initial phase of ischemic cardiomyopathy development.”

The study, which was published online by the U.S. National Institute of Health, can be found by clicking here.

- TheJointBlog

White House’s 2014 Drug Control Strategy Entails Staying the Course on the Failed Policy of Marijuana Prohibition

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
 
Contact
Mason Tvert, Director of Communications
720-255-4340, mtvert@mpp.org
 
 
White House’s 2014 Drug Control Strategy Entails Staying the Course on the Failed Policy of Marijuana Prohibition
                                              
Obama administration continues to support punishing adults for using a substance that the president acknowledges is safer than alcohol
 
* Statement below from the Marijuana Policy Project *
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The 2014 National Drug Control Strategy released Wednesday by the White House entails staying the course on the failed policy of marijuana prohibition. The strategy can be viewed and downloaded at http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/ndcs_2014.pdf
 
The plan demonstrates the Obama administration’s position that adults should continue to be punished for using marijuana, despite the president’s acknowledgement earlier this year that it is a safer substance than alcohol. In an interview published in January by the New Yorker, Obama said marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer.”
 
Approximately 750,000 people were arrested for marijuana-related offenses in 2012, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Uniform Crime Report released in September. More than 87% were for simple possession.
 
Statement from Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project:
 
“The drug czar's office is still tone deaf when it comes to marijuana policy. It appears to be addicted to marijuana prohibition. Why stay the course when the current policy has utterly failed to accomplish its goals?
 
“The strategy even goes so far as to lament the public's growing recognition that marijuana is not as harmful as we were once led to believe. President Obama finally acknowledged the fact that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, yet his administration is going to maintain a policy of punishing adults who make the safer choice.
 
“Most Americans think marijuana should be made legal, and even the Justice Department has acknowledged that regulating marijuana could be a better approach than prohibition. Legalizing and regulating marijuana is not a panacea, but it is sound policy.”
 

The Fear of Pleasure: Why CBD-Only Legislation is Not a Real Solution

by Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel June 17, 2014


Most of us were caught off-guard by the rush of states this year that approved the limited use of CBD-only marijuana extracts because these traditionally conservative states had heretofore rejected the medical use of marijuana. So it seems worth a moment to consider how this occurred, and what it means on a grander scale.

But first, a little recent history.

Throughout this year’s state legislative season, a total of 10 states enacted laws seeking to provide limited access to medical marijuana products that contain high levels of CBD and virtually no THC for qualified, typically pediatric patients suffering from severe and disabling seizures: Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin.

On one level, this unexpected embrace of the medicinal qualities of marijuana by states that previously rejected the concept must be seen as a favorable development. These serendipitous adoptions reflect a degree of compassion not obvious in the previous legislative debates in those states.

But it is far from certain that these laws will actually help the young patients they are intended to help.

First, such products are primarily only available in a handful of states like California and Colorado and none of these new state laws create a viable in-state supply source for such products. Further, even if a patient from out-of-state could find these products in California or Colorado, it would be a violation of federal law (and also likely state law) to take the medicine back to their home state.

And while some of these laws attempt to establish CBD research projects at their major universities or research hospitals, recent experience demonstrates that few universities or research hospitals are willing to enter this confusing field while marijuana remains a federal crime, and those that may be willing to take the bait will face a steep and long learning curve before the first patient will have high-CBD extracts available.

This legislative rush to CBD-only extracts also suggests (1) the degree to which elected officials are influenced by popular media, (2) their willingness to pick and choose the science they like (while ignoring the science they do not), and (3) the strong puritanical impulse that remains a factor with many elected officials.

And it all relates to the “Gupta Effect”. When CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s report highlighting how high-CBD marijuana products control debilitating seizures among children suffering from Dravet’s syndrome (the most severe form of childhood epilepsy) went public, few Americans had even heard of cannabidiol. Most people were familiar with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that principally accounts for the “high” that marijuana smokers enjoy, but had zero idea that CBD even existed.

Dr. Gupta, who had previously uncritically accepted the federal government’s consistent claim that marijuana had no legitimate medical use, when confronted with actual children whose lives had been transformed following their use of high-CBD marijuana extracts, understandably felt misled by the government’s anti-marijuana propaganda, and went public with two special programs introducing the importance of high-CBD extracts in reducing or eliminating seizures in these children.

- See more at: http://blog.norml.org/2014/06/17/the-fear-of-pleasure-why-cbd-only-legislation-is-not-a-real-solution/#sthash.y99Qd9Od.dpuf

 

Medical marijuana initiative popular with Florida seniors

Britt Kennerly, FLORIDA TODAY

 

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As a teenager and later, as a wife and mom, Mary Greene never considered trying marijuana for any purpose.

That was before she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis 10 years ago. Now 57 and a grandmother, she lives in constant pain but doesn’t want to be heavily medicated, she said.

Pat Suit, who’s in her 70s and a former cigarette smoker, recalls telling her children she knew what was inside what she was inhaling but that they didn’t know what was inside a joint.

All these years later, and after “more education,” she and her husband “are both in favor of medical marijuana and will be voting for it,” Suit said. “I don’t believe anyone should suffer when there is help at hand.”

Rest of the article at FLORIDATODAY

Israel: Study Shows Inhaled Marijuana Relieves Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease

By Steve Elliott Hemp News


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nhaling whole-plant marijuana provides relief from the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, according to observational trial data published in the March/April 2014 issue of the scientific journal Clinical Neuropharmacology.

Scientists at Tel Aviv University's Department of Neurology looked at Parkinson's symptoms in 22 patients at baseline, and again 30 minutes after inhaling cannabis, reports NORML.

The researchers reported that inhaled marijuana resulted in "significant improvement after treatment in tremor, rigidity, and bradykinesia (slowness of movement). There was also significant improvement of sleep and pain scores," the Israeli researchers noted. "No significant adverse effects of the drug were observed."

"[T]his observational study is the first to report an amelioration of both motor and non-motor symptoms in patients with PD treated with cannabis," the researchers reported. "The study opens new venues for treatment strategies in PD especially in patients refractory to current medications."

Israel has allowed the licensed production, distribution and medical use of cannabis since 2011.

 

Since Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado, Crime Falls, Money Rolls In

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In time leading up to the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, there were many predictions of terrible consequences from all sides. However, the numbers on both crime and budget show that the legalization policy has had a very positive impact on the state.

In 2012, David Weaver, the Sheriff of Douglas County which encompasses Denver, predicted: “more crime, more kids using marijuana and pot for sale everywhere.” Similarly, during the legalization debate Colorado Governer John Hickenlooper fretted: “ Colorado is known for many great things—marijuana should not be one of them.. . .I think our entire state will pay the price.”

However, crime rates in Denver have fallen drastically since legalization as they have throughout Colorado. Marijuana-related arrests historically made up about half of all drug-related crime in Colorado. The state government has now released data which shows that both the Denver city and Douglas County murder rates have dropped by more than 50% compared to 2013 since the January legalization of recreational marijuana use. In fact, the Colorado Center on Law and Policy found that by legalizing marijuana Colorado saved $12 to $40 million in 2012 alone.

The Colorado budget has been boosted just as much as crime has shrunk since legalization. The marijuana industry itself has created at least 10,000 jobs—2,000 in the past several months. In February 2014 marijuana sales earned $14 million, and in March 2014 that number jumped to $19 million. And the first four months in 2014 saw in excess of $10 million in tax from retail marijuana sales taken in that will support Colorado infrastructure. The state will gain approximately $134 million in taxes from its estimated $1 billion in marijuana sales in the coming fiscal year. $600 million of that sales figure is expected to come from retail establishments—50% more than what officials expected at first.

Can we expect other states—or the Feds—to follow suit? In part, yes. The Department of Drug Enforcement (DEA) is requesting that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) take marijuana off the roster of most dangerous drugs. It's just one step, but it's an important one, according to most legalization advocates.

This November will see another critical battle over marijuana legalization, this time in Washington D.C. The city will almost certainly be voting on a legalization measure, and it is likely to pass. If it does, the fight will move on to be between the city of Washington D.C. and Congress; these battles are typically perceived as proving grounds for local laws throughout the rest of the country.

Now is definitely the time for this kind of measure to be tested: the majority of Americans now favor legalization of marijuana. This number has climbed steadily since the 1990s, when the amount of money spent on drug control, including marijuana enforcement, began to skyrocket. This was not in response to the numbers of drug addicts, however; the percentage of Americans addicted to drugs has remained fairly constant since the 1970s.

Worth repeating: National Cancer Institute says pot fights cancer

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Last year, the National Cancer Institute — “the U.S. government’s principal agency for cancer research” — created a stir by publishing the truth: the molecules found in pot kill breast and lung cancers in lab tests. Marijuana remains a federally illegal, schedule 1 drug with “no medical use” and “a high potential for abuse”, so the NCI was pressured to take down the statement. But it remains.

Last week, a press release falsely attributed to NBC News indicated that the NCI’s statement was new. It’s not. But it’s worth repeating: pot kills cancer, so why is the federal government arresting hundreds of medical cannabis patients and providers across the country?

Here’s the germane NCI statement:

“Studies in mice and rats have shown that cannabinoids may inhibit tumor growth by causing cell death, blocking cell growth, and blocking the development of blood vessels needed by tumors to grow. Laboratory and animal studies have shown that cannabinoids may be able to kill cancer cells while protecting normal cells.

A study in mice showed that cannabinoids may protect against inflammation of the colon and may have potential in reducing the risk of colon cancer, and possibly in its treatment.

A laboratory study of delta-9-THC in hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer) cells showed that it damaged or killed the cancer cells. The same study of delta-9-THC in mouse models of liver cancer showed that it had antitumor effects. Delta-9-THC has been shown to cause these effects by acting on molecules that may also be found in non-small cell lung cancer cells and breast cancer cells.

A laboratory study of cannabidiol in estrogen receptor positive and estrogen receptor negative breast cancer cells showed that it caused cancer cell death while having little effect on normal breast cells.”

How many people have pot prohibition killed, in terms of cancer patients not treated and research not done? Marijuana: Gateway to Health author Clint Werner says potentially tens of thousands.

“These federal policies hurt people. That’s one reason I get angry. When you know these compounds block the progression of cancer and you do research to promote the idea that it doesn’t work, when it really does — this is evil. It’s a moral evil to keep people from having these remedies.”

For more on cannabis and cancer, read my interview in CULTURE magazine with Dr. Donald Abrams, chief of Oncology and Hematology at San Francisco General Hospital.