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

bill-gives-states-marijuan...r-thcf.jpg

 

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

 

obama-weed.jpg

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

 

51NaXrDv4dL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

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

 

-29da8cd2359112.jpg

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

 

5218-SeniorSmoker2.jpg

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


pot-for-parkinsons-patients.preview.jpg

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

marijuana.jpg

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

tumorMRI-400x600.jpg

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.

Opioid Pain Reliever Prescription Rates Lower in Medical Marijuana States

By: Jon Walker Wednesday July 2, 2014 11:27 am

Opioid-pain.png

I was looking at the new Center for Disease Control and Preventions  report on opioid prescriptions and I immediately noticed an interesting correlation. States with medical marijuana laws on average had noticeably lower rates of prescriptions for opioid pain relievers than states without medical marijuana.

Since the CDC data was from 2012 I looked at the 16 states plus D.C. which adopted medical marijuana laws before the beginning of 2012. Of these 17 jurisdictions 12 had below average opioid pain reliever prescription rates.

The only medical marijuana state that was in the top ten for highest rate of opioid pain reliever prescriptions was Michigan at spot number ten. On the other hand five of the top ten states with the lowest rate have medical marijuana laws.

Studies have indicated medical marijuana can help will pain management and allow people with chronic pain to take fewer opioids. Medical marijuana is often recommended as an alternative for pain in some states.

Of course correlation doesn’t necessarily mean there is causation. It is possible both are just the result of some third factor. For example Democratic-leaning states are more likely to have approved medical marijuana laws, and more liberal legislatures may also be more willing to adopt new health care regulations. The map of opioid prescriptions rates does bear some resemblance to the 2012 Presidential election map and in general Southern doctors are more likely to write prescriptions for many types of drugs, like antibiotics.

I simply point out this correlation because it seems like a subject that might benefit from further exploration by a dedicated researcher, especially as more states adopt marijuana reforms. I’m personally unaware of any broad analysis looking at medical marijuana’s impact on the overall use of prescription opioid medication in the country, but think it would be interesting.

It could be important because as the CDC report notes, opioid pain relievers were involved in 16,917 overdose deaths in 2011.

Jon Walker is the author of After Legalization: Understanding the future of marijuana policy

The Disaster Of CBD-Only ‘Medical Marijuana’ Legislation

Posted by Russ Belville at 6:38 AM on June 23, 2014

Since the premiere of Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s documentary “Weed” back in August, the general public has quickly come to understand the miraculous healing power of cannabidiol, or CBD.  The political perception of medical marijuana changed forever when parents saw little Charlotte Figi, the girl with intractable epilepsy, go from hundreds of seizures a week to just one or two, thanks to CBD treatments.

But that change in perception isn’t a good one.  For now there are two types of medical marijuana – CBD-Only and “euphoric marijuana”, as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie calls medical marijuana that contains THC.  Just as “We’re Patients, Not Criminals” cast non-patients as criminals, the lobbying for these new CBD-Only laws relies heavily on pointing out that CBD is a “medicine that doesn’t get you high”, which casts THC at best as a medicine with an undesirable side effect and at worst as not a medicine but a drug of abuse.

This is a disaster both politically and medically; let’s begin with the former.  Politically, whole plant medical marijuana (the kind with THC in it) began in 1996 in California and from that point, it took eleven years before there were a dozen whole plant medical marijuana states in America.  CBD-Only medical marijuana began in March in Utah and from that point, it’s taken only four months to put us on the brink of a dozen CBD-Only medical marijuana states.

Also consider that of those first dozen whole plant states, eight of them were passed by citizen ballot initiative.  All twelve of the CBD-Only laws were passed by state legislatures, often by unanimous or near-unanimous votes.  Every legislature that has taken up the issue of CBD-Only medical marijuana has seen the legislation fly through the committees and both chambers (except Georgia, and that state was only derailed by some parliamentary shenanigans by one legislator).  Take North Carolina this week as an example.

On Tuesday, a committee of the North Carolina House of Representatives cancelled a meeting to discuss a CBD-Only bill.  No rescheduled date for the meeting was announced.  Local newspapers on Wednesday posted headlines that the bill’s passage was unlikely.  The Senate wasn’t likely to pass the bill in this short session that ends next week.  There would be no good reason for the House to move forward with the bill.

But on Wednesday afternoon, the meeting was suddenly rescheduled and the CBD-Only bill passed unanimously.  This morning (Thursday) the bill was heard by a second committee and passed immediately.  This afternoon it was heard and amended on the House floor where it passed 111-2.  It now awaits passage by the state Senate.

By the end of this week, it seems North Carolina could become the 12th CBD-Only state, joining Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri (awaiting governor’s signature), New York (governor’s executive order), South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin.  Why are legislators so fast to pass these CBD-Only bills?  It’s fair to assume politicians are moved by the plight of epileptic children.  With CBD-Only, there’s no downside of being the guy or gal who voted for legalizing something that “gets you high”.  But even so, how do these bills move so fast and garner little to no opposition?

Because CBD-Only bills are political cover.  Voting for the CBD-Only bill allows the politicians to say they’re sympathetic to the plight of sick people and want to help patients get any medicine that will ease their suffering.  But they can also still play the “tough on drugs” game and maintain their support from law enforcement and prison lobbies.  Their vote garners headlines that a politician formerly considered “anti-medical marijuana” has “changed his mind” or “altered her stance” on medical marijuana.  Best of all, it gets the sick kids and their parents out of the legislative galleries and off the evening news.  For the politicians in these conservative states, it makes the medical marijuana issue go away, or at least puts the remaining advocates in the “we want the marijuana that gets you high” frame where they are more easily dismissed.

Medically, the CBD-Only laws are also a disaster.  Cannabidiol is just one constituent of cannabis and by itself, it doesn’t work as well as it does with the rest of the plant.  Dr. Raphael Machoulem, the Israeli researcher who discovered THC (the cannabinoid that “gets you high”), called it “the entourage effect”, the concept of many cannabinoids and other constituents working in concert, synergistically.  To make an overly-simple analogy, it’s as if we discovered oranges have vitamin C in them, but banned oranges completely and only allowed people with scurvy to eat vitamin C pills.  Yes, those pills can help you if you’re vitamin deficient, but any nutritionist will tell you eating the whole orange will not only allow your body to absorb the vitamin C better, the fiber from the orange is also good for your body, and oranges taste delicious, which makes you a little happier.  Plus, if oranges are in your diet, you’re not going to get scurvy in the first place.

The authors of these CBD-Only bills aren’t writing them for optimal medical efficacy, however, they’re writing them for political cover.  The parents treating their children in Colorado with CBD oil will tell you that it takes quite a bit of tinkering with the ratio of CBD to THC in the oil to find what works best for their child’s type of seizures.  Some of these kids need a higher dose of THC.  But the legislators write the laws mostly to ensure that the THC “that gets you high” is nearly non-existent.

The North Carolina law, for instance, mandates that the oil contains at least 10 percent CBD and less than 0.3 percent THC.  That’s a CBD:THC ratio of at least 34:1.  For comparison, an article by Pure Analytics, a California cannabis testing lab, discusses the high-CBD varietals most in demand by patients are “strains with CBD:THC ratios of 1:1, 2:1, and 20:1.”  The article explains how a breeding experiment with males and females with 2:1 ratios produced 20:1 ratio plants about one-fourth of the time.  It also describes a strain called “ACDC” that “consistently exhibited 16-20% CBD and 0.5-1% THC by weight.”  That’s one variety with a range of 16:1 to 40:1.  But you must only use the ones that are 34:1 or higher.

In another indicator that politicians are more interested in political cover than helping sick kids, many of these laws are written with no mechanism for in-state production and distribution of the CBD oil.  Some expressly protect the parent who goes out of state to acquire the oil (likely from Colorado) and brings it back home.  So parents are given hope for their kids, but they have to go to Colorado, establish three months residency to qualify for a medical marijuana card, clear the hurdles necessary to get their child signed up for the card, purchase the high-CBD oil, break Colorado law by taking it out of state, and break federal law by being an interstate drug trafficker.

Then back home, the parents are safe, assuming the oil they purchased in Colorado meets the CBD:THC ratio mandated by law.  The ratio listed on the label or mentioned by the provider is no guarantee.  At The Werc Shop, a cannabis testing lab in Los Angeles, an intern writes about how she was sold a strain promised to be 15 percent CBD and 0.6 percent THC, a 25:1 ratio that would be illegal in North Carolina if processed into oil.  When she ran liquid chromatography tests on the sample, it turned out to be 9.63 percent CBD to 6.11 percent THC, a 1.6:1 ratio.

CBD-Only isn’t just a political and medical disaster in the states that adopt it.  These laws also have a detrimental effect on the process of passing whole plant medical marijuana in other states.  Every medical marijuana state since California has enacted increasing restrictions on its access based on the need to keep out the illegitimate marijuana users – the ones who just want to get high.  First, qualifying conditions were restricted.  Then, home cultivation of marijuana was eliminated.  Now, medical marijuana laws are being debated and passed that ban all marijuana smoking and allow no access to the plant itself, just pills, oils, and tinctures.

Thus, it is no surprise that as Wisconsin, New York, and Florida are hotly debating and likely to pass whole plant medical marijuana laws, the legislatures and governors of those two states rushed to pass CBD-Only laws first.  It’s reminiscent of then-Govenor Arnold Schwarzenegger rushing to sign a marijuana decriminalization bill in summer of 2010 to take the talking point of California arrests for personal possession away from Prop 19′s campaign to legalize marijuana.  Every press conference and public debate about the CBD-Only bills will emphasize “it doesn’t have the THC that gets you high”, forcing whole plant advocates into a defense of THC’s medical efficacy in spite of the “high” even more than they’re already forced to.

This is why any fight to allow patients to grow whole plant medical marijuana with the high-inducing THC in it must now pivot to the support of all adults’ right to grow marijuana if they want to get high.  Every new restriction on medical marijuana, whole plant or CBD-Only, arises from the perceived need to keep the healthy high-seekers out of the medical marijuana.  Eventually, pharmaceutical companies will perfect the CBD:THC ratios and dosages in sprays, tinctures, and inhalers that will surpass the consistency and efficacy of the plant with its natural variety.  Those companies will be glad to supply the 34:1 CBD oil North Carolina requires and whatever ratio any other state requires, for a hefty profit, of course.

U.S.: Marijuana PTSD Researcher Abruptly Fired From University of Arizona

By Steve Elliott Hemp News

 

images-1.jpg

A prominent marijuana researcher who only months ago had received rare federal approval to study the effects of cannabis on patients with post traumatic stress disorder has been abruptly fired by the University of Arizona.

Professor Suzanne A. Sisley's dismissal puts her research at risk, and has caused dismay among medical marijuana advocates, reports Evan Halper at The Los Angeles Times.

Dr. Sisley, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry, said she was fired after her research created unwanted attention for the university from legislative Republicans who control its funding.

"This is a clear political retaliation for the advocacy and educaiton I have been providing the public and lawmakers," Sisley said. "I pulled all my evaluations and this is not about my job performance."

University officials refused to explain the non-renewal of Sisley's contract, but claimed their motives weren't political.

"The university has received no political pressure to terminate any employee," claimed University of Arizona spokesman Chris Sigurdson, who noted that university supported a 2013 legislative measure permitting such studies.

Dr. Sisley got letters from university officials on Friday, telling her that she will be terminated from her job on September 26. The letters offered no explanation beyond citing guidelines which permit the university to fire its employees.

"In accordance with those policies, my decision is final and is not subject to further administrative review," pronounced a memo emailed to Dr. Sisley from Stuart Flynn, dean of the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which has become notorious for refusing to fund any studies except those that seek to find the harmful effects of cannabis, had moved in March to approve Sisley's research, a very rare occurrence.

Dr. Sisley was authorized to get marijuana from the federal pot farm at The University of Mississippi for a study that was long ago approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The decision gave hope to other scientists that the Obama Administration had shifted federal thinking when it comes to marijuana prohibition. But back in Arizona itself, the research plan upset some important Republicans.

When a powerful GOP state senator moved to block Sisley's state research money, which would have provided marijuana to military veterans in an observation facility on campus, some of Sisley's allies launched an unsuccessful recall effort.

Dr. Sisley said she wasn't involved, but university officials were upset that some activists had used the University of Arizona logo on one of their political flyers. Sisley said at that point, a university vice president commanded her to draft a statement outlining "all of her political activism" -- an order with which she complied.

"I didn't even support the recall," Sisley said. "I thought it was a waste of energy."

There is still a chance Sisley might pursue the research at another university, if she can land another faculty position. She is pessimistic about that possibility, however.

"Any university president is going to worry about taking me on," she said. "Especially at a public university, where you have to rely on the good graces of the Legislature. These lawmakers hate me."

The firing will set back the study, even if she finds another university job. Sisley had to work for months to persuade the University of Arizona's independent research board to allow her study. That would start all over if she begins again at another university.

"This is just going to delay everything for a year or two," she said. "It is just another awful delay for this study."

"What happened here is the repression of science for political purposes," said Rick Doblin, president of the California-based Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), which has sponsored Sisley's marijuana research.

"It is astonishing in this day and age," Doblin said.

- See more at: http://www.hemp.org/news/content/us-marijuana-ptsd-researcher-abruptly-fired-university-arizona#sthash.SwDY1tEP.dpuf

Medical Marijuana And Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Arielle Gerard June 28, 2014

“A 2011 study found that 51% of ulcerative colitis patients and 48% of Crohn’s disease patients are lifetime cannabis users.”  

“A 2011 study found that 51% of ulcerative colitis patients and 48% of Crohn’s disease patients are lifetime cannabis users.”

 

What Is Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)?

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a condition in which areas of your gastrointestinal (GI) system become chronically inflamed. Ulcerative colitis (UC), Crohn’s disease (CD), collagenous colitis, and lymphocytic colitis are types of IBD, with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease being “classic” forms.

Ulcerative colitis comes on slowly and results from inflammation of the inner lining of the colon and rectum. Crohn’s disease results from inflammation of various areas of the GI tract and leads to intense pain and diarrhea, which may subsequently lead to malnutrition.

Cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) are found in the nervous system, including the enteric nervous system (which assists in controlling gut function), and the endocannabinoid system (ECS) has been found essential to maintaining proper gut motility, sensation, and inflammation.

While few high-quality studies have been conducted on the impact of medical cannabis on patients with IBD, evidence is mounting that it may be a safe and effective treatment option for some patients.

Finding optimal treatment for IBD is imperative, as these conditions can be intensely painful, and often cause abdominal discomfort, appetite loss, nausea/vomiting, and other related symptoms. They are therefore likely to cause a decreased quality of life for patients.

Treatment of IBD requires prevention of flare-ups, healing of the gastrointestinal tract where damage has occurred, and treatment of symptoms. Patients are reporting relief as a result of cannabis treatment.

A 2011 study found that 51% of ulcerative colitis patients and 48% of Crohn’s disease patients are lifetime cannabis users, with 33% of the UC lifetime users and 50% of the CD users having utilized medical marijuana for the treatment of symptoms.


Rest of the article here

11 Shocking Facts About America's Militarized Police Forces

The militarization of police is harming civil liberties, impacting children, and transforming neighborhoods into war zones.


Departments around the country continue to transform into local military units compliments of the U.S. Government.

Departments around the country continue to transform into local military units compliments of the U.S. Government.

June 27, 2014  |  

 

 

 

 

The “war on terror” has come home--and it’s wreaking havoc on innocent American lives.  The culprit is the militarization of the police.

The weapons used in the “war on terror” that destroyed Afghanistan and Iraq have made their way to local law enforcement. While police forces across the country began a process of militarization complete with SWAT teams and flash-bang grenades when President Reagan intensified the “war on drugs,” the post-9/11 “war on terror” has added fuel to the fire.  

Through laws and regulations like a provision in defense budgets that authorize the Pentagon to transfer surplus military gear to police forces, local law enforcement are using weapons found on the battlefields of South Asia and the Middle East.  

A recent New York Times article by Matt Apuzzo reported that in the Obama era, “police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.”  The result is that police agencies around the nation possess military-grade equipment, turning officers who are supposed to fight crime and protect communities into what look like invading forces from an army. And military-style police raids have increased in recent years, with one count putting the number at 80,000 such raids last year.

In June, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) brought more attention to police militarization when it issued a comprehensive, nearly 100-page (appendix and endnotes included) report titled, “War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing.”  Based on public records requests to more than 260 law enforcement agencies in 26 states, the ACLU concluded that “American policing has become excessively militarized through the use of weapons and tactics designed for the battlefield” and that this militarization “unfairly impacts people of color and undermines individual liberties, and it has been allowed to happen in the absence of any meaningful public discussion.”

The information contained in the ACLU report, and in other investigations into the phenomenon, is sobering. From the killing of innocent people to the lack of debate on the issue, police militarization has turned into a key issue for Americans. It is harming civil liberties, ramping up the “war on drugs,” impacting the most marginalized members of society and transforming neighborhoods into war zones.  Here are 11 important--and horrifying--things you should know about the militarization of police.

1. It harms, and sometimes kills, innocent people.  When you have heavily armed police officers using flash-bang grenades and armored personnel carriers, innocent people are bound to be hurt.  The likelihood of people being killed is raised by the practice of SWAT teams busting down doors with no warning, which leads some people to think it may be a burglary, who could in turn try to defend themselves. The ACLU documented seven cases of civilians dying, and 46 people being injured.  That’s only in the cases the civil liberties group looked at, so the number is actually higher.  

Take the case of Tarika Wilson, which the ACLU summarizes.  The 26-year-old biracial mother lived in Lima, Ohio.  Her boyfriend, Anthony Terry, was wanted by the police on suspicion of drug dealing.  So on January 4, 2008, a SWAT team busted down Wilson’s door and opened fire.  A SWAT officer killed Wilson and injured her one-year-old baby, Sincere Wilson. The killing sparked rage in Lima and accusations of a racist police department, but the officer who shot Wilson, Sgt. Joe Chavalia, was found not guilty on all charges.

2. Children are impacted.  As the case of Wilson shows, the police busting down doors care little about whether there’s a child in the home.  Another case profiled by the ACLU shows how children are caught up the crossfire--with devastating consequences.

 

 

 

In May, after their Wisconsin home had burned down, the Phonesavanh family was staying with relatives in Georgia. One night, a SWAT team with assault rifles invaded the home and threw a flashbang grenade--despite the presence of kids’ toys in the front yard.  The police were looking for the father’s nephew on drug charges.  He wasn’t there.  But a 19-month-old named Bou Bou was--and the grenade landed in his crib.

Bou Bou was wounded in the chest and had third-degree burns. He was put in a medically induced coma.  

Another high-profile instance of a child being killed by paramilitary police tactics occurred in 2010, when seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones was killed in Detroit.  The city’s Special Response Team (Detroit’s SWAT) was looking for Chauncey Owens, a suspect in the killing of a teenager who lived on the second floor of the apartment Jones lived in.

Officers raided the home, threw a flash-bang grenade, and fired one shot that struck Jones in the head.  The police agent who fired the fatal shot, Joseph Weekley, has so far gotten off easy: a jury trial ended in deadlock last year, though he will face charges of involuntary manslaughter in September.  As The Nation’s Mychal Denzel Smith wrote last year after Weekley was acquitted: “What happened to Aiyana is the result of the militarization of police in this country...Part of what it means to be black in America now is watching your neighborhood become the training ground for our increasingly militarized police units.”

Bou Bou and Jones aren’t the only case of children being impacted.

According to the ACLU, “of the 818 deployments studied, 14 percent involved the presence of children and 13 percent did not.”

3. The use of SWAT teams is unnecessary.  In many cases, using militarized teams of police is not needed.  The ACLU report notes that the vast majority of cases where SWAT teams are deployed are in situations where a search warrant is being executed to just look for drugs. In other words, it’s not even 100% clear whether there are drugs at the place the police are going to.  These situations are not why SWAT was created.

Furthermore, even when SWAT teams think there are weapons, they are often wrong. The ACLU report shows that in the cases where police thought weapons would be there, they were right only a third of the time.

4. The “war on terror” is fueling militarization.  It was the “war on drugs” that introduced militarized policing to the U.S.  But the “war on terror” has accelerated it.  

A growing number of agencies have taken advantage of the Department of Defense’s “1033” program, which is passed every year as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, the budget for the Pentagon.  The number of police agencies obtaining military equipment like mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles has increased since 2009, according to USA Today, which notes that this “surplus military equipment” is “left over from U.S. military campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.”  This equipment is largely cost-free for the police agencies who receive them.

In addition to the Pentagon budget provision, another agency created in the aftermath of 9/11 is helping militarize the police.  The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) own grants funnel military-style equipment to local police departments nationwide.  According to a 2011 Center for Investigative Reporting story published by The Daily Beast, at least $34 billion in DHS grants have gone to police agencies to buy military-style equipment.  This money has gone to purchase drones, tactical vests, bomb-disarming robots, tanks and more.

Read the last 3 pages of this article here

Marijuana Medicine's Near-Miraculous Healing Powers Require the Whole Plant—Not Just One Oil Extract

CBD-only laws are a pretext to extend marijuana prohibition under the guise of 'protecting the children.'

March 23, 2014  |  A version of this article was originally published on the  Pediatric Cannabis Therapy website.

 

Ever since marijuana was banned by the federal government in the 1930s, proponents of prohibition have insisted that cannabis must remain illegal to protect America’s children. “Protecting the children” continues to be the calculated cornerstone of anti-marijuana propaganda, the cynical centerpiece of the war on drugs.

How ironic, then, that today thousands of families in the United States are desperately seeking cannabis remedies to protect their children from deadly diseases. The erstwhile “Assassin of Youth” has become the savior for kids with catastrophic seizure disorders and other life-threatening conditions.

Drawn by the near-miraculous healing power of oil extracted from the marijuana plant, families have been flocking to Colorado and other cannabis-friendly states, where they hope to find a remedy that helps their children, some of whom suffer a hundred seizures a day.

Parents are reporting a dramatic reduction in seizures  — often 50 to 90 percent — when their children are given oral extracts rich in cannabidiol (CBD), a nonpsychoactive cannabis component; these extracts are low in THC, the compound that causes the high marijuana is famous for.

For every family that has uprooted and moved to Colorado, many more have chosen to stay home and lobby local officials in an effort to change state law so they might access an essential medicine. Their poignant pleas are having an impact. Politicians from both parties have been rushing to approve bills that would legalize marijuana for therapeutic purposes in such unlikely places as Kentucky, Georgia,  Tennessee, Nebraska, South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Utah.

However, there’s a catch: The bills under consideration will only allow the use of CBD-rich oil extracts with hardly any THC. Apparently marijuana is still the evil weed to many lawmakers, but somehow certain parts of the plant are good — and now they’re claiming the good parts aren’t actually marijuana!

According to this political pretzel logic, marijuana gets you high, but CBD-rich marijuana doesn’t get you high; therefore, CBD-rich marijuana is not marijuana.

“This is not medical marijuana. It’s just an oil derived from that plant,” according to Wisconsin GOP state representative John Spiros, a former police officer who voted to approve CBD-only legislation. Gage Froerer, a Utah state legislator, weighed in with similar rhetorical gimmickry about CBD: “It’s not a drug. It’s not medical marijuana.”

Last week, Alabama became the first state to approve a CBD-only legislation.

During the notorious vote that outlawed cannabis in America in 1937, a befuddled U.S. Congressman asked House Majority Leader Sam Rayburn from Texas, “What is this bill about?” Rayburn replied, “It has something to do with a thing called marijuana. I think it is a narcotic of some kind.” Still clueless more than seven decades later, influential state lawmakers are claiming that the CBD-only legislation they favor has something to do with a thing called “not marijuana.”

Promoted by impassioned parents, do-gooders, and entrepreneurs with a financial interest in seeing such laws pass, CBD-only legislation has triggered a serious controversy within the medical marijuana community. Some see it as a key first step, a viable tactic for cracking open the prohibitionist door in states governed by retro pols and religious zealots.

Others are less sanguine about the prospect of CBD-only laws. “CBD-only legalization is like being half pregnant. It doesn’t make sense,” says Garyn Angel, founder of Magical Butter, a homemaker’s device for extracting cannabis oil. Angel, who is not enamored of efforts to legalize only low THC concentrates, has provided financial assistance to poor families so they could join the CBD children’s crusade to Colorado.

Continue to read the article here

Ring Lardner on How Medical Marijuana Saves Alcoholics

By O'Shaughnessy's Online

This article originally appeared in O’Shaughnessy’s and is republished with special permission. The legendary sports and screenwriter Ring Lardner Jr. explains how marijuana rescued his friends.

Screenwriter Ring Lardner, Jr. won an Oscar in 1938 for “Woman of the Year” and another in 1970 for “M*A*S*H.” His memoir “I’d Hate Myself in the Morning” (which takes its title from his line to the House Un-American Activities Committee) includes this description of his colleagues Ian Hunter and Waldo Salt:

“Ian, too, had an alcohol problem —one that, unlike mine, increased in severity to the point of debilitation. During the period when we had to come up with an episode for a half-hour television program every week, there were times when I had to perform the task by myself. On occasion, he would pull himself together and make a big effort to match what I had done single-handed. Eventually, though, he came to the conclusion that he would have to give up drinking for good. And he proceeded to do just that, first by enlisting in Alcoholics Anonymous, as he went cold turkey, then, to fortify his abstinence, by substituting marijuana for alcohol.

It happened that a friend of ours, the blacklisted writer Waldo Salt, had made the same medicinal switchover. Since Ian and Waldo also shared a love of drawing, they could pool the cost of a model and spend an evening indulging in pot and art. Neither of them drank again, as far as I know.

“Some years earlier, when the film community was still disproportionately Jewish, my good friend Paul Jarrico announced a discovery. He had been wondering why a small group of his fellow screenwriters —Ian, Dalton Trumbo, Hugo Butler, Michael Wilson, and I— were such a close, cozy group. What bound us together, Paul reported, was the fact that we were all gentiles. ‘Nonsense,’ Ian declared, ‘It’s that we’re all drunks.’ Instantly, I knew he was right. It was by far the stronger bond.”

Read the in-depth study here