#1

MJ News for 01/24/14

in Marijuana in the News Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:06 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points

url: hMPp://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobsullum/2014/01/24/the-president-forgets-to-lie-about-marijuana-and-prohibitionists-are-outraged/




The President Forgets To Lie About Marijuana, and Prohibitionists Are Outraged




No, no, no, say the prohibitionists. Patrick J. Kennedy, the former Rhode Island congressman who chairs the anti-pot group Project SAM, says, “We take issue with the President’s comparisons between marijuana and alcohol.” Yet Kennedy does not really explain why. Here is the closest he gets: “Two wrongs don’t make a right: just because our already legal drugs may have very dangerous impacts on society it does not mean that other drugs should follow the same path.” The first “wrong,” according to Kennedy, was repealing alcohol prohibition. Having made that mistake, he says, we should not compound the problem by legalizing another recreational intoxicant, even if it is less hazardous than alcohol.

That argument can be challenged on practical and moral grounds. If marijuana is a substitute for alcohol (as some evidence suggests), legalizing it could lead to a net reduction in drug-related harm. And even if you accept the paternalistic premise of the war on drugs, it does not seem fair to treat suppliers of one drug as criminals while treating suppliers of a more dangerous one as legitimate businessmen.

Yet Kennedy’s argument is a rhetorical tour de force compared to the protests lodged by other prohibitionists. Writing in The Washington Times, former Oklahoma congressman Ernest Istook complains that “pro-pot proponents…adopt an extremely narrow definition of marijuana’s dangers by [focusing] solely on whether it is ‘toxic.’” Istook is alluding to the fact that it is fairly easy to consume a fatal dose of alcohol, while there has never been a documented death from a marijuana overdose. That fact does seem pretty important in evaluating the relative risks of these two drugs, but it is not the only consideration. “Pro-pot proponents” also note that marijuana impairs driving ability less than alcohol does and that heavy drinking causes devastating organ damage unlike anything seen with marijuana.

Istook trots out the old canard that “marijuana smoke has significantly more carcinogens than tobacco smoke,” implying that marijuana poses a bigger cancer risk. But the typical pot smoker absorbs much lower doses of combustion products than the typical cigarette smoker does, and the epidemiological evidence linking pot smoking to lung cancer, unlike the evidence linking cigarette smoking to lung cancer, is equivocal. Furthermore, there are other ways to consume cannabis (vaporization and edibles) that do not involve inhaling smoke.

Istook claims “adolescent use of marijuana…causes permanent brain damage”—an unproven assertion based on correlational evidence that does not necessarily indicate a cause-and-effect relationship. Public health officials also warn that adolescent brains may be especially vulnerable to the effects of alcohol. That concern is not usually considered an argument for banning alcohol consumption by adults.

Still not convinced that the president was wrong when he said marijuana is safer than alcohol? He can’t be right, Istook says, since “the official National Drug Control Strategy from drug czar R. Gil Kerlikowske lists marijuana as one of the ‘four major drugs (cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine).’” There you go: Since marijuana is a popular illegal drug, it cannot possibly be safer than alcohol. Istook closes with a sneer that was already old when he was elected to Congress in 1992. If you disagree with him about marijuana’s dangers, he says, you “must be smoking something.”

Simply citing risks posed by marijuana, even if they are well established, does not prove it is more dangerous than alcohol—a basic logical point that the president’s critics do not seem to understand. “President Obama is surrounded by a myriad of experts who have voiced serious concerns about the harms of marijuana,” says the Drug-Free America Foundation, “so either he is seriously ill-informed about the issue or is completely ignoring warnings from his highly esteemed advisors.”

Drug warriors also were irked that Obama, rather than reiterating his opposition to marijuana legalization, seemed curious to see how the experiments in Colorado and Washington turn out. Expressing concern about the racially disproportionate impact of pot prohibition, he told Remnick “it’s important for [legalization] to go forward because it’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished.” A few days later, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney emphasized that “the president’s position on these matters hasn’t changed” and that “he’s not endorsing any specific move by a state.” Rather, “he’s talking about the issue of disparities in prosecution of our drug laws that an experiment like this may be addressing.

Still, Obama’s openness to the possibility that marijuana legalization might be something other than a disaster is too much for those who view the plant as inherently evil. “His laissez-faire attitude about legalization has drug policy and prevention experts scratching their heads in confusion as to why the president will not give clear guidance,” complains the Drug-Free America Foundation. “His lack of a formal position on what he is or is not supporting is an irresponsible move for such a person in the most highly regarded position in this country.”

The drug warriors’ confusion reminds me of that Star Trek episode in which the robed agents of repression who enforce a brutally blissful dictatorship, having been freed from the mind control of the computer that runs their society, wander around crying, “Landru! Guide us!” On the subject of marijuana prohibition, it is long past time we started thinking for ourselves instead of relying on a government that has been lying to us for 77 years.


BHC# 711

"When injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes duty."
Thomas Jefferson

“I am not the lifestyle police.”- (my new hero) Pitkin County, CO Sheriff Joe DiSalvo
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#2

RE: MJ News for 01/24/14

in Marijuana in the News Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:10 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points

url: hMPp://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/altered_state/2014/01/colorado_marijuana_legalization_how_it_is_remaking_the_state_s_economy_in.2.html



Marijuana-friendly real estate agents and other enterprising businesspeople looking to make a bundle from Colorado’s weed industry



Real estate agent Rona Hanson walks around a suburban home west of Denver that was recently put on the market by another realtor, liking what she sees. The 3,000-square-foot midcentury brick bungalow is in fine shape, with a picturesque horse farm across the street and front-porch views of the snow-topped Colorado foothills. But what most excites Hanson about it, why she’s eager to show it to her clients, is the 50-square-foot bedroom in the far corner of the basement, a bland space with small windows near the ceiling and a basic attached bathroom. Not your typical selling point for a house, but to Hanson, it’s perfect—a perfect grow room for a dozen recreational marijuana plants, the maximum Colorado residents are now allowed to cultivate per household.

The room offers high enough ceilings to accommodate grow lights, has easy access to water and drainage via the bathroom, and the small windows mean minimal aromas attracting nosy neighbors. This is the sort of stuff Hanson looks for. Since Colorado’s legalized marijuana rules went into effect on Jan. 1, Hanson has advertised her services on Craigslist and in the alt-weekly Westword as a marijuana-friendly realtor, helping people find the perfect property to grow marijuana for personal use, under the tag line “Need room to grow?”

“I think I found a niche,” says Hanson, who comes across more like a low-key grandmother than a high-pressure real estate agent or a pot-crazed zealot. “The last few weeks have been crazy. I’ve been getting 10 calls a day.” Within a day of advertising her services, Hanson, who says she smoked pot in the 1960s but doesn’t anymore, says she received more responses than she had in several months working in her previous specialty: handicapped-accessible housing. Half the calls are from people interesting in leasing pot-friendly residential properties to renters, while another quarter are out-of-state folks planning to move to weed-friendly Colorado. Some callers are looking for real estate for commercial grow facilities or pot shops, and these she directs to her commercial real estate partner. “That’s a whole different ballgame,” she says, adding that because of the high demand for such commercial spaces, plus legal limitations on where commercial marijuana businesses can locate, her partner is having major troubles finding viable properties. That’s why she’s sticking with the personal-consumption market, for whom this particular bungalow could be a great fit. Almost as an afterthought, she notes its upgraded appliances and granite countertop: “It would make a comfortable home to live in as you grow, as well.”

As Hanson is discovering, in the world of legalized marijuana, pot shops and grow facilities aren’t the only business opportunities; there are also all the ancillary businesses that service those pot shops, grow facilities, and the pot-smokers themselves. “You can relate it back to the gold rush,” says Ean Seeb, co-founder of the Denver Relief marijuana consulting company. “For every chunk of gold, you needed picks and shovels, a pan and a sifter, and the same thing applies to cannabis. For every gram of marijuana, you need a bag, labels, receipts, exit packaging, point-of-sale, a way to pay for it, staff, uniforms, a payroll company, insurance, and so on.” It’s why among Denver Relief’s clients is the 100-year-old Denver company Central Bag & Burlap Co., which is now a leading player in the marijuana wholesale packaging business thanks to its MMC Depot division, which sells all types of packaging, from “Root Pouch” fabric grow bags to “CoolJarz” screw-cap containers.

To judge by Colorado’s history, companies like Central Bag & Burlap are making a wise business move. It was the pick-and-shovel, service-and-supply hubs for the Colorado gold rush in the mid-19th century that would go on to become Denver, Boulder, and other established cities. Most of the communities built around actual gold mining in the mountains long ago dried up into ghost towns.

Ancillary businesses are particularly attractive to out-of-state investors. That’s because to have an equity interest in a Colorado marijuana business, state law requires at least two years of Colorado residency. So if you’re an out-of-state entrepreneur who wants to bet on the new industry today, the only choice you have is to invest in the picks and shovels—buying interest in megasized garden product stores, consolidating real estate portfolios to lease to Colorado-based pot-store owners, funding research and development for thumbprint-based security systems for grow facilities.

Plus, while buying recreational marijuana is starting to feel downright ho-hum here in Colorado, let’s not forget that selling, cultivating, and manufacturing marijuana remains prohibited by federal law. Thus, risk-averse businesspeople might prefer to invest in companies that are not directly involved in violating federal law. Ancillary marijuana businesses have another thing going for them: They are far more scalable than the companies they service. As Gregg Holtzman, a partner at Opus Group LLC, explains, “If you’re a marijuana business, you’re tied to one state.” For licensed marijuana businesses, moving to a new part of the country means complying with new sets of marijuana regulations each time. Marijuana side-businesses, however, don’t generally have to follow various state-specific rules, so it’s easier for them to expand into new territories as legalization expands.

Of course, just like regulating and operating licensed marijuana shops has led to all sorts of confounding challenges, launching an ancillary business in a new industry involves its own share of difficulties. Here’s a sampling of the marijuana side-businesses taking root in Colorado and the unique questions each is having to answer:

Testing facilities

When you purchase a bottle of Maker’s Mark, you understand what each shot of it will do to you. But how do you determine the potency and consistency, not to mention chemical makeup, of the marijuana brownie you’re cooking up for sale? If you’re a producer, you turn to Genifer Murray, CEO of 3-year-old CannLabs Inc., Colorado’s longest-running marijuana testing facility, which aims to be among the first of its kind certified in the state once Colorado begins issuing marijuana testing licenses. (While marijuana and marijuana products need not be tested for contaminants or potency under Colorado law, if they are not tested, they must so indicate on their labels.) Murray, for one, says businesses like hers are desperately needed: “Consumers just don’t know what’s in this stuff.” For example, CannLabs found one edible that claimed to contain 300 milligrams of the medically beneficial component cannabidiol (CBD) contained just 16 milligrams it. “It’s like paying for Vicodin and getting sugar pills,” she says.

Unfortunately, while marijuana is made up of at least 85 different chemical compounds called cannabinoids, many of which have different properties, CannLabs only currently tests for nine of them. That’s because before CannLab’s equipment can identify a cannabinoid, it has to be calibrated using a drug reference standard of that cannabinoid—and such reference standards aren’t easy to come by. Since CannLabs doesn’t have a Drug Enforcement Administration license to produce Schedule I narcotics, it can’t produce its own reference standards, and purchasing them from pharmaceutical supply companies that do is expensive. So for the time being, determining all the risks and benefits contained in that pot brownie remains a bit of a mystery.

Point-of-sale systems

“The difference between a drug dealer and a legitimate operation is a point-of-sale system,” says Mark Goldfogel, co-founder of MJ Freeway, a POS, inventory control, and client-record system that’s been used in Colorado dispensaries since 2010. That’s because the only way to legitimize (i.e., tax) all that product is by systematically tracking inventory. And with marijuana, says Goldfogel, not any old POS system will do. In this business, your product literally disappears; over time, a percentage of the marijuana evaporates or degrades into “shake.” That product loss has to be built into the system or it could end up looking like theft or black-market diversion, not the sort of thing marijuana businesses want to be accused of.

Mergers and acquisitions

When Colorado first required medical marijuana businesses to vertically integrate in 2010, the industry was full of shotgun marriages—growers and retailers suddenly had to combine forces into a single entity to comply with the law. Now, as many of those businesses transition to recreational marijuana, some of the growers and retailers involved are going through divorces and shacking up (i.e., consolidating) with other operations. That’s where Chloe Villano comes in. She’s the CEO of Clover Leaf Consulting, which she believes is one of the only business firms in the country that specializes in marijuana-related mergers and acquisitions. Her website could be mistaken for a dating site, with separate areas for those seeking to sell a licensed cannabis business and those seeking to buy one—with Villano playing the matchmaker.

Villano says it can take months for her to find the right business for a potential buyer—she’s seen deals come apart for any number of reasons. In the beginning of her operation, she says that those running marijuana businesses were true believers; they’d seen medical marijuana help people they cared for. Now, she says, “you have big-business Wall Street guys” looking to get into the business. She has to explain to them Colorado licensing law and its residency requirements, byzantine local zoning ordinances, and the other regulatory hurdles. “There’s so much people don’t understand,” she says.

Security

If a marijuana operation wants to comply with Colorado’s 12 dense pages of security rules—detailing everything from the location of security cameras to the dimensions of accompanying video monitors— the Denver-based Canna Security America is the company to go to, says CEO Daniel Williams. That’s because Williams and his partners helped write the rules in 2009 when they were part of the local security company Envision.

In the years since, Williams says the state’s medical marijuana industry hasn’t been the target of many sophisticated burglaries. (Among the more spectacular were the Boulder couple who dressed up as ninjas, complete with samurai swords, to hold up a dispensary for one jar of pot and the guy who belayed into a grow facility one night, Mission Impossible­–style, only to realize he had no way to get back out before the police arrived.) In fact, says Williams, he’s only aware of two armed robberies of Colorado marijuana operations, a number he says is “ridiculously low” compared to the rates for liquor stores or gas stations.

That doesn’t mean the 12 pages of security rules aren’t necessary, says Williams. He says all those cameras and video monitors help to deter a much more common kind of theft in the industry: the internal kind, with a bit of pot pocketed here and there by budtenders or shop employees. “You’re dealing with a small cash crop that’s very valuable, very transportable, and hard to track,” he explains.

* * *

Since most of these businesses don’t directly involve growing or selling marijuana, they appear to be on safe legal ground. (Though these days, the entirety of Colorado’s legal marijuana industry seems pretty secure, considering President Obama said that “it’s important for it to go forward” in a recent New Yorker profile.) But that doesn’t mean these ancillary businesses don’t have to be careful. After all, what if the tide shifts and the federal government changes its mind—are these side businesses really safe from any crackdowns? After all, according to federal law, if any part of your property is involved in the manufacture or distribution of controlled substances, that entire property can be seized by federal officials. That means Central Bag & Burlap Co. could lose its business, MJ Freeway’s detailed customer records could be confiscated, and that lovely suburban bungalow Hanson is shopping around to marijuana growers could be snatched up by the government.

Hanson, for one, isn’t too worried about the risk of mixing real estate and marijuana. “People buying a property should do their due diligence and seek an attorney’s advice,” she says. “But I don’t really see the feds coming in and grabbing property in Colorado. From the looks of it, that would really be a nightmare for the feds.”

Nor does she recommend that residential pot growers dismantle their in-home grow rooms before they look to sell or lease to someone else. As she’s come to discover, in Colorado these days, it’s not a liability: “It’s an added value to the property,” she says.


BHC# 711

"When injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes duty."
Thomas Jefferson

“I am not the lifestyle police.”- (my new hero) Pitkin County, CO Sheriff Joe DiSalvo

Last edited Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:12 pm | Scroll up

#3

RE: MJ News for 01/24/14

in Marijuana in the News Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:16 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points

url: hMPp://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/24/us/legal-marijuana-businesses-should-have-access-to-banks-holder-says.html




Legal Marijuana Businesses Should Have Access to Banks, Holder Says




Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said Thursday that lawful marijuana businesses should have access to the American banking system and that the government would soon offer rules to help them gain it. The rules are not expected to give banks a green light to accept deposits and provide other services, but would tell prosecutors not to prioritize cases involving legal marijuana businesses that use banks.

“You don’t want just huge amounts of cash in these places. They want to be able to use the banking system,” Mr. Holder said at the Miller Center at the University of Virginia. “There’s a public safety component to this. Huge amounts of cash, substantial amounts of cash just kind of lying around with no place for it to be appropriately deposited, is something that would worry me, just from a law enforcement perspective.”

Ryan Kunkel, right, and Joel Berman, co-owners of several marijuana dispensaries, counting money at their office in Seattle.Banks Say No to Marijuana Money, Legal or NotJAN. 11, 2014
For marijuana growers and retailers in the 20 states that have legalized the drug for recreational or medical use, money and banking are perhaps the most vexing challenges of doing business. Piles of cash accumulate in back rooms and safes, making the businesses, their employees and their customers a target for robberies. Businesses often have no access to business loans or regular lines of credit. Many say they struggle to even keep a checking account open to pay their employees or electricity bills.

“It’s a security risk not just for the industry but all these other folks,” said Michael Elliott, the executive director of the Medical Marijuana Industry Group, who added that he was encouraged by Mr. Holder’s comments.

Most banks remain leery of accepting deposits from a marijuana dispensary, for fear that they could lose their charter, attract unwanted attention from regulators or even risk prosecution for money laundering. And it was unclear on Thursday what exactly the new federal guidelines would say, and whether they would apply to states that allow medical marijuana, or just to Colorado and Washington, where the drug is legal in small amounts for anyone 21 or older.

For the banking industry, the details of the guidelines will be crucial for deciding whether banks feel comfortable taking deposits, giving loans or issuing credit cards to legal marijuana businesses. Without specific guidelines, many banks might continue to refuse transactions with legal marijuana businesses.

Richard Riese, senior vice president for regulatory compliance at the American Bankers Association, said this month that banks would want to know, for instance, that they were not “aiding and abetting” a criminal enterprise if they provided such services.

“Banks will need a lot of detail from regulators to get the satisfaction and comfort they are looking for,” he said.

For months, elected officials and law enforcement agencies in states that have legalized marijuana have urged federal officials to offer guidelines that would clarify the government’s stance on banking and marijuana businesses.

While marijuana is illegal in most states and is prohibited under federal law, the Obama administration said last summer that it would allow Colorado and Washington State to move ahead with legalizing the drug for recreational use.

In a recent interview with The New Yorker, President Obama said that despite his misgivings about marijuana and the push for broader legalization of the drug, it was important that Colorado’s and Washington’s experiments go forward.

“It’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished,” he said.

Andy Williams, who runs Medicine Man, a dispensary in an industrial park in Denver, said dependable access to bank accounts and credit could revolutionize his business.

Like many other retailers, Mr. Williams is sometimes drowning in cash. He said he has hired an armored-car service to move his money, and tries to pay his bills in cash as much as possible to reduce the amount he has on hand. He continually jumps from one bank to another when financial institutions decide his account is not worth the risk. To try to keep the banks from catching on, he said, he even sprays his cash with Febreze to disguise the scent of marijuana.

“We’re always scared, if we have a bank account, about keeping it,” he said. “We go to great lengths to lower our profile.”


BHC# 711

"When injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes duty."
Thomas Jefferson

“I am not the lifestyle police.”- (my new hero) Pitkin County, CO Sheriff Joe DiSalvo
Scroll up

#4

RE: MJ News for 01/24/14

in Marijuana in the News Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:18 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points

url: hMPp://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/2014/01/23/commissioner-roger-goodell-marijuana/4797267/




Goodell: NFL would consider allowing medical marijuana




NEW YORK – Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday the NFL would consider allowing athletes to use marijuana to treat concussions and other head injuries if medical experts deemed it a legitimate solution.

Appearing with General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt to announce the first 16 winners of the $20 million "Head Health Challenge," sponsored by GE and the league, Goodell didn't sway from his recent statements on use of the drug by active players.

"I'm not a medical expert. We will obviously follow signs. We will follow medicine and if they determine this could be a proper usage in any context, we will consider that," Goodell said. "Our medical experts are not saying that right now."

Both Colorado and Washington -- home states of the Super Bowl teams, the Seahawks and Broncos -- are the only states where the drug is legal for recreational use. Twenty more, plus Washington D.C., allow for medicinal marijuana use. A report on HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" Tuesday estimated that between 50%-60% of the league's players regularly use the drug, many for pain management. The show also interviewed an Israeli doctor who showed how treating mice with head trauma with marijuana showed drastic improvement in their symptoms.

While the league is not willing to reconsider its stance on that potential treatment, they are showcasing a number of potential innovations in diagnosis of head injuries. More than 400 applicants in 27 countries applied for $300,000 awards in the Head Health Challenge, which ended up going to researchers at a mix of 16 private companies and universities.

Representatives from three of the awardees were in attendance at the league offices to discuss their projects.

BrainScope Company, based in Bethesda, Md., is working with Purdue University's Neurotrauma Group to enhance its handheld traumatic brain injury detection technology. The tool, which would fit over a player's head and could be used on a sideline, would provide a more specialized assessment of any possible brain injury suffered on the field.

BrainScope's device is currently under development for trial use only, meaning that it would need to get FDA approval before it could be used in a practical setting. The potential for that future prospect with BrainScope as well as the evolution of blood tests, new brain imaging techniques and other groundbreaking studies has the commissioner feeling positive about the next frontier in combating the league's concussion crisis.

"Not only are we going to get better at diagnosis, but we're going to make a difference in the prognosis and the treatment," Goodell said. "People are going to get better."


BHC# 711

"When injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes duty."
Thomas Jefferson

“I am not the lifestyle police.”- (my new hero) Pitkin County, CO Sheriff Joe DiSalvo

Last edited Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:19 pm | Scroll up

#5

RE: MJ News for 01/24/14

in Marijuana in the News Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:21 pm
by Weedhopper | 1.210 Posts | 4031 Points

Man I have never seen so much news coverage on MMJ as I have lately. Very Cool. Even Texas Govn. RICK PERRY is backing small amounts of MJ. Im in Shock that that RP would back MJ in any way.


Last edited Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:22 pm | Scroll up

#6

RE: MJ News for 01/24/14

in Marijuana in the News Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:24 pm
by Monoxide | 648 Posts | 2591 Points

a friend told me that he saw on the news where TN may pass medical mj. I can't seem to find anything on it. Maybe he was bs'ing. or just rumored.


Say what you will of me, I'll always have Juggalo Family!! MCL!!
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#7

RE: MJ News for 01/24/14

in Marijuana in the News Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:24 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points

url: hMPp://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobsullum/2014/01/23/is-rick-perry-more-liberal-on-marijuana-than-barack-obama/




(TX) Is Rick Perry "More LIberal" On Marijuana Thank Barack Obama




During a drug policy panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, today, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said states have a right to go their own way on marijuana, although he personally continues to oppose legalization. “I am a staunch promoter of the 10th Amendment,” Perry said, explaining that states should be free to set their own policies in areas such as abortion, gay marriage, and marijuana, and “then people will decide where they want to live.” At the same time, he declared that Texans “certainly would never jump out in front of the parade” toward legalization, although he said he supports “policies that start us toward a decriminalization and keep people from going to prison and destroying their lives,” which is “what we’ve done over the last decade.”

What Perry means by “decriminalization” is pretty much what New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie means when he says he will “end the failed war on drugs”: giving nonviolent drug offenders a choice between a treatment slot and a prison cell. In other words, it’s not really decriminalization, which at the very least means eliminating criminal penalties for users, not using those penalties as a hammer to reform them against their will—which is also what Barack Obama’s drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, had in mind when he declared that “we certainly ended the drug war.”

Rick Perry
Rick Perry (Image: WEBN-TV)

Still, Perry’s federalism is one of the few things I like about him, although I would argue that he is not quite as committed to that principle as he claims to be. U.S. News reporter Steven Nelson says Perry’s willingness to let 50 cannabis flowers bloom (or not, as the case may be) is “a more liberal position than the one held by the Obama administration,” since “the Justice Department said in August it will conditionally allow Colorado and Washington to open state-licensed stores, but reserved the right to shut them down for violating federal law.”

Nelson has a point, although President Obama’s recent comments about legalization in Colorado and Washington suggest he is willing to learn from state policy experiments even if he is also prepared to squash them. Yesterday White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Obama, who told The New Yorker ”it’s important” for legalization in those states “to go forward,” is “not endorsing any specific move by a state.” Rather, “he’s talking about the issue of disparities in prosecution of our drug laws that an experiment like this may be addressing.” For now, at least, the laboratories of democracy are up and running.


BHC# 711

"When injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes duty."
Thomas Jefferson

“I am not the lifestyle police.”- (my new hero) Pitkin County, CO Sheriff Joe DiSalvo
Scroll up

#8

RE: MJ News for 01/24/14

in Marijuana in the News Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:25 pm
by Weedhopper | 1.210 Posts | 4031 Points

See,,I told ya. Cant believe it.


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#9

RE: MJ News for 01/24/14

in Marijuana in the News Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:33 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points

url: hMPp://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/blind-man-asks-to-be-charged-with-cannabis-possession-to-challenge-law-1.1666863


Blind man asks to be charged with cannabis possession to challenge law



A man who has had both his eyes removed due to glaucoma has handed himself into gardaí with a quantity of herbal cannabis in a protest designed to challenge the law regarding the use of the drug for medicinal purposes.

Mark Fitzsimons (30) has been blind for the last five years and believes that by being prosecuted for possession he may be able to avail of free legal aid in order to test legislation.

On Thursday, with the help of his cane and carer, the Dundalk resident presented himself to gardaí with a small quantity of the drug and requested he be charged with possession in order to secure a court appearance.

Gardaí confiscated the substance and issued him with a formal caution. Once a test confirms it is cannabis, Mr Fitzsimons is expected to receive a
summons to attend court.

“I am delighted; it went really well,” he said after emerging from the Garda station.

Mr Fitzsimons said he had discovered as a teenager the medicinal effects of the drug and believes it should be made available to others.

“More and more studies show that cannabis can be used and is used and it’s the best form of treatment for it,” he claimed. “I also found out it’s an anti-inflammatory.

“The older I got the more certain I became of it. I remember saying this to people and all they would say is, ‘that’s illegal’.”

He said that while people he spoke to dismissed cannabis as a recreational drug, he had been given prescription pain killers that took him six months to come off when he had his second eye removed five years ago.

Today, he says, he uses it to help alleviate occasional phantom pains.

Glaucoma is a condition that, if untreated, can eventually lead to total blindness. It results from the over production of “aqueous humour” fluid which creates necessary pressure in the eyes. If the fluid does not drain properly, it causes an increase in pressure which can damage the optic nerve.

Mr Fitzsimons believes that aside from alleviating pain, cannabis can be used to treat the condition, not necessarily through smoking, by reducing pressure. He says he may have kept his eyes had it been a medical option.

While his theory is bound to cause debate, his hopes for a legal challenge are designed to do exactly that.

In a pre-prepared statement to gardaí, he said it was his conviction that the drug offers “massive potential benefits” for glaucoma and other serious illness.

“At the moment I can’t challenge the law because I don’t have the money to challenge it and that is the same for most people who have a medical situation,” he said.

After being processed by gardaí he emerged victorious, explaining: “They said when the analysis comes back, if it’s legitimate cannabis I will receive a summons.” He now awaits his day in court.


BHC# 711

"When injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes duty."
Thomas Jefferson

“I am not the lifestyle police.”- (my new hero) Pitkin County, CO Sheriff Joe DiSalvo
Scroll up

#10

RE: MJ News for 01/24/14

in Marijuana in the News Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:36 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points

url: hMPp://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2014/01/24/prisoner-rats-himself-out-with-facebook-selfie-of-cell-grown-cannabis/




(Poland) Prisoner rats himself out with Facebook selfie of cell-grown cannabis




A Polish prisoner has taken one of the most head-desk-bang-bang selfies ever: a picture of himself, taken on a contraband mobile phone smuggled into the prison, showing a lush, equally contraband and definitely illegal cannabis plant he grew from seed in his cell.

According to Metro, Marcin Zendarski used the illegal smartphone to keep in touch with friends, watch TV shows and browse the web from an Austrian jail.

He also smuggled in cannabis seeds and secretly grew a plant in his cell, in Garsten jail, Upper Austria.

According to the Polish newspaper Fakt, Zendarski began to distribute marijuana to his fellow inmates.

The horticulturist was understandably proud.

One look at the selfie he posted onto Facebook of himself with the plant shows why: it's a darn healthy looking specimen.

But as these things tend to happen, the photo began to get popular online.

Thus - you saw this coming, of course - the guards got wind of his growing operation.

A search of the entire prison ensued, and guards found plenty of illegal items and substances.

Zendarski has received additional time for drugs and a fine for having a smartphone.

He's also apparently been receiving death threats from other prisoners who lost out when they were found to have illegal items. He's on round-the-clock surveillance as a result.

I don't want to poke fun at a man who could lose his life over the sometimes illegal substances of pot and smartphones.

But this is yet another, extremely extreme case of being careful about what you post online.

Whether you're talking about a burglar jumping on Facebook to dare police to catch him if they can (they did, in 5 minutes) or people posting about clueless bosses (and thereby potentially getting fired or not hired) we've all got to get it through our heads that bosses, potential employers, police and yes, prison guards all - duh! - use Facebook.


BHC# 711

"When injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes duty."
Thomas Jefferson

“I am not the lifestyle police.”- (my new hero) Pitkin County, CO Sheriff Joe DiSalvo
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#11

RE: MJ News for 01/24/14

in Marijuana in the News Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:38 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points

url: hMPp://www.royalgazette.com/article/20140124/NEWS02/140129854




Former MPs united in support for cannabis reforms — with reservations based on age




Possible reforms of the Island’s cannabis laws have been welcomed by veteran politicians Delaey Robinson and Ashfield DeVent.

But the former Progressive Labour Party MPs also questioned the rationale of the current debate on cannabis — and cautioned against rushing in.

As a PLP backbencher in 2000, Mr Robinson incited controversy when he called for an end to the “stop list” for people caught with the drug and even more so when he advocated outright decriminalisation.

Mr Robinson said yesterday that his views hadn’t changed.

“The whole country should be realistic about this,” he said. “The reality is that young peoples’ brains are vulnerable to psychosis from cannabis below the age of 21.

“This isn’t the case for all of them but the danger is that we don’t know who would be vulnerable and who wouldn’t. That’s my main problem with opening up.”

Simple prohibition had proved itself to be “a idea”, he said.

“It’s self defeating. The more you up the ante, the higher the price and the more attractive it is for entrepreneurs to supply it.

“A more educated approach to the topic is what’s required, rather than just opening the gates.”

Mr Robinson pointed out that the black community tended to bear the brunt of anti-cannabis laws, and said he now regretted that he hadn’t taken a stronger stance as an MP.

“That was particularly gruelling when the PLP government came in because we had a black government locking up black youth with legislation imported from America,” he said.

“The thing legislators say is ‘It’s their fault — they should know the law’. Bermuda has done itself a vast disservice. Think of the huge cost, not just socially but economically, that it’s had for us.”

A conviction for cannabis, regardless of quantity, brings with it a travel ban to the US that can last for decades.

Asked if politicians and the general public had refused to take him seriously because of his Rastafarian-style locks, Mr Robinson laughed that forming assumptions based on peoples’ hair was “madness”.

However, he didn’t believe he had been discriminated against on that count.

“I was quite amazed by the respect that I got, including from a significant sector of the white community.

“I don’t think it was ‘anti-dread’ people — people weren’t listening because, let’s face it, there has been 50 years or more of propaganda, especially by the US government.

“People blithely believed it. So you would expect people not to take seriously the lone voice of a politician.”

Mr Robinson questioned whether legalisation would present “the same mistake as was made in taking up prohibition in the first place”.

“The big mistake would be not addressing the problem that freely available cannabis presents to the youth,” he said. “Because Government has made this prohibition, my big fear is that nothing could be done sensibly to warn them of possible dangers, because young people won’t believe it.”

Mr Robinson didn’t remain a voice in the wilderness for long — fellow former PLP MP Ashfield DeVent spoke out against criminalising cannabis more than ten years ago.

“I’m happy to see this debate come back to the fore although I’m a little sceptical as well,” Mr DeVent said.

“Both sides of the political divide seem to be talking about this very suddenly — one has to wonder if it’s a move to attract young voters, particularly when you look at how close the election was. I wonder if they’re trying to pander to the youth vote.

“It was in 2002 that I raised it publicly as an aspiring politician. I was saying we should have decriminalisation.

“My primary concern was that we were criminalising people who were otherwise good, hard working citizens.

“As a reporter I would see people pulled to the courts and getting a criminal record for minuscule amounts. I thought it was criminal.

“I continued to beat the drum and it never really got any traction within the PLP — nor with the then-United Bermuda Party.”

Mr DeVent, who also has locks, added: “I think part of it is that, at that time, the only people bold enough to stand up and speak seemed to be people who had dreads.

“I think some people looked at it as a pot head speaking. At the time, I had stopped smoking.”

With the headlines generated by Colorado’s move into legal sales — plus the revenue generated — Mr DeVent said much of the fresh debate was following the US.

“I’m glad to see the debate but we must proceed cautiously,” he said. “Like most things in Bermuda there seems to be a racial connotation with this.

“I believe that if we go the step of decriminalisation, more employers will be moving toward drug testing.

“A lot of people would be in trouble. It could be used to fire people. These are things that could be issues.”

Mr DeVent pointed out that legalising cannabis in Bermuda would open the door to the provider of the drug reaping enormous profits.

“It seems to me we’d be moving toward giving somebody the licence to cultivate,” he said, suggesting that it would be preferable to permit individuals to cultivate a specified number of plants for their own use.

He also echoed Mr Robinson’s concern over the possible damage to vulnerable peoples’ health.

“I know people who have smoked cannabis for 30, 40 years with no problem,” he said. “I’ve worked with people who smoked daily and were good workers.

“But I know a couple of people who have smoked it and flipped out.

“The message needs to be put out there to young people that there are ramifications to smoking.”


BHC# 711

"When injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes duty."
Thomas Jefferson

“I am not the lifestyle police.”- (my new hero) Pitkin County, CO Sheriff Joe DiSalvo
Scroll up

#12

RE: MJ News for 01/24/14

in Marijuana in the News Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:41 pm
by Rosebud | 499 Posts | 2113 Points

THANK YOU FOR ALL THE NEWS 7G, sorry, i didn't mean to yell.

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#13

RE: MJ News for 01/24/14

in Marijuana in the News Fri Jan 24, 2014 2:47 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points

NO PROBLEM ROSE...lol... :)


BHC# 711

"When injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes duty."
Thomas Jefferson

“I am not the lifestyle police.”- (my new hero) Pitkin County, CO Sheriff Joe DiSalvo
Scroll up



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