MJ News for 02/12/2014

in Marijuana in the News Wed Feb 12, 2014 11:31 am
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points

url: hMPp://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2014/02/11/wendy-davis-supports-medical-marijuana/

Wendy Davis supports medical marijuana

Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis said she supports medical marijuana use as well easing the state's legal consequences for possessing small amounts of the drug.

Davis' comments echo those of current Republican Gov. Rick Perry, who said he supports less stringent penalties in Texas for marijuana use.

Perry made the comments at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last month, highlighting his work toward decriminalization.

Davis, a state senator, said Perry's approach is "reasonable," according to an interview with the Dallas Morning News that was published Tuesday.

"I do believe that Governor Perry's approach is a reasonable approach, that we as a state need to think about the cost of that incarceration and, obviously, the cost to the taxpayers as a consequence of it, and whether we're really solving any problem for the state by virtue of incarcerations for small amounts of marijuana possession," she said.

Texas law classifies marijuana possession, even small amounts, as a class B misdemeanor, punishable by fines and jail time.

Asked her position on medical marijuana use, Davis said she personally supports it but, ultimately, as governor she'd have to take the temperature of the state on the issue.

"With regard to medical marijuana. I personally believe that medical marijuana should be allowed for. I don't know where the state is on that, as a population," she said.

"Certainly as governor, I think it's important to be deferential to whether the state of Texas feels that it's ready for that," she said, adding that it's worth watching other states experimenting with decriminalization.

Two states, Colorado and Washington, have legalized recreational marijuana use. Another 18 states, along with the District of Columbia, allow some legal pot use, primarily for medicinal purposes.

Voters in Colorado and Washington approved constitutional amendments on their state's respective ballots in November to legalize pot use. Asked by the Dallas Morning News if she would have voted, as a private citizen, for legalization, Davis hesitated.

"From a philosophical position, do I have any objections to the fact that citizens might want to legalize marijuana? No, I don't. But I think watching to see how this experiment plays out in other states is probably advisable before I could tell you for sure," she said.

Attempts thus far by lawmakers in Texas to lower state's penalties for people caught possessing small amounts of marijuana, have failed. Davis said she would have supported a bill easing penalties. As governor, Davis said she would "consider" a bill moving marijuana possession from a criminal offense to a civil matter.

A CNN/ORC International poll conducted in January shows a majority of Americans think marijuana use should be legal. The national survey also indicted the number of people who say smoking pot is morally wrong has plunged.

In Colorado specifically, a Quinnipiac poll released Monday shows support for the state's recreational marijuana law has increased from last month. Though support seems to be trending upwards, a majority of Colorado voters also say the new law is bad for the state's image.

If Davis wins her March 4 primary, she will face likely Republican Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott in the general election last this year.

Davis' office confirmed to CNN the senator's comments in the Dallas Morning News interview.

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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RE: MJ News for 02/12/2014

in Marijuana in the News Wed Feb 12, 2014 11:33 am
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points

url: hMPp://business.time.com/2014/02/11/now-you-can-order-marijuana-and-have-it-delivered-to-your-door/

Now You Can Order Marijuana and Have It Delivered to Your Door

In Washington, placing an order for a pot delivery is now as easy as dialing up for a pizza. Only with marijuana orders, deliveries are made by characters named Otter, Wombat, and Possum.

While shops in Colorado began selling recreational marijuana at the beginning of the year, similar retail outlets in Washington—the other state where voters approved the purely recreational use and sale of pot—won’t start selling weed for non-medicinal purposes until spring or summer. Filling the void in the state where demand for pot is extraordinarily high are businesses such as the Winterlife Cooperative Cannabis Delivery Service.

The service provided is just like the name indicates: Anyone age 21 and up in the greater Seattle area can call up and choose among a daily menu of marijuana and place an order for delivery. Prices run roughly $80 per quarter-ounce of weed, and cash is the only accepted form of payment.

Winterlife’s FAQ page explains that customers can expect delivery to arrive around 45 minutes after an order is placed. The page also addresses a stickier question: Is this operation actually legal? The co-op obviously thinks so, even if a customer hasn’t specifically received a medical prescription to use marijuana. “All adult Washingtonians qualify for ‘Medical Cannabis’ out of ‘Medical Necessity’,” the site explains. “We ‘Good Samaritan’ Critters will continue to provide ‘Safe, Reliable and Legally Defendable Service’ for as long as it takes for ALL adults in Washington to have access to cannabis!”

Oh yeah: About the “critter” business. All Winterlife employees are referred to as “critters,” and even use soft-and-fuzzy critter names—Fox, Owl, Wombat, Otter, Hawk, Panther, Bear—rather than their real names on the job. So, as if ordering legal weed wasn’t a trippy enough experience on its own, your order will be handled over the phone and later arrive in the hands of Possum, or another delivery dude with some such name. In addition to pot edibles and various strains of marijuana, Winterlife sells a special “Critter Box” starter kit for $350, which includes a few kinds of marijuana and hash, as well as a vaporizer and a pipe. For each box purchase, Winterlife says it donates $100 to a nearby animal rehab center called South Sound Critter Care.

Seattle police spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb clarified to the Seattle Times that services like those of Winterlife are “not legal.” And yet neither drivers nor customers nor anyone else seems to be at risk of getting in trouble. Pot delivery “undermines the spirit of the law,” said Whitcomb, but he doesn’t expect the authorities to take any action to stop the practice. “Like anything else, our department takes all the complaints and dedicates our resources in a way that makes sense and is going to be most impactful.”

When The Stranger, an alternative weekly in Seattle, asked directly if the police department would pursue criminal action against pot delivery practitioners, Whitcomb responded, “Probably not.” At least partly because marijuana’s legality is currently in an in-between stage—approved for recreational sale, yet not available for direct sale yet—it seems as if the police are choosing to look the other way for a few months. “It is too early to say where a companion delivery service merits any further review,” Whitcomb said.

So far, that means Winterlife can simply go about its business of delivering marijuana—a business that’s currently averaging four stars on Yelp.

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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RE: MJ News for 02/12/2014

in Marijuana in the News Wed Feb 12, 2014 11:34 am
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points

url: hMPp://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_25117594/magazines-sue-colorado-over-marijuana-advertising-restrictions

High Times, Westword sue Colorado over marijuana ad restrictions

The publisher of marijuana magazine High Times has sued the state of Colorado in federal court over the state’s rules preventing recreational cannabis businesses from advertising in most publications.

High Times, along with local weekly magazine Westword, filed the lawsuit on Monday. It marks the first time anyone has challenged the restrictions in court.

The rules allow recreational marijuana businesses to advertise only in publications that are adult-oriented. According to the state’s rules, recreational marijuana stores can advertise only in a publication that “has reliable evidence that no more than 30 percent of the publication’s readership is reasonably expected to be under the age of 21.” There is no such restriction on medical marijuana businesses.

The lawsuit argues the rules, which also restrict television, radio and outdoor advertising, are an unconstitutional restriction of free speech.

The magazines are “chilled from soliciting advertisements from prospective clients and prevented from making revenue from clients who wish to engage in advertising concerning marijuana-related products and services,” the lawsuit’s complaint states.

The lawsuit doesn’t state specific instances in which High Times or Westword were harmed by the rules. In Westword’s latest issue, there are at least nine ads by marijuana businesses advertising that they are open for recreational sales or soon will be.

It is also unclear how the suit’s filing in federal court will impact the judge’s assessment of its claim that the ads concern “lawful activity,” since marijuana is illegal federally.

But publications have previously had success in federal court in overturning another Colorado marijuana law — one that required marijuana-themed publications to be kept behind the counter at stores.

A spokeswoman for the Colorado attorney general’s office said she couldn’t comment because the state’s lawyers hadn’t yet seen the suit.

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 Wed Feb 12, 2014 11:35 am | Scroll up


RE: MJ News for 02/12/2014

in Marijuana in the News Wed Feb 12, 2014 11:40 am
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points

url: hMPp://www.kentonline.co.uk/thanet_extra/news/cannabis-cafe-12592/

(UK) Thanet green councillor Ian Driver behind plan to bring Amsterdam-style cannabis cafe to Kent

An Amsterdam-style cannabis cafe could be coming to Kent if a former drug-taking councillor gets his way.

A Thanet councillor is organising a meeting next month to discuss a plan to allow users to smoke the illegal class B drug.

Green councillor Ian Driver, himself an ex-recreational drugs user, is the driving force behind the project - and believes the cafe would be a focal point for Thanet where new business ideas could be forged.

He said the cafe would allow users to consume the drug without fear of arrest in what he has called a "win-win situation".

It is planned the cafe, which would not supply cannabis, would run as a members' club for people to use the drug for recreational or medicinal purposes.

Cllr Driver, from Broadstairs, said: "I think the tide is changing and that people are ready to have this discussion.

"People have got every right to be concerned, but having said that I think there's a lot of exaggeration about the damage cannabis can do..." - Cllr Ian Driver

"It's just going to be like having a cafe or bar opened - no different at all. It's long overdue and is the sensible and right thing to do.

"There would be no dealing, no selling. People would bring their own materials with them to smoke whilst enjoying a drink and a bite to eat.

"I've been talking to local people and got the idea that this would be a natural thing to do - there is definitely a big interest.

"People have got every right to be concerned, but having said that I think there's a lot of exaggeration about the damage cannabis can do.

"It will be new in Thanet, but why not? There are a lot of people interested.

"How we do it is the purpose of the meeting - it's going to be talking about how we practically develop a cafe in Thanet where like-minded people can hang out and relax with their friends."

He added that decriminalisation of the drug would save the police service time and money and would also generate considerable tax income and create jobs.

"I think, whatever anyone's criticism, that the legalisation of cannabis is a win win for everybody," Cllr Driver added.

"I'm certain that although we're talking about something very controversial today, in 10 years time it will be an absolute normal activity on the high street in all of the towns and cities in this country."

He added: "It would bring people together and stimulate creativity.The people it would attract could be a focal point for Thanet - getting people together of all ages, developing new ideas and business ventures. I think it's a fantastic thing to do.

"I'd welcome a cannabis cafe on the corner of my street because you not going to be getting the trouble that is often associated with pubs.

"It can cause damage, yes, but so can alcohol, a lot more damage and so can tobacco. So this discussion for Thanet is being realistic and is doing something that there is no reason not to do - people don't need to be frightened."

Cllr Driver has invited Kent police commissioner Ann Barnes to the meeting, along with drug policy experts, which will take place in Broadstairs on Saturday, March 15.

A location is yet to be set, but Cllr Driver said more than 100 local people have already said they will attend.

He posted on Facebook: "I have used recreational drugs on many occasions in the past.

"Although I no longer smoke cannabis I do use alcohol. I personally support decriminalisation of drug use and legalisation in some cases.

"This does not mean that I think drugs are safe and that I would advocate their use. However, decriminalisation and legalisation will save an awful lot of money in policing and will generate considerable tax income and create jobs.

"It will also drive out criminal gangs from the drugs industry and put an end to people getting records for victimless crime.

"I appreciate that feelings run strong on this issue but I believe in having a open debate on controversial issues such as this."

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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RE: MJ News for 02/12/2014

in Marijuana in the News Wed Feb 12, 2014 11:44 am
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points

url: hMPp://www.dailycamera.com/news/ci_25093731/cu-boulder-prof-aims-get-inside-cannabis-genome

CU-Boulder prof pursues deepest-ever exploration of the cannabis genome

Among a vast collection of seeds housed in a nondescript industrial building on the outskirts of Lafayette resides what could be the key to the deepest and most detailed understanding yet of cannabis — information that may unleash nearly limitless potential for a plant that spans the worlds of medicine, textiles, food, fuel and fun.

Select DNA samples from that collection, representing a wide range of cannabis types from all over the world, will make their way to a lab at the University of Colorado to be analyzed, sequenced and mapped at a level never before attempted.

It's called the Cannabis Genomic Research Initiative and it's being led by 37-year-old Nolan Kane, an assistant professor with CU's department of ecology and evolutionary biology. The 18-month initiative, based largely if not entirely in Boulder County, should provide hemp farmers and marijuana growers worldwide with a genomic blueprint allowing them to breed high-value specimens far more efficiently than they can now.

"It's an interesting and unique genus that is really understudied," said Kane, sitting in his office in Ramaley biology building on the CU campus last week. "Colorado is one of the best places to do this because we have the industry here and we have a lot of expertise. And it's easier to do the research because we have dealt with many of the legal issues."

Until Colorado voters legalized pot consumption by adults and hemp growing for industrial purposes in 2012, the legal cloud hanging over the plant deterred scientists from undertaking extensive research with it, Kane said.

But just last week, President Obama signed into law a nearly $1 trillion farm bill containing a stipulation, pushed by U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, that allows universities in the nine states that permit industrial hemp cultivation to conduct research into the plant without jeopardizing their federal funding.

Though Kane's cannabis initiative will encompass plant types that don't fall under the federal exemption, he said acknowledgment from Washington, D.C. that good can come from research like his is gratifying.

"Being able to work on those industrial and medicinal strains without restriction will be very helpful," he said.

Ben Holmes, owner of Lafayette-based Centennial Seeds, will be growing from his collection of 300 seed lines the cannabis plants that underpin Kane's efforts. The first seeds went into the ground last week.

Given the legal and creative climate that has recently developed around the plant in Colorado, Holmes said, Boulder County is the perfect place to launch an ambitious project like this.

"Everything comes together - the legality, some guy with a seed collection, and a world-class genomics professor happening to land at CU," he said.

Down to the chromosomes

Kane came to CU's department of ecology and evolutionary biology in August from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, where he did research into the genetic structure of sunflowers, chocolate and mustard. But he said it took a post-doc student in his lab at CU to convince him that the next great specimen to unmask genetically is cannabis.

Daniela Vergara said she got the idea for mapping the plant while working on her doctoral thesis at the University of Indiana. She thought what was being examined in terms of the genetics of sunflower strains could as easily apply to cannabis.

"I thought that these questions were cool to ask in cannabis," Vergara said. "There was nothing that had been done."

In fact, genetic work on cannabis has been going on for a while but not at the intricate level Kane and Vergara are aiming for. In 2011, a Massachusetts company and a Canadian research team announced that they had sequenced the genome of the cannabis sativa plant.

But Kane said that work, while providing a "strong foundation" for future research, essentially broke down cannabis into unconnected chunks of genetic data that lack meaning in many ways. He likened the sequencing efforts to having the complete pages or chapters of a novel but in completely the wrong order.

"They got it down to 60,000 pieces — we want to get it down to the 10 pairs of chromosomes," Kane said. "We want to know where the genes are on the chromosomes."

Heather Despres, lab director with CannLabs in Denver, said that kind of analysis will help forge a better understanding of the plant's active ingredients — the cannabinoids - which are responsible for providing marijuana's medicinal benefits and recreational high. CannLabs, which offers a wide array of testing services for cannabis, will be providing analysis for the initiative.

"What Nolan is trying to do is figure out what all those chunks mean," Despres said. "It's a giant million-piece puzzle and all the pieces are microscopic. They're going to start putting the pieces together and from that data, you can start creating custom plants that produce more medicine or other traits that are desirable."

But genetic modification it isn't, everyone involved in the initiative is quick to say.

"Their work is not bringing outside genes into the plant but working with the genes that are already there in the plant," Despres said.

Holmes said the initiative will simply be accelerating and perfecting the art of selective breeding, a practice that has been around for centuries.

"We're not interested in GMO work," he said. "We're interested in modern genomic resources that would enhance traditional breeding methods. The ability to assay for specific genes within the crop is the equivalent of super powers for a breeder."

'Shortens the time to market'

The project starts with Holmes planting two parent cannabis plants — in this case an Afghan Kush variety that is heavy on psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and a northern Italian variety of fiber-heavy industrial hemp devoid of mind-altering compounds — and crossbreeding them.

Vergara, the post-doc student in Kane's lab, said it is important that the source plants be as disparate as possible so that as many distinct traits can be captured early.

"We are going to take different parents — a parent that is tall and a parent that flowers early — and get their baby plant," Vergara said.

The offspring plant's leaf tip will then be sampled for DNA at Holmes' makeshift lab in Lafayette and sent to Kane's lab as nothing more than liquid in a tube. That genetic data will be sequenced and entered into a computer as a starting point for the genomic map. Other seed lines in Holmes' collection, which he keeps in neatly labeled canisters, will then be introduced into the project and their genetic information overlaid onto the map.

"We'll cover every single type (of cannabis)," said Holmes, who keeps a map in his lobby decorated with thumbtacks marking locations around the world where he has obtained different seed lines. "I'm providing a collection that he could not collect today."

The end result will be a map that more thoroughly reflects the diversity of the cannabis plant and allows for easy testing of desired traits — like medicinal cannabidiol, or CBD, or energy-containing biomass -— and development of new strains faster than before. Holmes said yield times could drop to as little as 20 days from the typical 140 days.

"It shortens the time to market for new seed varieties," he said.

The map's precision genetics should also make cannabis cultivation less of the hit-and-miss affair it is today, Kane said, saving growers time and money.

"Instead of growing thousands of plants to maturity, you're only growing a handful," he said. "It's a more efficient way of selecting for the plants you want."

CU could benefit from project

The potential financial and reputational benefits from a widely recognized and heavily used genomic cannabis map are not insubstantial. Just last year, the Legislative Council of the Colorado General Assembly estimated that the combined sales of wholesale and retail marijuana in the state could amount to $578 million a year.

That amount is sure to skyrocket when hemp sales are added to the tally. Registration for hemp farmers looking to grow the plant in Colorado begins March 1.

Bob Sievers, a chemistry professor at CU for the past 38 years who calls Kane one of the "most promising researchers in this field," said his colleague and the university stand to benefit from his work if is able to figure out how to license certain aspects or technologies that come out of it.

Further easing of marijuana laws, like the hemp exemptions passed as part of the farm bill last week, will lead to more and better research projects and scientific discoveries, he said.

"It is tremendously important to the freedom of academic researchers in Colorado and the eight other states that have legalized hemp," Sievers said.

The number one challenge to making the Cannabis Genomic Research Initiative successful is funding. Kane said he needs a few hundred thousand dollars for the first 18 months of the project. He has begun to tap public and private sources for the money.

But more funding will be needed if Kane wants to expand the initiative from 150 seed lines to 300.

Mason Tvert, who led the charge on Colorado's Amendment 64 pot legalization measure in 2012 and now works as director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, said it's not surprising to him that the state has become a magnet for endeavors as ambitious as the Cannabis Genomic Research Project.

He credits Colorado's fast-evolving attitude toward the industry and the interest in recent years in looking at the plant's beneficial properties rather than its potential for harm.

"For too long, our failed marijuana laws have hindered research into this product," Tvert said. "Now that Colorado is moving forward with a more sensible policy, it's not surprising we're seeing the state as a home base for new research."

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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