MJ News for 03/04/2014

in Marijuana in the News Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:00 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points


Comcast OKs TV spots that pitch medical marijuana

Late-night TV, which has enticed us with hard-sell offers for the amazing Ginsu knife and equally incredible hair loss remedies, now has another offer some can't refuse: a way to get medical marijuana.

Comcast, the nation's largest cable operator, has agreed to run an ad on its local cable systems in New Jersey, Massachusetts and greater Chicago that promote a service that links people seeking legal medical marijuana with doctors able to prescribe it.

The campaign is one of the first examples — possibly the first — of commercial broadcast advertising related to marijuana. The ads begin airing this month in New Jersey and will start next month in the other media markets.

Melissa Kennedy, a Comcast spokeswoman, said she knew of no other such televised ad campaign. Although Colorado has legalized pot for recreational use, state law restricts retail advertising, and advocates on both sides of the issue said they'd seen nothing like the Comcast spots.

The satiric ads for MarijuanaDoctors.com begin with a street dealer pushing sushi of dubious provenance.

"Yo, you want sushi? I got sushi. I got the best sushi,'' the shady-looking man tells the camera. "You need me and I need you. Let's make this work.''

Eventually a female narrator's sober voice-over intrudes on his guttural monologue: "You wouldn't buy your sushi from this guy, so why would you buy your marijuana from him?"

The narrator then suggests an alternative — "the only website that links patients with real doctors" approved to prescribe medical marijuana.

The narration concludes: "Book your appointment today!''

Kennedy said Comcast lawyers cleared the the ads because medical marijuana is legal where they are viewed. "We are always cautious when we take ads like this,'' she said. She also noted that the company already takes ads for alcoholic beverages.

She said the ads will air only between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. and not appear on networks for children such as Disney or Nickelodeon. They will appear on the likes of CNN, History and Comedy Central.

In New Jersey the spots will air 800 times over two weeks, according to Jason Draizin, CEO of MarijuanaDoctors.com.

He said his company makes money by charging doctors to belong to the referral network. He said more than 300 doctors and 500 clinics in 20 states are members, and that 93,000 patients nationwide used the service last year.

Comcast's move was decried by Kevin Sabet of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, an anti-legalization group: "Sadly, It's one more example of the commercialization and normalization of marijuana," Sabet said.

He said the spots are directed at people "staying up late who want to get stoned, and now they can claim a medical excuse. … This is capitalism at its worst. Comcast is choosing profits over public health.'' He said efforts to keep legalized or medical marijuana away from children were doomed.

Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project , which supports legalization, disagreed: "It's a website providing a legal service. There's no reason why it should not be treated like any other one. It'll probably be shown between beer ads, but at least it won't objectify women and suggest that drinking beer is the only way to have fun.''

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 03/04/2014

in Marijuana in the News Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:03 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points


Georgia lawmakers back legalizing medical marijuana

ATLANTA – Patients suffering from illnesses including cancer and seizures could take a form of medical marijuana under a plan that Georgia's state legislators backed Monday ahead of an important deadline that sorts out which bills go forward and which will likely fail for the year.

Legislative rules force Georgia's state lawmakers to get their bills approved by at least one chamber of the General Assembly by what's commonly called "Crossover Day," or else those bills are unlikely to get to the governor's desk. That rule can be bent, but it is difficult.

Among the biggest debates was a plan to let people suffering from the side effects of cancer treatment, glaucoma and some seizure disorders to take products derived from cannabis oil in the hope it will ease their symptoms. House lawmakers voted 171-4 to approve the bill. It now heads to the state Senate.

The cannabis could be given to patients orally, as a liquid or pill, or administered by injections. State Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, the bill's sponsor, said the cannabis could bring relief for children who suffer from hundreds of seizures daily. He said cannabis oil is low in THC, the active ingredient that produces the marijuana high.

"It is not a slippery slope toward legalization of cannabis for recreational use," Peake said. "I stand firmly against that direction and will fight it with all my energy."

Several politicians acknowledged they were initially reluctant to change statewide drug policy during an election year, but Peake urged them not to delay by setting up study committees or holding the bill until next year.

"We cannot move fast enough," he said.

Janea Cox hugged her daughter, 4-year-old Haleigh, during the vote. Her daughter has up to 100 seizures daily, and her mother and other parents have lobbied for the legislation.

"We are all so overwhelmed right now," Cox said, crying. "We had so much support in there I can't imagine it not passing. It's crazy to be a part of history. I think we're all in shock right now."

There were skeptics. Rep. Sharon Cooper, chairwoman of the Health and Human Service Committee, voted for the proposal but cautioned that it is flawed. Cooper said research colleges that provide medical marijuana under the proposed law could lose federal funding and their officials could be prosecuted.

Republicans voted to make it tougher for Georgia's state government to expand its Medicaid program, undercutting a Democratic health care overhaul from President Obama's administration. The legislation would forbid Georgia state government from changing the income eligibility rules — and enabling more people to join the program — without legislative approval.

Obama originally wanted state governments to allow people too poor to afford subsidized health insurance to enroll in Medicaid, which pays for health care for the poor, elderly, disabled and low-income families with children. Republican leaders say the plan would be too expensive in the long run.

"Federal government programs, perhaps without exception, end up being more expensive than originally planned, and the federally government is already mortgaged to the hilt," said GOP state Rep. Jan Jones, the speaker pro-tempore.

Meanwhile, the House voted 115-59 to approve a bill known as the "Georgia Health Care Freedom Act," which would prohibit the state from using money or resources to advocate for Medicaid expansion or to establish a health exchange under the federal health care law.

The Senate approved a bill that restricts health insurance policies available through Georgia's federally run insurance exchange from funding abortion, except when a pregnancy threatens a mother's life or health. The Republican-dominated chamber voted 35-18 for the restrictions, a step supporters said two dozen other states have already taken. Democratic lawmakers opposed the bill, saying it infringes on a woman's right to choose.

As the day progressed, House lawmakers voted 173-3 to approve placing a statue of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. on the Capitol grounds or in another prominent location. While the bill passed by a wide margin, honoring King has been politically controversial in past years. Former Gov. Lester Maddox refused to shut down state government when King was assassinated. A portrait of King hangs in the Statehouse, but the grounds also host portraits and monuments of politicians who supported segregation.

Other issues remain unresolved.

For example, a proposal to regulate companies that allow people to order a ride using their cellphones had not been scheduled for a vote, meaning it was at risk of collapsing this year. Those regulations were supported by existing limousine companies, but they were opposed by ridesharing companies including Uber. Rep. Wendell Willard, R-Sandy Springs, said he expected a proposal to tighten the rules under which police and prosecutors can seize property and cash would fail after it was opposed by the Georgia Sheriffs' Association.

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 03/04/2014

in Marijuana in the News Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:06 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points


D.C. set to loosen marijuana laws

The D.C. Council on Tuesday is poised to make the city one of the nation’s most lenient for marijuana possession, easing penalties that most often ensnare African Americans including a potential one-year jail sentence that is expected to be reduced to a $25 fine.

To keep the odor of marijuana from wafting across the nation’s capital, however, city lawmakers in recent weeks pulled back from an even more liberal proposal to buffer residents from arrest: Smoking marijuana in public would remain a crime, akin to toting an open can of beer, and would carry a maximum penalty of up to six months in jail.

Amid growing support locally and nationally for legalizing marijuana, D.C. lawmakers said they are acting out of an interest in greater social justice when it comes to pot arrests — not civil liberties to allow more drug use. By leapfrogging many states in loosening its marijuana laws, the city is firmly planting itself in a national debate over legalization — even as questions remain about how much a new law might accomplish.

Decriminalizing possession of marijuana, but leaving the act of smoking the drug a crime, critics say, will keep alive concerns about racial profiling in arrests. It also will add gray areas in policing: D.C. officers would not be able to arrest on the smell of marijuana, for instance; they would have to see the smoke. And being marijuana-impaired in public would not be a crime equal to public intoxication — unless it occurs behind the wheel.

“It’s what I’d call the growing pains” of inching toward legalization, said Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D), who led the charge against a broader measure to eliminate all criminal penalties, saying he did not want his daughter to encounter people smoking marijuana on city streets.

Advocates for the bill say it is still a strong measure that builds on similar laws passed in California and Massachusetts. For one, the D.C. law protects people who share marijuana from being prosecuted as dealers.

The D.C. law would also preclude police from charging people with possession or dealing if they simultaneously possess large amounts of cash and several bags of marijuana. Some advocates say that poorer residents are often paid for their work in cash and buy the drug in small amounts multiple times on their payday.

Given the District’s overlapping web of local and federal law enforcement, it’s unclear whether federal agencies will agree. District drug laws would conflict with federal ones, and little is known about how federal agencies in the city would respond when they see people abiding by the District’s new law but violating federal statute.

It would be legal under District law, for instance, to carry up to an ounce of marijuana split into dozens of bags, the drug paraphernalia to smoke it and an unlimited amount of cash. But under federal law, those conditions could be used to charge someone with possession with intent to distribute, potentially drawing years in prison and other steep penalties.

Under President Obama, the Justice Department has not sought a confrontation with states including Colorado and Washington where voters have legalized recreational use of marijuana. Historically, the agency also has not devoted resources to prosecuting individuals for drug possession.

Federal officers in the District do make arrests. Last year, the U.S. Park Police, which has jurisdiction over the Mall and nearly every park and traffic circle in the city, recorded 501 “incidents” involving marijuana.

Park Police spokeswoman Lelani Woods said that since the law has not been enacted, the agency has not formed a response. However, she said “there is nothing to suggest that this is going to be our standard,” Woods said of the more lenient city bill.

The measure passed a first vote in the council last month with only one dissenting vote, and Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) said he supports it. In recent days, a majority of council members said in interviews that they would support the bill in a final vote. The only remaining question appears to be whether Council member Vincent B. Orange (D-At Large) will succeed in adding a provision to outlaw drug testing by D.C. employers.

Orange argued that more poor residents will smoke but end up being discriminated against for jobs because they will fail drug tests.

With or without the amendment, the measure would face a 60-day review period by Congress, which has upended only four city laws in 40 years.

Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) who authored the measure, said he is confident that it will become law.

“I think that even a conservative Congress would leave this alone. An incredible waste of government resources goes into the criminalization of marijuana” by police, courts and jails, Wells said. “And it’s law that creates more public harm than public good.”

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 03/04/2014

in Marijuana in the News Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:10 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points


5 Reasons Washington's Proposed Medical Marijuana Restrictions Have Patients Worried

It looks increasingly likely that Washington’s legislature will approve new restrictions on medical marijuana by the end of its current session a week from Thursday. The two leading bills both involve mandatory registration of patients, sharp reductions in the limits on possession and home cultivation, and elimination of “collective gardens,” including hundreds of dispensaries operating under that label. The general thrust of the bills is to ban the untaxed, unregulated outlets that otherwise would compete with state-licensed pot shops, which are supposed to become the main source of medical marijuana. Patients have several concerns about that plan:

1. Will the stores be ready in time? The Washington State Liquor Control Board (LCB), which is expected to issue its first marijuana cultivation licenses this week, says marijuana retailers should be open by June. But the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council, an independent agency charged with projecting tax revenue, notes that local bans and moratoriums, which Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson says are not pre-empted by state law, make hitting the LCB’s target pretty iffy. “Although LCB has indicated that it expects retail sales to start in June 2014,” says a February 19 report from the council, “local moratoria on cannabis businesses and other production uncertainties have the potential to impact the timing and amount of cannabis produced and sold. As a result, we have assumed retail sales will start in June 2015.”

That’s a month after dispensaries would be abolished by H.B. 2149, the bill approved by the state House of Representatives in February. S.B. 5887, introduced by state Sen. Ann Rivers (R-La Center), would repeal the provision allowing collective gardens as of July 15. But assuming that Washington’s pot stores experience shortages like those seen in Colorado, it is not clear that an adequate supply will be available to patients even by the middle of next year, or that they will be able to find retailers within a reasonable distance. If a patient happens to live in, say, Yakima, which has banned marijuana stores, where will he go to buy his medicine? Kari Boiter, a lobbyist who works with Americans for Safe Access, warns that “the proposed repeal dates are likely to leave patients without access.”

2. Will the stores cater to patients? The cannabis strains that best meet patients’ needs may not appeal to recreational consumers. They may be low in psychoactive THC, for example, but high in cannabidiol (CBD), which shows promise as a treatment for a wide range of disorders, including epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. “It’s not the same marijuana,” says Douglas Hiatt, a Seattle criminal defense attorney and longtime marijuana activist who opposed I-502, Washington’s legalization initiative, largely because he worried that it would hurt patients. H.B. 2149 and S.B. 5887 both would offer “medical marijuana endorsements” to pot stores that choose to serve patients, either exclusively or in addition to recreational users. The endorsements would allow registered patients to benefit from a higher purchase limit (three ounces rather than one) and an exemption from the standard sales tax. But patients worry that they will still be treated as an afterthought and may have trouble obtaining the specific varieties that are tailored to their symptoms. Boiter says legislators should put “health before happy hour.”

3. Are the ceilings on home cultivation high enough? Currently patients are allowed to grow up to 15 plants. H.B. 2149 and S.B. 5887 both would reduce the limit to six plants, although the latter bill would allow as many as 15 plants if a health professional certified the larger number was medically appropriate. The possession limit would be cut from 24 ounces to three under H.B. 2149 and to eight (with a health professional’s recommendation to that effect) under S.B. 5887. Even the lower limits may sound generous for a single person, but patients tend to consume a lot more cannabis than recreational users do, especially if they make concentrates to be taken orally. Depending on where the nearest state-licensed store is located, the prices it charges, and the selection it offers, some patients may end up growing most or all of their own medicine, in which case the six-plant limit may prove too low.

4. What about collective gardens? Legislators want to repeal the provision allowing collective gardens mainly because dispensaries have seized on it as a legal rationale, counting each customer as a temporary “member.” But the provision originally was intended as an alternative for patients who were not up to growing cannabis on their own and could not find “designated providers” to do it for them. Given the uncertainties surrounding the newly legal pot stores, some patients think they should still have the option of pooling their resources to produce medical marijuana for their own use. “For [cultivation rights] to be meaningful,” Hiatt argues, “you’ve got to allow people to grow together.”

5. What will registration mean? H.B. 2149 and S.B. 5887 both require that patients register with the state if they want to grow their own marijuana, enjoy higher purchase and possession limits, and escape part of the taxes imposed on cannabis sales. Currently there is no registry, but patients with medical recommendations have an affirmative defense against marijuana charges, a right that both bills would eliminate. Some patients are not keen to be officially identified in a central database as marijuana consumers, a fact that can have social, professional, and legal implications. Even if the Justice Department refrains from prosecuting patients for possession or home cultivation, for example, the Gun Control Act of 1968 strips all marijuana consumers of their Second Amendment rights. Under H.B. 2149, information from the patient registry can be disclosed to various people, including “law enforcement and prosecutorial officials engaged in a specific investigation involving a designated person.”

Supporters of the new restrictions argue that it makes little sense to have a parallel distribution system for patients once state-licensed marijuana stores are up and running. They also note that Jenny Durkan, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Washington, has called the current system “not tenable” given the Justice Department’s demand for a strictly regulated market in which diversion to minors and other states is minimized. But Hiatt complains that legislators are so eager to maximize tax revenue and discourage federal intervention that they are willing to compromise the interests of patients. “They’re saying, ‘We’ll throw medical marijuana under the bus if you’ll let us get away with 502,’” he says. “People in the community here are furious. They feel like they’ve been betrayed.”

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 03/04/2014

in Marijuana in the News Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:14 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points


The state fight over legalizing marijuana is all about age

There’s good news and bad news for proponents of legalizing marijuana.

The bad news: New polls show it’s a losing fight in three states — by a slim margin in Pennsylvania and sizable margins in Iowa and North Carolina. The good news? It’s doing far better among the youngest residents of each state.

That’s according to new polls out Monday from Quinnipiac University (Pennsylvania), the Des Moines Register (Iowa) and Elon University (North Carolina). All the polls underscore an important point in the state-level debate over marijuana policy: Even though there are significant party differences, opposition is only as strong as the state’s oldest residents. It’s hard to predict how the balance of power between parties will shift. But age only moves in one direction. As long as those attitudes don’t change drastically, the legalization effort can look forward to a wave support.

Take North Carolina. Most people oppose the idea of legalizing pot, with 51 percent saying they don’t believe marijuana should be legal and 39 percent in favor. Opposition also beats support in both parties, though Republicans are way, way more opposed than Democrats.

But when it comes to age, support increases the younger you go. Among seniors ages 65 and older, 63 percent oppose legalization while 25 percent support it. The opposite is true among North Carolinians between 18 and 30 years old: Legalization enjoys 54 percent support while 39 percent oppose the idea.

In Iowa, opposition wins out among all demographics, even the young. About one in three Democrats and independents support legalization, but only about one in six Republicans do. The age gap is significant though, according to the Des Moines Register.

“Just 47 percent of Iowans 65 or older support legalizing medical marijuana, compared with 67 percent of those younger than 35,” the paper reported. “The split is even more dramatic on the question of legalizing recreational marijuana. Only 13 percent of Iowa seniors support that idea, but 39 percent of young adults do.”

The prospects for legalization are probably best in Pennsylvania, where there’s a nearly even split generally. Some 49 percent oppose legalization, just a single percentage point more than those who support it. Support is greatest among Democrats, followed by independents, and Republicans strongly oppose it. Legalizing weed enjoys only 29 percent support among seniors, with 66 percent opposing it. But it’s nearly the opposite among the youngest demographic. Among Pennsylvanians ages 18 to 29, 64 percent say possession of the drug should be legal in small amounts while only 34 percent say it shouldn’t.

The striking age gap isn’t limited to just those states with new polls out Monday. A Quinnipiac poll last week showed that while Ohioans support legal marijuana by 51 percent to 44 percent, the margin is largest by far among the youngest demographic. For that group, 72 percent support legalization with 25 percent opposing it. Among seniors, 65 percent oppose. The generational gap exists nationally, too.

Proponents of legalization have a wave of support to look forward to, as long as they can harvest and maintain positivity among the youngest voters.

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 03/04/2014

in Marijuana in the News Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:17 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points


Colorado Couples Say 'I Do' to Cannabis in Weddings

Since the legalization of marijuana in Colorado at the beginning of 2014, residents and entrepreneurs throughout the state have been exploring new ways to incorporate cannabis into their lives.

So it was really only a matter of time before brides and grooms began considering how to include it in their wedding celebrations. From vaping stations at cocktail hours to pot-leaf bouquets for the bridal party, marijuana marries itself to the event in countless ways.

"The sentiment is that 'it's new,'" said Anja Winnika, site director at online wedding resource The Knot.com, which first noticed the topic being discussed on chat boards. "With it being legal in Colorado, it's not surprising to hear that some couples are planning to incorporate it into their day."

After launching a poll last week asking members of The Knot how they felt about the inclusion of cannabis at a wedding, nearly 1,000 respondents have chimed in. So far, 67 percent have voted "Yeah! I'd love to go to that wedding," 22 percent voted "No! Drugs don't belong at weddings," and the remaining 11 percent kept things neutral, stating "I'm not for or against it."

Proponents of the idea say that, in places where weed is legal, it's no different than offering alcohol during the cocktail hour.

"Toasts and open bars are standard at weddings," said Jane West, founder of Edible Events, a party-planning agency that focuses on private and glamorous cannabis events. "There is usually somewhere at a wedding venue to also have a cigarette. Now we can also consume cannabis as long as the event is private."

Having already received a number of inquiries from brides both local and out of state, West is quickly crafting ideas for cannabis inclusion at weddings and pre-parties.

"I am booking one shower and one wedding right now," said West. "For the bridal shower, we can start the day with a group breakfast that includes a THC-infused granola bar from a local company called Julie & Kate's, then the women will all go for a hike and finish with massages at a spa.

"For the wedding, we are having all of the men wear 'bud-tonnieres' where their boutonniere is made with a small cannabis bud of the wedding party member's choice -- sativa or indica," she continued. "After the formalities of the ceremony, they can remove the item, put it in the wedding party gift, which is a pipe, and smoke it."

While none of the brides ABC News reached out to immediately responded, bride to-be Christianna Lewis told The Knot that she and her groom have chosen to "throw a co-ed bridal shower with a variety of weed sweets and edibles involved."

From THC-infused foods and elixirs to personal vaping pens to traditional pipes, West said there are numerous modes that lend themselves to social environments. She expects Colorado destination weddings to spike in popularity soon.

"We have great weather and the mountains as a backdrop," she said. "So adding the option of having legal cannabis involved without reprimands or fines I think will really attract a large segment of people."

As cannabis-infused nuptials is still a relatively new phenomenon, however, it may take some reception venues time to get up to speed.

"I sensed that venue owners in Colorado and Washington will be the ones shaping the trend," Winnika said.

For example, Roxie Ellis, owner of Ellis Ranch and Event Center in Loveland, Colo., recently turned down a wedding that wanted to host a hemp bar in place of alcohol because she was unsure whether it would be a liability.

Other properties are simply being more discreet.

While she would not disclose the names of the venues that she is currently working with to host such affairs, West did acknowledged that "we do have some private settings that are supportive of our efforts."

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 03/04/2014

in Marijuana in the News Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:20 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points


UN: cannabis law changes pose 'very grave danger to public health'

The UN has launched a counter-offensive against moves to liberalise drug laws around the world, warning that cannabis legalisation poses a grave danger to public health.

The UN body for enforcing international drug treaties, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), voiced concern over "misguided initiatives" on cannabis legalisation in Uruguay and the US states of Colorado and Washington that fail to comply with international drug conventions.

The INCB annual report published on Tuesday claims that the introduction of a widely commercialised "medical" cannabis programme in Colorado has led to increases in car accidents involving "drug drivers", cannabis-related treatment admissions, and positive drug tests for cannabis.

"Drug-traffickers will choose the path of least resistance, so it is essential that global efforts to tackle the drug problem are unified," said Raymond Yans, INCB president.

"When governments consider their future policies on this, the primary consideration should be the long-term health and welfare of the population."

He said the UN was concerned about some initiatives aimed at the legalisation of the non-medical and non-scientific use of cannabis that posed "a very grave danger to public health and wellbeing" – the very things international drug conventions had been designed to protect.

The UN's warning follows the vote by Uruguay's parliament in December to approve a bill to legalise and regulate the sale and production of marijuana.

The sale of cannabis by licensed suppliers to adults aged over 21 became legal in Colorado in January, and is due to follow this summer in Washington state. This is despite it remaining illegal under US federal law to cultivate, sell or possess cannabis.

Uruguay's president, José Mujica, has said his country's initiative was an attempt to undermine the black market, and find an alternative to the "war on drugs", which he says has created more problems than it solves.

But the INCB report argues against such "alternative drug regimes", claiming legalisation would not collapse "underground markets", but instead would lead to much greater use of such drugs and higher levels of addiction.

Pointing to the history of alcohol and tobacco markets, the report says that despite legalisation there is still a thriving black market for cigarettes in many countries. It says up to 20% of Britain's domestic cigarette market consists of smuggled cigarettes, while they represent 33% of all domestic cigarette consumption in Canada.

Alcohol, despite being legal, is also responsible for far more arrests than illegal drugs. In the US there were 2m alcohol-related arrests in 2012 compared with 1.6m related to illegal drugs.

"One reason for those higher alcohol-related costs is that in many countries alcohol abuse is far more prevalent than the abuse of substances under international control," the report says.

Drug law reform activists said the emergence of regulated marijuana markets meant that a discussion on fundamental reform of the UN drug control system could no longer be avoided.

Ann Fordham, of the International Drug Policy Consortium, said: "While the board's interest in ensuring access to medicines for the relief of pain and suffering is positive, it remains in denial of the urgent calls to have a meaningful debate on the future of global drug policy. The board is apparently oblivious to the growing number of member states questioning the status quo and exploring alternative policies."

Her criticism was supported by Dave Bewley-Taylor, of the Swansea University-based Global Drug Policy Observatory, who said: "For many years, countries have stretched the UN drug control conventions to their legal limits, particularly around the use of cannabis. Now that the cracks have reached the point of treaty breach, we need a serious discussion about how to reform international drug conventions to better protect people's health, safety and human rights. Reform won't be easy, but the question facing the international community today is no longer whether there is a need to reassess and modernise the UN drug control system, but rather when and how."

The UN remains most concerned about the scale of illicit opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan, which set records in 2013 reaching 209,000 hectares, a 36% increase compared with 154,000 hectares in 2012.

"The country remains the centre of the illicit manufacture of heroin and its importance as a source of cannabis resin for the world markets is growing. The situation seriously endangers the aims of the international drug control treaties," the INCB report says.

It repeats its warnings on legal highs or new psychoactive substances as they are officially known, and says unprecedented numbers and varieties of these synthetic chemical substances are being sold in the developing world as well as Europe.

The UN drugs report also highlights the significance of widespread prescription drug abuse in the US and says that "takeback" days promoting their safe disposal are not enough to tackle this growing trend.

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 03/04/2014

in Marijuana in the News Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:22 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points


(WA) State needs strict cannabis rules to allay concerns

The deadline for the Legislature to merge the state’s medical marijuana and recreation markets is approaching quickly. Starting this week, the Liquor Control Board will issue licenses for growers and processors. Next month it will hand out licenses for retail stores that will open in June.

Before that can happen without intervention from the federal Department of Justice, state legislators must get the nudge-nudge-wink-wink medical marijuana market under control.

The U.S. Department of Justice made that point crystal clear in an August memorandum that gave the conditional green light to legalization experiments in Washington and Colorado. The DOJ put the onus squarely on the Legislature to adopt strict medical marijuana regulations or lose cover from prosecution under federal drug laws.

It’s a more difficult task in Washington, because our medical marijuana market is essentially unregulated. We’re the Wild West in comparison to the 20-plus other states that allow use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

It’s been estimated that 90 percent of cannabis sold for ostensibly medical purposes is consumed recreationally. That seems high, and it’s unsubstantiated.

But it’s less likely the actual percentage is zero, and that’s what the DOJ expects.

It’s interesting to note that the medical marijuana market ballooned in 2011 when naturopathic physicians were added to the list of providers who could issue cards.

The House and Senate have corresponding bills to combine the two cannabis markets. Of the two, we prefer the House version because it is more restrictive.

House Bill 2149 would allow all qualifying patients to grow cannabis for their own use, but reduces the number of plants at any one time from 15 to three flowering and three non-flowering plants.

That’s an adequate amount for personal medicinal use, and more adequately addresses the federal concern about excess cannabis being sold on the black market and finding its way across state borders.

The final blended bill sent to the governor’s desk should establish a patient registry and impose other controls. Every other medical marijuana state already has a registry. Without it, there’s no way to identify bona fide medical users who qualify for an exemption from state and local retail taxes, as opposed to those buying for purely recreational purposes.

We believe all legal cannabis sales, for medical or recreational purposes, should flow through state licensed stores.

If there is sufficient legitimate demand for the low-hallucinogenic, high-analgesic cannabis preferred by medical users, retail stores will provide it. And medical users will have the option of growing their own.

When reconciling the House and Senate cannabis bills, lawmakers should opt for greater regulation and more restrictive rules.

Once Washington proves its medical users are no longer feeding the illegal market, state regulators may be able to ease back. But for now, we must remember that cannabis legalization remains an experiment that continues under the wary eye of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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 Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:23 pm | Scroll up


RE: MJ News for 03/04/2014

in Marijuana in the News Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:26 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points


(UT) House passes bill to get cannabis oil to seizure-stricken kids

Utah’s House gallery, filled with parents of children with epilepsy, erupted into applause Monday following passage of a bill that would allow their trial use of non-intoxicating, seizure-stopping cannabis oils.

The breach of decorum drew a reprimand from House Speaker Becky Lockhart, who, nevertheless, landed on the "yes" side of the 62-11 vote to approve HB105.

Families spilled from the chambers exchanging tearful, congratulatory hugs and flowers. The measure now heads to the Senate where it’s expected to be warmly received.

"This treatment could mean a better quality of life for my son," said April Sintz, the South Jordan mother of a seven-year-old boy with an untreatable form of epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome. "We hope it helps him function and participate in school, to be able to do things that a little boy should be doing, instead of just being at home seizing."

HB105 would allow authorized Utahns with "intractable epilepsy" to purchase certain cannabis extracts — high in cannabidiol (CBD) but low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive chemical component of marijuana that creates a high in users — without fear of prosecution.

HB105 is not a step toward legalizing marijuana, for medical purposes or otherwise, said sponsoring Rep. Gage Froerer, R-Huntsville, framing the bill instead as a matter of states’ rights and parental rights.

"Should [the federal] government interfere with what parents think is in the best interests of their child?" asked Froerer rhetorically.

Priming the bill for passage was the Utah Medical Association’s endorsement. The doctor lobby previously opposed it, but the latest version adopted Monday limits access to patients with "intractable epilepsy" and only with a neurologist’s recommendation.

Patients would have to apply to the Utah Department of Health for a "hemp extract registration card" and be observed and evaluated by their doctor who would report on patients’ progress to the health department.

Imported cannabis extracts would have to be labeled with an analysis of their contents as certified by the health department and could contain no more than 0.3 percent THC by weight and be comprised of at least 15 percent CBD.

Lawmakers, including Rep. Edward Redd, R-Logan, a physician, expressed reservations about circumventing Food and Drug Administration safety controls. But Redd voted for the bill after amending it to expire two years after is July 2, 2014, effective date, "to give the Legislature to a chance to review its effects."

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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