MJ News for 03/11/2014

in Marijuana in the News Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:58 am
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points


Washington Senate Approves Less Restrictive Medical Marijuana Bill

On Saturday the Washington Senate passed a bill that addresses some of the concerns that patients have about new restrictions on medical marijuana. S.B. 5887, introduced by Sen. Ann Rivers (R-La Center), is substantially more permissive than H.B. 2149, the medical marijuana bill approved last month by the state House of Representatives, although both bills would abolish dispensaries, require patients to register with the state, and reduce limits on possession and cultivation. The patient-friendlier provisions of S.B. 5887, which passed by a vote of 34 to 15, include:

Collective gardens. The House bill would ban dispensaries (a.k.a. “collective gardens”) as of May 2015, while the Senate bill would let them continue to operate until that September. Even after then, the Senate bill would let patients (or their designated providers) pool their resources and grow marijuana together for their own medical use. S.B. 5887 includes rules aimed at preventing collective gardens from evolving into dispensaries: Just one garden is allowed per location, no more than four patients may grow together at a time, and at least 15 days must elapse after one member leaves before a new member may join.

Cultivation limit. Each patient (or a designated provider) would be allowed to grow up to six plants (down from 15 currently), but there would be no limit on how many of those six plants could be flowering at one time.

Purchase limits. Patients could buy up to three ounces of marijuana (more if a health professional says it is necessary), 48 ounces of marijuana-infused products in solid form, 216 ounces of marijuana-infused liquids, and 21 grams of concentrates from the state-licensed pot stores that are supposed to start opening this summer. Those are three times the limits for recreational customers. The current possession limit for patients is 24 ounces of marijuana.

Tax exemptions. When they buy cannabis from stores with “medical marijuana endorsements,” registered patients would not have to pay the standard sales tax or the retail-level excise tax, but the latter exemption would expire in September 2015. “I am not happy about that, and we’ll be fighting for its reinstatement this week,” says Philip Dawdy, media and policy director at the Washington Cannabis Association.

Supply and access. The state Liquor Control Board, which would be renamed the Liquor and Cannabis Board, would be required to “increase the amount of square feet available for production by marijuana producers if the producer agrees to use the extra space to grow products for medical use and for sale to medical marijuana endorsed stores.” On the retail end, the board must ”reconsider the maximum number of retail outlets permitted and allow for a new license period and a greater number of retail outlets in order to accommodate the medical needs of qualifying patients.” When it does so, “a preference may be given to those license applicants who intend to operate a medical-only store.”

Medical strains. The Liquor and Cannabis Board must ”adopt rules on products sold to qualifying patients under an endorsement, including THC concentration, CBD [cannabidiol] concentration, and THC to CBD ratios appropriate for patient use.” State-licensed pot stores would be allowed to “identify the strains, varieties, THC levels and CBD levels” of their products, although state regulations prohibit the sort of symptom-specific advice currently available from dispensaries. “We’ll have to work with LCB in rule making to straighten out what people can say,” Dawdy says.

Recommendations. An amendment to S.B. 5887 defines “principal care provider”—the person authorized to recommend marijuana for a patient—as a “health care professional who is designated by a qualifying patient.” That provision should help veterans who receive primary care through V.A. hospitals where doctors are not allowed to recommend marijuana.

Affirmative defense. Patients with doctor’s recommendations would continue to have an affirmative defense against marijuana charges until April 1, 2016, after which they would have to register with the state, which would give them immunity from arrest.

Registry privacy. In addition to confirming a patient’s eligibility for higher purchase limits and tax exemptions, information from the registry could be shared with a law enforcement agency “engaged in a bona fide specific investigation of suspected marijuana-related activity that is illegal under Washington state law.” Illegally sharing information from the registry would be a Class C felony.

“I’m not calling it good,” Dawdy says, “but it is a workable framework for medical going forward.” The Senate and the House have until Thursday to agree on a compromise bill.

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 03/11/2014

in Marijuana in the News Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:00 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points


More than 100 marijuana shops shut down, L.A. city attorney says

More than 100 pot shops have shut down since Los Angeles started enforcing its new rules restricting medical marijuana dispensaries, City Atty. Mike Feuer announced Monday.

Feuer said he was now stepping up that work, hiring two new attorneys who would exclusively tackle prosecutions under Proposition D, the measure passed by voters last spring. Staffers are also focusing more attention on real estate professionals and landlords renting space to marijuana dispensaries, providing them with a new brochure that warns of steep fines and jail time for breaking the rules.

"We have a long way to go, but we have a great start," said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, who joined Feuer at a news conference. Beck said that new training on the law would help 165 senior lead officers in charge of neighborhood policing detect new and existing illegal shops.

Feuer said he was unsure how many marijuana dispensaries are now open in Los Angeles, since there is no permitting process for the shops. Before the measure passed last spring, police estimated that there were roughly 700 dispensaries, though others pegged the number far higher. The law taxes such businesses and gives limited immunity to pot shops that registered under a series of city ordinances starting seven years ago.`

Despite the crackdown, there are signs that more shops have opened: Since the rules went into effect last summer, more than 300 medical marijuana collectives have registered to pay business taxes, including nearly 200 with no previous record in the tax system, according to city finance officials. It is unclear exactly how many new shops are operating, since a business can obtain a registration certificate but not actually open its doors.

Feuer said his staff was sending letters to marijuana businesses that had recently registered to warn them that "if they've opened for the first time since 2013, they can't be lawful under Proposition D, and that they are subject to prosecution." He told reporters there was an "urban legend" that receiving a registration certificate meant a shop was lawful. He showed reporters a placard of such a certificate, superimposed with the words "Not a Permit to Operate."

However, the city attorney said there were no plans to ask the finance department to stop issuing those certificates to new dispensaries. Attorney David Welch, who represents a marijuana dispensary that is challenging its prosecution under the measure, argues that the city is "creating confusion."
The city "should take charge, determine who qualifies" and only allow those who do to get certificates, Welch said.

Under Prop. D, pot shops and the landlords that lease them space can be prosecuted if the shops don't meet several requirements, including being registered under past city ordinances and operating an adequate distance from public parks, schools, child care centers and other facilities.

The rules were expected to drastically shrink the number of marijuana dispensaries allowed to operate across the city, since only a fraction of Los Angeles dispensaries meet all those requirements, according to city estimates. Officials previously released a list of more than 100 shops believed to have met some of the requirements, but Feuer has stressed that being on that list does not afford any legal protection.

He said his office had successfully fended off repeated courtroom challenges to the law, but opponents counter the fight isn't over. "We're just in the beginning of our stages of attack," said defense attorney Bruce Margolin, who argues that Prop. D created "a kind of monopoly" for older dispensaries.
Beck said the law was "a work in progress," but the new steps would help make it a reality. "This won't be the last time we talk about medical marijuana, but maybe this is the first time that we talk about it where we see a solution."

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 03/11/2014

in Marijuana in the News Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:11 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points


Medical marijuana refugees: 'This was our only hope'

(CNN) -- They've come from as far away as Australia and Canada, or as close as Oklahoma.

They are of different backgrounds and ages, but they've all moved to Colorado for the same thing: medical marijuana to treat their sick children.
"Jordan had her first seizure at 6 months old. I had never seen a seizure before," says her mother, Paula Lyles. "We took her to the hospital. The doctors said that would probably be the only one she'd have and sent us home."

But when Jordan was 18 months old, the seizures began in earnest.

But she didn't receive a diagnosis until she was nearly 11. It was Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy characterized by uncontrolled, continuous seizures. Jordan was put on a combination of three anti-seizure medications.

But "the drugs take her personality away. The side effects of the cure are horrible," Lyles says. Jordan started having "drop seizures" -- which caused her muscles to go limp. The medications took her speech away for two weeks, along with her ability to eat.

"I would rather have her lost to a seizure than watch her stolen away by the side effects of the medicine," Lyles says.

She'd heard about the healing properties of cannabis, but Lyles lived in Ohio, where medical marijuana is not legal.

Even in the 20 states and the District of Columbia where medical marijuana is legal, the federal government classifies cannabis is a Schedule I drug, meaning it has no accepted medical value and a high potential for abuse. Others in that category: heroin, LSD and ecstasy.

So six months ago, after talking to doctors and reading studies on medical marijuana, Lyles packed up her daughter and moved to Colorado, leaving her engineer husband and 25-year-old daughter Lindsay behind.

Doing so allowed Jordan to be treated with a strain of medical marijuana that's high in cannabidiol, or CBD, a chemical in cannabis thought to have medicinal properties, and low in tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive chemical in pot that gets users high.

Over the last eight months, more than 100 families have moved to Colorado looking for medicine to save their children's lives, according to the Realm of Caring. The organization is run by the Stanley family -- medical marijuana growers and dispensary owners who pioneered a strain of cannabis high in CBD and low in THC.

The strain is called Charlotte's Web. It's named after 7-year-old Charlotte Figi of Colorado Springs. Charlotte also has Dravet syndrome; after being on seven medications with no success, she began taking marijuana in an oil form. Her seizures were drastically reduced -- from 300 a week to two or three a month.

"I'm 52 years old," Lyles says. "My whole life is in Ohio, my family, my friends, my church, my doctors. ... I had a twinge in my heart because I knew it was the right thing to do, but my other voice is saying, 'Hey, this is crazy -- you're going to leave this all behind, break up your family and go?' "

In the end, it's exactly what she did. She says it's been hard on her husband and daughter. But Jordan is much happier, and the results, she says, are undeniable.

"We've been able to reduce her pharmaceuticals by 50% as a result of using Charlotte's Web," Lyles says. "It's ridiculous. I didn't want to do it, but now that I'm out here on the other side I know I'm where I'm supposed to be. I wanted to do anything to save Jordan's life.

"Nobody should be forced with that choice," she says. "... Now I have hope.

There was no hope if I had stayed home. I would just be watching her die."
About 3 million people in the United States have epilepsy, according to the American Epilepsy Society. Of those, a third have treatment-resistant seizures.

The society supports clinical studies on the effectiveness of cannabis for the treatment of epilepsy.

"We desperately need new treatments, and we need more research to get those treatments," says Dr. Amy Brooks-Kayal, vice president of the group.

"There are anecdotal reports in some people with epilepsy where marijuana derivatives seem to be effective. There are other cases where it seems not to have worked as well, and what we need to understand is who might benefit from marijuana and marijuana derivatives such as cannabidiol, how much we would give them, how often to give it (and) what the potential side effects might be."

One parent who knows about side effects is Nicole, 35, who prefers not to use her last name. She and her husband moved to Colorado from Minnesota nearly four years ago when his job transferred him.

Their son was diagnosed with Dravet syndrome just before turning 3. He'd had seizures since he was 11 months old. He would have between 50 and 90 grand mal seizures in a 48-hour period.

"He's tried several diets, supplements -- pretty much you name it, we've tried it," Nicole says. "He's even tried the medication that's used in dogs to treat epilepsy, triple bromide. It didn't work."

But neither did marijuana. Three times over the course of a year they tried
CBD and THCa, a strain of non-psychoactive medical marijuana.

"It never helped his big seizures. In fact, they kept getting worse," Nicole says. "They were getting worse before we started cannabis, but cannabis did not help them."

Since they stopped the cannabis more than a year ago, Nicole says her son is doing much better. However, she still supports cannabis as a treatment option.

"I've seen firsthand what this has done for other kids, and just because this doesn't work for my son doesn't mean that I'm against it," she says. "Knowing what I know now, I would still try it."

But Butch and Mandy Swann of Haleyville, Alabama, know it works for their daughter Allie. Now 14, Allie was 6 months old when she had her first seizure.

She was diagnosed early with intractable seizures. She's had two surgeries, including one to remove her right frontal lobe at age 6 after neurologists found a spot there they determined the seizures began.

"She was having 200, 300 seizures a day at the age of 6," Butch Swann says.

"After the surgeries, she probably went down to 50 (to) 100."

Allie "had been on every medication available," he says. "... She was on like 20. Sometimes it would help the seizures, but it would have such bad side effects."

She was sick all the time. Then in August, Swann's sister told him about a CNN report on medical marijuana and epilepsy.

"I watched it, and it was like a light bulb flipped on in my head and just something inside me said, 'You've got to go try this.' "

A month later, Swann moved his family to Colorado Springs.

"It was very trying for the family," he says. "We wanted to get Allie help, but we didn't want to have to leave our families to do that. But we just had to.

We couldn't not try the medication.

"I told my wife, 'Let's go try it. If it works, great. If it doesn't, we'll come home.' And we packed up everything we had and moved, everything we could fit in the truck.

"... We knew that there was a wait list for the medication and the more people that saw that documentary they were going to get ahead of us if we didn't get out here. We didn't have any time to waste. We had to come."

Dr. Edward Maa, chief of Denver Health's Comprehensive Epilepsy Program, discovered one-third of his patients were using medical marijuana without his knowledge.

"I was shocked at how many people were actually using it," the neurologist says.

Although concerned about its long-term safety, he immediately became more interested in cannabis as a potential treatment. He says he's shocked at the number of families that move to Colorado -- just to get this medicine for their children.

"They can't take it back home, and it's actually split up families," Maa says.

"This conflict is really driving families apart. It's crazy. It's absolutely crazy."
If it's proven to be effective, Maa says he believes marijuana should be available.

"At least an exception for a compound like this -- or similar compounds with high CBD content, and not so much of the THC. ... The psychoactivity, I think is really reduced in this oil, in this product. I don't see what the problem is.

The fact that it's Schedule I is arbitrary at this point. And I think it should be relaxed, at least in a medical, sort of compassionate-use basis."

Tara and Ron Rodriguez say they split up their family to save the lives of two of their five children.

In November, Tara and her mother left Arizona for Colorado with Ronnie, 17; Cienna, 6; and Cedric, 21. Ronnie and Cienna were both diagnosed as toddlers with intractable epilepsy. Cedric left school, where he was studying nursing, to help his mother care for his two siblings.

Ron, a registered nurse, was working and in school. Savannah, 15, stayed behind, as did the couple's oldest son, Steven, who has three children of his own.

Since 2, Ronnie, who also has autism, has been on eight different types of anti-seizure medications.

"From being comatose from so many medications and so many seizures, he functions now as a first-grader, roughly a 5- or 6-year-old," his mother says of the teen. "He needs total care."

Weed advocates see gains as opponents mobilize for new votes
Cienna suffered her first seizure at 8 months old. At 18 months, the seizures came with a vengeance and never left. They are multiple types of seizures, no less than a 200 a month.

Both children are doing better now, with their medicine cut in half, the seizures drastically reduced -- but at a cost.

"It's the hardest thing that I've ever had to do in my life," Tara Rodriguez says. "The separation and the distance ... I just get through the day the best that I can, knowing what I'm doing to give my children the best quality of life."

Last month, she moved to California with Ronnie and Cienna. They still have access to medical marijuana, and it's closer to Arizona -- Ron makes the five-hour trip on weekends to spend time with his wife and children. Cedric has gone back to nursing school.

"I have been waiting for 15 years for an answer," Tara Rodriguez says. "This has been an incredible journey, and I have no regrets."
She says if Charlotte's Web becomes available in Arizona, she would go back home. "That will be the answer to our prayers, for us to be reunited again."

Cristi and Francis Bundukamara were living in Miami when their two youngest children were diagnosed with a rare and fatal degenerative disease called DRPLA, or dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy.

Reggie, now 14, began having seizures when he was 7 and is severely affected, experiencing 25 to 100 grand mal seizures a month. On a bad day, he'd have hundreds of smaller seizures.

Genetic testing reveals the disease so the whole family was tested. That led to Miah's diagnosis at 8 (she's now 13).

Francis, a teacher in Miami-Dade public schools, and Cristi, a nurse practitioner and professor at Miami Dade College, decided to move their family to Colorado.

"You basically have two choices -- you try to do it illegally, or you uproot your family, so that's what we did," Cristi Bundukamara says. "This was our only hope. We almost lost Reggie a couple of times in the last two years. ..."

Reggie and Miah are on Charlotte's Web, and their medications have been drastically reduced. Last month, Reggie was down to 13 grand mal seizures, and he's eating and communicating again.

Cristi Bundukamara is no longer sure she'd go home even if Florida passed medical marijuana laws.

"It was so hard to uproot and leave, and we're just getting settled," she says.

"But it still feels like home. Florida still feels like home."

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 11, 2014 12:12 pm | Scroll up


RE: MJ News for 03/11/2014

in Marijuana in the News Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:19 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points


Marijuana in California: Legislation introduced for state oversight of industry

SAN FRANCISCO -- Law and order may soon be coming to the Wild West of weed.

A California lawmaker has introduced legislation to regulate the state's free-wheeling medical marijuana industry -- the farmers that grow the drug, the hundreds of storefront shops that sell it and especially the doctors who write recommendations allowing people to use it.

The state in 1996 was the first to authorize marijuana use for health purposes -- there are now 20. But to this day no one knows how many dispensaries and patients California has or what conditions pot is being used to treat because the loosely worded law did not give government agencies a role in tracking the information.

The bill introduced by state Sen. Lou Correa marks a milestone not only because it would provide significant state oversight of the multibillion dollar industry for the first time, but because it is likely to get serious consideration in Sacramento after years of inaction.

SB 1262 is the brainchild of the California Police Chiefs Association and the League of California Cities, two politically influential groups that have stood in the way of previous efforts to legitimize pot growers and dispensaries by subjecting them to state control and taxation.

"This legislation seems counterintuitive, but we polled our membership and over 90 percent of the chiefs felt that, regardless of how you felt about the marijuana issue itself, there needed to be a responsible public safety approach to this," said Covina police Chief Kim Raney, president of the chiefs association.

Medical marijuana advocates, who have lobbied unsuccessfully for a statewide regulatory scheme they hoped would make the industry less susceptible to federal raids and arrests, is taking a wait-and-see approach on Correa's legislation.

They prefer a bill held over from last year, co-sponsored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano and Sens. Darryl Steinberg and Mark Leno, that calls for regulating and taxing medical marijuana like alcohol and places fewer restrictions on doctors than Correa's measure does, but are prepared to hammer out a compromise, said Lynne Lyman, California director for the Drug Policy Alliance.

"We are very encouraged by law enforcement coming to the table with their proposals and we think we can all work together and come up with some model legislation in the state, finally, 18 years later," Lyman said.

The police chiefs and cities are getting on the regulatory bandwagon now because they worry that if they don't champion a plan of their own, marijuana advocates will succeed in getting the Legislature to pass one that aggravates the ongoing concerns of law enforcement and local governments instead of addressing them. Last year alone, the groups beat back three bills that would have required pot shops to be licensed by the state but that the league feared would make it harder for cities and counties to ban or regulate them.

Public support for legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, as voters in Colorado and Washington have done, is growing and the White House has softened its stance on the issue.

"We were very concerned about the legislation last year," League of California Cities lobbyist Tim Cromartie said. "We thought it was unwise to purely play defense. We thought we needed to play offense."

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 03/11/2014

in Marijuana in the News Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:22 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points


It's No Toke: Colorado Pulls In Millions In Marijuana Tax Revenue

They say crime pays? Not exactly. Legalize a former crime and tax it and it really pays.

Just ask Colorado. Perhaps not so awkwardly labeled the “Highest State,” Colorado pulled in $2 million in taxes related to the sale of recreational marijuana…in January 2014 alone. Combined with taxes on sales from medicinal marijuana, the state pulled in nearly $3.5 million in pot-related tax revenue. If that trend continues, the state will see more than $40 million in additional tax dollars in 2014. To put that in perspective, that’s approximately 1% of the total annual budgets for Delaware, South Dakota, Montana or West Virginia.

There are a couple of layers of tax in place on the sale of marijuana. To begin with, there’s a 10% state sales tax imposed on retail marijuana and marijuana products on top of 2.9% in existing state sales tax (this is in addition to any local sales tax). As with other taxable products in Colorado, the tax is on the final consumer and cannot be included in the advertised price. Together with local sales taxes and special taxes, the tax imposed on consumers in Denver on the purchase of marijuana can reach as high as 21.12% (downloads as a pdf). Denver County accounted for more than half of all medicinal and recreational marijuana related sales tax revenue, while outside of the capital, taxes can be closer to 13%. No matter the level of tax, sales were pretty healthy statewide, with $14.02 million worth of recreational pot sold.

In addition to sales taxes, Colorado also imposes a “retail marijuana excise tax” of 15%. That tax is assessed on the first sale or transfer of marijuana from a retail marijuana cultivation facility and is calculated by taking the average market rate per pound and multiplying it by the weight of the flower times the tax rate. That means it’s not directly charged to the consumer. The state is serious about that last piece: while the tax can certainly be rolled into the overall price as the cost of doing business, it may not be separately stated on a receipt to give the appearance that it’s a consumer tax.

Additional licenses and fees are also imposed with those for medical marijuana outpacing those for retail marijuana by a factor of about five to one. The sale of medical marijuana has been legal and regulated in the state since 2000. The sale of recreational marijuana was made legal this year so these numbers for taxes, licenses and fees, are the first look at how those sales are directly impacting the economy.

The result? Despite taxes, no one is complaining – especially not the Department of Revenue. Even at relatively high rates, consumers are still buying and state officials have indicated that those numbers are on target.

The biggest problem is actually how to spend the money: it’s not exactly a terrible problem to have. Voters approved a law last year that requires the first $40 million collected from the special excise taxes to be directed towards school construction. But after that? The state hasn’t yet decided to do with the money. Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) has proposed using a significant chunk of the revenue on programs related to marijuana legalization including those to keep youths away from drugs, substance abuse treatment, and my favorite, the “anti-stoned-driving campaign.” Here’s my guess about the programming: it won’t be particularly popular, at least not for long, and it won’t be inked as such in the final bill.

Here’s the reality: forget marijuana, it’s the tax dollars that are addictive. The more lawmakers have, the more that they spend. And then they want even more. I can’t imagine a scenario in which lawmakers would agree to simply direct millions and millions of tax dollars into more programming, well-intentioned or not. Expect a battle in Colorado over exactly how to spend that money.

As for the rest of the nation? They’ve got their perhaps slightly bloodshot – and envious – eyes on Colorado. For years, the sale of marijuana has been illegal – and taxing it wasn’t even seriously considered for fear that it might somehow legitimize the use. Now, twenty states plus the District of Columbia allow people to use medical marijuana and two states (Colorado and Washington) allow sales for recreational use. Nationwide, it appears that public opinion is changing: a current petition to make marijuana legal has garnered nearly 100,000 signatures. Legalizing it would mean significant changes in the way we view crimes and the use of drugs across the country: taxing it would merely sweeten the pot.

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 03/11/2014

in Marijuana in the News Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:26 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points


Medical marijuana and 'the entourage effect'

(CNN) -- In the early 1960s, a young postdoctoral student stumbled onto something that puzzled him.

After reading the literature on cannabis, he was surprised to see that while the active compound in morphine had been isolated from opium poppies 100 years before and cocaine isolated from coca leaves around the same time, the active component of marijuana was still unknown.

This simple observation launched his life's work.

That young Israeli researcher, Raphael Mechoulam, is now a heavily decorated scientist, recently nominated for the prestigious Rothschild Prize. More than 50 years ago, however, he had trouble starting his scientific journey.

For starters, he needed cannabis to study and didn't know how to obtain it.

Eventually, he obtained his research supply from friends in the police department. The young scientist was in a hurry, and didn't want to wait to cut through the red tape required by Israel's Health Ministry.

"Yes, I broke the law," he told me when I met with him in Tel Aviv last year, "but I apologized and explained what I was trying to do."

It's a good thing the Israeli government didn't stall his progress, because Mechoulam was moving at breakneck speed.

By 1963, he determined the structure of cannabidiol (CBD), an important component of marijuana. A year later, he became the first person to isolate delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

Over the ensuing decades, Mechoulam and his team continued to isolate numerous compounds from the cannabis plant.

Their work also went a long way toward illuminating how the drug works in the brain. When Mechoulam's team identified the first known endogenous cannabinoid, a chemical actually made by the brain itself, he named it "anandamide." In the Sanskrit language, ananda means "supreme bliss," which gives us some insight into what Mechoulam thinks of cannabinoids overall.

It was halfway through our long afternoon discussion that Mechoulam, now 83, pulled out a paper he had written in 1999, describing something known as "the entourage effect."

Think of it like this: There are more than 480 natural components found within the cannabis plant, of which 66 have been classified as "cannabinoids." Those are chemicals unique to the plant, including delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiols. There are, however, many more, including:

-- Cannabigerols (CBG);

-- Cannabichromenes (CBC);

-- other Cannabidiols (CBD);

-- other Tetrahydrocannabinols (THC);

-- Cannabinol (CBN) and cannabinodiol (CBDL);

-- other cannabinoids (such as cannabicyclol (CBL), cannabielsoin (CBE), cannabitriol (CBT) and other miscellaneous types).

Other constituents of the cannabis plant are: nitrogenous compounds (27 known), amino acids (18), proteins (3), glycoproteins (6), enzymes (2), sugars and related compounds (34), hydrocarbons (50), simple alcohols (7), aldehydes (13), ketones (13), simple acids (21), fatty acids (22), simple esters (12), lactones (1), steroids (11), terpenes (120), non-cannabinoid phenols (25), flavonoids (21), vitamins (1), pigments (2), and other elements (9).

Here is the important point. Mechoulam, along with many others, said he believes all these components of the cannabis plant likely exert some therapeutic effect, more than any single compound alone.

While science has not yet shown the exact role or mechanism for all these various compounds, evidence is mounting that these compounds work better together than in isolation: That is the "entourage effect."

Take the case of Marinol, which is pure, synthetic THC. When the drug became available in the mid-1980s, scientists thought it would have the same effect as the whole cannabis plant. But it soon became clear that most patients preferred using the whole plant to taking Marinol.

Researchers began to realize that other components, such as CBD, might have a larger role than previously realized.

To better understand the concept of the entourage effect, I traveled to the secret labs of GW Pharmaceuticals, outside London. In developing Sativex, a cannabis-based drug to treat multiple sclerosis, the company's chairman, Dr. Geoffrey Guy, told me the company ran into some of the same obstacles that Marinol faced.

More than a decade of experiments revealed that a whole plant extract, bred to contain roughly the same amounts of THC and CBD in addition to the other components in the plant, was more effective in reducing the pain and spasms of MS than a medication made of a single compound.

It could be that multiple individual compounds play a role, or it could be due to their interaction in the body; it could also be combination of both, Guy said.

Now, maybe this all sounds obvious. After all, eating real fruits, vegetables and other plants provides better nutrition than just taking vitamin pills with one nutrient or mineral in each. Science is showing us that we can likely say the same about cannabis.

As we move forward with creating medicines, like Charlotte's Web, for the patients who can benefit from cannabis -- this is an important point to keep in mind.

Unlike other drugs that may work well as single compounds, synthesized in a lab, cannabis may offer its most profound benefit as a whole plant, if we let the entourage effect flower, as Mechoulam suggested more than a decade ago.

"This was our only hope": Medical marijuana refugees

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


RE: MJ News for 03/11/2014

in Marijuana in the News Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:28 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points


Vida Cannabis accelerating closing date for Clairtone building

Vida Cannabis Corp. has announced the accelerated closing of the purchase of the Stellarton facility by its wholly owned subsidiary Vida Cannabis (Canada) Ltd.

The new closing date will now be by the end of March 2014 instead of April 15, 2014.

We believe that the 'shorter than anticipated' negotiation is indicative of the Town of Stellarton's shared vision with Vida Cannabis, the company stated in a release.

Town provided its approval during an in camera session at the council meeting on March 10.

Greg Wilson, CEO of Vida Cannabis, stated: "We are thankful to the Town of Stellarton for its continuous support. We are excited about the facility and are eager to begin renovations. We cannot wait to be its proud owners. This will be a leap towards obtaining approval from Health Canada."

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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