The United States Marijuana Party

The United States Marijuana Party – is a motivated group of Americans who are tired of living in fear of their government because of marijuana prohibition. We are fed up with the intrusion into our personal lives, with urine testing at work and at school, with armed home invasions, and with the possibility of prison because of a plant. WE are Americans and WE do not piss in a cup for anyone!

WE feel it is time for the 20 million Americans who smoke marijuana on a regular basis to stop hiding their love for this plant and unite as one large body of voters to demand an end to the unconstitutional prohibition of marijuana and the drug war. The U.S. cannot lock up 20 million people.

The War on Drugs causes more harm than the drugs themselves ever will.

United WE are a potential 20 million vote political machine. WE want to live free and WE must be determined to stand up, be counted, demonstrate, rally, and write.

Waiting for the government to silence us all in the American prison system is not an option! Too many of our brethren are there, in prison right now.

More Americans are in jail today for marijuana offenses than at any previous time in American history. The war against marijuana is a genocidal war waged against us by a government determined to eradicate our plant, our culture, our freedom and our political rights.

Time Magazine Reports: U.S. Marijuana Party

U.S. Marijuana Party

By Christina Crapanzano Monday, Mar. 29, 2010
Top 10 Time Alternative Political Movements
Andrew Holbrooke / Corbis

Long before Loretta Nall campaigned on her cleavage, the activist’s cause was cannabis. The Alabama resident gained national attention during her 2006 gubernatorial campaign when she produced T-shirts with the caption “More of these boobs …” (with a photo of Nall in a low-cut shirt) “… And less of these boobs” (next to photos of her opponents). But the write-in candidate’s political roots date back to 2002, when a misdemeanor arrest for possession was the spark behind her forming the U.S. Marijuana Party (USMJP). The group — which demands “an end to the unconstitutional prohibition of marijuana” — has official party chapters in seven states, including Colorado, Illinois and Kentucky. While Nall left the USMJP to be a Libertarian Party governor nominee, the group continues to back candidates in local, state and national elections under the leadership of Richard Rawlings, who is currently running for Congress in Illinois.

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State Begins Random Drug-Testing of Middle School Children — With Punishment

Claire Bernish

August 22, 2016

 

Random drug-testing of middle-schoolers — with penalties — has become a reality for a school district in New Jersey that already does so with high school students.

Though the Lacey Township Board of Education program will be implemented purely on a “voluntary” basis for seventh and eighth graders who participate in athletic programs and extracurricular activities — and only then with parental consent — the invasiveness of the plan should sound a number of alarm bells.

“I’m a supporter for any intervention to give another reason for kids to say ‘no’ and that can start at any age, especially with our young teens,” district superintendent Craig Wigley told NJ Advance Media following the school board’s vote on August 15.

Students will be offered the option to participate in the random drug-testing program, but the parents of those who do must sign a 12-month consent form.

Worse, the school plans to hand down stiff penalties to students who test positive — a first violation would bar a student from participation in sports and extracurriculars for 10 days, and on a second offense, the suspension would last 45 days. A third strike, unsurprisingly, bars the ‘offending’ student from athletics and extracurriculars permanently.

Students who sign up for the program but refuse to take a drug test when selected would face the same harsh penalties as those who test positive for drugs — meaning voluntary participants must adhere to the plan, or else.

“It’s really another tool for schools and families to keep their kids safe,” Wigley continued. “I think it’s a wonderful addition and it’s good to be in the forefront of that. We’re being proactive.”

It would be feasible to imagine civil liberties advocates would beg to differ with that assessment, but NJ Advance Media apparently didn’t contact any for an opposing viewpoint. The Free Thought Project reached out to the New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union for comment, but at the time of publication, had not received a response.

As NJ Advance Media noted, the school board’s program will allow up to 40 students per month to be tested from September 1 through the end of the school year — but no explanation for the 12-month length of consent was provided.

As the outlet wrote:

The board of education will annually adopt the list of prohibited substances and determine the cut-off levels for each substance that determines a positive test before the beginning of each school year. The list of prohibited substances is expected to including alcohol, amphetamines, barbiturates, cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy, methamphetamine, opiates and any others substance defined as a controlled dangerous substance by state law.”

As noted by High Times, the American Academy of Pediatrics generally opposes random or ‘suspicionless’ drug testing in schools, citing the lack of efficacy versus potential risks.

Proponents of random drug testing refer to potential advantages such as students avoiding drug use because of the negative consequences associated with having … positive drug test results,” the AAP wrote in a statement in March 2015, “while opponents of random drug testing agree that the disadvantages are much greater, and can include deterioration in the student-school relationship, confidentiality of students’ medical records, and mistakes in interpreting drug tests that can result in false-positive results.”

AAP does support identifying possible substance abusers so appropriate assistance could be provided, but feels testing should be left to pediatricians.

As NJ Advance Media unironically reported, “No student will be penalized academically for testing positive for drug[s] or alcohol under the policy.”

High schools in Lacey have performed random drug testing of students since December 2013 — though, in contrast to the middle school policy, that program is not voluntary. Each month, 30 students are selected randomly for drug screenings whether or not schools suspect them of actually using illicit substances.

“Students who test positive will lose the ability to participate in extra-curricular [sic] activities — sports, graduation ceremonies, school trips and proms — and parking privileges,” NJ Advance Media reported in 2013. “Along with notification of his or her parents, students who fail a test will have to meet with a substance abuse counselor. The student will also have to submit to four additional drug tests over the next 12 months. Failure of those tests could lead to a year’s worth of revoked privileges and activities, and a requirement to attend a drug rehabilitation.”

Alarmingly, some three dozen public school districts in New Jersey had implemented random drug testing for students as of three years ago.

Considering drug tests are notorious for producing false positives — or can flag a legally-prescribed drug as an illicit substance — policies like these should at least be subject to intensive scrutiny, if not outrightly banned. Further, it should be noted, because these are public schools, taxpayers foot the bill for the Nanny State’s intrusion into adolescents’ lives.

Rather than educating students about the effects of substances the government deems illegal — teaching them to respect drugs by comparing the perils of abuse to use in moderation — such programs inculcate the sort of taboo around substances that often lead teens to experiment in the first place.

While local media nearly unanimously praised the voluntary testing of seventh and eighth graders, the public had a more mixed response — some commenters on the NJ Advance Media article felt drug testing should be left to parents and schools should focus on the obvious task at hand: education.

CONTINUE READING…

Breaking: Devastating Advisory Opinion from the Ohio Supreme Court Board of Professional Conduct

Ohio Marijuana Law Blog

We’ve previously covered the topic of Ohio attorney professional ethics relating to House Bill 523 and the coming medical marijuana industry in Ohio. Well, today Ohio lawyers received the much-anticipated advisory opinion from the Board of Professional Conduct and it was…. less than encouraging.

I’m on the road coming back from an oral argument in central Ohio (I pulled over at a McDonald’s to write this, don’t worry), so I’ll hit the bullet points here and provide more in-depth analysis at a later time. Suffice it to say that the Board has chosen to follow the lead of the state’s that have drastically limited (if not outright prohibited) lawyer involvement in the marijuana industry.

From the opinion:

Under Prof.Cond.R. 1.2(d), a lawyer cannot deliver legal services to assist a client in the establishment and operation of a state regulated marijuana enterprise that is illegal under federal law. The types of legal…

View original post 556 more words

The Legalization Debate – Clinton v. Trump — The Collabinoid

A great read on the current stance of the United States presidential nominees over the legalization of Marijuana. Article written by Trisha Falkner at the inquisitr.com Full story here: Clinton vs. Trump Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

via The Legalization Debate – Clinton v. Trump — The Collabinoid

Big Ag Wants To sell You Genetically Modified Marijuana — TheBreakAway

CorbettReport James Corbett July 11, 2016 Voter initiatives like California’s “Adult Use of Marijuana Act” have many celebrating the legalization of the long-demonised plant. But as Ellen Brown writes in her new article, “The ‘War on Weed’ Is Winding Down – But Will Monsanto/Bayer Be the Winner?” the push toward legalization is being steered by […]

via Big Ag Wants To sell You Genetically Modified Marijuana — TheBreakAway

Where Does Donald Trump Stand on Cannabis? It’s Anyone’s Guess – Leafly — auntiebs

His love for legalization, full blown back in 1990, has been reduced to hemming and hawing in 2016. Source: Where Does Donald Trump Stand on Cannabis? It’s Anyone’s Guess – Leafly

via Where Does Donald Trump Stand on Cannabis? It’s Anyone’s Guess – Leafly — auntiebs

Cannabis strains that help certain ailments and diseases from 420.ag

 

 

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Here is a list of cannabis strains with ailments and diseases that each strain is said to help specifically for. If you have a degenerative or other type of disease, these strains may help!

Afghani = Emotional Stability
Afghanica = Nausea, Pain
AFGHANIE X HAZE = PMS, Lower Body Pain
Afghooie x Haze = PMS
AK-47 = Pain, Nausea, Depression, Insomnia, Headache
Alien Train Wreck = Asthma
Apollo 13 = Back Pain
Auntie Em = Crohn’s Disease, MS
AURORA B = Nausea, Joint Pain, Arthritis
Aurora Indica = Nausea, joint pain, arthritis
Berry-Bolt = Insomnia, Joint pain
Big Bang = Stress, Anxiety, Sedation
Big Kahuna = Back Pain, Arthritis, Herniated disc pain
BillieJack = ADD’s
Black Domina = Emotional Stability
Black on Blue Widow = HIV, Back pain
Black Vietnamese = Nausea, Muscle Spasms, Pain
Black/Blue Widow = HIV/AIDS, Back Pain
Blackberry = Digestive Disorders
Blackberry’s mother = Nausea, Joint Pain, Arthritis, HIV
Blue Fruit = Crohns Disease, Muscle spasms
Blue Moon Rocks = Anxiety, Depression, Insomnia
Blue Satellite = Pain, Nausea, Anxiety, Muscle Tension, Insomnia
Blue Satellite x Jack Herer = Depression, Nausea
Blueberry = Nausea, Insomnia, Pain
Bog Sour Bubble = Pain, Anxiety
Bonzo Bud = Body pain, Migraine
Bubble Gum = Fibromyalgia
Budacolumbia = Nausea
Burmaberry = Migraine, Depression
Burmese = Pain
Burmese pure = Anxiety, Depression
C99 x Great White Shark = Anxiety
Cali-O = Nausea
Cambodian x Orange Pekoe = Cerebral, Alert
Catalyst = PMS
Chronic = Muscle Spasms, Appetite Stimulant, Anti-emetic
Cinderella 99 = Epilepsy, MS, Nausea
CIT = Insomnia, Pain, Nausea
Citral = Insomnia
Cripple Creek = Hepatitis C, Degenerative Disc Disease, IBS, Interstitial Cystitis, Chronic Rotator Cuff Disease, HIV/AIDS
Deep Chunk = Joint Pain, Insomnia
Dynamite = Asthma, Crohn’s Disease, Hepatitis C
East Coast Sour Diesel = Epilepsy, Fibromyalgia, Radiculopathy
El Nino = Nausea, Insomnia
Fieldale Haze = Anxiety, Back pain
Fig Widow = Back pain, Psychosis
Firecracker = Depression, Anxiety, Nausea
G-13 = Depression, Pain, ADD, ADHD
G13 x HP = Nausea, Joint Pain, Insomnia
Grapefruit = Arthritis, Hepatitis C, Pain, Nausea
Green Queen = Epilepsy, Neck/spine pain
Green Spirit = Nausea, Headache, Body pain
Green Spirit x Timewarp x Herijuana = Insomnia, Migraine, Joint pain
Haze = ADD/ADHD
Heavenly Man = Stress
Herijuana = Pain, Nausea, Insomnia
Herijuana x Trainwreck = Diabetic neuropathy, Joint pain, Insomnia, MS
Hindu Kush = Social Anxiety
Ice Princess x Bubblegum = Migraine
Jack Herer = Anxiety, Fibromyalgia
Jacked #14 = Nausea
John Paul Jones = Body pain
Juicy Fruit = Insomnia, Joint pain, Anxiety
Kali Mist = Nausea, Depression
Kal-X = Body pain
KILLER QUEEN = Depression, Back Pain
Killer Queen = Depression, Back pain
Krinkle x Kush x Freezeland = MS muscle spasms
Lavender = Chronic Pain
Leda Uno = Insomnia
Legends Ultimate Indica = Insomnia, IBS, CROHN’S DISEASE, Joint/Muscle Pain
Legends Ultimate Indica x Herijuana = Muscle spasms, Pain
Lemon Chemo = Insomnia, Back pain, Migraine
Lemon Haze = Fibromyalgia
Lifesaver = Nausea, Headache, Pain, Insomnia
Lollipop = Cachexia, Degenerative bone and disc disease, Edema, General pain, General seizures, Glaucoma, Migraine, MS, Nausea, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Lowryder = Nausea, Pain, Headache
LSD = Nausea, Anxiety, Depression, Headache
M39 = Anxiety, Depression
Magic Crystal = Migraine, PMS, Depression, Nausea
Mango = Back pain, nausea
Mango x Northern Lights # 5 = Pain, nausea, insomnia, anxiety
Master Kush = Nausea
Medicine Woman = Diabetic neuropathy, general pain, general seizures, glaucoma, Hepatitis C, muscle spasms, nausea, radiculopathy
Misty = Hepatitis C, back pain, insomnia, nausea
Mountainberry = Insomnia, migraine, pain
Mr. Nice = Chronic Pain, Muscle Spasms
New York Diesel = Migraine
NL#5 = Social Anxiety
Northern Lights #1 = Arthritis
Northern Lights #2 = Nausea, insomnia
Northern Lights = Anxiety, radiculopathy, insomnia
Northern Lights x Cinderella 99 = Depression
Northern Lights x Jamaican = Arthritis
Northern Lights x Shiva = Pain, Toothache
NORTHERNBERRY = General Pain
NYC SOUR DIESEL = Edema, Epilepsy, Fibromyalgia, Radiculopathy
Oak Goo = Pain, anxiety
OG Kush = Social Anxiety
OG KUSH PURPLE = Leg Pain, Knee, Butt Pain
Oregon 90 = Joint Pain, RLS, Pain, Nausea, Insomnia
Original Mystic = Epilepsy
Phaght Betty = Cachexia, degenerative bone/disc disease, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Purple Kush = Stress, Anxiety
Queen Bee = Neck/spine pain
Reeferman’s Hash Plant = Chronic Pain
Romulan = Chronic Pain
Sensi Star = Migraine, PMS, Back Pain
Shiskaberry x Dutch Treat = Migraine, anxiety, insomnia, nausea
Shiskaberry x Hash Plant = Anxiety, nausea
Skunk #1 = Nausea
Slow Train = Back Pain
Snow White = PMS, Head aches
Sonoma Coma = General Relaxation, Induce Sleep
SOUR CREAM = Insomnia, Joint Pain, Nausea
Stardust 13 = Pain, nausea, insomnia
Strawberry Cough = Back pain, depression
Super Impact = Nausea, insomnia, muscle pain, depression, anxiety
Super Impact x AK-47 = Pain, insomnia, mood
Super Silver Haze = Nausea, depression, RLS, Arthritis, Bladder Problems
Super Thai = Depression
Swamp Mix = Depression
Sweet Blu = Degenerative bone/disc disease, diabetic, neuropathy, edema, fibromyalgia, muscle spasms, nausea, neck/spine pain
Sweet Tooth #3 = Depression, mood
Trainwreck = Anxiety, Arthritis, Diabetic Neuropathy, Depression
Trainwreck x Herijuana = Nausea, Anxiety, arthritis, diabetic neuropathy, depression
TW x LUI = Arthritis, nausea
TX = Arthritis, asthma, general pain, general seizures, glaucoma, MS
Ty’s Northernberry x Reeferman’s Herijuana = Appetite Stimulant, Spasms
UBC Chemo x Grapefruit = Muscle/Joint Pain
Ultra Green = Insomnia
Wakeford = Anxiety, nausea, insomnia
White Rhino = Body pain, back pain, joint pain, insomnia
White Russian = Pain, nausea
White Russian x AK47 x White Widow = Chronic Pain, Insomnia
White Widow = Cachexia, Hepatitis C, PTSD
White Widow x Big Bud = Depression, White Widow, Cachexia, Hepatitis C, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Wisp = Nausea, headache
WR = Muscle pain, nausea, insomnia
XXX = General Relaxation, Sleep

Please keep in mind that this is not to be considered as “medical advice” as the information given in this article is intended to be for informational purposes only, and is not intended to claim any specific cure of any ailment or disease through the specified strains, but is to be considered more of a guideline to help you decide what might be best for you in choosing the best strain for you.

CONTINUE READING….

(VT) Cris Ericson, Democratic party candidate for governor, will participate in debate, July 21st

Cris CSPAN VT
 
Cris Ericson

29 mins ·

Cris Ericson, Democratic party candidate for governor, will participate in debate.

http://www.fola.us/

FOLA Features Gubernatorial Candidates Forum July 21

FOLA will sponsor a gubernatorial candidates forum on Thursday, July 21 at 7 PM at the Ludlow Town Hall Auditorium. All candidates for Governor who are running in contested party elections have been invited to participate. (Including Cris Ericson who is on the Democratic party primary election ballot, but has been wrongfully excluded from the majority of candidate debates and forums!)
The forum will consist of questions directed at the candidates by the moderator, Ralph Pace, followed by questions from the audience. Candidates will be given equal time to answer the questions based on time constraints monitored by the timer.

Questions will deal with regional and statewide issues. For further information, call (802) 228-7239 or email info@fola.us.

Friends of Ludlow Auditorium

This is me at 21 years old. This is the day I graduated from the Detroit police academy…

Merri McGregor

Yesterday near Harrison Township, MI ·

This is me at 21 years old. This is the day I graduated from the Detroit police academy at 4:00pm, went home and took a couple hour nap, woke up at 9:30 that night and reported to my first tour of duty at the 12th Precinct for midnight shift. Look at that smile on my face. I couldn’t have been more excited, more proud. Armed with my dad’s badge that he wore for 25 years on my chest, one of my mom’s sergeant stripe patches in my pocket, my lucky $2.00 bill tucked into my bulletproof vest, a gun I was barely old enough to purchase bullets for on my hip and enough naive courage for a small army, I headed out the door…my mom snapped this photo on my way.

The next 17 years would bring plenty of shed blood, black eyes, torn ligaments, stab wounds, stitches, funerals, a head injury, permanent and irreparable nerve damage, 5 ruptured discs, some charming PTSD and depression issues and a whole lot of heartache. They brought missed Christmases with my family, my absence from friends’ birthday get-togethers, pricey concert tickets that were forfeited at the last minute because of a late call and many sleepless nights.

I’ve laid in wet grass on the freeway for three hours watching a team of burglars and orchestrating their apprehension, I’ve dodged gunfire while running down a dark alley in the middle of the night chasing a shooting suspect, I’ve argued with women who were too scared to leave their abusive husbands until they realized they had to or they would end up dead. I’ve peeled a dead, burned baby from the front of my uniform shirt, I’ve felt the pride of putting handcuffs on a serial rapist and I’ve cried on the chest of and kissed the cheek of my dead friend, coworker and academy classmate even though it was covered in his own dried blood and didn’t even look like him from all the bullet holes. I know what a bullet sounds like when it’s whizzing past your ear, a few inches away, I know what the sound of a Mother’s shrilling scream is like when she finds out her son has been killed in the middle of the street and I know what it’s like to have to tell a wife and mother of 3 that her husband was killed in a car accident while on his way home from work.
Smells, pictures, sounds and sights are burned and engrained into our minds…things we can never forget, no matter how hard we try; things that haunt our sleep at night and our thoughts during the day; things that we volunteered to deal with so that you don’t have to. Things I don’t want my sister, little cousins or YOU to even have to KNOW about.

I never once went to work thinking, “I’m gonna beat someone tonight.”; “Hmmm…I think I’m gonna kill someone tonight.” I DID, however, go to work every night, knowing that I was going to do the best I could to keep good people safe, even if that meant that I died doing so.

We ALL need to start being more understanding and compassionate toward one another. Violence doesn’t cure violence and hate doesn’t cure hate. I’ve seen and experienced both sides of the spectrum since I left the PD and I get it. I truly do. But this all has to stop.

Are cops perfect? No. Are there bad cops? Yes. But please…understand that the vast majority of police are good, loving, well intentioned family people. They have husbands and wives and children and parents and pets and cousins and mortgages and electric bills and lawns that need cutting, just like you. They have hearts and consciences. They aren’t robots, they’re not machines and they just want to help keep the wolves away from the sheep. I KNOW there’s people who don’t deserve to wear the badge but they’re SO VERY few and far between. It breaks my heart to see all this hatred and anger flying around. All it’s doing is encouraging more of the same.

If you’ve read this far, thank you for listening. I’m not gonna sit here and tell you that if you hate or don’t support one side or the other, to unfriend me and never speak to me again…I hope those are the people who come straight TO me. Because I’ll be more than happy to hug you and pray or meditate with you. I’ll be more than happy to listen to your concerns and let you vent and empathize with your feelings. But then I’ll encourage you to help me find a solution to end all this nonsense because if we’re not part of the solution, we’re part of the problem. Love to all of you. ALL OF YOU. We’re all SO much better than this.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️✌️❤️❤️❤️❤️✌️

 

ORIGINAL SOURCE LINK:

Ellen Brown Asks if Monsanto Will Win The War On Weed

Corbett • 07/11/2016 • 4 Comments

 

Voter initiatives like California’s “Adult Use of Marijuana Act” have many celebrating the legalization of the long-demonised plant. But as Ellen Brown writes in her new article, “The ‘War on Weed’ Is Winding Down – But Will Monsanto/Bayer Be the Winner?” the push toward legalization is being steered by corporate interests for potential profit, not a concern for public health.

 

gmo weed

Published on Jul 11, 2016

SHOW NOTES AND MP3: https://www.corbettreport.com/?p=19204
Voter initiatives like California’s “Adult Use of Marijuana Act” have many celebrating the legalization of the long-demonized plant. But as Ellen Brown writes in her new article, “The ‘War on Weed’ Is Winding Down – But Will Monsanto/Bayer Be the Winner?” the push toward legalization is being steered by corporate interests for potential profit, not a concern for public health.

CONTINUE READING ….

Is pot as dangerous as heroin? Feds’ decision on rescheduling marijuana coming soon

El Monte Police Lt. Christopher Williams looks over a portion of about 500 marijuana plants in various stages of growth after serving a search warrant at a home at 4300-block of Huddart Avenue in El Monte on Monday March 9, 2015.

 

By Brooke Edwards Staggs, The Orange County Register

Posted: 07/09/16, 8:37 PM PDT

 

At the same time Californians are preparing to vote on the legalization of adult marijuana use, the federal government is weighing whether pot should continue to be classified as a top-tier narcotic on par with heroin.

Within a month, the Drug Enforcement Administration is expected to release a much-anticipated decision that could alter cannabis’ ranking in the hierarchy of controlled substances — a formal listing that affects everything from medical research to taxing policy.

Since the list was created in 1970, marijuana has been ranked in Schedule I — the most restrictive category ­alongside heroin, LSD and peyote. The designation is reserved for drugs the DEA says have no proven medical use and are highly addictive.

What about Congress?

Even if the Drug Enforcement and Food And Drug administrations don’t recommend changing where marijuana falls on the controlled substances list, Congress could.

Elected officials are more likely to be influenced by growing public acceptance of marijuana — particularly if they represent one of 25 states with legal marijuana programs.

“I think that’s probably an easier sell than the decision coming from doctors and police,” said John Hudak, a deputy director with the Brookings Institution.

Some members of Congress support rescheduling marijuana, including Sen. Barbara Boxer. Some have even pitched descheduling it, including presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders. But none of those efforts gained traction, and Paul Armentano with the advocacy group NORML isn’t optimistic Congress will act on the issue anytime soon.

“I’m not aware of a single hearing much less a vote even in a subcommittee that has ever taken place at the Congressional level specific to the notion of reclassifying marijuana,” he said.

“We’re bound by the science,” said Melvin Patterson, spokesman for the DEA.

But many experts and advocates say the current classification is increasingly at odds with scientific studies on marijuana, which suggest the drug has medical value in treating chronic pain, seizures and a number of other conditions, with a lower addiction rate than alcohol.

The DEA ranking also lags behind a growing public consensus. Roughly 80 percent of Americans believe medical marijuana should be legal, according to recent polls, while some 60 percent support legalizing the drug for all adults.

“In 2016, this notion that cannabis possesses potential harms equal to that of heroin … simply doesn’t pass the smell test,” said Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML.

Medical marijuana is now legal in 25 states. Recreational use is allowed in four states plus Washington, D.C. If California green-lights recreational use this November, one in six Americans would live in a state where adults would be allowed to freely use cannabis.

The question of how cannabis should be ranked has been hotly debated since Congress placed it in the Schedule I group when it passed the Controlled Substances Act nearly 46 years ago. The drug’s classification has been reviewed periodically, with the latest reexamination prompted by a petition filed with the DEA five years ago by the then-governors of Rhode Island and Washington.

In April, the DEA advised Congress that it expected to announce a decision in the first half of 2016.

Patterson said officials now “clearly anticipate something happening in the next month.”

The agency has several options: keep cannabis as a Schedule I drug; reclassify some or all of its compounds to a lower schedule; or remove the plant from the controlled substances list altogether.

There is a greater chance than ever that marijuana will be rescheduled, said John Hudak, who studies the topic as a deputy director with the Brookings Institution. But he still expects pot to remain a Schedule I drug.

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“It needs to cross a threshold that says it has an accepted medical value,” Hudak said. “While there are plenty of patients and doctors who do believe it has medical value, that’s not a universal belief in the medical community.”

Leslie Bocskor, president of Las Vegas-based cannabis advisory firm Electrum Partners, thinks the odds slightly favor a reclassification of marijuana to Schedule II. That category includes morphine and cocaine, which the DEA says are highly addictive but have some medical value. A form of cocaine, for example, is used by some dentists as a local anesthetic.

The least restrictive of the five schedule categories, Schedule V, includes cough syrup with a bit of codeine.

Alcohol and tobacco aren’t included on the DEA’s controlled substances list, even though federal studies have found both are associated with higher dependency rates than marijuana.

Patterson said the DEA frequently hears from people frustrated that marijuana hasn’t been rescheduled sooner.

“They have their mind made up on what marijuana does in the short term,” he said. “But what about different strains? What about 10 years from now or even 20 years from now? Long-term effects matter.”

For the medical marijuana community, even reclassifying cannabis as a Schedule II drug would offer some vindication.

“At a minimum, it would bring an end to the federal government’s longstanding intellectual dishonesty that marijuana ‘lacks accepted medical use,’ ” Armentano said.

Such a shift by the DEA also might offer a small boost to at least half-a-dozen states with medical or recreational marijuana initiatives on the ballot this November.

That potential to give some credence to legalization efforts is one of the reasons a few members of Congress, including Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, and the organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana, or SAM, cite in arguing against reclassifying marijuana.

“Rescheduling would simply be a symbolic victory for advocates who want to legalize marijuana,” SAM wrote in a policy paper on the issue.

But both the California and American medical associations say rescheduling pot could lower the barriers a bit for federally sanctioned drug research.

The DEA has never turned down a marijuana research request that met federal criteria, Patterson said. But experts say red tape related to Schedule I drug research is so formidable that it discourages applications. So while there are tens of thousands of peer-reviewed studies on marijuana, there are few costly and rigorous double-blind, placebo-controlled trials involving cannabis.

Moreover, researchers say, marijuana studies are saddled with restrictions that don’t apply to other Schedule I drugs.

Since 1968, for example, the federal government has said only a tightly controlled stock of high-quality marijuana grown under contract by the University of Mississippi can be used for FDA-approved studies. Armentano said that restricts the supply available for research.

If marijuana were reclassified to at least Schedule III — alongside Tylenol with codeine and anabolic steroids — it would mean the nation’s rapidly growing number of cannabis-related businesses could begin deducting operating expenses from their federal taxes.

Under a tax rule imposed during the Reagan Administration’s 1980s anti-drug war, businesses dealing in Schedule I or II substances are prohibited from writing off common expenses such as rent, utilities or advertising.

Harborside Health Center, a large Oakland dispensary, has been battling the IRS over the rule for five years, after being assessed $2.4 million for illegal deductions. A decision in that case is expected soon.

Even if cannabis was moved down the controlled substances list to the least-restrictive category, the industry would still be likely to face business and regulatory hurdles.

Armentano likened such a change, should it come, to the first stride in a marathon.

“Technically, it gets you closer to the finish line,” he said. “But you still have a whole hell of a long way to go.”

Pot would remain an illegal substance under federal law. Reclassification wouldn’t necessarily open access to banking services, Hudak said. And doctors wouldn’t automatically switch to writing prescriptions, as opposed to “recommendations,” for medical marijuana, since that’s only allowed for FDA-approved drugs.

“There are certain people who play up rescheduling as an earth-shattering reform,” Hudak said. “It is not.”

He said sweeping changes would only come in the unlikely event that cannabis was completely descheduled, putting it on par with alcohol.

That would allow local governments to create cannabis policies free from federal interference, Armentano said, the way they can set their own hours for when bars stop serving alcohol or make entire counties “dry.”

Armentano isn’t optimistic the DEA will move marijuana to a less restrictive category, but he said there’s been one positive result from the current review.

“There’s attention being paid to how they handle this situation in a way that just wasn’t there before,” he said. “If the DEA goes down the same path as it has in the past, I think they’re going to have some explaining to do.”

CONTINUE READING…

"Overgrowing the Government"

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