The DEA is looking for candidates to grow marijuana for research – but will it find any takers?

Wanted: Someone to grow marijuana for the federal government. Benefits: A contract likely worth millions and the chance to enable medical research. Requirements: Ability to deal with the costs and regulations that come with growing an illegal drug for the federal government.

For more than four decades, the University of Mississippi has had an exclusive license with the government to grow marijuana for federally sanctioned research. But this month, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced it would grant permission to other growers — an effort, it said, to expand the supply and variety of marijuana available for research.

So has the change set off a gold rush to grow the green? Not exactly.

STAT contacted almost a dozen agricultural schools, including those with industrial hemp programs, to gauge their eagerness to grow marijuana for the government.

Not interested, said Cornell University, the University of Kentucky, and Virginia Tech. Ditto, said Michigan State University, the University of Vermont, and Western Kentucky University.

No plans, said University of California, Davis, and University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Same with Colorado State University, Oregon State University, and Purdue University.

“We are very boring that way,” Janna Beckerman, a plant pathologist who researches hemp at Purdue, wrote in an email.

Some interested groups could be keeping their plans under wraps. And other possible candidates may be trying to get a better sense of what the DEA wants. But any reluctance might stem from more than being boring.

More on this…

To register with the agency, applicants will need to show that they will have security measures in place to protect the marijuana and be willing to comply with a host of other requirements. And depending on the scale of the operation, prospective growers will likely have to make significant investments to get it up and running.

Bob Morgan, an attorney at Much Shelist who formerly led the Illinois medical marijuana program, said that facilities in states that have strict regulations on medical marijuana growers are probably looking at multimillion-dollar expenditures for construction alone.

“I think everybody is just thinking about how to approach this,” said Dr. Igor Grant, director of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at the University of California, San Diego. “What will it really take to get one of these DEA licenses?”

Grant said he would consider talking with other universities and agencies in California to see if it was worth the effort to get a cultivation operation in the state, but beyond that had not heard of groups intending to apply.

One researcher in the running is Lyle Craker, who studies medicinal plants at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has tried in the past to get approval to grow marijuana. He did not reply to an email requesting comment, but a spokesman for a group called the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies — which sponsors related research — said it is supporting Craker’s efforts to get a license, as it has in the past.

Other possible applicants include independent growers who operate in states where medical and recreational marijuana is legal. Some cultivators have an expertise in running a large-scale marijuana facility — with state-of-the-art practices and security measures and experience dealing with state regulators — that in theory might appeal to federal authorities.

But the fact is, their existence contravenes federal law.

In a memo announcing the policy change, acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg said that it would consider whether applicants have “engaged in illegal activity involving controlled substances … regardless of whether such activity is permissible under state law.” While that doesn’t disqualify current cultivators, policy experts and people in the industry say the DEA won’t look highly upon them.

“They made it very clear that if you have been in violation of the [Controlled Substances Act], that would be weighted heavily against you,” said Rachel Gillette, an attorney at Greenspoon Marder in Colorado who represents marijuana businesses.

That might not stop people from trying, though.

Charlie Bachtell is the CEO and founder of Cresco Labs, which grows medical marijuana at three sites in Illinois. Bachtell said he is considering applying to the DEA because he wants to support research that could show marijuana has medical benefits.

“The future of this industry definitely starts with research,” Bachtell said. “The opportunity to help progress the acceptance, the elevation, and the professionalism of the medical cannabis industry really starts with research.”

The DEA’s policy change also opened the door to a new group of candidates: drug makers. While the Mississippi marijuana is funneled to academic research, Rosenberg wrote that marijuana can now be grown “for strictly commercial endeavors … aimed at drug product development.”

GW Pharmaceuticals, a company that is developing a drug for epilepsy from a component of marijuana called cannabidiol, said it has not made a decision about a growing facility in the United States, but remained vague enough to suggest possible interest. The company makes the drug, Epidiolex, in the United Kingdom, where it is based.

“We are exploring additional growing facilities in places around the world,” the company said in a statement.

The DEA’s application process is open, but the agency has set no deadline to select growers. The agency has indicated it wants just enough marijuana to be produced so research demands are met, but not more than that.

“It could be that two years from now, we still only have one registrant,” said Alex Kreit, an expert on marijuana law at Thomas Jefferson School of Law.

Even if cultivators gets licenses, they will confront a chicken-and-egg quandary: If they get special approval to grow marijuana, where do they get the supply they need to start it?

They could obtain marijuana from the University of Mississippi, but that would defeat the purpose of trying to expand the genetic variety of plants available. Or they could get seeds and plants from another country, such as Canada or Israel, with the proper permits.

An existing grower could also surrender some marijuana to law enforcement, which could then hand it over to a newly registered grower.

For its part, a spokesman wrote in an email that that the DEA “would require manufacturers to obtain their seeds from a lawful source, and the DEA would assist the new manufacturers in this regard.”

CONTINUE READING…

Marijuana studies

Craker is known for proposing that medical grade marijuana be available for scientific studies into its possible health benefits. Since the marijuana available for studies is too weak for any kind of medical study, he proposed that medical grade marijuanna be made available for research purposes. He has been named in many newspapers on this subject. The federal government refuses to give him a license to grow medical grade marijuana. On April 29, 2009, Senators Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry wrote a letter to the Honorable David W. Ogden urging the Deputy Attorney General to delay a final decision on the application by Lyle E. Craker of the University of Massachusetts Amherst to produce research-grade marijuana for use in federally approved clinical trials[3][2][4][5]

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FDA News Release: Kratom seized in California by US Marshals Service

Mitragyna_speciosa111

 

For Immediate Release

August 4, 2016

Release

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today that the U.S. Marshals Service seized more than 100 cases of products labeled as containing kratom. The products are distributed by Nature Therapeutics LLC, which does business as Kratom Therapy and is located in Grover Beach, California. The seized products are marketed under the brand name Kratom Therapy, and are worth approximately $150,000.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed the complaint, on behalf of the FDA, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, alleging that the seized kratom products are unapproved new drugs and misbranded drugs under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

“The FDA will continue to take aggressive enforcement action to safeguard the public from harmful drug products illegally marketed as treatments for which they have not been studied or approved,” said Melinda Plaisier, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs.

The FDA is warning consumers not to use any products labeled as containing the botanical substance kratom. Mitragyna speciosa, commonly known as kratom, grows naturally in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Serious concerns exist regarding the toxicity of kratom in multiple organ systems. Consumption of kratom can lead to a number of health impacts including, respiratory depression, vomiting, nervousness, weight loss and constipation. Kratom has been indicated to have both narcotic and stimulant-like effects and withdrawal symptoms may include hostility, aggression, excessive tearing, aching of muscles and bones and jerky limb movements.

In January 2016, the FDA inspected the Grover Beach facility and also found that Nature Therapeutics’ website and social media sites included claims establishing that the company’s Kratom Therapy products are drugs because they are intended for use in the cure, mitigation, or treatment of various diseases. The FDA has not approved Nature Therapeutics’ products for any use. In addition, the complaint alleged that Nature Therapeutics’ products are also misbranded drugs because their labeling fails to provide adequate directions for use. The California Department of Public Health embargoed the products on behalf of the FDA.

In February 2014, the FDA issued an import alert regarding imported dietary supplements and bulk dietary ingredients that are, or contain, kratom without physical examination.

Health care professionals and consumers should report any adverse events related to products containing kratom to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program. To file a report, use the MedWatch Online Voluntary Reporting Form. The completed form can be submitted online or via fax to 1-800-FDA-0178.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

###

SOURCE

 

RELATED:

The DEA has filed notice of intent to add Kratom to schedule 1

The DEA has filed notice of intent to add Kratom to schedule 1

 

Mitragyna speciosa111.JPGVarious forms of kratom and teas made from the plant’s leaves are sold in cafes and on the internet. Their primary effect is to provide a short-lived peaceful and calm feeling that is described as pleasant. Consistent with this effect being opioid-like, anecdotal reports indicate that some users have used kratom to successfully recover from physical and psychological dependence on prescription opioids and heroin. Comments on my last report on kratom have also indicated the successful use of teas made from the plant in managing chronic pain without the side effects and addictive potential of prescription opioids like oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine. LINK

Due to be published in the “Federal Register” on August 31st, 2016 is the DEA’s “Intent to reschedule” the opioids mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine  These are the “ingredients” of the plant Kratom and they are placing it into schedule I using the “temporary scheduling provisions” of the Controlled Substances Act.

Federal Register Kratom

The Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, issued this document:

DOJ Kratom

There is a petition at Whitehouse.Gov that is asking the Federal Government to not go thru with this decision. 

KRATOM PETITION

 

The “drug war” has taken enough of our plants and enough of our lives.  We cannot continue to let them regulate us out of every plant of food and medicine which were given to us as Our “inalienable rights” as Human Beings and laid out in Our Constitution as such, and regulate it out of our reach through the use of “Agenda 21” as laid out by the United Nations, in which the United States is one of only five “permanent members”!

First, PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION, and then make phone calls and write letters to your Representatives concerning this issue!

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

RELATED STORIES:

“Rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to purposes and principles of the United Nations.” HOW THE UNITED NATIONS IS STEALING OUR “UNALIENABLE RIGHTS” TO GROW FOOD AND MEDICINE THROUGH THE U.N. CONVENTION ON NARCOTIC DRUGS AND AGENDA 21. Sheree Krider

The FDA Just Outlawed Hemp Oil – Secrets of the Fed.Com

FORBES announced today:  The DEA Is Placing Kratom And Mitragynine On Schedule I

Take Back Kentucky Legislative Action Alert

(KY) Oppose: Senate Bill 136: Banning of the Kratom Herb 2/22/2016

The FDA Just Outlawed Hemp Oil

The FDA Just Outlawed Hemp Oil — The #1 Cancer Treatment in The World

 

VIA/Hemp oil extracts containing CBDs (cannibidiols) are such a threat to the pharmaceutical industry that the FDA is now invoking totally insane justifications for outlawing them.

FDA’s own website: “12. Can products that contain cannabidiol be sold as dietary supplements? A. No. Based on available evidence, FDA has concluded that cannabidiol products are excluded from the dietary supplement definition…”

The FDA has also started sending aggressive warning letters to CBD product marketers.

Cannabis Oil - Banned by FDA

CBDs are non-psychoactive compounds found naturally in hemp plants. They work so well as powerful natural medicine that people everywhere are realizing CBDs work better than pharmaceuticals for treating epilepsy, seizures, neurological disorders and other serious health conditions (including HIV infections).

So the FDA has just launched a massive regulatory assault against CBDs by invoking the most insane logic you’ve ever heard. Here’s how it goes:

1) CBDs work so well that drug companies are now investigating them to be approved by the FDA as medicines.

2) Because CBDs are being investigated by drug companies, the FDA has granted CBDs status as being “investigated as a new drug.”

In the FDA’s own language from their website:

“FDA CONSIDERS A SUBSTANCE TO BE ‘AUTHORIZED FOR INVESTIGATION AS A NEW DRUG’ IF IT IS THE SUBJECT OF AN INVESTIGATIONAL NEW DRUG APPLICATION (IND) THAT HAS GONE INTO EFFECT.”

3) Because CBDs work so well and have been authorized for drug investigations, the FDA now OUTLAWS them being sold as dietary supplements.

Per the FDA’s own website:

“FDA HAS CONCLUDED THAT CANNABIDIOL PRODUCTS ARE EXCLUDED FROM THE DIETARY SUPPLEMENT DEFINITION UNDER SECTION 201(FF)(3)(B)(II) OF THE FD&C ACT.

“UNDER THAT PROVISION, IF A SUBSTANCE (SUCH AS CANNABIDIOL) HAS BEEN AUTHORIZED FOR INVESTIGATION AS A NEW DRUG FOR WHICH SUBSTANTIAL CLINICAL INVESTIGATIONS HAVE BEEN INSTITUTED AND FOR WHICH THE EXISTENCE OF SUCH INVESTIGATIONS HAS BEEN MADE PUBLIC, THEN PRODUCTS CONTAINING THAT SUBSTANCE ARE OUTSIDE THE DEFINITION OF A DIETARY SUPPLEMENT.”

4) Now the FDA has begun sending warning letters to CBD makers, claiming they are in violation of FDA regulations because they are selling “adulterated products.”

Adulterated with what, exactly? CBDs, of course!

“THE DEBATE OVER HEMP CBD’S LEGAL STATUS CONTINUES AFTER FDA SENT EIGHT WARNING LETTERS TO MANUFACTURERS OF CBD DIETARY SUPPLEMENT AND FOOD PRODUCTS EARLIER THIS MONTH,” REPORTS NUTRITIONAL OUTLOOK.

“THE WARNING LETTERS CITE IMPERMISSIBLE HEALTH CLAIMS USED TO MARKET THE PRODUCTS, AS WELL AS CBD’S INVALID STATUS AS A DIETARY INGREDIENT DUE TO ITS PRESENCE IN TWO DRUG APPLICATIONS CURRENTLY UNDER CONSIDERATION.”

The FDA just criminalized one of the most miraculous healing medicines in the world by handing it over to Big Pharma

In other words, the FDA just handed Big Pharma an absolute monopoly over CBDs (hemp oil extract) by ridiculously claiming such natural products are “adulterated” with molecules (CBDs) that the FDA says might one day become a drug.

“Drugs,” according to the FDA, are substances that are proven to treat, prevent or cure a disease, and thus the FDA’s own logic admits that CBDs must be able to treat, prevent or cure diseases, otherwise they would be useless as “drugs”.

But when a dietary supplement company makes the same claim, they are hit with aggressive warning letters from the FDA, threatening to shut them down, confiscate their products and seek criminal prosecution of the company executives.

This is how the FDA can instantly criminalize any vitamin or plant extract

Do you see how this twisted, corrupt regulatory tactic can allow the FDA to instantly criminalize any dietary supplement, vitamin, herb or plant extract?

Vitamin D, for example, could be outlawed by the FDA announcing that it has granted “Investigational New Drug application (IND)” status to any drug company studying vitamin D.

Using this same corrupt, mafia-style tactic, the FDA could outlaw resveratrol or even vitamin C, denying Americans the right to access safe, affordable, natural substances that are routinely found in nature.

It’s time to end the FDA’s monopolization over natural plant molecules

If humanity is ever to achieve medical freedom, we must end the FDA’s outrageous medical monopolization of plant molecules such as CBDs.

By allowing this corrupt, criminally-run regulatory agency to criminalize every molecule found in nature, our nation’s lawmakers condemn us all to life in what can only be called medical totalitarianism under FDA tyranny.

Any time a healing substances is found in nature, the FDA can simply assert that such molecules are now in the process of being studied as drugs and are therefore illegal to sell as dietary supplements even though they were developed by Mother Nature, not drug companies.

This FDA tactic is nothing more than the FDA proclaiming intellectual monopolies over all molecules of interest found in nature.

It is Monsanto-like in its arrogance and wickedness, and it deprives the People of their right to access medicinal plants and healing substances that have existed in nature for countless thousands of years long before the FDA ever came into existence (1906).

If we do not stop this FDA, we are all doomed to living under a totalitarian regulatory regime that will systematically criminalize every healing molecule found in nature, from the curcuminoids in turmeric root to green tea catechins and even phycocyanins found in spirulina.

That this federal agency has now resorted to such tactics of medical totalitarianism and outright tyranny is proof that we need to strip the FDA of regulatory powers over natural dietary supplements and limit its domain to pharmaceutical drugs only.

Coincidentally, a Presidential election is upon us that threatens to shake up the entire establishment if the right person wins.

“Establishment” candidates on both sides of the aisle would simply continue the FDA war on natural molecules that’s now under way, but there is one candidate who has openly threatened to challenge the authority of federal regulators like the EPA and FDA.

FDA begins crackdown by targeting inaccurate label claims… but it won’t end there

The FDA has now declared war on CBDs and hemp oil extracts. Its first targets are those companies who have inaccurate label claims or are committing outright fraud in claiming CBD concentrations that don’t even exist in their products.

On this point, I must agree that inaccurate label claims deserve regulatory enforcement. The CBD industry is heavily populated with fraudulent sellers whose products often contain no CBDs at all.

“THE FDA HAS TURNED ITS BACK ON THE CANNABIS INDUSTRY, CLAIMING THAT CBD PRODUCTS CANNOT BE SOLD AS DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS,” REPORTSCANNA BUSINESS.

“COMPANIES AFFECTED BY THE LATEST CRACKDOWN INCLUDE CALI STORES, DOSE OF NATURE, GREEN GARDEN GOLD, HEALTHY HEMP OIL, MICHIGAN HERBAL REMEDIES, MORGUE JUICE, PAIN BOMB AND SANA TE PREMIUM OILS. ACCORDING TO THE FDA’S ANALYSIS, ALL PRODUCTS CONTAINED DIFFERENT AMOUNTS OF 9-THC, THCA, CBDA, CBN AND CBD THAN THEY HAD CLAIMED.”

The second target of the FDA is companies that made disease treatment claims that their CBD products might treat epilepsy, cancer or other conditions.

The FDA, of course, routinely attacks any dietary supplement maker that tells the truth about the medicinal benefits of their products.

According to the FDA, there is no such thing as any food, nutrient, herb or natural molecule that has any ability whatsoever to treat, prevent or cure any disease.

This position is, of course, patently absurd and stands in total violation of nutritional science, but it is the “big lie” the FDA must maintain in order to keep putting dietary supplement companies out of business.

Once the FDA finishes destroying all the companies with inaccurate labels and disease marketing claims, it will target all the honest suppliers of CBDs who are selling genuine, honest products that contain accurate CBD labels.

This is the real goal of the FDA: to threaten, intimidate and destroy the entire CBD industry and thereby protect the medical monopolies of drug companies that can’t wait to cash in on these amazing molecules that really do treat disease (otherwise, Big Pharma would have no interest in them).

This is how the FDA keeps the medical racket marching along

And so the great medical monopoly racket marches on, with the FDA giving a big “F-YOU” to the American people while handing lucrative medical monopolies to its greed-driven friends in the pharmaceutical industry.

Meanwhile, the American people are denied healing medicine that works at a fraction of the cost of overpriced pharmaceuticals.

Entrepreneurial companies that offer such hemp oil extracts containing CBDs — natural medicines that could help reduce human suffering while lowering health care costs nationwide — are threatened by the FDA with devastating enforcement actions that could land their executives in prison.

This is all part of the FDA’s war on natural medicine that systematically criminalizes molecules found in nature and the people who seek to make those molecules available to patients in need.

While disease suffering skyrockets across America and medical expenses push more and more families over the threshold of bankruptcy and destitution, isn’t it comforting to know that your federal government is doing everything in its power to deny you access to safe, affordable natural medicine while protecting the profits of the drug giants?

What can you do to oppose this medical tyranny by the FDA?

None of this is ever going to change, by the way, if we keep electing establishment politicians to the White House.

If you want to see real change in the legalization of hemp extract components such as CBDs, you’d better vote for someone who terrifies the establishment and threatens to tear it down.

At the same time, you need to support health freedom organizations like the Alliance for Natural Health, which is fighting to keep dietary supplements legal in America.

You should also watch this video animation that exposes the anti-dietary supplement bias of PBS Frontline, which recently ran a totally dishonest hit piece documentary attacking supplements.

There is a nationwide effort under way right now to criminalize ALL dietary supplements and force every plant extract, vitamin or food concentrate to be regulated by the FDA as if they were prescription drugs.

This would utterly wipe out the entire dietary supplements industry and plunge America into an era of runaway disease, suffering and death as people are denying access to the healing nutrients that are presently preventing disease (and even reversing serious disease in some cases).

Finally, share this story and join the Natural News email list (below) to stay informed on all this.

As the editor of Natural News, I am fighting for your right to access CBDs and hemp oil extracts, as they are amazing natural medicines that can treat, prevent and in some cases even help cure serious health conditions.

The FDA is anti science and anti human rights

We have a fundamental human right to access healing plants found in nature, and the FDA has systematically sought to destroy that right and criminalize those who seek to express it.

Access to Mother Nature’s healing molecules is a fundamental human right that exists above and beyond the Bill of Rights. It is a DIVINE right.

To reestablish our access to these rights, we need a political revolution in Washington that puts people in power who are ready and willing to dismantle the FDA and end its devastating monopolies over dietary supplements, medicinal herbs and natural molecules found in nature.

We need to legalize health freedom in America and set this nation on a new path of disease prevention and drastically reduced health care costs through access to affordable, natural medicines.

The only way to accomplish this is to end the FDA’s reign of tyranny over the dietary supplements industry.

We need a new health freedom revolution in America, and it starts at the ballot box. It’s time to start electing outsiders, not insiders… people who the terrify the Washington establishment because they know their insidious grip on regulatory power will be challenged.

If you want medical marijuana legalized, or if you want access to CBD oil as an affordable dietary supplement, it’s time to start voting for people the establishment is desperately trying to destroy.

Because it is only those people who have any real hope of achieving the kind of political and legislative goals that will end the FDA’s stranglehold on natural medicine in America.

CONTINUE READING…

The stark difference in how doctors and the government view marijuana

By Christopher Ingraham August 29 at 11:23 AM

 

Nathaniel P. Morris is a resident physician at Stanford Hospital specializing in mental health. He recently penned a strongly worded op-ed for ScientificAmerican.com on the differences between how some in the medical community view marijuana and how the federal government regulates it.

“The federal government’s scheduling of marijuana bears little relationship to actual patient care,” he wrote in the essay published last week. “The notion that marijuana is more dangerous or prone to abuse than alcohol (not scheduled), cocaine (Schedule II), methamphetamine (Schedule II), or prescription opioids (Schedules II, III, and IV) doesn’t reflect what we see in clinical medicine.”

Here’s Morris’ money quote:

For most health care providers, marijuana is an afterthought.

We don’t see cannabis overdoses. We don’t order scans for cannabis-related brain abscesses. We don’t treat cannabis-induced heart attacks. In medicine, marijuana use is often seen on par with tobacco or caffeine consumption — something we counsel patients about stopping or limiting, but nothing urgent to treat or immediately life-threatening.

He contrasts that with the terrible effects of alcohol he sees in the emergency room every day, like car crash victims and drunk patients choking on their own vomit. Morris points out that excessive drinking causes 88,000 deaths per year, according to the CDC.

ADVERTISING

[Every minute, someone gets arrested for marijuana possession in the U.S.]

The medical and research communities have known for some time that marijuana is one of the more benign substances you can put in your body relative to other illicit drugs. A recent longitudinal study found that chronic, long-term marijuana use is about as bad for your physical health as not flossing. Compared to alcohol, it’s virtually impossible to overdose on marijuana alone. On a per-user basis, marijuana sends fewer people to the emergency room than alcohol or other drugs.

The scientific consensus was best captured in a 2010 study in the Lancet, which polled several dozen researchers working in addiction and drug policy. The researchers rated commonly used recreational drugs according to the harm they pose to individuals who use them, as well as the harm they pose to society as a whole. Here’s what their results looked like:

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 1.09.12 PM

The experts rated marijuana as less harmful to both users and to society than either tobacco or alcohol, or indeed than many other recreational drugs, such as heroin, cocaine or methamphetamine. Alcohol was, by far, the most socially harmful drug the committee rated, as well as one of the most harmful drugs to individual users.

Research like this is one reason surveys have shown a substantial majority of doctors support the use of medical marijuana. And although big medical groups, such as the American Medical Association, haven’t shifted gears on marijuana, other groups, such as the California Medical Association, are now openly calling for marijuana legalization.

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This year has also seen the formation of the nation’s first doctor’s group devoted to legalizing marijuana, Doctors for Cannabis Regulation. The group views marijuana legalization primarily as a public health issue.

None of this is to say, of course, that marijuana is completely “safe” or “harm-free.” As with any drug, using too much weed can lead to dependency on it. And as with any other drug, marijuana can have particularly harmful effects on young, developing minds.

But the federal approach to marijuana has stood at odds with the science on the drug for decades. As far back as the 1970s, an expert report commissioned by Richard Nixon recommended that the federal government decriminalize marijuana use, given the drug’s mild effects.

Nixon, of course, ignored the report’s findings. In the years since, there have been hundreds of thousands of arrests for marijuana possession each year, people have lost their homes and their property over suspicion of marijuana use, and decades of racially biased policing tactics have decimated many minority communities.

How marijuana legalization is working out so far

Play Video1:58

What we can learn about legal marijuana from Washington, Colorado and Oregon. (Daron Taylor, Danielle Kunitz/The Washington Post)

8

Comments

Christopher Ingraham writes about politics, drug policy and all things data. He previously worked at the Brookings Institution and the Pew Research Center.

Follow @_cingraham

CONTINUE READING…

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…

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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