Category Archives: Marijuana

(KY) GOV. MATT BEVIN AND AG ANDY BESHEAR GET SUED OVER MEDICAL MARIJUANA!

BECAUSE THIS STORY IS SO IMPORTANT IN KENTUCKY I HAVE INCLUDED TWO SOURCES OF INFORMATION.

PLEASE FOLLOW THE LINK TO THE VIDEO BELOW TO HEAR THE PRESS CONFERENCE WHICH WAS AIRED ON WLKY.

THE LAWSUIT WAS FILED TODAY, JUNE 14TH, 2017, IN JEFFERSON COUNTY KENTUCKY AGAINST GOV. MATT BEVIN AND AG ANDY BESHEAR BY DANNY BELCHER OF BATH COUNTY, AMY STALKER OF JEFFERSON COUNTY, AND DAN SEUM JR OF JEFFERSON COUNTY.

ky mj lawsuit

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FACEBOOK – WLKY PRESS CONFERENCE WITH COMMENTS

Mark Vanderhoff Reporter

FRANKFORT, Ky. —

Three people are suing Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and Attorney General Andy Beshear over Kentucky’s marijuana laws, claiming their rights are being violated by not being able to use or possess medicinal marijuana.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday morning in Jefferson Circuit Court, was filed on behalf of Danny Belcher of Bath County, Amy Stalker of Louisville and Dan Seum Jr., son of state Sen. Dan Seum, R-Fairdale.

Seum turned to marijuana after being prescribed opioid painkillers to manage back pain.

“I don’t want to go through what I went through coming off that Oxycontin and I can’t function on it,” he said. “If I consume cannabis, I can at least function and have a little quality of life.”

The plaintiffs spoke at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

Seum does not believe the state can legally justify outlawing medical marijuana while at the same time allowing doctors to prescribe powerful and highly addictive opioids, which have created a statewide and national epidemic of abuse.

That legal justification lies at the heart of the plaintiffs’ legal challenge, which claims Kentucky is violating its own constitution.

The lawsuit claims the prohibition violates section two of the Kentucky Constitution, which denies “arbitrary power,” and claims the courts have interpreted that to mean a law can’t be unreasonable.

“It’s difficult to make a comparison between medical cannabis and opioids that are routine prescribed to people all over the commonwealth, all over the country, and say that there’s some sort of rational basis for the prohibition on cannabis as medicine when we know how well it works,” said Dan Canon, who along with attorney Candace Curtis is representing the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit also claims Kentucky’s law violates the plaintiffs’ right to privacy, also guaranteed under the state constitution.

Spokespeople for Gov. Bevin and Beshear say their offices are in the process of reviewing the lawsuit.

In a February interview on NewsRadio 840 WHAS, Bevin said the following in response to a question about whether he supports medical marijuana:

“The devil’s in the details. I am not opposed to the idea medical marijuana, if prescribed like other drugs, if administered in the same way we would other pharmaceutical drugs. I think it would be appropriate in many respects. It has absolute medicinal value. Again, it’s a function of its making its way to me. I don’t do that executively. It would have to be a bill.”  CONTINUE READING…

Lawsuit challenges Kentucky’s medical marijuana ban

By Bruce Schreiner | AP June 14 at 6:38 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky’s criminal ban against medical marijuana was challenged Wednesday in a lawsuit touting cannabis as a viable alternative to ease addiction woes from opioid painkillers.

The plaintiffs have used medical marijuana to ease health problems, the suit said. The three plaintiffs include Dan Seum Jr., the son of a longtime Republican state senator.

Another plaintiff, Amy Stalker, was prescribed medical marijuana while living in Colorado and Washington state to help treat symptoms from irritable bowel syndrome and bipolar disorder. She has struggled to maintain her health since moving back to Kentucky to be with her ailing mother.

“She comes back to her home state and she’s treated as a criminal for this same conduct,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Daniel Canon. “That’s absurd, it’s irrational and it’s unconstitutional.”

Stalker, meeting with reporters, said: “I just want to be able to talk to my doctors the same way I’m able to talk to doctors in other states, and have my medical needs heard.” CONTINUE READING…

Cannabis and the Constitution: A Brief History of Cannabis in the U.S.

Lisa Rough

The Constitution of the United States is arguably the most important document in the history of this country, aside from possibly the Declaration of Independence. It forms the backbone of America’s most basic rights, liberties, and laws upon which democracy is founded.

In its original form, the Constitution contained no mention of drugs or alcohol. In order to enact alcohol prohibition, the Eighteenth Amendment was introduced and ratified in 1919, specifically stating that the production, transport, and sale of alcohol was illegal. The prohibition of alcohol lasted 13 years, until the Twenty-first Amendment was introduced to repeal the Eighteenth Amendment in its entirety and re-legalize alcohol.

There is no mention of cannabis, nor any other drugs, in the Constitution. Does that mean that the prohibition of cannabis is unconstitutional?

There is no mention of cannabis, nor any other drugs, in the Constitution. Does that mean that the prohibition of cannabis is unconstitutional?

The first international prohibition of drugs came in the form of the International Opium Convention, an international drug treaty commissioned in response to the rising opium trade. The International Opium Convention was signed on January 23, 1912 and went into force globally in 1919, when it was incorporated into the Treaty of Versailles. The initial objective of the treaty was not prohibition or criminalization of drugs, but rather restricting exports of opium, coca, and cannabis.

In the United States, the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 was the first law of its kind to deem cannabis, along with alcohol, morphine, and opium, as “addictive and/or dangerous.” The law required drug labels to list any of these ingredients, and was primarily a “truth in labeling” law, although it was credited with paving the way for the eventual creation of the Food and Drug Administration. Curiously, cannabis, cocaine, heroin, and other such drugs continued to be available legally without a prescription, so long as they were properly labeled.

Then, along came Harry Anslinger.

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The Origin of the Word ‘Marijuana’

As head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, Anslinger took note of the rising use of cannabis in the 1930’s. In 1935, he urged Franklin D. Roosevelt to adopt the Uniform State Narcotic Act, using the Hearst newspaper chain to promote the campaign. The Uniform State Act defined “habit forming drugs” as coca leaves, opium, “cannabis indica,” or “cannabis sativa,” and although only nine states adopted the regulations, it was drafted without any scientific study or evidentiary basis for the marijuana section.

Anslinger continued on a nationwide campaign against cannabis, declaring that marijuana causes temporary insanity. He produced films and advertisements that featured young people smoking cannabis, committing crimes, and killing themselves or others. This is exemplified in the infamous propaganda film, Reefer Madness.

The U.S. government official also made no compunctions about who, exactly, the campaign was aimed against. “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men,” Anslinger said. “The primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.” He also offered a charming portrait of the average cannabis consumer, to his knowledge. “Most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.”

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It’s Time to Treat Medical Cannabis Like Medicine

In 1937, Anslinger drafted the Marijuana Tax Act, which did not criminalize the possession or use of cannabis; rather, it imposed a tax equaling roughly one dollar on anyone commercially dealing in cannabis or hemp.

Dr. William Woodward, legislative counsel to the American Medical Association, vehemently opposed the bill, noting that much of the “evidence” presented originated from Anslinger himself, and that the use of the word “marijuana,” which was largely unknown at the time, prevented physicians from realizing they would lose cannabis as medicine. “Marijuana is not the correct term,” argued Woodward. “Yet the burden of this bill is placed heavily on the doctors and pharmacists of this country.”

Anslinger may not have actually created the law to prohibit cannabis, but he is certainly responsible for changing the public perception of cannabis from an innocuous substance available in many tinctures and medicines at the pharmacy to a dangerous, addictive, stigmatized drug, a perception that persists today.


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How Mexican ‘Herbolarias’ Transformed Hemp into Psychoactive Marijuana

In 1969, Richard Nixon drafted the Controlled Substances Act, the legislation that criminalized the use and possession of cannabis, and ruled that marijuana has a high potential for abuse and no established medicinal value. The term “controlled substance” was defined to exclude alcohol and tobacco, an important exemption, as these are two of the most widely used drugs (with some of the most addictive properties).

The United States Constitution was drafted in order to spread power among many groups, by a system of checks and balances to ensure that no one person has too much power. Thus, the Controlled Substances Act could be changed by the Attorney General, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Congress, the Department of Health and Human Services, or by petition from any interested party.

Since 1970, there have been numerous petitions to reschedule cannabis. The first petition was filed by NORML in 1972 and was not given a hearing until 1986, and another attempt in 1981 from Representative Stewart McKinney was also shot down. Since then, it has been a recurrent theme of petition and denial through the years.

“Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.”

Francis L. Young, DEA Administrative Law Judge

During a hearing on the subject in 1988, DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young concluded that, “In strict medical terms, marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume…Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.”

Whether or not the prohibition of cannabis is unconstitutional, perhaps it is time to reconsider whether the prohibition of cannabis is truly for the safety of the country, or simply for the peace of mind of a few select opponents still entrenched in the past.

CONTINUED…

Medical marijuana could cost big pharma $4 billion a year

Mike Adams, The Fresh Toast

Medical marijuana could cost big pharma $4 billion a year

This post originally appeared on The Fresh Toast.

fresh toast logo

Once the federal government finally allows medical marijuana to become a legitimate part of the healthcare industry, Big Pharma could suffer the loss of billions of dollars, a new report finds.

It seems the pharmaceutical trade has more than enough reasons to fear the legalization of marijuana, as an analysis conducted by the folks at New Frontier Data predicts the legal use of cannabis products for ailments ranging from chronic pain to seizures could cost marketers of modern medicine somewhere around $4 billion per year.

The report was compiled using a study released last year from the University of Georgia showing a decrease in Medicare prescriptions in states where medical marijuana is legal. The study, which was first outlined by the Washington Post, was largely responsible for stirring up the debate over how a legitimate cannabis market might be able to reduce the national opioid problem. It found that medical marijuana, at least with respect to those drugs for which it is considered an alternative treatment, was already costing pill manufactures nearly $166 million annually.

Researchers at New Frontier identified nine key areas where medical marijuana will do the most damage to the pharmaceutical market — castrating drug sales for medicines designed to treat anxiety, chronic pain, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep disorders, nerve pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, Tourette syndrome and glaucoma.

By digging deep into each condition, researchers found that if cannabis was used an alternative treatment in only a small percentage of cases, it could strip in upwards of $5 billion from pharmaceutical industry’s $425 billion market.

Although that may not sound like much of a dent, John Kagia, executive vice president of industry analytics for New Frontier, said, “The impact of medical cannabis legalization is not going to be enormously disruptive to the pharmaceutical industry.”

The report specifically calls out drug giant Pfizer Inc, suggesting that medical marijuana could suck a half billion dollars from its $53 billion in annual sales revenue.

It is distinctly possible that the latest report paints an accurate portrait of the impact medical marijuana could have on the pharmaceutical trade — that is, unless the drug manufactures decide to get in on the cannabis business.

GW Pharmaceuticals and Insys Therapeutics are already developing cannabis-based medications that are set to come to market in the near future. Depending how medicinal cannabis regulations eventually shake out with the federal government, it is conceivable that the medical marijuana programs that we have come to know would disappear, with the pharmaceutical companies being the only ones profiting from this alternative medicine.

Some experts say federal legalization would change the cannabis industry in ways that would be unsatisfactory to most in the business.

Be careful what you ask for.

More Mike Adams.

CONTINUE READING…

Oakland-Based Startup Develops Marijuana ‘Breathalyzer’ to Sell to Police Departments

pot leaf

When the governor of Vermont vetoed a marijuana legalization bill this week, he said he was especially worried about stoned driving. He wants to hear more about an “impairment testing mechanism” to detect it.

The problem is that no such mechanism exists. There is no Breathalyzer for pot.

Urine and hair tests can detect whether a person has used marijuana or other drugs within the last few days or weeks, but they can’t tell when a person is stoned at any one moment.

A couple of startups are racing to change that.

Oakland-based Hound Labs and Cannabix Technologies of Vancouver, British Columbia, are developing small handheld devices with tubes that people can blow into, just like the roadside tests that detect drunken drivers.

Hound Labs announced on Tuesday that it has raised $8.1 million from the venture capital company Benchmark, which funded Uber and Tinder, and has started clinical trials in conjunction with the University of California, San Francisco.

The Hound device is designed to detect both marijuana and alcohol in human breath. Dr. Michael Lynn, the CEO, said his company is planning to sell it by the end of the year.

“We tested on so many people now that we’re quite confident,” he told CNNMoney.

He said his company’s device will cost $600 to $800 and will be sold to police departments — and employers, too. In the eight states where recreational pot is legal, companies might not care whether their workers smoked weed the night before, but would definitely care if they are driving trucks or school buses while stoned.

Lynn, an emergency room doctor, said the device uses chemistry to pick up THC molecules in the breath, which are detectable for about two hours.

In Canada, which is moving to legalize recreational marijuana next year, Cannabix Technologies is working on a similar device to detect THC molecules.

Kal Malhi, the company president, hopes to start selling it in about a year and half, for $1,000 to $1,500. Testing began in March.

“We know it works,” said Dr. Bruce Goldberger, a forensic toxicologist and science adviser to the company.

Unlike an alcohol Breathalyzer, which estimates the amount of alcohol in the blood to determine a degree of drunkenness, both pot devices simply give a yes or no on the presence of THC.

Police don’t have a roadside drug testing tool like this. Goldberger said police in other countries sometimes use saliva swabs that can detect drugs, but those haven’t caught on in the United States.

Bob Griffiths, a retired officer and the director of police standards and training for the Alaska Department of Public Safety, said saliva testing technology “has not proven reliable.” This is why it was never adopted in Alaska, where recreational marijuana sales became legal in October.

Griffiths said Alaska police currently conduct field sobriety tests that he described as “fairly rudimentary,” and that the marijuana Breathalyzer “shows promise.” But it still has to be tested by the police, and approved by the courts for use as evidence.

He said the technology is important because it could detect drug impairment in drivers who are not drunk.

“I’ve arrested people who had zero-zero alcohol but they could barely stand up,” he said. “I would say that recreational marijuana, whether legal or not, has always been a problem with impairment with drivers in Alaska.”

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“…We need support in dealing with transnational criminal organizations and dealing with human trafficking – not in going after grandma’s medicinal marijuana,”

marijuana

Kamala Harris to Trump: Leave grandma’s marijuana alone

By Sean Cockerham

scockerham@mcclatchydc.com

WASHINGTON

Sen. Kamala Harris of California used the year’s first big 2020 presidential spotlight Tuesday to rail against Trump administration drug policies and call for easing laws governing marijuana.

“Let me tell you what California needs, Jeff Sessions. We need support in dealing with transnational criminal organizations and dealing with human trafficking – not in going after grandma’s medicinal marijuana,” she said, referring to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Tuesday’s Ideas Conference, put on by the influential liberal think tank Center for American Progress, was a widely watched testing ground for a Democratic Party that is desperately in search of new leadership. More than 100 reporters signed up to cover the event, with hundreds of spectators in the audience at a ballroom in the Four Seasons hotel in Georgetown.

Harris’ address comes as the freshman senator broadens her profile, including in recent days an extended appearance on CNN’s “The Lead” and the commencement address at Howard University, her alma mater. Harris was among the most anticipated Democratic up-and-comers in an Ideas Conference lineup that also included oft-mentioned potential presidential candidates such as Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Cory Booker of New Jersey.

Harris insists she’s not thinking about a run for president but progressive leaders at the Ideas Conference were closely watching her with 2020 in mind.

Michele Jawando, vice president for legal progress at the Center for American Progress, was struck by Harris’ decision to focus on Sessions’ criminal justice policies – an issue that’s been lost amid the fire hose of news about Trump’s Russia controversies.

“(Harris) is without question someone we’re going to continue to talk about,” she said.

Harris focused on Sessions’ new dictate that federal prosecutors pursue the toughest criminal penalties possible – including mandatory minimum sentences – for drugs and other crimes. Sessions is threatening to pursue federal marijuana prosecutions even in states like California that voted to legalized pot.

“While I don’t believe in legalizing all drugs – as a career prosecutor I just don’t – we need to do the smart thing, the right thing, and finally decriminalize marijuana,” Harris said, in one of the strongest pro-pot statements that she has made in her political career.

Harris called Sessions’ push for maximum sentences a revival of a failed war on drugs in which Latinos and African-Americans were disproportionately incarcerated and the nation’s drug issues only got worse.

“Instead of going after violent crime, drug cartels, and major traffickers, we’re worried about the neighborhood street-level dealer,” she said. “Instead of addressing the core issue of addiction and getting folks into treatment, we’re going to overcrowd and build more prisons.”

Harris told the progressive crowd that the issue offers an opening for them to ally with conservatives. Republicans including Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky oppose harsh sentencing such as mandatory minimum terms as a useless destroyer of lives. And opioid addiction is devastating red and blue states alike.

The Ideas Conference had Californians at the forefront of the Democratic Party’s search for leadership. California Reps. Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff and Maxine Waters were featured and billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, a potential candidate for governor of California, made an appearance.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, also a possible candidate for governor next year, gave the opening address.

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Can pregnant women safely consume marijuana?

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By Tracy Seipel • Today at 9:00 AM

On many mornings, with a few puffs of pot — and one cannabis-laced chocolate-covered blueberry in the afternoon — Richelle has been able to stop the severe nausea that has accompanied her third pregnancy.

The regimen not only ended the constant vomiting, but the San Jose, Calif. mother can now finally eat an entire cheeseburger — and keep it down.

“The medical field frowns on pregnant women using marijuana,” said the 27-year-old bookkeeper, who lost 30 pounds early on in her pregnancy because of her condition, called hyperemesis gravidarum, which also causes dehydration.

“But I possibly would not have kept the pregnancy without it,” said Richelle, who is now in her 25th week and asked that her last name not be used because she does not want to be publicly attacked for her beliefs.

After two decades of allowing its medicinal use, California is now one of eight states that have legalized recreational marijuana for people 21 and older. Public health officials, however, say the implications surrounding its consumption by some people — like pregnant women and adolescents, who may be more vulnerable to its potential harmful effects — still must be addressed.

Some states — including Alaska, Washington and Colorado — require warning labels saying the product should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women. But California does not.

Surveys show that most Americans don’t like the idea of pregnant women using marijuana.

A Yahoo News/Marist College poll of 1,222 adults released this month found that 67 percent of Americans think it’s safer to use marijuana than opioids to relieve pain. But 69 percent said it’s not acceptable for pregnant women to use marijuana to reduce nausea or pain. Half of cannabis users — and 60 percent of those who have tried it — also don’t think pregnant women should use marijuana, according to the poll.

Dr. Ira Chasnoff, a professor of clinical pediatrics at the University of Illinois College of Medicine and a leading researcher in the development of children prenatally exposed to alcohol and drugs, said a range of studies supports those concerns.

“The general belief is that it’s not harmful,” Chasnoff said of cannabis consumption. “But there are all sorts of aspects of cognitive function — the way the brain works — that are impacted by marijuana exposure.”

He pointed to research that shows low birth rates in babies born to women who have consumed pot during pregnancy, as well as data on higher rates of Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder as they get older. Other research has shown that those offspring later in life have problems with “executive functioning,” or the ability to plan and complete tasks, Chasnoff said.

That’s why he believes guidelines that communicate the risk and discourage the use of medical marijuana by pregnant women — or women considering pregnancy — must be established. Research indicates that more U.S. women are now using marijuana during pregnancy, most often to treat morning sickness — which most physicians say can be better treated with more established medications.

A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association said that in 2014 nearly 4 percent of pregnant women between the ages of 18 and 44 reported having used marijuana in the past month, compared with 2.4 percent in 2002.

In Oakland, 36-year-old Sarah — who runs a cannabis consulting business with her husband — said she has been using the drug during her 17-week pregnancy to help not only with morning sickness but also with sciatica pain and mood swings.

Like Richelle, she takes a few puffs of a marijuana cigarette every so often, but also uses a few drops of liquid cannabis on her tongue at night. The pain disappears, she said, and she’s able to keep food in her stomach.

She has read a host of studies on the potential side effects the drug might have on her baby. So have some of her relatives, who have told her that using marijuana will “risk having my child come out dumb,” said Sarah, who also said she didn’t want her last name published because she fears she’ll be ostracized.

But she remains unconvinced by what she calls “limited research.” And she says that she doubts that an organically grown plant could harm her baby.

A landmark 395-page study on the health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids released in January by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine also wasn’t able to draw many conclusions.

After reviewing the available research, the authors determined that the long-term effects of smoking cannabis during pregnancy are still unclear. But they did agree that there is substantial evidence that the babies of women who smoke marijuana while pregnant have lower birth weights.

Sarah says she doesn’t abuse the drug but believes it helps to reduce the anxiety that comes with being pregnant. “There is a human inside me growing, and everyone is telling me what I can and cannot do,” she said. “It creates a lot of worry.”

And in her line of work, she has also met many women who used marijuana when they were pregnant and whose children — of all ages — seem well-adjusted.

“Everything in moderation,” Sarah said.

Chasnoff strongly disagrees with that view — and with patients who tell him that cannabis is natural and organic. That doesn’t mean it can’t potentially harm a fetus, he said.

“We know that marijuana’s THC (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) crosses very readily from the blood into the brain, so even a small amount has the potential for crossing over into the fetal brain,” Chasnoff said.

The chemical is drawn to fat, he said, and because the fetal brain is almost all fat, the drug remains there longer. It’s one reason why marijuana, unlike other drugs, can be detected in a person for three days to three weeks afterward, depending on the amount and concentration of cannabis consumed.

Marijuana also crosses readily into a mother’s breast milk, said Chasnoff, adding: “We have been able to measure the level of marijuana in the baby’s urine.”

Dr. Frank Lucido, a primary care physician in Berkeley who for two decades has recommended medical marijuana to his adult patients if he determines it will benefit them, doesn’t believe there is enough significant research to warrant pregnant women avoiding cannabis.

“With anything in medicine, you weigh the benefits and the risks,” said the 69-year-old physician. “Nobody has ever died from cannabis, but we know women die from hyperemesis gravidarum.”

So if a pregnant patient is unable to keep food or liquids in her stomach, and marijuana would help, then he would advise it — as he does to perhaps one or two patients each year.

“But I usually discourage it (smoking marijuana) because we don’t know — and smoking can cause low birth weight,” Lucido said. “And maybe smoking (the drug) is the problem.”

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What the Guys Who Coined ‘420’ Think About Their Place in Marijuana History

Submitted by Marijuana News on Thu, 04/20/2017 – 08:45

By now, you don’t have to be a smoker to know that April 20 is considered by many to be a sort of national holiday for cannabis culture. Some have suggested that the date comes from “420” being a code among police officers for “marijuana-smoking in progress,” while others say that there’s a connection to 4/20 being Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler’s birthday. But the most credible story about the origins of the illicit observance involves neither of those ideas.

Instead, it involves five high school students who, back in 1971, would get together at 4:20 p.m. to smoke marijuana by a statue of chemist Louis Pasteur at San Rafael High School in Marin County, Calif. Known as the “Waldos” — Steve Capper, Dave Reddix, Jeffrey Noel, Larry Schwartz, and Mark Gravich — they would say “420” to each other at some point during the school day as code to meet for a smoke.

Reddix’s brother helped him get a job as a roadie for Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh, and the term “420” caught on in that Deadhead circle. The legend goes that on Dec. 28, 1990, Deadheads in Oakland handed out flyers inviting people to smoke “420” on April 20 at 4:20 p.m — and one got in the hands of Steve Bloom, a former reporter for High Times magazine. The publication published the flyer in 1991 and continued to reference the number, and before long those digits became known globally for their association with marijuana. In 1998, the outlet recognized the “Waldos” as the “inventors” of 420.

The Waldos still live in northern California, in Marin County and Sonoma County, and are still good friends. TIME caught up with Reddix, now a documentary filmmaker and former CNN cameraman, and Capper, who runs a business that works with staffing agencies, to learn more about the history behind the high.

The reasons for their meeting time, it turns out, aren’t very complicated: school ended around 3:00 p.m., and then came sports practice, and then it would be about 4:20. And the social circumstances that led to the ritual might be familiar to any number of high-schoolers.

“We got tired of the Friday-night football scene with all of the jocks,” says Reddix. “We were the guys sitting under the stands smoking a doobie, wondering what we were doing there.”

What happened after 4:20, however, could be a little more unusual. The group challenged each other to find new and interesting things to do while they were high — Reddix says he kept a log of their “safaris” — and tried, at least in some cases, to stay away from their homes as much as possible. (Reddix says he didn’t get along with his stepfather, and that Jeff Noel’s father “happened to be a high-level state narcotics officer,” which the boys sometimes took advantage of by trying to make off with contraband that might be locked in his car, but which also posed its own obvious risks.) In one stand-out example of such a safari, Capper says, the group drove out to a rural area and saw something “magical.”

“The car’s filled with pot smoke, and when we roll down the window, we see two single lines of cows following our car,” he recalls.

“We thought they were hamburgers,” Reddix jokes, but it turned out that they had been trained to follow the farmer’s truck if they wanted to be fed.

Magical cows aside, a lot has changed in the marijuana world between 1971 and 2017, they say — and not just that, in their experience, the weed available today is much stronger than it once was.

Capper says that the mainstream American perception of people who smoke marijuana has evolved significantly, as it’s more accepted that people who are marijuana enthusiasts can also be healthy and smart. He says that his business partner has at times worried that the publicity around Capper’s association with 420 might be bad for business, but that in practice, the people he meets at conferences who are aware of the connection are more likely to ask for a selfie than to judge him. (As for high school, “while I was smoking all this pot, I did two years of coursework in one year and got straight As,” he says.) More accepted medical use of marijuana has also changed the conversation about the drug; Reddix’s wife has used cannabinoids for migraines, and he says it seems to help. And, obviously, the spread of the legalization movement has brought marijuana much more into the open than it once was — “It’s cool that it’s legal, and people aren’t going to jail as much,” says Capper.

As for their own place in that history, they enjoy seeing “420” come up in pop culture — as in Pulp Fiction, in which some of the clocks are set to 4:20, or hotel room 420 in Hot Tub Time Machine — and hope their coded contribution to cannabis culture provides those enthusiasts who observe the day with a little bit of the “private joke quality” and the “brotherhood of outlaws” feeling that they experienced growing up, when their habit was strictly underground.

“Now legalization is happening so fast, you’ve got to stand back and go, this is weird,” says Capper. “This is a trip.”

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South African Court OKs Marijuana for Home Use

FILE - A protester carries a marijuana pipe during a march calling for the legalization of cannabis in Cape Town, South Africa, May 7, 2016. On Friday, Western Cape province's High Court ruled that marijuana can now be legally grown and smoked in the privacy of one's home.

JOHANNESBURG — 

Last week’s court ruling allowing home use of marijuana has sent South Africa buzzing about the possibility that cannabis will now be widely legal in the Rainbow Nation.

To which pro-marijuana activist Julian Stobbs says: Chill.

Friday’s ruling from the Western Cape province High Court does apply across the nation, but the decision is really more about privacy than it is about pot.

The ruling struck down part of an old law that prohibits private and personal use of marijuana. The ruling still has to be solidified by parliament and pass through the constitutional court, which could take up to two years.

South Africa first criminalized the substance in 1908. Police statistics say that drug-related arrests have recently risen, with just under 260,000 people arrested last year, according to the most recent annual crime report. That’s just over 13 percent of all arrests.

Stobbs and his partner, who he says use marijuana recreationally and regularly, made headlines in 2010 after police raided their home and arrested them for marijuana possession. They were later released.

No victim, no crime

Under the ruling, Stobbs says, cases like his won’t be part of that toll anymore.

So, if you are using cannabis in the privacy of your own home, or indeed if you have grown cannabis in the privacy of your home and it’s never left the building, you now have a loophole in the law that if you do get arrested and you do go in front of a magistrate, you can use the defense that you are hurting nobody, there was no victim, there was no crime, there’s no black market, there are no transactions, no one is making money out of this, you are using the cannabis you grew in the privacy of your own home,” he told VOA.

As it stands, then, this ruling is only helpful if you’re an above-average horticulturalist with no plan to make a dime off the substance. Buying and selling marijuana is still illegal, as is smoking it in public.

Few anti-marijuana activists made their voices heard to protest the move. One online group, called “South Africans Against Dagga and Satan” — “dagga” is the local slang for cannabis — said on social media that the day of the ruling would “Forever be known as the day Satan took over South Africa!” They were shouted down on their Facebook page by supporters of the ruling.

‘Religious’ use

Users of the drug for religious purposes say they welcome the news. In the seaside Rastafarian community of Judah Square, a well-known tour guide and storyteller who goes by Brother Zebulon told VOA that while he is very happy about the ruling, he doesn’t support the widespread use of marijuana.

“My daughter,” he said to VOA, “it’s sacred, so it’s secret, so we really don’t advocate it. Yeah, no, no, no, no, we don’t advocate it, no. It’s a personal … you know, it’s your meditation.”

In February, South Africa’s government approved a bill that would allow for the limited manufacturing of medical marijuana.

Stobbs says he hopes these are just first steps in the eventual regulation and decriminalization of marijuana, like in the U.S. state of Colorado. Marijuana is now legal in 28 U.S. states for either medical or recreational use.

“That’s exactly what we see,” he said. “And we see billions of rand going back into the treasury in taxation on the plant.”

“Because we’re not asking for legalization; we’re asking for the legalization and regulation of the plant. This doesn’t come with a free-for-all. It is a free-for-all now — we’re trying to stop the free-for-all. It’s legalized regulation that we’re after.”

But Stobbs, who is 56, told VOA that he took a moment to pause and celebrate the court ruling.

“We had a pretty smoked-up weekend,” he said.

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Senator Ron Wyden and Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Jared Polis have introduced legislation in the House and Senate — The Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act —

Marijuana Treated Like Alcohol? Legislation Filed In Senate and House

by NORML March 30, 2017

Senator Ron Wyden and Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Jared Polis have introduced legislation in the House and Senate — The Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act — to permit states to establish their own marijuana regulatory policies free from federal interference. In addition to removing marijuana from the United States Controlled Substances Act, this legislation also removes enforcement power from the US Drug Enforcement Administration in matter concerning marijuana possession, production, and sales — thus permitting state governments to regulate these activities as they see fit.

Email your members of Congress now and urge them to support this effort.

“The first time introduction of this particular piece of legislation in the US Senate is another sign that the growing public support for ending our failed war on cannabis consumers nationwide is continuing to translate into political support amongst federal officials,” said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri, “With marijuana legalization being supported by 60% of all Americans while Congress’ approval rating is in the low teens, ending our country’s disastrous prohibition against marijuana would not just be good policy, but good politics.”

Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for qualified patients, while eight states now regulate the production and sale of marijuana to all adults. An estimated 63 million Americans now reside in jurisdictions where anyone over the age of 21 may possess cannabis legally. Voters support these policy changes. According to a 2017 Quinnipiac University poll, 59 percent of Americans support full marijuana legalization and 71 percent believe that states, not the federal government, should set marijuana policy. 

“If we are truly going to move our nation towards sensible marijuana policies, the removal of marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act is paramount. Annually, 600,000 Americans are arrested for nothing more than the possession of small amounts of marijuana and now is the time for Congress to once and for all end put an end to the national embarrassment that is cannabis prohibition,” said Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director. “Passing this legislation would end the current conflict between state and federal laws and allow the states to implement more sensible and humane marijuana policies, free from the threat of federal incursion.”

These statewide regulatory schemes are operating largely as voters and politicians intended. The enactment of these policies have not negatively impacted workplace safety, crime rates, traffic safety, or youth use patterns. They have stimulated economic development and tax revenue. Specifically, a 2017 report estimates that 123,000 Americans are now working full-time in the cannabis industry. Tax revenues from states like Colorado, Oregon, and Washington now exceed initial projections. Further, numerous studies have identified an association between cannabis access and lower rates of opioid use, abuse, hospitalizations, and mortality.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)

“The federal government must respect the decision Oregonians made at the polls and allow law-abiding marijuana businesses to go to the bank just like any other legal business.” Senator Ron Wyden said. “This three-step approach will spur job growth and boost our economy all while ensuring the industry is being held to a fair standard.”

Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO)

Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO)

“Colorado has proven that allowing responsible adults to legally purchase marijuana, gives money to classrooms, not cartels; creates jobs, not addicts; and boosts our economy, not our prison population,” Representative Jared Polis said. “Now, more than ever, it is time we end the federal prohibition on marijuana and remove barriers for states’ that have chosen to legalize marijuana.  This budding industry can’t afford to be stifled by the Trump administration and its mixed-messages about marijuana.  The cannabis industry, states’, and citizens deserve leadership when it comes to marijuana.”

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)

“As more states follow Oregon’s leadership in legalizing and regulating marijuana, too many people are trapped between federal and state laws,” Representative Earl Blumenauer said. “It’s not right, and it’s not fair. We need change now – and this bill is the way to do it.”

The ongoing enforcement of cannabis prohibition financially burdens taxpayers, encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, impedes legitimate scientific research into the plant’s medicinal properties, and disproportionately impacts communities of color.

By contrast, regulating the adult use of marijuana stimulates economic growth, saves lives, and has the support of the majority of the majority of Americans. 

Send a message to your members of Congress urging them to support the Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act

CONTINUE READING…

https://www.finance.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/(4)%20Marijuana%20Revenue%20and%20Regulation%20Act%20Summary.pdf

https://consumermediallc.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/mrra.pdf

DEA Approves Synthetic Marijuana for Company That Spent $500K to Keep Weed Illegal

https://i2.wp.com/theantimedia.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/DCMarijuana.jpg

March 24, 2017 at 5:27 pm

Written by Alex Thomas

(ANTIMEDIA) Lobbying in the nation’s capitol is a billion dollar industry, but sometimes, companies dip their toes into state and local politics, as well. When giant corporations want to influence bills and national elections, they generally spread their money around, cozying up to a number of politicians and shaking hands with numerous government officials. However, at the local level, high-dollar financing is a bit more transparent.

Insys Therapeutics is a small player on the national scale. The Center for Responsive Politics reported that they spent only $120,000 lobbying in D.C. in 2016. But in Arizona, where the company is based, they forked over $500,000 — and they did it to keep marijuana illegal in the traditionally Republican state.

Last September, the Washington Post first reported the large donation, which was one of the largest single contributions to any anti-legalization campaign ever.” Insys’ money was given to Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, a localized political action committee that opposed the state’s ballot measure to legalize cannabis in 2016. That measure was ultimately defeated, and now the group is fighting the Arizona Marijuana Legalization Initiative, a bill that could hit Arizona ballot boxes on November 8, 2018.

According to the full text of the bill, acquired by Anti-Media via ballotpedia.org, the application was filed at the beginning of March. It states that “marijuana and cannabis have been used safely for thousands of years for recreational, medical, religious and industrial purposes.” The bill also cited a study funded in part by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that “did not show a significant increase in levels of crash risk associated with the presence of drugs.”

The bill proposes a number of changes that would essentially legalize marijuana. These include:

“There shall be no limit on the number of cannabis plants in a personal grow that are not yet in a state of florescence.”

“All persons at least twenty-one years of age are authorized to maintain a home garden provided the person obtains a transaction privilege tax license.”

“Commercial grows, home gardens and cannabis sales are not authorized within 1,000 feet of a school.”

According to the Washington Post, Insys has “developed a drug based on a synthetic ingredient, THC. Called Syndros, the drug was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in July for treatment of AIDS and cancer patients’ symptoms.”

Insys was just given preliminary approval for Syndros from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) this week.

However, Insys has a shady history as a big pharmaceutical company, as they manufacture Subsys fentanyl, a deadly painkiller. An NBC report found that as of 2015, Insys had enjoyed sales of $147.2 million for their high-risk drug. They also came under investigation for the aggressive manner in which they were marketing and selling their drug. The NBC study quoted the Oregon assistant attorney general, who stated, “I’ve been investigating drug cases for about 15 years now, and the conduct that we saw in this case was among the most unconscionable that I’ve seen.”

For Insys, the fight against marijuana legalization has been long and arduous. In 2011, they retained the lobbying firm Hyman, Phelps & Mcnamara to nudge the DEA against legalization. In a statement to the Post, the company claimed they oppose marijuana legalization because “marijuana’s safety hasn’t been demonstrated through the federal regulatory process.”

Safer Arizona, the group fighting for legalization, features the tagline, “We don’t have a drug problem, we have a political problem,” on their website. Marijuana legalization in Arizona would be a huge step for nationwide legalization, as the state is seen as a stronghold of traditional American values. However, if big pharma continues to bankroll the opposition, the political action groups fighting against legalization will have more money to fund campaigns for local politicians who share their sympathies.

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