Category Archives: Marijuana

The Best Recipe for Maximizing the Medical Effects of Marijuana

CBD-only preparations lack the synergies available when marijuana’s other cannabinoids and its terpenes are kept in the game.

 

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By Phillip Smith / AlterNet

March 22, 2017

CBD (cannabidiol) is getting a lot of attention these days as the medicinal cannabinoid in marijuana. CBD-only products are all the rage in the ever-expanding medical marijuana market, and CBD-only medical marijuana laws are becoming a favorite resort of red state politicians who want to throw a sop to those clamoring for medical marijuana, but are hesitant to actually embrace the demon weed.

But is CBD the miracle molecule on its own? Or would users benefit from using preparations made from the whole pot plant? Not to knock CBD, which even by itself clearly provides succor for many people, but advocates of “whole plant medicine” make a strong case.

That case is based on the entourage effect, which posits an interactive synergy between the components of the plant, and not just the major cannabinoids, such as THC and CBC, but also the lesser-known but still therapeutically active cannabinoids, such as CBG, CBN, THC-a, and THC-v, and even the terpenoids, the molecules that make pot plants smell and taste lemony (limonene) or piney (pinene), earthy (humulene) or musky (myrcene). The entourage effect suggests that if people want to unlock the full benefits of medical marijuana, they need to be using whole plant medicine.

“CBD and THC seem to work better together. They lessen each other’s side effects,” said Eloise Theisen, RN, MSN, director of the American Cannabis Nurses Association.

“CBD has value, but its value can be enhanced with the whole plant and we can develop more individualized medicine,” said Mary Lynn Mathre, RN, MSN, and president and co-founder of Patients Out of Time.

And again, it’s not just the cannabinoids.

“THC seems to potentiate all the effects of CBD and conversely, CBD affects THC,” explained Dr. Perry Solomon, chief medical officer for HelloMD. “Dr. Ethan Russo further supports this theory by demonstrating that non-cannabinoid plant components such as terpenes serve as inhibitors to THC’s intoxicating effects, thereby increasing THC’s therapeutic index. This ‘phytocannabinoid-terpenoid synergy,’ as Russo calls it, increases the potential of cannabis-based medicinal extracts to treat pain, inflammation, fungal and bacterial infections, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, and even cancer,” he said.

“Terpenes act on receptors and neurotransmitters; they are prone to combine with or dissolve in lipids or fats; they act as serotonin uptake inhibitors (similar to antidepressants like Prozac); they enhance norepinephrine activity (similar to tricyclic antidepressants like Elavil); they increase dopamine activity; and they augment GABA (the ‘downer’ neurotransmitter that counters glutamate, the ‘upper’),” Solomon continued.

The entourage effect makes whole plant medicine the preferred means of ingesting therapeutic marijuana, the trio agreed.

“I think that any whole plant medicine is more effective than any CBD-only product,” said Solomon.

“Whole plant medicine is the only way to go,” echoed Theisen.

“It’s safer and more effective, and tolerance will develop more slowly—if at all,” Mathre concurred.

The traditional method of consuming whole plant marijuana has been to smoke it, but that’s not an especially favored route among medical marijuana advocates. And there are other options.

“Vaporization or tinctures of whole plants. Any sort of extraction method that isn’t going to deplete it,” said Theisen.

“Delivery methods vary greatly in terms of their efficiency and their effects. I heard a colleague say that smoking a joint for therapeutic effect is akin to opening your mouth in the rain to get a drink of water,” said Constance Finley, founder and CEO of Constance Therapeutics. “Our preferred methods are buccal (cheek) ingestion or sublingual ingestion, vaping from a vaporizer or vape pen whose hardware is safe to use with cannabis extracts, and topical for additional localized impact.”

With whole plant superior to single-cannabinoid preparations, people living in states that have only passed CBD-only laws are not able to enjoy the full benefits of medical marijuana. That’s a damned shame, said an exasperated Mathre.

“We have lawyers and politicians practicing medicine without a license—they don’t know what they are talking about,” she said. “Clearly there may be some patients who need little to no THC, but the vast majority will benefit from it. Patients should have all of the options open to them and research needs to continue to help determine how to best individualize cannabis medicine.”

Phillip Smith is editor of the AlterNet Drug Reporter and author of the Drug War Chronicle.

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Top 6 Marijuana Bills to Follow

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by Nanette Porter on March 11, 2017

 

Lawmakers have been busy introducing a variety of marijuana bills since the election. While there is no guarantee that any of these bills will actually become laws, a perusal of the bills introduced offers useful insight into how the decisions made regarding cannabis might affect our lives more immediately than the slow churn of Washington, D.C.

In the current political climate, it more important than ever to spend some time getting familiar with these bills. Please click on the links to get more information about each proposed bill. We strongly encourage you to get in touch with your elected representatives to express your views and opinions.

Below are six (6) cannabis-related bills that are worth following closely:

H.R. 975 – Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2017

The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment has been law since 2014 and prohibits the Department of Justice from using funds to prosecute individuals who are acting in compliance with a State’s laws. Unfortunately, it was passed and signed into law as part of an omnibus spending package, and to remain legally binding it must be included in the end-of-year spending package for FY2017. The spending restriction is temporary and Congress must act to keep it in place.

California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher has sponsored H.R.975 to limit federal power on marijuana. Rohrabacher is a Republican and professed Trump-guy, but feels the government has become too involved in States’ rights and asset seizures, and believes this is the best way to proceed.

The Rohrabacher-Farr provision comes up for renewal on April 28, and rather than trying to convince the new administration to renew, he says he hopes this paves the way for them to leave it up to the States. If passed by Congress, it will then move to the Senate, and hopefully on to the President’s desk for signature to become law.

H.R. 1227 – Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017

Virginia Congressman Tom Garrett introduced legislation aimed at federally decriminalizing marijuana. H.R. 1227 asks that marijuana be removed from the federal controlled substances list, in essence putting it in the same arena as alcohol and tobacco.

“Virginia is more than capable of handling its own marijuana policy, as are states such as Colorado or California.” – Congressman Garrett

Garrett claims “this step allows states to determine appropriate medicinal use and allows for industrial hemp growth…something that is long overdue. Virginia is more than capable of handling its own marijuana policy, as are states such as Colorado or California.”

H.R. 331 – States’ Medical Marijuana Property Rights Protection Act

Sponsored by California Rep Barbara Lee, H.R.331 seeks an amendment to the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) so as to prevent civil asset forfeiture for property owners due to medical marijuana-related conduct that is authorized by State law.

H.R. 714 – Legitimate Use of Medicinal Marihuana Act (LUMMA)

Virginia Rep H Morgan Griffith introduced H.R. 714 to provide for the legitimate use of medicinal marijuana in accordance with the laws of the various States by moving marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act.

The bill also includes a provision that, in a State in which marijuana may be prescribed by a physician for medical use under applicable State law, no provision of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) or the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act shall interfere with such State laws. (This provision is also included in H.R. 715.)

At present, no U.S. healthcare professional can legally prescribe cannabis. Several states have laws on the books that were passed many, many years ago in expectation that federal law would change; but until then, doctors even in these states are legally prohibited from prescribing it. Doing so, would expose medical practitioners to prosecution and loss of his/her license.

H.R. 715 – Compassionate Access Act

Also sponsored by Griffith is H.R. 715. This bill asks for “the rescheduling of marihuana (to any schedule other than I), the medicinal use of marihuana in accordance with State law and the exclusion of cannabidiol from the definition of marihuana, and for other purposes,” and that cannabidiol (CBD), derived from the plant or synthetically formulated and containing not greater than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis, be excluded from the definition of “marihuana.”

The bill also calls for control over access to research into the potential medicinal uses of cannabis be turned over to an agency of the executive branch that is not focused on researching for the addictive properties of substances, and empower the new agency to ensure adequate supply of the plant is available for research. It further asks that research performed in a scientifically sound manner, and in accordance with the laws in a State where marijuana or CBD is legal for medical purposes, but does not use marijuana from federally approved sources, may be considered for purposes of rescheduling.

California AB 1578

California lawmakers quickly got to work and proposed AB 1758, aiming to have California declared as a “sanctuary state” from federal enforcement. If passed and signed into law, state or local agencies would be prevented from taking enforcement action without a court order signed by a judge, including using agency resources to assist a federal agency to “investigate, detain, detect, report, or arrest a person for commercial or noncommercial marijuana or medical cannabis activity that is authorized by law in the State of California and from transferring an individual to federal law enforcement authorities for purposes of marijuana enforcement.”

AB 1758 is pending referral and may be heard in committee on March 21.

30+ bills have been introduced in California since voters approved Proposition 64 in November. Most of these have been submitted to help clean-up the administration and the complex and inconsistencies that exist between the medical and recreational systems.

Support for marijuana legalization is at an all-time high

Cannabis has long-established medical uses as an effective treatment for ailments that include HIV/AIDS, inflammatory and auto-immune diseases, gastro-intestinal disorders, PTSD, chronic pain, and many others.

According to a Qunnipiac poll released February 23, 2017, U.S. voters say, 59 – 36 percent, that marijuana should be legal in the U.S.; and voters support, by a whopping 96 – 6 percent, legalizing cannabis for medical purposes if prescribed by a doctor; and an overwhelming 71 -23 percent believe the government should not enforce federal laws against marijuana in states that have legalized it.

Twenty-eight (28) states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam, either through ballot measure or legislative action, have approved the use of medical marijuana when recommended by a physician. An additional seventeen (17) states have approved use of low THC, high CBD products for medical reasons in some situations.

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“He told me he would have some respect for states’ right on these things,”

“He told me he would have some respect for states’ right on these things,” Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), told Politico. “And so I’ll be very unhappy if the federal government decides to go into Colorado and Washington and all of these places. And that’s not [what] my interpretation of my conversation with him was. That this wasn’t his intention.”

 

Elizabeth Warren demands Jeff Sessions respect state marijuana law

Posted 1:57 PM, March 4, 2017, by Tribune Media Wire

By Ese Olumhense

States need ‘immediate assurance’ from Sessions and Department of Justice

A bipartisan group of senators sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday, urging their former colleague not to undo a 2013 policy permitting states to set their own recreational marijuana regulations.

Led by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the push is a response to recent mixed messages from the Trump administration on whether it will enforce federal law which still bars recreational marijuana use, or leave the decision to implement the federal policy to the states.

Sessions, speaking to the National Association of Attorneys General on Tuesday, had said he was “dubious about marijuana.” Less than a week before, at a White House briefing, Press Secretary Sean Spicer cautioned that “greater enforcement” of the federal statute could come and later likened recreational pot use to the opioid addiction crisis happening across the country.

For some senators, however, the possibility of “greater enforcement” signals an intrusion into states’ rights in a way that is concerning.

“It is essential that states that have implemented any type of practical, effective marijuana policy receive immediate assurance from the [Department of Justice] that it will respect the ability of states to enforce thoughtful, sensible drug policies in ways that do not threaten the public’s health and safety,” the group wrote.

Though legal in some states, marijuana remains a Schedule I drug

Eight states and Washington, D.C. have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. Twenty-eight states in total have comprehensive medical marijuana laws, and 17 have limited use or limited criminal defense laws for marijuana that is used for a medicinal purpose.

Federal law, however, still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, one with “no currently accepted medical use.” As recently as August, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) refused to change that designation — meaning the federal government is still armed with the authority to arrest, charge, and prosecute pot growers, buyers, or sellers in states where marijuana is legal.

Sessions has been a fierce opponent of marijuana for any use and his confirmation prompted fears that the DOJ would follow the example set by former Attorney General John Ashcroft, who served under George W. Bush, and target dispensaries in places where recreational pot use is legal.

Sessions did little to quell those fears on Tuesday, slamming the argument made by pot proponents that marijuana has medical benefits.

“Give me a break,” Sessions said, referring to a Washington Post article on marijuana as a treatment for opiate addiction. “This is the kind of argument that’s been made out there, just almost a desperate attempt to defend the harmlessness of marijuana, or even its benefits. I doubt that’s true. Maybe science will prove I’m wrong, but at this point in time you and I have a responsibility to use our best judgment.”

Senators’ concerns of overreach may be overblown

Though the senators’ letter was celebrated by some constituents on social media, the concern may be overblown.

Politico reported Thursday that behind closed doors prior to his confirmation Sessions assured some GOP senators that Department of Justice will not be implementing “greater enforcement” measures for recreational marijuana. The attorney general’s previous comments had bothered some conservative officials, who felt that a decision to crack down on legal pot would be an unwelcome overreach.

“He told me he would have some respect for states’ right on these things,” Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), told Politico. “And so I’ll be very unhappy if the federal government decides to go into Colorado and Washington and all of these places. And that’s not [what] my interpretation of my conversation with him was. That this wasn’t his intention.”

Upending the Obama-era legal pot directive would not only be unpopular with some senators, but unfavorable to the majority of Americans. It would also be difficult, as the DEA only has about 4,600 employees, which would likely need to coordinate big, costly operations in states in which law enforcement has no laws against marijuana to enforce. A federal crackdown in the courts might also eliminate many of the regulations and oversight set by states which permit the use of marijuana.

On the flip side, making marijuana legal for recreational use nationwide would generate millions in tax revenue, advocates claim, and allow for more oversight into a growing industry. Just one year after becoming the first state to allow the purchase and sale of marijuana, Colorado raked in $53 million in revenue

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In Peru, mothers rouse support for legalizing medical marijuana

Ana Alvarez, a working mother of two in Lima, never imagined being on the frontlines of a fight for marijuana in conservative Peru.

But a police raid on a makeshift cannabis lab that she and other women started to soothe the symptoms of their sick children has roused support for medical marijuana, prompting President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski to propose legalizing it in the latest pivot away from decades-old restrictions on drug use in Latin America.

Alvarez said cannabis oil is the only drug that helped contain her epileptic and schizophrenic son’s seizures and psychotic episodes. She and other women in similar situations formed the group Searching for Hope to seek legal backing as they honed techniques for producing the drug.

“We wrote to Congress, to the health ministry,” Alvarez said from her apartment as her son played in his room. “We got two negative responses.”

But the police bust put the women’s plight on national television, triggering an outpouring of sympathy as they marched with their children in tow to demand police “give us our medicine back.”

“When we saw their reality, we realized there’s a void in our laws for this kind of use” of marijuana, said cabinet advisor Leonardo Caparros. “We couldn’t turn a blind eye.”

It is unclear if the right-wing opposition-controlled Congress will pass Kuczynski’s proposed legislation, which would allow marijuana to be imported and sold in Peru for medical reasons and could permit domestic production after two years.

Kuczynski, a 78-year-old socially liberal economist, once provoked an uproar for saying that smoking a joint “isn’t the end of the world.”

But an Ipsos poll conducted following the raid showed 65 percent of Peruvians favor legalizing medical marijuana, and another 13 percent back legalizing the drug for recreational use.

If the bill is passed, Peru would follow neighboring Chile and Colombia in legalizing the medical use of marijuana. Mexico’s Senate has approved a bill to permit the use of medical marijuana, while Uruguay has fully legalized cannabis from seed to smoke.

In the meantime, Searching for Hope has turned to the black market. Member Roxana Tasayco said cannabis oil had given her terminal cancer-stricken mother her appetite back and calmed her vomiting and nausea.

Also In Health News

“It’s not going to cure her but it’ll give her a better quality of life in her last days,” said Tasayco. “If I have to break a few laws to do that for her I will.”

(Reporting By Mitra Taj; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

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WHO Takes First Steps To Reclassify Medical Cannabis Under International Law

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by Scott Gacek on January 01, 2017

 

It could still be a long wait, but patients in the United States may not be dependent on the Drug Enforcement Administration to reclassify marijuana.

The World Health Organization (WHO) Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) recently met and initiated the first steps in a long process that could lead to the rescheduling of medical marijuana under international law, and has committed to hold a special session to discuss medical marijuana in the next eighteen months.

“In order for cannabis to be rescheduled, the United Nations General Assembly would vote on a recommendation made by the CND.”

Eighteen months may seem like a long time, but discussions regarding the potential rescheduling of cannabis have been stalled for years, and the process could result in fundamental changes in the way medical marijuana research and regulations are handled in the United States and around the world.

The ECDD is a very influential committee whose recommendations are made to the Secretary General of the United Nations, who can then bring the recommendations to a vote by the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). In order for cannabis to be rescheduled, the United Nations General Assembly would vote on a recommendation made by the CND.

If approved by the UN General Assembly, those changes would then be reflected in the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which currently lists cannabis as a Schedule I and IV substance, meaning a substance with a high risk of abuse, produces ill effects, and has no potential therapeutic benefit.

Under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which was ratified in 1961 and is signed by 185 of the 193 countries that make up the United Nations, including the United States, member countries are responsible for passing and enforcing their own drug laws, but the Single Convention is regarded as the standard for international drug laws. Many lawmakers point to the Single Convention as the primary obstacle in the United States’ inability to reschedule cannabis.

According to an extract from the 38th Expert Committee on Drug Dependence that convened from November 14-18 in Geneva, the committee recognized an increase in the use of cannabis and its components for medical purposes, the emergence of new cannabis-related pharmaceutical preparations for therapeutic use, and that cannabis has never been subject to a formal pre-review or critical review by the ECDD.

Over the next eighteen months, the committee has requested pre-reviews for cannabis plant matter, extracts and tinctures, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and stereoisomers of THC.

This pre-review is a preliminary analysis used to determine if a more in-depth critical review will be undertaken by the ECDD, and will represent the first new scientific guidance on marijuana to the United Nations since 1935, when cannabis was first classified as a Schedule I/IV substance by the Health Committee of the League of Nations.

Rescheduling at the international level would have major ramifications for US policy on medical cannabis, as all too often politicians cite the Single Convention as the reason Congress cannot move towards rescheduling cannabis. So while this may seem like a long, drawn out process, it could ultimately remove that final roadblock, making it well worth the wait.

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LINK TO UN PDF DOC…

RELATED:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/keith-humphreys/can-the-united-nations-bl_b_3977683.html

https://massroots.com/blog/un-warns-us-and-canada-on-legal-marijuana

Queens of the Stoned Age

 

There are a thousand ways to buy weed in New York City, but the Green Angels devised a novel strategy for standing out: They hired models to be their dealers. In the eight years since the group was founded—by a blonde, blue-eyed Mormon ex-model—they’ve never been busted, and the business has grown into a multimillion-dollar operation. Suketu Mehta spent months embedded with them at their headquarters and out on their delivery routes to see where this great experiment in American entrepreneurship might lead.

A friend tells me about the Green Angels, a collective of about 30 models turned high-end-weed dealers, and he introduces me to the group’s leader, Honey. The first time we speak, in the spring of 2015, she comes to my house in Greenwich Village and we talk for six hours.

She is 27 and several months pregnant. Her belly is showing, a little, under her black top and over her black patterned stockings. But her face is still as fresh as hay, sunlight, the idea the rest of the world has about the American West, where she was born—she’s an excommunicated Mormon from the Rocky Mountains. Honey is not her real name; it’s a pseudonym she chose for this article. She is over six feet tall, blonde, and blue-eyed. Patrick Demarchelier took photos of her when she was a teenager. She still does some modeling. Now that she’s pregnant, I tell her, she should do maternity modeling.

“Why would I do that when I can make $6,000 a day just watching TV?” she asks.

Honey started the business in 2009. When she began dealing, she would get an ounce from a guy in Union Square, then take it to her apartment and divide it into smaller quantities for sale. She bought a vacuum sealer from Bed Bath & Beyond to make the little bags her product came in airtight. She tells me that part of her research was watching CNN specials on the drug war to find out how dealers got busted.

Today her total expenses average more than $300,000 a month for the product, plus around $30,000 for cabs, cell phones, rent for various safe houses, and other administrative costs. She makes a profit of $27,000 a week. “I like seeing a pile of cash in my living room,” she says.

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Time 4 Hemp Presents: Cannabinoid Profiles: A Crash Course

Time 4 Hemp

Crash-Course in CBGs

The Time4Hemp Network has set up a very educational and informative series which they are calling the “Cannabinoid Profiles Series”.

Anyone who needs or wants to review a course in Cannabinoids should start here!

 

Cannabinoid Profile: Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

 

The LINKS for the series is below:

Cannabinoid Profiles Series

1. Meet Your CB Receptors

2. A Crash Course in THC

3. A Crash Course in CBD

4. A Crash Course in THC

5. A Crash Course in CBG

6. A Crash Course in CBC

7. A Crash Course in THC

8. A Crash Course in CBN

9. A Crash Course in CBDs

SOURCE LINK:

North Americans Spent $53.3 Billion On Marijuana Last Year, Most Of It Illegally

The industry “just needs to move demand for an already widely-popular product into legal channels,” a new report says.

01/17/2017 06:20 pm ET

Ryan Grenoble Reporter, The Huffington Post

A new report estimates consumers spent $53.3 billion on cannabis in North America last year.

The first-of-its-kind analysis, compiled by ArcView Market Research, spans legal, medical and illegal marijuana markets across both the United States and Canada. At around $46 billion, the illegal market constituted 87 percent of marijuana sales in 2016 (a decrease from 90 percent in 2015), dwarfing both medical and legal sales.

The marijuana investment and research firm provided a 25-page executive summary of its fifth annual State of Legal Marijuana Markets to The Huffington Post Tuesday, ahead of the full report’s release in February.

Arcview projects the legal marijuana market will expand from its current $6.9 billion to $21.6 billion by 2021, as California, Massachusetts and Canada expand their cannabis sales, and medical sales begin in Florida. The $6.9 billion figure is itself a 34 percent increase in just one year from 2015.

Assuming the projections hold, the five-year growth rate for legal marijuana from 2016 to 2021 would fall just short of that seen by broadband internet providers from 2002 through 2007, which expanded at around 29 percent per year, from around $7 billion to north of $25 billion.

Unlike most of the billion-dollar industries that preceded it, marijuana is in a unique position, ArcView argues, because the market doesn’t need to be created from scratch ― it just needs to transition from illicit to legal channels.

“The enormous amount of existing, if illicit, consumer spending sets cannabis apart from most other major consumer-market investment opportunities throughout history,” Arcview Market Research CEO Troy Dayton explained in an emailed statement.

“In contrast to comparable markets with fast growth from zero to tens of billions in recent decades such as organic foods, home video, mobile, or the internet, the cannabis industry doesn’t need to create demand for a new product or innovation ― it just needs to move demand for an already widely-popular product into legal channels.”

In states that have moved to tax and regulate the drug, the black market has decreased rapidly, the report found. Colorado’s black market, for instance, accounts for about one-third of all cannabis sales, with the majority having transitioned to legal marketplaces.

ArcView found the cashflow going to drug dealers and cartels has diminished accordingly, helped in part by the shrinking “illegality premium” for the product once demanded by the black market. 

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Marijuana can be covered in pesticides, fungi, and mold — even if it’s legal

marijuana weed pot 2

There is no known lethal dose of marijuana, which means it can’t kill you. But the stuff that gets sprayed or grows organically on pot buds can.

Studies show that marijuana sampled across the US carries unsafe levels of pesticides, mold, fungi, and bacteria. Earlier this year, Colorado recalled hundreds of batches that tested positive for banned pesticides.

It’s unclear how much cannabis, whether purchased legally in a dispensary or bought from a college roommate’s cousin’s friend, is at risk. But as the industry goes mainstream, experts suggest it’s time legal weed gets quality assurance.

Educating consumers on what they’re smoking might be the first step, according to scientists at Steep Hill Labs, a leading cannabis science and technology firm in Berkeley, California.

In 2016, Reggie Gaudino, vice president of scientific operations at Steep Hill, set out on a scientific experiment. He visited three brick-and-mortar dispensaries in the Bay Area and bought at least five samples of cannabis flower from each.

In order to decide which strains to buy, he asked cashiers, called “budtenders,” for their recommendations. He also chose the strains with the highest percentage of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Many patients choose that option from the menu because they believe it will get them the most high, or give them “the most bang for their buck,” Gaudino explains.

It’s unclear if the dispensaries he visited test their products for contaminants at third-party labs — a practice that’s becoming more common as states with newly legalized cannabis roll out regulations.

When Gaudino took the samples back to the lab, he found that 70% of the samples tested positive for pesticide residues. One-third of samples would have failed pesticide regulations in the state of Oregon, which has the most sophisticated system for pesticide-testing of the seven states with fully legalized marijuana.

Fifty percent of the samples that tested positive for pesticides also contained Myclobutanil, a fungicide treatment commonly used on California grapes, almonds, and strawberries. When digested, it’s harmless. But when heated, the chemical turns into hydrogen cyanide, a gas that interferes with the body’s ability to use oxygen normally.

The central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and pulmonary system (lungs) start to fail when exposed to high concentration of the gas.

The news isn’t quite as alarming as it sounds. Donald Land, chief scientific consultant at Steep Hill, tells Business Insider that most people would not be susceptible to falling ill after inhaling a few spores.

However, someone whose immune system is weakened — like a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy or a person infected with HIV — is much more vulnerable to infection upon inhaling contaminated cannabis. Basically, the people who stand to benefit the most from medical marijuana are also the most vulnerable.

The results of Gaudino’s study have yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, though Gaudino tells us a white paper is in the works. The lab plans to test an array of other marijuana products, like concentrates and oil cartridges for vaporizer pens, before publishing.

Land and Gaudino explain that, for the most part, the industry is doing the best it can to provide safe pot.

There is no framework on the federal level that dictates how cannabis should be tested or what threshold constitute a failing grade. Most growers and dispensaries in states with legalized marijuana have to hold themselves accountable for verifying the safety of their product.

Some pay third-party labs like Steep Hill to analyze their product for pesticides and contaminants, but most only want to know the THC content of a given strain, Land says. The more potent the weed, the more they can charge for it.

Fewer than 20 states offer some form of testing, according to estimate provided by Land. The states that offer the most widely available marijuana, including California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, have testing facilities — but they don’t all require testing, and regulations can vary on a local level.

More research is needed to understand the health concerns associated with cannabis. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, making it difficult for scientists to acquire the funding and samples needed for study.

In the meantime, Land suggests marijuana patients and recreational users take responsibility for their health by asking their budtender to see a lab report on the strain they wish to buy. They can compare the results with Oregon’s publicly available threshold levels for safe cannabis.

Even if you can’t make out what the report means, the dispensary’s ability to provide documentation is “absolutely better than nothing,” Land says.

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The MERP Model for Re-Legalizing Marijuana

(The following article was sent to me by Bruce Cain in about 2008 – I found it today while going through some old mail.  It deserves to be re-visited…SK)

 

 

Image may contain: 1 person, text

 

 

The MERP Model for Re-Legalizing Marijuana

This is a recent interview that I (Bruce Cain, Editor of http://www.newagecitizen.com) did with Krystal Cole of “Neurosoup.”

It is the most exhaustive discussion of the MERP model for Marijuana Re-Legalization to date.

1) Do you believe cannabis should be legalized for all adults in the United States? Why?

A resounding yes! Of course Cannabis should be Re-Legalized for all adults. As for why, let?s start with the some of the stronger common arguments:

(1) Cannabis is one of the safest therapeutic agents on the planet. It is also one of mankind?s old medicinal plants despite being politically placed into the most dangerous ?Class 1? category.

(2) 70 years of prohibition have had little or no effect in stopping use.

(3) It has many therapeutic and palliative properties for people suffering from AIDS/HIV; Glaucoma; MS; etc.

(4) There are no recorded fatal overdoses from the use of Cannabis. That alone should be sufficient. But my personal arguments for Re-Legalizing go much deeper. I think it was Judge Brandeis who once said the most important right, was the right to be left alone. Consensual adult activities should not be the domain of any la w provided those acts do not violate the safety and liberties of other citizens. It?s like the Las Vegas commercials that spew this mantra that ?what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.? What you do within the confines of your own property, given the earlier provisos, is not the business of the state: whether that be local law enforcement or federal drug agencies.

It is so important that we push back against each attempt to chip away our liberties. I will even go one better. I think that all consensual activities should be made legal as a counter weight to all the liberties we have been forced to relinquish in the wake of 911. That way if the state?s intrusive powers uncover a bag of Marijuana, there will be nothing they can do about it. We have to start thinking in terms of ?creative resistance.? My utopian vision is to be sitting on my porch, sharing a joint with a friend, and not having to worry about a police car driving by to ruin our afternoon. And if a police car did drive by I would want to feel comfortable sharing a few tokes with that officer. I want to see a world where people can start feeling good about each other once again.

Before going to the next question let me say something about laws in general. Pythagoras developed the scientific method in order to objectively judge the results of any scientific inquiry. To this end he developed theorems in order to provide a method, a structure, for scientific inquiry. It is really this framework, for scientific inquiry, that has propelled science forward ever since.

As we restructure our legal system I believe there are two important theorems that should receive primary consideration:

(1) The Golden Rule and

(2) The Golden Mean. The Golden Rule is straight forward: ?Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself.? The Golden Mean has a number of meanings but basically insists on proportionality in all things. Applying this to our Cannabis laws requires asking 2 questions:

(1) would I feel comfortable accepting the current penalties that are being applied to other Marijuana offenders and

(2) Are the penalties proportional to penalties for other drugs: are the penalties in proportion to the danger they pose to society?

2) What steps do we need to take, as a country, to decriminalize cannabis?

Ultimately I would fully implement the MERP model for ?regulating? Marijuana. But let me first describe the prerequisite change the needs to take place prior to implementing MERP.

The Achilles heal to ?Marijuana Prohibition? is the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. We need to force our representatives to take Cannabis completely off the schedule. Once that is done the federal government will no longer have an excuse to meddle in the drug policies of individual states. The raids on Medical Marijuana dispensaries would immediately cease. But, at a grass roots level, people have got to stop being so damn complacent. Con front your representatives when they come to town. Organize with local, state and national groups. Insist that the national groups get behind the MERP model for Re-Legalization.

And what is MERP you ask? It is a short way of saying the ?Marijuana Re-Legalization Policy (MRP) Project.? But that is a big mouthful of syllables. So I like to refer to this model as MERP in order to condense the concept down to a single syllable.

The MERP Model can be succinctly described as follows ?

The MERP model of Marijuana Re-Legalization would minimally allow non-commercial cultivation, by adults above the age of 18, to be done without any form of government taxation, regulation or other interference.? The ?moneyed? drug reform organizations (e.g., those supported by Soros, Sperling and Lewis) contend that this is far too radical. But it really is not significantly different than the way we allow US citizens to produce beer and wine within there homes. Home beer and wine production is neither taxed nor significantly regulated.

And many activists need to be weaned from this false notion that the government should get to tax everything. If they don?t tax your tomatoes or your beer, why should they be allowed to tax your Cannabis? The MERP Model does not preclude commercial licensing. But it forbids the government from interfering with personal cultivation as specified above. In doing this we have, in effect, a mechanism to check government greed. At about $100 per ounce a lot of people would not bother growing their own. But if the government charged $400 per ounce most people would be turning on the grow lamps.

I really think this is one of the best ideas I have ever come up with. It is so elegant in its simplicity. And it is also part of the ?New Agenda for America.? Benjamin Franklin selflessly gave the world ?lightening rods? and refused to profit by imposing a copyright on the invention. Had it not been for the lightening rod, large building structures, such as ?skyscrapers,? would have been impossible. This is due to the associated hazard of fires from lightening strikes. I would like to give the world the MERP model with very similar intentions.

One thing MERP would also do is act as a Gatekeeper Drug: keeping more and more people away from dealers that also sell hard drugs. I am quite sure it would destroy the revenue streams for local drug dealers and terrorist organizations alike.

Here are a few additional links for a broader discussion of MERP and the reasons we really need to end Marijuana Prohibition:

Drug Policy The MERP Project The Marijuana Re-Legalization Policy (MRP) Project http://www.newagecitizen.com/ReLegalization01.htm http://www.newagecitizen.com/editorial_on_the_marijuana_re.htm

Why Lou Dobbs Should Support Marijuana Legalization http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VKf5YfQb7s&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Enewagecitizen%2Ecom%2F

How Continuing the Drug War could make Nuclear Terrorism a Reality by Bruce W. Cain http://www.newagecitizen.com/Editorials/v8n1NuclearTerrorism.htm 

3) How much of an effect would legalizing cannabis have on narco-terrorism?

Under the MERP model it would be quite significant. Virtually all profits in Marijuana sales ? by terrorist organization and drug gangs alike ? would instantly evaporate the very day the MERP is implemented. It should first be understood that over 50% of terrorist revenue comes from the sale of illicit drugs. Currently, Cannabis probably only accounts for 20% of the global illicit drug market. But in a 500 Billion annual global illicit drug market that is still significant. We could probably rob the Mexican drug cartels of 20 billion a year just by Re-Legalizing. And if nothing else it would keep the money in the US economy creating more jobs for US workers. But I think the effect would create a unique form of synergy. As people have more access to cheap, high quality Cannabis ? as under the MERP model — they would be less likely to encounter drug dealers that sell harder drugs such as cocaine, crack, methamphetamine etc. But while it may be hard to quantify I’m quite sure the net effect would, in any case, be positive. Another synergistic effect might be that people become more comfortable with non-alcoholic drugs and it could pave the way for Re-Legalization of other soft plant-based entheogens such as peyote, and psilocybin.

Legal psilocybin in Amsterdam has not resulted in any significant social problems. Entheogens may also have been purposely prohibited because they have a tendency to deprogram people from state propaganda: ever the more reason to make them available to responsible adults. Of course the MERP model would have a much more pronounced effect than current strategies (e.g., Medical Marijuana initiatives) for 2 important reasons:

(1) It completely takes the profit out of the Marijuana market and

(2) it constitutes a permanent and structural change at the very core of our legal system.

4) How would the federal prison population be affected by the legalization of cannabis?

Well, the most significant effect of legalization, under the MERP Model, would be 840,000 fewer arrests a year. And that IS very significant. There would be some reduction in federal prisons but most drug convictions end up with some form of probation. We are now up to arresting 840,000 Cannabis users annually. Over 80% of these arrests involve simple possession. I actually think the lions share of these never go to prison and most that do end up in state facilities.

The problem is that once you get ?tagged? by the criminal justice system it takes years to get out from under that shadow. They force you into ?drug classes? and urine tests and all sorts of totally unnecessary bullshit. It reminds me of the Inquisitions where some citizens were forced to say they were witches, when in fact they were not. And of course they also rob you blind through the entire process. I have been fortunate to have avoided this personally, but I am aware of the disproportionate penalties and costs that go along with a simple arrest for transporting Cannabis. And once your record is blemished they will be on you like flies on shit, for the rest of your life.

I realize I’ve gone off on a tangent here. But there should be no greater penalty for transporting Cannabis than for transporting a case of beer from your local party store. And like I said: once Cannabis is Re-Legalized all of this could go away forever. Of course it isn’t great news if you are an attorney, a judge, or a city that will do anything to raise revenue. Re-Legalization is probably not exactly great for a Medical Marijuana ?gardeners? who are often making between $25 to $35 an hour either. And actually the Medical Marijuana dispensaries have created a rather ironic situation.

The irony is that medical users are still basically paying street prices for the medicine: about $12 to $18 per gram. For patients like Angel Raich, who requires 7 grams per day ? a quarter ounce ? such prices would cost her over $35,000 per year. Since many medical marijuana users are both unemployed and sick, it is difficult for me to imagine how they could even afford the medicine at these prices.

Re-Legalization would allow either patient, or caregiver, to cooperate in the cultivation. Best of all this Cannabis would only cost about $20, pre ounce, to grow under lamps and would be virtually free if it were grown outside.

The current Marijuana laws really make you ask an important question: ?What kind of society goes so far out of its way to criminalize its members, when what they have done should not even be a crime in the first place?? I don?t have the space to entertain that question here. But Naomi Klein does a good job of it in her current book, ?Shock Doctrine.? I definitely recommend reading this book or at least ?Googling? for more information on ?Shock Doctrine.?

5) Are you thinking of running in the 2008 presidential election as a write in candidate? Why?

I am only doing this to promote the ?New Agenda for America.? I have no illusion about moving into the Whitehouse in 2009. Instead what I want to do, through this “faux candidacy,” is motivate people to ask the Democratic and Republican candidates which planks of the ?New Agenda for America? they would support. The MERP model for Marijuana Re-Legalization is currently the 3rd plank of the agenda.

Here are all of the major planks:

NEW AGENDA FOR AMERICA: Preliminary Planks Help Influence the 2008 Presidency [More info: http://www.newagecitizen.com and click on topic]

(1) Universal Health Care for All American Citizens

(2) A 20-year moratorium on all immigration into the United States

(3) Legal Marijuana for all Adults and Medical Patients

(4) An immediate reversal to the Offshoring and In shoring of American Jobs

(5) A strict enforcement on issues of Separation of Church and State

(6) An immediate move from so-called Free Trade Agreements to Bilateral Trade agreements

(7) A major R&D project to bring energy independence to the United States and the World through recycling, reuse, ending hyper-consumerism and investing in the development of sustainable energy sources (e.g., solar, photovoltaic, wind, geothermal)

(8) No further ownership of US Assets (businesses, homes, ports, stock exchanges) by foreign governments or individuals!

(9) Replace the Federal Reserve with a People’s Reserve which allows public oversight

I could be wrong but these are all things that I believe American citizens want today. They are also required in order to stop the colonization of the United States by foreign elites: a trend that has been accelerating in recent decades. But do you think any of the corporate donors, funding both parties, would allow any of the current candidates to endorse ANY of these policy planks? Unfortunately, I think the answer is a resounding ?No Way.?

Ron Paul might endorse some of them; however, I am skeptical of his libertarian religiosity. I ran against John Dingle for US Congress in 1996 as a libertarian, so I do know what I am talking about here. Having said that I still think he is the best candidate out there right now. I am promoting the ?New Agenda for America (NAA), because I think the current economic model is soon going to cause this society to crash and burn. I fear that there could be a world depression or possibly a world war in the coming decade. I believe the NAA could stave off the ?buy off? of the United States of America by foreign elites and offer American citizens a softer landing as this current ?business cycle? crashes, like a lead zeppelin, in the next few years. I?m afraid we may be on the cusp of a Second American Revolution and I would prefer that it be a peaceful revolution if at all possible.

But what would be the first thing I would do if I became President of the United States? At my inauguration I would tell the American people that Marijuana Prohibition is over. Until the MERP model is fully implemented by Congress I would set up a department to solely issue pardons for every non-violent Cannabis arrest. Too bad that just isn’t going to happen, isn’t it?

Finally, let me say that I do intend to go a little further than treating my candidacy as a joke. I will be setting up a signup at my website for people that might be interested in voting for me: http://www.newagecitizen And for those that would like to watch excerpts from my television appearances and political speeches you can look through my ?Video Biography? at the following link: Bruce Cain’s “Drug Policy Video Biography” http://www.newagecitizen.com/Videos.htm In a three-way runoff (e.g., Clinton, Giuliani, Cain) it would take about 40 million votes to win.

Just before the election I would send an email out to each person alerting them to how many have signed up to vote for me. Then they can make their own informed decision as to which direction we want to take the once-great republic. We need to keep in mind that the average longevity for a nation-state is about 250 years. I don?t know about you but, as we have just past the 200 year anniversary for this republic, I?m thinking that I?d like to beat those odds by at least a few hundred years.

Bruce Cain’s latest interview/podcast on the MERP model for Marijuana Re-Legalization:

Bruce W. Cain Discusses the MERP Mode with “Sense and Sensimilla” http://senseandsensi.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=270029

 

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