FDA News Release FDA warns companies marketing unproven products, derived from marijuana, that claim to treat or cure cancer

For Immediate Release

November 1, 2017

Release

As part of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s ongoing efforts to protect consumers from health fraud, the agency today issued warning letters to four companies illegally selling products online that claim to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure cancer without evidence to support these outcomes. Selling these unapproved products with unsubstantiated therapeutic claims is not only a violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, but also can put patients at risk as these products have not been proven to be safe or effective. The deceptive marketing of unproven treatments may keep some patients from accessing appropriate, recognized therapies to treat serious and even fatal diseases.

The FDA has grown increasingly concerned at the proliferation of products claiming to treat or cure serious diseases like cancer. In this case, the illegally sold products allegedly contain cannabidiol (CBD), a component of the marijuana plant that is not FDA approved in any drug product for any indication. CBD is marketed in a variety of product types, such as oil drops, capsules, syrups, teas, and topical lotions and creams. The companies receiving warning letters distributed the products with unsubstantiated claims regarding preventing, reversing or curing cancer; killing/inhibiting cancer cells or tumors; or other similar anti-cancer claims. Some of the products were also marketed as an alternative or additional treatment for Alzheimer’s and other serious diseases.

“Substances that contain components of marijuana will be treated like any other products that make unproven claims to shrink cancer tumors. We don’t let companies market products that deliberately prey on sick people with baseless claims that their substance can shrink or cure cancer and we’re not going to look the other way on enforcing these principles when it comes to marijuana-containing products,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. “There are a growing number of effective therapies for many cancers. When people are allowed to illegally market agents that deliver no established benefit they may steer patients away from products that have proven, anti-tumor effects that could extend lives.”

The FDA issued warning letters to four companies – Greenroads Health, Natural Alchemist, That’s Natural! Marketing and Consulting, and Stanley Brothers Social Enterprises LLC – citing unsubstantiated claims related to more than 25 different products spanning multiple product webpages, online stores and social media websites. The companies used these online platforms to make unfounded claims about their products’ ability to limit, treat or cure cancer and other serious diseases. Examples of claims made by these companies include:

  • “Combats tumor and cancer cells;”
  • “CBD makes cancer cells commit ‘suicide’ without killing other cells;”
  • “CBD … [has] anti-proliferative properties that inhibit cell division and growth in certain types of cancer, not allowing the tumor to grow;” and
  • “Non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD (cannabidiol) may be effective in treating tumors from cancer – including breast cancer.”

Unlike drugs approved by the FDA, the manufacture of these products has not been subject to FDA review as part of the drug approval process and there has been no FDA evaluation of whether they work, what the proper dosage is, how they could interact with other drugs, or whether they have dangerous side effects or other safety concerns. The FDA has requested responses from the companies stating how the violations will be corrected. Failure to correct the violations promptly may result in legal action, including product seizure and injunction.

“We have an obligation to provide caregivers and patients with the confidence that drugs making cancer treatment claims have been carefully evaluated for safety, efficacy, and quality, and are monitored by the FDA once they’re on the market,” Commissioner Gottlieb added. “We recognize that there’s interest in developing therapies from marijuana and its components, but the safest way for this to occur is through the drug approval process – not through unsubstantiated claims made on a website. We support sound, scientifically-based research using components derived from marijuana, and we’ll continue to work with product developers who are interested in bringing safe, effective, and quality products to market.”

This latest action builds on the more than 90 warning letters issued in the past 10 years, including more than a dozen this year, to companies marketing hundreds of fraudulent products making cancer claims on websites, social media and in stores. Additionally, the FDA recently took decisive action to prevent the use of a potentially dangerous and unproven treatment used in ‘stem cell’ centers targeting vulnerable cancer patients. The FDA encourages health care professionals and consumers to report adverse reactions associated with these or similar products to the agency’s MedWatch program.

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

###

SOURCE LINK / CONTINUE READING…

Advertisements

“…the riskiest pot is coming from the black market—which could be an argument for expanding legalization”

Marijuana: Why Dangerously Potent Pot Is Making People Lose Their Minds and Memories

Homegrown2017

By Jessica Firger On 10/19/17 at 4:44 PM

High-potency pot is causing psychiatric issues, including addiction and memory problems. New strains of the recreational drug have higher levels of the active chemical and not enough of another compound that keeps the drug safe. And as a new study this week documents, the riskiest pot is coming from the black market—which could be an argument for expanding legalization. 

The new report, published this week by Manchester Metropolitan University in the U.K., tested 50 samples of cannabis in the city of Manchester. The study was conducted by Volteface, a London-based policy think tank seeking reform for marijuana laws to improve safety of the drug by making it legal, and thus limiting demand on the local black market. All of the samples had high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of the drug that produces the “high,” and inconsequential amounts of cannabidiols (CBDs), the protective compound of the drug that prevents marijuana from becoming unsafe.

Pot that is high in THC carries a greater risk of psychiatric problems, including psychosis, addiction and memory impairment. One study, for example, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry evaluated cannabis use in 280 people and compared them to a control group of 174 non-cannabis users. The study found that people who experienced their first psychotic episode were more likely to have used a higher THC potency form of the drug.

Keep up with this story and more by subscribing now

Amir Englund, an expert in cannabinoid psychopharmacology at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London, tells Newsweek that the low levels of CBDs exacerbate the issues caused by high levels of THC. Additionally, frequent users often become tolerant to cannabis and slowly need a stronger product to get as high as they used to, he says.

“Because both THC and CBD are made from the same material in the plant, more of one means less of the other,” he says. Some recent research, he says, has shown that people using strains of marijuana that are also high in CBD—not just THC—are less likely to have mental health problems than those who opt for strains that have low CBD but high THC content. Some experiments he’s conducted show that CBD can counter the negative effects of high doses of THC in healthy volunteers.

Growers, he says, are cross-breeding plants to favor THC production over CBD. But the decision isn’t influenced only by the market’s demand. In many instances, it’s determined by the grower’s bottom line. “Some of the reasons why these varieties are more popular include the fact that they are more cost-effective to produce (more total drug-yield per plant) and more popular among frequent users,” says Englund.

A number of other factors also affect the potency of pot. According to Leafly, there will always be some variation when multiple growers cultivate the same strain because environment, growing technique and genetics all impact the composition of the plants.

A report published in 2015 by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment found the problem isn’t only with illegal sales. Labeling on regulated cannabis is often misleading, and the strain purchased could have higher or lower levels of potency than the label leads a consumer to believe.

“High THC, low CBD cannabis dominates the UK’s illicit market as it has a rapid growth period up to maturity and can be grown indoors,” the researchers write. “This enables those selling cannabis to make the greatest profit and presents the lowest risk. While popularity of this product is undoubtedly high, this may well be due to the fact that no other product is easily available and consumers have neither the access to nor the experience of any alternative.”

In other words, pot purchasers should look beyond the name—as nice as Black Beauty and Northern Lights may sound—and find out more about what they’re smoking. 

CONTINUE READING AND TO VIDEO!

Despite increased social acceptance, marijuana possession arrests increase: ACLU

cannabis-sativa-plant-1404978607akl

ACLU calls for Pa. to legalize marijuana

By Steve Marroni

smarroni@pennlive.com

HARRISBURG – The findings of a new study that black people are eight times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people, even though usage rates are just about the same, does not surprise the ACLU.

“The racial disparities in possession arrests have been around for a long time,” said Andy Hoover, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania. “It is distressing that it’s getting worse.”

But what is a surprise, Hoover said, is that possession arrests for marijuana are on the rise around the state, despite an ever-increasing social acceptance.

“We’re seeing now that 59 percent of Pennsylvanians support legalization. Only 31 percent oppose,” he said today, adding “the rise in possession arrests is distressing.”

But he hopes lawmakers are on board with the call the ACLU made today at the state Capitol to legalize marijuana in Pennsylvania.

You can read the full report, Cannabis Crackdown, on the ACLU’s website.

In summary, the authors of the report studied marijuana offenses in Pennsylvania from 2010 to 2016. The study shows:

  • Possession arrests of adults increased 33 percent in that time,
  • Black people were eight times more likely than white people to be arrested, despite similar usage rates,
  • The state police total arrests per year more than doubled from 2,221 to 4,612 in that seven-year period,
  • The cost to Pennsylvania taxpayers has been more than $225 million in that time.

“Legalization is the only solution to this problem,” Hoover said.

Philadelphia engaged in a decriminalization effort in the last three years, said Matt Stroud of the ACLU, who is an author of the report. The data there shows a remarkable decline in marijuana-related arrests there – about 88 percent.

Cannabis consumer advocate Chris Goldstein said since Philadelphia’s decriminalization, there have been no marijuana-possession arrests of the more than 300,000 students on the city’s college campuses, as opposed to Penn State, where 250 students are arrested per year for marijuana possession.

Cannabis consumer advocate supports ACLU stance to legalize

And unlike Philadelphia, the other 66 counties in Pennsylvania show a remarkable increase in arrests, Stroud added.

In reading this report, state Rep. Jordan Harris of Philadelphia, who is chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, agrees that marijuana should be legalized. The current laws are “nothing be a war on the people,” he said, and research shows legalization does not make communities less safe.

State representative discusses racial bias in marijuana arrests

“It’s time to stand on research, and the research shows it’s time to legalize marijuana in Pennsylvania,” he said, getting applause from the supporters attending the event.

It is particularly disturbing that racial bias has creeped into marijuana arrests, he said.

“I would much rather my law enforcement officers work on murder, rape and protecting our children than spending our valuable tax resources on arresting people for smoking a jay on their way home from a long day of work,” he said.

The police have more important things to focus on than “a non-violent thing called smoking a joint,” added state Rep. Ed Gainey of Allegheny County.

“We can’t continue to incarcerate,” he said. “What we have to do is legitimize and legalize a drug that the people should have the choice to use.”

State representative calls for marijuana legalization

And consumer advocate Goldstein said while the racial disparity is disturbing, so are the number of lives ruined by possession arrests. He said 70 percent of those arrested for possession are between 18 and 30 years old, and these arrests unfairly impact their ability to find jobs, get an education and make a life for themselves.

While the ACLU and some lawmakers support legalization, it may be a challenging road ahead, but ACLU spokesman Hoover said he is hopefully.

“There is a lot of conversation here in the General Assembly about smart justice,” he said. “There is a recognition that the policies implemented in the last 30 to 40 years have failed. We believe that cannabis legalization is part of that discussion.”

Sen. Daylin Leach, a Democrat from Montgomery County, first introduced a marijuana-legalization bill in 2013, and has a new version of that bill in the Senate Law and Justice Committee now. His spokesman, Steve Hoenstine, said this bill calls for marijuana to be sold at state stores, where there is already a sales and monitoring system in place.

And those sales are projected to “completely close the revenue gap with a brand new, sustained revenue that does not involved a tax increase.”

He said it only makes sense to bring in these funds rather than spending taxpayer money on enforcement.

Marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol, Hoover added, adding the “reefer madness mentality is old, inaccurate and wrong.”

This post has been updated with more information about a bill currently in committee.

CONTINUE READING, FURTHER INFORMATION AND VIDEO!

Long-Term Marijuana Use Changes Brain at the Cellular Level, Say Scientists

The team behind the study hopes that their findings can eventually be used to treat people with cannabis use disorder, defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5 as a “problematic pattern of cannabis use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress.”

By Yasmin Tayagon October 16, 2017

Filed Under Alcohol, Drugs, Neuroscience & Sex

In March, long-term marijuana smoker Woody Harrelson surprised fans by announcing he was giving up his chronic pot habit, saying it made him “emotionally unavailable.” Likewise, in June, notorious stoner Miley Cyrus did the same, saying she “wanted to be really clear” while making her new album. Long-term pot smokers who have quit cite similar anecdotal evidence about the chronic effects of weed, but scientists have only recently begun understanding what, if anything, it actually does to the brain.

In a study on mice published Monday in the journal JNeurosci, scientists report that long-term marijuana use does indeed change the brain.

In their study, the researchers from Brigham Young University’s neuroscience department, led by Jeffrey Edwards Ph.D., focused on the brain’s ventral tegmental area (VTA), a region rich with the dopamine and serotonin receptors that comprise the brain’s reward system, looking at how its cells changed as the teen mice they studied received daily THC injections every day for a week. Researchers know that drugs of abuse, like opioids, alcohol, and marijuana, act on the VTA, and it’s thought that the active ingredients in these drugs stimulate the release of dopamine in this area, thereby triggering the flood of pleasure that drugs (as well as friendship and sex) provide — and creating cravings for more.

In particular, they looked at a type of cell in the VTA known as a GABA cell that marijuana researchers hadn’t looked at before. The cells are named for the type of neurotransmitter they pick up — GABA, short for gamma-aminobutyric acid — which is well-known for its inhibitory properties. Imagine GABA as the high-strung friend who becomes anxious when the rest of the group has too much fun. When GABA is released in the brain, it regulates the levels of happy-making dopamine, making sure revelry doesn’t go overboard.In particular, they looked at a type of cell in the VTA known as a GABA cell that marijuana researchers hadn’t looked at before. The cells are named for the type of neurotransmitter they pick up — GABA, short for gamma-aminobutyric acid — which is well-known for its inhibitory properties. Imagine GABA as the high-strung friend who becomes anxious when the rest of the group has too much fun. When GABA is released in the brain, it regulates the levels of happy-making dopamine, making sure revelry doesn’t go overboard.

This friend is a bit of a buzzkill but seems to be necessary to prevent the brain from having too much of a good thing. But, as it turns out, GABA neurons can be incapacitated, too.This friend is a bit of a buzzkill but seems to be necessary to prevent the brain from having too much of a good thing. But, as it turns out, GABA neurons can be incapacitated, too.

As the researchers observed these cells in teen mice over their THC-filled week, they saw that the ability of the GABA neurons to regulate dopamine faltered as the trial went on. In contrast, mice who only received a single injection of THC — the Bill Clintons of the group — didn’t show any changes in their GABA neurons, suggesting that the effects seen in the chronic users are a consequence of long-term marijuana use. Those changes led dopamine to linger in the VTA longer than usual, which caused an abnormally drawn-out feeling of reward. And too much of those pleasurable feelings, scientists have found, is what leads to addiction.

The team behind the study hopes that their findings can eventually be used to treat people with cannabis use disorder, defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5 as a “problematic pattern of cannabis use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress.”

CONTINUE READING AND TO VIDEO AND FURTHER INFORMATION!

(MY COMMENT?  I know you all can see where this is going, right?)

The following can be called my rendition on the opioid/lack of Medical Marijuana/ crisis in Kentucky,

Thoughts on Kentucky…

U.S. Marijuana Party Kentucky

Fighting

30766779544_776467f567_o

Support the Marijuana Justice Act

(…or whatever else you want to call it!)

Any way that you look at it, none of it passes the “smell test”!

From Robert Weber of the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission came the following account of a meeting of both the Interim Joint Committee on Health and Welfare and Family Services, and the Medicaid Oversight and Advisory Committee. The title was,

“Lawmakers hear sobering account of opioid crisis”,

It went on to say that “At one Kentucky hospital, people are actually bringing in heroin and shooting up with patients.”

The following can be called my rendition of the opioid crisis in Kentucky, which would probably apply in most places, but I live here and can only truly state what I’ve seen and what my own experience has been.

I see this issue from all sides. The side of the Lawmakers who are trying to control the horrible issue at hand…

View original post 1,867 more words

“sick of hearing about your rights…you have no rights here.”

Border Agents Seized American Citizen’s Truck, Never Charged Him With A Crime

Nick Sibilla , Contributor

When Gerardo Serrano took photos of a border crossing on September 21, 2015, he had no idea he would soon be handcuffed, thrown into a detention cell and see his truck seized by government agents that very same day. During his ordeal, when Gerardo protested how his rights were being violated, one agent bluntly responded that he was “sick of hearing about your rights…you have no rights here.”

Two years later, Gerardo still has not recovered his truck or even had his day in court to challenge the seizure. Nor has he been charged with any crime.

But this scene, straight from an authoritarian nightmare, didn’t play out in Syria or Venezuela. Gerardo’s Ford F-250 was seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in Eagle Pass, Texas.

“When the agents told me they were seizing my truck, I said ‘No, you’re not seizing my truck, you’re stealing my truck!’” Gerardo recalled. “I didn’t think that this could happen in America. It felt like they were thugs with badges.”

Institute for Justice.

Gerardo Serrano

Thanks to the nation’s civil forfeiture laws, law enforcement agencies can seize—and keep—property, even if the owner is never convicted or indicted. Determined to vindicate his rights, Gerardo joined with the Institute for Justice and filed a class-action lawsuit against the CBP on behalf of other car owners.

What happened to Gerardo is not an isolated incident. At just four border crossings in Texas, CBP agents seized 525 vehicles from American citizens and lawful residents in 2015. A victory in Gerardo’s case would mean restoring due-process rights for hundreds, if not thousands, of other car owners nationwide.

“Of course I want my truck back, but that’s not why I’m filing this lawsuit,” Gerardo said. “I’m doing this for my children and the thousands of other Americans who should never have to go through what I’ve gone through.”

Almost two years ago, Gerardo was driving down to meet his cousin, who lives right across the border in Piedra Nagras, Mexico. Although members of his family are Mexican, Gerardo is an American citizen, who now owns a farm in the Kentucky countryside. Ever the consummate entrepreneur, Gerardo also wanted to discuss plans to bring his cousin’s solar panel business stateside.

When he reached the border crossing in Eagle Pass, Texas, Gerardo decided to snap some pictures with his iPhone to post on Facebook. Two CBP agents quickly stopped his truck and forced him out, before handcuffing Gerardo and demanding that he unlock his phone.

Meanwhile, other agents searched his car. Inside, they found five 0.380 caliber bullets and a SIG Sauer magazine of the same caliber. Based solely on those bullets and magazine, the CBP seized the vehicle. The agency would later claim that the truck was transporting “munitions of war” and had to be forfeited.

But Gerardo is a lawful gun owner, not a weapons smuggler. Gerardo has a concealed-carry permit from Kentucky, which has reciprocity for Texas and the other states he drove through on his trip.

Follow the Institute for Justice on Facebook and Twitter.

CONTINUE READING…

Insurer says it shouldn’t have to pay for medical marijuana

The Maine supreme court is wading into the issue of medical marijuana and workers’ compensation

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The Maine supreme court on Wednesday began considering whether a paper millworker left suicidal by narcotic painkillers should receive workers’ compensation for medical marijuana.

It’s the first time the court has considered the question of insurance reimbursement for medical marijuana.

Madawaska resident Gaetan Bourgoin won a ruling from the state’s Workers’ Compensation Board two years ago saying the paper mill’s insurer must reimburse him for medical marijuana. He contends marijuana is cheaper and safer than narcotics.

But Twin Rivers Paper Co. and its insurer appealed the ruling, arguing that paying for pot use, even for medical purposes, could expose the companies to prosecution since marijuana still is illegal at the federal level.

With medical marijuana legal in Washington, D.C. and 29 states, insurers across the country have been confronted with the same dilemma. Uneven state laws on reimbursement further complicate the issue.

Five states — Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey and New Mexico — have found medical marijuana treatment is reimbursable under their workers compensation laws, according to the National Council for Compensation Insurance. Florida and North Dakota, meanwhile, passed laws this year excluding medical marijuana treatment from workers’ compensation reimbursement.

Members of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court posed hypotheticals to the attorneys arguing the case. One asked Bourgoin’s attorney what he’d do if a client needed cocaine for pain treatment, and another asked Twin Rivers’ attorney whether she believes the federal government will start prosecuting insurers for medical marijuana reimbursement.

Justice Donald Alexander repeatedly questioned whether marijuana use should remain illegal under federal law and contrasted the drug with opioid-based painkillers, which he said drug companies have lobbied Congress to protect.

“Opioids are killing people every day in Maine,” he said.

Bourgoin’s case dates to 1989, when he hurt his back as a 29-year-old at the paper mill now known as Twin Rivers.

His attorney, Norman Trask, said Bourgoin pays for medical marijuana out-of-pocket and receives reimbursement from Twin Rivers’ insurer. Bourgoin previously took opioid-based painkillers, which caused other problems.

“At one point he was on such high dosages that they were concerned about his oxygen levels at night,” Trask said. “He became suicidal.”

Twin Rivers attorney Anne-Marie Storey said paying for medical marijuana puts the company in violation of federal law. The company contends that Maine’s medical marijuana law does not explicitly require an insurer to cover the cost of medical marijuana.

“This is not a case about making judgment over whether someone should use or not use marijuana as a matter of personal choice,” she said. There’s a scarcity of research on medical marijuana, and “nobody knows” how safe it is, she said.

CONTINUE READING…

#FREEDAREN DAREN MCCORMICK IS OUT!

He’s out!

Here is the latest update on #FREEDAREN !!!

Released with “conditions” today!

Here is a live video of his release, thanks to EAST-CanadaFriends !

Daren OUT

Daren is out 9.11.17

Free Daren outside courthouse pt. 3

He’s out!

Updates to follow!

RELATED:

“I think I had an undercover Cop in my driveway yesterday”…

Congressman Heck Introduces Marijuana Banking Amendments

by NORML September 2, 2017

Congressman Denny Heck (WA-10) with Representatives Perlmutter (CO-07), Lee (CA-13), and Titus (NV-01) have submitted two amendments to the financial services division to be included in the House appropriations bill. Both of these amendments focus on banking services for legal marijuana-related businesses and would be a temporary fix until the current legislation, the SAFE Banking Act, is passed into law.

The first amendment prohibits any funds in the bill from being used to punish banks for serving marijuana businesses that are legal under state law. The second amendment prohibits the Treasury from altering FinCEN’s guidance to financial institutions on providing banking services to legitimate marijuana businesses. These amendments, if included, would allow for legal marijuana-related business to operate according to state laws and enjoy access to the banking system.

Currently, hundreds of licensed and regulated businesses do not have access to the banking industry and are unable to accept credit cards, deposit revenues, or write checks to meet payroll or pay taxes. This situation is untenable. No industry can operate safely, transparently, or effectively without access to banks or other financial institutions.

Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized adult use of marijuana and more than half the states have implemented medical marijuana laws, so it is both sensible and necessary to include these proposed amendments so that these growing number of state-compliant businesses, and their consumers, may operate in a manner that is similar to other legal commercial entities.

You can click here to send an email in support of the SAFE Banking Act to your federal elected officials now.

CONTINUE READING…

Uncertain legal status of financial transactions in marijuana industry lead to bitcoin, cryptocurrency development

By Steve Brachmann
September 2, 2017

On July 27th, the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations held a hearing of the full committee to markup several pieces of legislation, including S.1662, the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for 2018. News reports indicate that, during that hearing, the Senate appropriations committee approved an amendment which would reduce the ability of federal-level law enforcement agencies to interfere with state laws on the medicinal use of marijuana. This amendment comes at a time during which the nascent medical marijuana industry looks as though it’s turning to cryptocurrency in response to the questionable legal status of medical marijuana businesses.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) proposed the amendment to allow states to implement medical marijuana laws. The amendment would ensure that none of the funds made available through the appropriations act would be used to prevent any of 46 of the 50 United States from implementing any law authorizing the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana. The amendment does not include the states of Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska or South Dakota, but it does include the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.

An article on the medical marijuana amendment published by Congressional blog TheHill quotes Leahy as saying:

“The federal government can’t investigate everything and shouldn’t, and I don’t want them pursuing medical marijuana patients who are following state law… We have more important things for the Department of Justice to do than tracking down doctors or epileptics using medical marijuana legally in their state.”

A press release issued in early August by financial news and publishing company NetworkNewsWire reflects the positive response of the medical marijuana industry to the news of the amendment to the 2018 Commerce appropriations bill. The press release discusses the business activities of medical marijuana firms across the world and cites to polls conducted by both Gallup and CBS News which reflects the changing views of the American public on the legality of marijuana, a sentiment which has become more positive as more states move to legalize either the recreational or the medicinal use of marijuana.

One of the companies cited by the NetworkNewsWire press release as being an innovator in the field of marijuana payments is SinglePoint Inc., a full-service mobile technology provider headquartered in Phoenix, AZ, which also operates a cannabis dispensary hub subsidiary known as SingleSeed. SinglePoint reportedly closed upon a $1 million promissory note with an institutional investor this June and plans to invest the proceeds into the development of a bitcoin solution to conduct non-cash transactions for marijuana products. Bitcoin transaction solutions are also being developed by ChineseInvestors.com Inc., a Chinese-language financial information firm with an increasing presence in the global marijuana industry.

Bitcoin payments for marijuana and related products seem to be developing in response to an industry-wide issue regarding the bankability of marijuana business activities caused by tensions between state and federal level laws on the subject. Even as states increasingly vote for the legalization of marijuana, the plant is still considered a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) which is enforced by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The tenuous legality of marijuana at the federal level has led to the growth of an industry in which many businesses have to sit on cash without being able to open business accounts with banking institutions which have been concerned with their federal-level legal liability if they accept deposits from marijuana businesses.

The concerns of financial institutions over federal regulations on marijuana don’t seem to be unfounded given the effects of the CSA and marijuana’s Schedule I status on intellectual property owners in the space. The uncertain status of federal registrations for marijuana trademarks is the result of the confluence of the CSA along with 37 CFR 2.69, the statute governing trademarks sought on the sale or transportation of any product which is regulated by an act of Congress. No such regulatory restrictions seem to affect the patenting of medical marijuana-related technologies, however. Through this January, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued dozens of patents, and published almost as many patent applications, on medical marijuana technologies, including a patent covering a controlled-release chewing gum containing cannabinoids developed by AXIM Biotech.

Increasingly, bitcoin and related cryptocurrencies are becoming the choice for most financial transactions within the nascent marijuana industry as the sector increases in value. North American marijuana sales reached $6.7 billion during 2016 and were expected to rise up to $20.2 billion annually by the year 2021. This June, Bloomberg published an article discussing how SinglePoint and Seattle, WA-based cannabis point-of-sale firm POSaBIT were utilizing bitcoin strategies to conduct transactions for cannabis products while taking steps to comply with federal and state regulations.

For marijuana and other industries that may face regulatory risks which could impede their ability to conduct business, bitcoin offers various benefits. A blog post published by payment processing company Bankcard Brokers discusses bitcoin’s anonymity and availability to high risk industries, as well as the fact that bitcoin transactions cannot be reversed except by the party receiving the bitcoin.

Bitcoin can be exchanged into a variety of other cryptocurrencies and one such cryptocurrency is designed specifically for the cannabis industry. PotCoin is seeking to position itself as the standard form of cryptocurrency payment for transactions in the legalized marijuana industry. PotCoin has proven to be a volatile investment, seeing a 23 percent dip this March in response to news that PotCoin sponsored a recent trip by Dennis Rodman to North Korea; this major decline came one day after PotCoin’s value increased by a dramatic 97 percent. Other types of cryptocurrencies being developed for the marijuana industry include CannabisCoin and WeedCoin.

Bitcoin’s status as a decentralized system for financial transactions stands in some contrast to the current activities being undertaken by a variety of entities seeking patents in the sector. A recent article published by CoinDesk notes that the USPTO published 390 patent applications related to blockchain tech, the underlying distributed ledger technology supporting bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, between January and July of this year. That represented a 90 percent increase over the number of blockchain-related patent applications published during the same period in 2016. A recent U.S. patent application filed by bitcoin exchange company Coinbase discusses an innovative security system for digital assets such as bitcoin. This March, Reuters reported that the man claiming to be bitcoin’s creator has filed more than 70 patent applications in the UK to protect blockchain-related tech like medical document storage and WiFi security systems.

CONTINUE READING…

"Overgrowing the Government"

%d bloggers like this: