Tag Archives: cannabis

Anita Maddux, 50, was charged with a felony for possessing a 10-milliliter sample bottle of cannabidiol (CBD)

One woman faces charges for hemp-derived cannabidiol oil despite its recent presence in local grocers

JACKSON HOLE, WY – A woman driving through Jackson, Wyoming, on her way to Montana left with a life-changing souvenir. On July 8, Anita Maddux, 50, was charged with a felony for possessing a 10-milliliter sample bottle of cannabidiol (CBD) oil from Cid’s, a Taos, New Mexico, health food store. Now Maddux could face up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine pending an August hearing.

Independent of that incident, local and state law enforcement showed up to Lucky’s Market and Jackson Whole Grocer two weeks later to inform those stores that CBD products were illegal to sell if they contained any amount of THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis. Both stores have since removed those products from their shelves.

Most CBD oil sold in stores like Lucky’s and JWG purport to contain .3 percent (or less) THC, an amount that does not have mind-altering effects as outlined in the 2014 federal Farm Bill. Third party lab analysis obtained by Planet Jackson Hole shows that Maddux’s CBD oil was under that threshold at .06 total THC.

Indeed, as other states loosen cannabis laws and federal lawmakers sponsor legislation to do the same, Wyoming remains a dubious place to possess a hemp-derived product with even trace amounts of THC. It is a felony offense in Wyoming to sell, buy or possess more than .03 grams of CBD oil that contains any amount of THC. However, manufacturers maintain that if their product contains traces of up to .3 percent it is perfectly legal, sowing confusion for state residents and retailers.

At Cid’s, Maddux worked as an herbalist in the health and wellness department where she received a sample shipment of CBD oil from Functional Remedies. The Colorado company’s CBD oil was on the shelves at Lucky’s Market in Jackson when she was arrested.

Lucky’s did not return several requests for comment nor did Functional Remedies.

CBD is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants with a slew of reported health benefits. The Food and Drug Administration just approved it to treat epilepsy in the form of the new drug Epidiolex. (Wyoming does allow people with intractable epilepsy to use CBD oil under the care of a licensed neurologist.)

Cannabidiol may also treat everything from Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s to depression, anxiety, inflammation and pain, according to the World Health Organization. The WHO’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence also recently said CBD does not have abuse or dependence potential.

It seems more of CBD’s potential health benefits are emerging by the day. According to a study published July 30, mice with pancreatic cancer that were treated with CBD and chemotherapy lived three times longer than mice treated with chemotherapy alone.

For her part, Maddux was using the oil for chronic back pain—she has a missing disc between her L1 and L2 vertebrae. CBD oil, she said, had brought her some relief, though she took it only sporadically.

Before her drive from New Mexico to Montana to care for her mother who has stage four colon cancer, Maddux placed the sample bottle in her bag and didn’t give it another thought.

Classification and Confusion

Despite the WHO’s recent findings, in the United States, CBD is a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act, meaning the federal government does not recognize its medicinal uses and considers it to have a high likelihood for abuse.

That classification hasn’t stopped its proliferation.

CBD oil has fueled a multimillion dollar industry online and at health food stores across the country. In September 2017, the retail giant Target was the first mega-chain to dip its toes into the cannabidiol waters. It wasn’t a pioneer for long, though. It pulled the products from its online shelves after just a few weeks. One month later, Lucky’s made the leap, becoming the first chain natural grocer to carry CBD products.

So why are mom and pop health stores and some chain retailers carrying the products if they are illegal?

For one thing, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration hasn’t been shy about its indifference.

“While CBD currently is still Schedule 1, with our limited resources marijuana has not been our highest priority,” Barbara Carreno, a spokesperson for the DEA, told Planet Jackson Hole. “It is not a priority like opioids or synthetics which are killing people.”

What’s more, Carreno said everything could change when the DEA schedules Epidiolex for medical use on September 24. A plant or botanical could have both uses that are legal and safe and uses that are not, Carreno said. As an example, she pointed to the opium poppy: “you get heroin and oxycodone from that.”

Marijuana, meanwhile, “is a plant with many extracts, THC is one and CBD is another,” she said. “CBD has a small amount of THC but it is very, very low.”

But the overarching reason manufacturers are producing and selling these products en masse is because of the 2014 Farm Bill. That bill legalized the production of hemp under state pilot programs as long as those hemp products contain less than .3 percent THC.

Under the Farm Bill, 40 states have legalized hemp programs including Wyoming. Its program is slated to begin in 2019. That confuses matters because as Wyoming works to implement a hemp cultivation program, it is still illegal to sell or possess hemp products in the state if they contain THC.

The federal program has some legal experts arguing Maddux wasn’t in the wrong. “As long as hemp was grown as part of a state pilot program (like Maddux’s Functional Remedies CBD oil) then it is federally legal,” said Jonathan Miller, general counsel to the U.S. Hemp Roundtable. That means Maddux “is allowed to take it across state lines,” he said.

Miller said Maddux’s case is the first he has heard of someone being charged for carrying a vial of CBD oil. In fact, from his experience, in cases where people have been arrested for possession of both marijuana and CBD the “CBD was thrown out.”

Wyoming cannabis law, Miller continued, is confusing. “It is quite unfortunate law enforcement would take that confusing law and charge someone for having a product that has virtually no THC and which the World Health Organization has classified as harmless,” he said. “I would hope law enforcement was focusing instead on drugs that kill people.”

On the national stage, Congress is moving in a direction that would remove hemp (cannabis containing less than .3 percent THC) from its classification as a Schedule I controlled substance. Sen. Mitch McConnell–R, Kentucky, is leading that charge with the 2018 Hemp Farming Act. It handily passed in the Senate 86-11 on June 28.

Wyoming, though, is fond of bucking national trends, especially when it comes to cannabis. The state has a tight grip on cannabis laws even as public opinion swings drastically in the other direction.

For example, more than 80 percent of Wyomingites say they want to see the legalization of medicinal marijuana and 60 percent oppose jailing people for marijuana offenses, according to a 2016 survey by the University of Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center.

Jackson Whole Grocer herbalist Heather Olson agrees with those sentiments. She also believes in CBD’s long list of supposed health benefits and was unhappy to remove products from the shelves. But Olson said there is a problem with certain companies. She said officials from Wyoming’s Division of Criminal Investigation told her some of the products they tested carried higher levels of THC than what was indicated on the label.

But Wyoming’s crime lab—where DCI tests substances—cannot actually test for specific amounts of THC.

The Un-wild West

Local law enforcement has been in contact with Wyoming’s Division of Criminal Investigation since fall 2017 when Lucky’s and Jackson Whole Grocer began carrying CBD oil. Jackson Chief of Police Todd Smith “reached out to us and asked us for some help because these products were being sold,” said Ronnie Jones of DCI. “Then we discovered this was going on across the state.”

Since then, Jones said DCI has been visiting retail stores and conducting investigations to confirm whether those CBD products contain THC.

Local law enforcement says as long as state law dictates it, they will enforce CBD’s prohibition. “I am duty-bound to uphold those laws,” Teton County Sheriff Jim Whalen said. “Clearly, if we were to talk philosophy, I might talk differently,” he added.

Whalen did not seem convinced Maddux’s felony charge would stick. He suspected it would be pleaded down and pointed to his department’s lenient proclivities. “In terms of misdemeanors, we would prefer to write a citation and send people on their way, which is different than many municipalities.”

Law enforcement is indeed “duty-bound” by laws set forth by the Wyoming Legislature. But cannabis advocates, like Laramie attorney and Wyoming House Minority Whip Charles Pelkey–D, Laramie, point to the state’s law enforcement as a barrier to softening cannabis laws.

Wyoming Rep. Stan Blake–D, Green River, “has introduced bills to make CBD oil readily available but we have gotten opposition from the Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police that any THC is a violation of the law,” Pelkey said.

It is true that sheriff and police associations throughout the country have pushed back against cannabis laws. Some point to Colorado’s rising crime rates since the state legalized recreational marijuana in 2014, though it is unclear if the two are related. Police Chief Smith said the notion that sheriffs and chiefs could hold that type of sway in the Legislature is absurd. “Law enforcement inherits the law from the Legislature,” he said. “We may get to testify our professional opinion but for any legislator to blame it on us is a cop out.”

I Fought the Law…

Maddux, meanwhile, is biding her time in Montana, caring for her ailing mother and going to job interviews. She does not dispute the reason why she was initially pulled over, which had nothing to do with CBD oil.

On Sunday, July 8, Teton County Sheriff’s Deputy Jesse Wilcox noticed her expired California license plate and pulled Maddux over. She was also driving without insurance and an expired license. Maddux said she has led a simple life and didn’t have the money to address those issues before hitting the road. “My plan was to just get to Montana, to be with my family and take care of everything there,” she said.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Wilcox asked Maddux if she could pay an $850 fine for the tickets or appear in court on July 31. The affidavit stated Maddux said she could do neither. She didn’t think her brutal honesty would land her in jail, Maddux said. “I have never been pulled over before. So I thought the best thing to do was just to be honest about my situation.” Indeed, a July 30 background check on Maddux showed she has had no prior run-ins with the law.

After he deemed her “a flight risk” because she could not pay the fines and was likely to not appear in court, Wilcox arrested Maddux.

At Teton County jail, personnel found her CBD oil and used a NIK test to determine the presence of THC. NIK tests are “rudimentary,” as Smith put it, however. They only confirm the mere presence of THC, not the actual amount. The oil, then, was sent to Wyoming’s crime lab for “analysis” and Maddux sat in jail for roughly 36 hours. She was released on a $1,000-dollar bond.

Life has already changed for Maddux. To help pay for an attorney, she sold her car for $550 and is now relying on the generosity of friends to make ends meet. Maddux worries the volunteer and service work that has become a large part of her identity will no longer be an option if she is convicted of a felony. She worked as a disaster relief volunteer in Haiti after its 2010 earthquake and in the Philippines after its 2013 typhoon.

She also volunteered as a yoga instructor teaching yoga to inmates in Oregon prisons. Maddux’s experience in Jackson has her wondering about some of those inmates and their predicaments. That is to say, had she lacked the resources and life experience to question what happened and obtain a lawyer, she could have slipped through the cracks of the legal system, she said.

While local law enforcement seems confident that a felony will not stick on her record, Maddux said in the meantime she agonizes about her August 16 hearing. Her life “has been thrown into upheaval.”

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As the feds crack down on opioid prescriptions, patients are taking their own lives, doctors are losing their jobs and overdose rates continue unabated.

The Government’s Solution To The Opioid     Crisis Feels Like A War To Pain Patients

By Art Levine

Meredith Lawrence's late husband died by suicide after his opioid pain prescription was severely restricted.

Jay Lawrence, an energetic truck driver in his late 30s, was driving a semitrailer across a bridge when the brakes failed. To avoid plowing into the car in front of him, he swerved sideways and slammed the truck into a wall, fracturing his back. For more than 25 years, he struggled with the resulting pain. But for most of that time, he managed to avoid opioid painkillers.

In 2006, his legs suddenly collapsed beneath him, due to a complex web of neurological factors related to his spinal cord injury. He underwent multiple surgeries and tried many medications to alleviate his pain.

The next year, he began to experience some semblance of relief when his doctor prescribed morphine, one of a class of opioid drugs. By 2012, he was taking 120 milligrams per day.

But this isn’t a story about opioid addiction. Lawrence managed a relatively productive, happy life on the medication for the better part of 10 years.

“This isn’t the life I thought I’d have,” he told his wife, Meredith Lawrence, in December 2016. “But I’m all right.”

Living on disability payments, he could still walk around their two-bedroom trailer home using his cane, take a shower on his own and, on his good days, even help his wife make breakfast.

Then, in early 2017, the pain clinic where he was a patient adopted a strict new policy, part of a wide-ranging national effort to respond to the increase in opioid overdose deaths. 

Citing 2016 guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, her husband’s doctor abruptly cut his daily dose by roughly 25 percent to 90 mg, Meredith Lawrence said. That was the maximum dose the CDC recommends, though does not mandate, for first-time opioid patients. 

The doctor also told Jay Lawrence that the plan was to lower his dose to 45 mg over the next two months, a cutback of more than 60 percent from what he had been taking.

At the end of that traumatic visit, his wife said, Jay Lawrence’s doctor dismissed their concerns and shared his own fear about losing his license if he continued to prescribe high doses of opioids. (When HuffPost followed up, the doctor declined to comment on the case, citing patient privacy.)

For a month, Lawrence suffered on the 90 mg dose. At times, his pain was so bad that he needed help to get out of the recliner, and when his wife looked over, she sometimes saw tears streaming down his face.

He dreaded his next appointment when his dose would be slashed to 60 mg. In the weeks before that scheduled visit on March 2, 2017, Lawrence came up with a plan.

On the day of his appointment, on the same bench in the Hendersonville, Tennessee, park where the Lawrences had recently renewed their wedding vows, the 58-year-old man gripped his wife’s hand and killed himself with a gun.

Meredith Lawrence sits in the living room of the home in Gainesville, Georgia, that she bought after her husband's death

Dustin Chambers for HuffPost Meredith Lawrence sits in the living room of the home in Gainesville, Georgia, that she bought after her husband’s death.

There are at least nine million chronic pain patients in the United States who take opioid painkillers on a long-term basis. As law enforcement and medical regulatory bodies try to curb the explosion in opioid deaths and the rise in illegal opioid use, they have focused on reducing the overall opioid supply, whether or not the drugs are provided by prescription. 

There’s mounting evidence this won’t work ― that curbing patient access to legal prescription opioids does not stem the rate of overdoses caused primarily by illegal drugs ― and that patients are being denied desperately needed relief. There are also troubling indicators that cutting back on opioids increases the risk of suicide among those with chronic pain.

Some chronic pain patients and advocates have even begun compiling lists of individuals they know who have died by suicide after they were no longer able to treat their pain with opioid medication.

“There is no doubt in my mind that forcibly stopping opioids can destabilize some of the most vulnerable people in America,” said Dr. Stefan Kertesz, a professor of medicine and an addiction researcher at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “And the outcomes for those folks include suicide, overdose and falling apart medically.”

I mean, people need to take some aspirin sometimes and tough it out a little. Attorney General Jeff Sessions

For a decade or so, government officials in the U.S. have sought to drive down the opioid supply through a range of tactics ― from increased seizures of diverted opioid medications to state crackdowns on “pill mills.” The Trump administration has embraced the hard-line approach.

In late January, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a “surge” in Drug Enforcement Administration activity targeting pharmacies and physicians that, in the agency’s view, oversupply opioids. In February, the Justice Department doubled down with the announcement of a new task force that would focus on manufacturers and distributors of opioids. In March, President Donald Trump unveiled a plan to lower opioid prescriptions by a third within three years. And in late June, the federal government arrested 600 people, including 165 medical professionals, for allegedly participating in $2 billion worth of fraud schemes involving opioids.

The Trump administration’s efforts are dramatic even within the context of the CDC’s opioid dose guidelines. The guidelines were originally intended to advise primary care physicians treating chronic pain patients and other pain sufferers. They were urged to exercise caution in prescribing opioids, to use alternatives whenever possible and to prescribe daily doses of no more than 90 morphine milligram equivalents (MME) for new opioid users.

For pain patients like Jay Lawrence who had already been on opioids for years, however, the guidelines simply recommended regularly assessing the harms and benefits of the dosage. They didn’t advise either mandatory cutoffs or any set limits. (The Tennessee Department of Health’s guidelines would also have allowed Lawrence to stay at 120 mg of morphine when prescribed by a pain specialist.)

But “the CDC guidelines have been weaponized,” said Kertesz. The ramped-up enforcement by the DEA and state regulators has led some doctors to choose caution and to overcorrect in their prescribing, lest they lose their ability to practice medicine at all. Kertesz decried these policies as “simplistic” in a definitive new article published last week in the journal Addiction.

In February, Sessions struck a particularly harsh tone by suggesting that the fate of chronic pain patients was not high on his list of concerns. “I am operating on the assumption that this country prescribes too many opioids,” the attorney general said. “I mean, people need to take some aspirin sometimes and tough it out a little.”

Attitudes like that are based on a series of mistaken assumptions about pain, according to Dr. Thomas Kline, a North Carolina-based family practitioner and former Harvard Medical School program administrator. Kline regularly updates a list of pain patients, published on Medium, who’ve killed themselves in the wake of draconian restrictions on pain medication.

“I ask people to imagine the very worst pain they’ve ever experienced in their lives,” Kline said. “And then that they’re denied relief by a doctor with the one medicine proven effective for pain control for 50 centuries.” (Historical records show that people in ancient Mesopotamia cultivated the poppy plant for medical use.)

The CDC guidelines have been weaponized. Dr. Stefan Kertesz

The government’s aggressive focus on doctors and patients is unlikely to address the very real menace of opioid-use disorders and sharply escalating overdose deaths. Fraud ― driven by pharmaceutical company policies ― and diversion ― the phenomenon of prescription medications being sold as street drugs ― initially spurred a wave of opioid abuse in the late 1990s, as some doctors turned their practices into pill mills. But new reports by the CDC and a drug data firm, the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, suggest that prescription drugs play a much smaller role in today’s crisis.

The reports show that total opioid prescriptions dropped 10 percent in 2017 ― the sharpest annual decline in such prescribing in 25 years. While opioid prescriptions peaked back in 2010, the studies found that growth rates in opioid-linked deaths, overwhelmingly due to illegal fentanyl and heroin, have skyrocketed in the last seven years.

Indeed, although two-thirds of the 64,000 overall drug overdose fatalities were linked to opioids in 2016 ― the most recent year for which there is data ― more than 80 percent of those opioid drug deaths came from illegal street drugs such as heroin and fentanyl. Prescription opioid drug deaths alone ― excluding methadone ― amounted to less than 15 percent of all drug overdose deaths, or about 9,500 fatalities.

Still, the CDC’s guidelines have triggered restrictive laws in at least 23 states that mandate ceilings on opioid dosage. (Oregon, in fact, is moving to taper dosages down to zero for all Medicaid chronic patients over a year.) That makes relief less attainable for pain patients and threatens the practices of doctors who treat them. These laws have been augmented by the growth of state prescription monitoring programs that use the software NarxCare, which is designed to flag addiction but can also rope in pain patients based on their prescription history and use of multiple doctors.

And in June, the House of Representatives passed over 50 bills that would establish dramatic new restrictions on opioid prescribing, eliciting alarm among patients and some disability rights groups.

The side effects of the current enforcement efforts are disturbing enough, from patients denied relief to drug shortages to suicides.

No health agency has kept track of all pain-related suicides that may be linked to doctors cutting back on prescriptions. But some preliminary findings from Department of Veterans Affairs researchers indicate that VA pain patients deprived of opioids were two to four times more likely to die by suicide in the first three months after they were cut off, compared to those who remained on their pain medications.

“To protect people, you have to take care of the patient, not the pill count,” said Kertesz, who worked on the VA’s April 2017 study but spoke to HuffPost only as an independent researcher. “The findings suggest that the discontinuation of opioids doesn’t necessarily assure a safer patient.”

Even terminally ill cancer patients are increasingly getting less relief, and there are growing shortages of injectable opioids at local hospitals and hospices, spurred in part by DEA-ordered reductions in opioid manufacturing quotas.

Leah Ilten, a 53-year-old physical therapist who lives in Kennewick, Washington, told HuffPost that as her 86-year-old father lay dying of pancreatic cancer in a hospice, the medical staff ignored her pleas to provide appropriate opioid pain relief, even cutting his dosage in half on the last day of his life. A few days earlier, when he was in the hospital, one nurse explained to her that opioids could lead to an overdose or could potentially cause the man, who lay moaning in pain, to “get addicted.”

“I was horrified,” Ilten said.

In mid-April, the DEA responded to the injectable opioid shortage by lifting production quotas. An agency spokesman told HuffPost that it was “a manufacturers’ problem, not the quotas,” while asserting that progress is being made.

There have been production issues, including Pfizer’s foul-ups with a plant in Kansas. But the DEA’s delay in taking action ― shortfalls were flagged in February in a letter from the American Society of Anesthesiologists and other health groups ― definitely contributed to the shortage, according to Dr. James Grant, president of the ASA. He told HuffPost that quotas were among the factors creating the crisis.

I’m not willing to go back to the state I was in before I started treatment. Anne Fuqua

Faced with the hardline national crackdown on opioid prescriptions, people with chronic pain are trying to raise awareness of the suffering caused by the loss of medications. Some are gathering the names of those patients who ended up taking their own lives, both as a memorial to those who died and as a protest against the health establishment that has seemingly abandoned them. Others are seeking comfort from each other on social media.

Lelena Peacock, who declined to name her southeastern city of residence for fear of retaliation from doctors, is struggling with how to treat the pain associated with fibromyalgia. The 45-year-old found that her social media posts drew other pain patients who turned to her for help.

By her own count, Peacock has thus far convinced more than 70 chronic pain patients to call 911 or suicide prevention hotlines instead of killing themselves.

For Anne Fuqua, a 37-year-old former nurse from Birmingham, Alabama, the motivation for compiling a list of chronic pain-related suicides is to track the damage done by what she sees as policies that have left people like her behind. 

“There’s so many people who have died,” she said. “We have to remember them.”

Fuqua has an incurable neurological illness known as primary generalized dystonia that causes Parkinson’s-like involuntary movements and painful muscle spasms. She started taking about 60 mg of Oxycontin a day in 2000. Her doctor began to limit her access to high doses of opioids in 2014, the same year she started chronicling those friends who had killed themselves or otherwise died after being denied pain medications. Her informal list is now up to roughly 150 people, augmented by lists that other pain patient advocates have compiled.

On July 9, Fuqua joined other chronic pain patients at a meeting at the Food and Drug Administration campus in Maryland to express their fears and outrage at the cutbacks. Sitting in the front row in her wheelchair, she told FDA officials about that list and declared, “I’m not willing to go back to the state I was in before I started treatment.”

Anne Fuqua needs exceptionally high doses to manage her pain because of opioid malabsorption.

Courtesy of Anne Fuqua Anne Fuqua needs exceptionally high doses to manage her pain because of opioid malabsorption.

Fuqua’s own difficulties are compounded by the fact that her body does not respond to even large doses of opioids the way others do ― she suffers from severe malabsorption that hampers her ability to benefit from everything from opioids to vitamin D. Since 2012, she has relied on a strikingly high daily regimen of 1,000 MME of opioids, including fentanyl patches, to manage her pain.

But her physician, Dr. Forrest Tennant, was driven to retire this year after a DEA raid and investigation. The Los Angeles-area physician mailed her a final series of prescriptions, which will run out at the end of July.

“It’s terrifying,” she said looking at her future. “If these were people who had asthma or diabetes and weren’t stigmatized because of opioids, this wouldn’t be allowed to happen.”

Another doctor has quietly stepped forward to continue treatment for Tennant’s remaining patients, Fuqua said, although there’s no assurance that this physician won’t also be investigated in the future.

If these were people who had asthma or diabetes and weren’t stigmatized because of opioids, this wouldn’t be allowed to happen. Anne Fuqua

The raid on Tennant’s home and office last November illustrates the hard-line regulatory and enforcement approach that critics say doesn’t distinguish between pill-mill doctors who deserve to be shut down and legitimate pain doctors who use high-dosage opioids. The wide-ranging search warrant served to Tennant essentially accused him of drug trafficking even though he’d earned a national reputation for deft treatment of ― and research about ― pain patients.

“He’s highly respected and prominent in pain management,” said Jeffrey Fudin, a clinical pharmacy specialist who heads the pain pharmacy program at the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center in Albany, New York, and serves as an associate professor at the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. “Most of his patients had no other options, and they came from around the country to see him.”

Tennant was known for taking on difficult-to-treat patients, including those suffering from pain as a result of botched surgeries and other forms of malpractice. His research included innovations in the use of hormones to alleviate pain and lower opioid use up to 40 percent, as well as work on genetic testing for enzyme system defects that lead to opioid malabsorption.

“The DEA can trigger an investigation every time they misapply the CDC guidelines without paying attention to the population the physician treats or issues of medical necessity,” said Terri Lewis, a patient advocate and a Ph.D. clinical rehabilitation specialist with Southern Illinois University who trains clinicians on how to manage seriously ill patients with incurable pain.

Special Agent Timothy Massino, a spokesperson for the DEA’s Los Angeles division, declined to comment on the agency’s approach to Tennant. “It’s an ongoing investigation,” he noted.

Tennant’s isn’t alone. Physicians must now balance their prescribing obligations to their patients with legitimate fear for their livelihoods.

DEA enforcement actions against doctors have risen some 500 percent in recent years ― from 88 in 2011 to 449 last year, according to an analysis of the comprehensive National Practitioners Data Bank by Tony Yang, a professor of health policy at George Washington University. Even though that’s a relatively small number of arrests compared to the roughly one million physicians in the country, such arrests can have an outsized impact.

“They make big news, and they serve as a deterrent for physicians whose specialties require them to use a lot of pain medications,” Yang said. “It makes them think twice before prescribing opioids.”

Meredith Lawrence shows the tattoo she got after her husband'€™s death. The bluejay represents her husband, Jay; a cup of cof

Dustin Chambers for HuffPost Meredith Lawrence shows the tattoo she got after her husband’€™s death. The bluejay represents her husband, Jay; a cup of coffee is the way she loves to start her day; and the quote is “Sail away with me, what will be will be.”

Dr. Mark Ibsen of Helena, Montana, found himself in a five-year battle against the state licensing board that’s still not over ― even though a judge last month reversed the board’s decision to suspend his license because of due process violations. The court has remanded the case back to the licensing board for potential further investigation of his opioid prescriptions, but Ibsen has decided he won’t resume his medical practice.

That’s bad news for Montana, which has the highest rate of suicide in the country, according to the CDC. What’s more, chronic pain-related illnesses account for 35 percent of all the state’s suicides, as a recent state health department study found.

In the course of his fight with the medical board, the 63-year-old doctor said three of his former chronic pain patients have killed themselves after he and other doctors stopped prescribing opioids. The first of those patients died shortly after attending a hearing to show his support for Ibsen.

The deaths of pain patients haunt those who treated them and loved them. Meredith Lawrence, who sat with her husband to the very end, said, “It was as horrifying as anything you can imagine.”

“But I had the choice to help him or find him dead someday when I came home,” she added.

Lawrence was arrested and sentenced to a year’s probation for assisting a suicide. Now her goal is to fight restrictions on opioid prescriptions.

“If we don’t stand up, more people will die like my husband.”

If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HOME to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.

Art Levine is the author of Mental Health, Inc: How Corruption, Lax Oversight, and Failed Reforms Endanger Our Most Vulnerable Citizens.

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That study isn’t without flaws. Veterans die by suicide at higher rates than average ― currently accounting for 20 suicide deaths a day ― so they are not a nationally representative sample. And the VA study, which was released at a national opioid summit in early April, has not yet been submitted for peer review.

But another study, published last year in the peer-reviewed journal General Hospital Psychiatry, looked at nearly 600 veterans who in 2012 were cut off from dosages after long-term opioid use and found similar results. Twelve percent of the vets showed suicidal ideation or took violent action to harm themselves ― a rate nearly 300 percent higher than the overall veterans community.

Sessions Says States Are Free To Legalize Marijuana, But DOJ Can Enforce Federal Law

July 26, 2018 By Tom Angell

States are free to legalize marijuana, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Thursday, but his department plans to continue enforcing federal prohibition anyway.

“Personally my view is that the American republic will not be better if there are marijuana sales on every street corner,” Sessions said in response to a reporter’s question. “But states have a right to set their own laws and will do so.”

Sessions, speaking at a press conference in Boston about unrelated fraud prosecutions, said that when it comes to marijuana, “we’ll enforce the federal law.”

“The federal law remains the law of the United States.”

See video of Sessions’s new marijuana comments below, courtesy of MassLive:  (LINK)

A growing number of states are moving to legalize marijuana for recreational or medical use.

But while federal cannabis prohibition remains on the books for now, momentum for reform is gaining traction in Congress.

Last month, President Trump voiced support for bipartisan legislation that would let states enact their own marijuana policies without federal interference.

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What Is Legal and What Is Not??? “I was arrested for multiple felonies…in KNOX County Tennessee for possessing Industrial Hemp”

Pure Spectrum Video

Please view video above.

Following the passing of the 2014 Farm bill, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture launched the Industrial Hemp Research Program that would allow farmers and processors to begin the development of an industry. LINK

There has been some disconcerting news showing up on social      media in the past few days.  It seems the DEA may be trying to push buttons…

They picked the right words for it, “Hemp Research” Bill, because that is exactly what they have been doing since the research       started…using our Farmer’s to start an industry that they damn well knew they would not let them keep for very long.  The idea is to let the Farmer’s do the work for the start-up so that they think that they are accomplishing a great feat, (which they are), and then yank it right out from under them via the DEA and hand it over to the Pharmaceutical Conglomerates where they can make big money by controlling our access to the Cannabis plant.

The fact is that it was not “Marijuana” that they were worried about infiltrating the Nation, it was controlling the Hemp and now the CBD.  Marijuana is just the control button so to speak.

It all comes back around to the NWO and Agenda 21 to control the masses.  (If you control the food – and medicine, you control the people).  But first they want to make sure that everyone wants and/or needs what they are going to take control of.  Once the market starts to bloom, it’s time to take it back.

I first noticed a problem about two months ago when Stripe discontinued merchant services for the U.S. Marijuana Party, stating it was a prohibited business.  I sell nothing but T-Shirts, lol.  I went to my bank and asked them about it and sure enough, they weren’t accepting any “marijuana related” business either.  So, I have no way to sell T-Shirts Laughing out loud online at this time. Unless I want an offshore bank          account!

On July 18th, Brady Bell broke the news that USPS was, as of the 17th “…ceasing all shipping of hemp/CBD products. The inspector said they are going to start confiscating any products that violate their stance…”

PureSpectrum-BradyBell

PureSpectrum-BradyBell2

And so it begins…

Jaime Rothensteinenheimer is feeling heartbroken

I was arrested for multiple felonies at 1pm Wednesday July 18, 2018 in KNOX County Tennessee for possessing Industrial Hemp. My charges are Possession of Sched 6 drugs with Intent to Deliver (marijuana). The COA and 3rd Party Lab Reports were with the hemp products. I was forced to sleep on the porch of a Fireplace Store in Sevierville, TN until the impound opened to retrieve my vehicle. I am being arraigned tomorrow morning at 10am in Knox County Courthouse for Multiple felony charges.

On Wednesday July 18, 2018 at 11am the DEA raided my suppliers warehouses in SC and FL, took controlled samples for testing and went about their business. No charges yet .  On Friday July 20,2018 the Atlantic Beach Police Dept had me sign a form to allow the Search of my business, Terp Market and Lounge, due to the City Commission claiming that “nefarious” characters were coming and going. I complied and the detectives were very polite. It still grinds my gears that we are doing positive things in the community and are getting treated like criminals over a PLANT.     LINK  

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From Brady Bell, of Pure Spectrum CBD, Colorado…

As an industry we have to take a stand. I now know why this is happening. GW Pharmaceuticals are the reason behind this with their lobbying efforts. It’s time the industry takes a stand and we file a class action lawsuit on GW Pharmaceuticals. I have the plan in motion. I will be reaching out to owners and anyone else that wants to join the battle. Feel free to email me, Brady@purespectrumcbd.com. We have the legal team and direction. The rest will require unity. LINK

EVERYONE in the CANNABIS business, whether legal or not, whether it is Hemp or Marijuana/Cannabis that you sell, or USE for medicine or recreationally,  should pay very close attention to what is happening right now.  The quality of Our lives  very much depends upon what happens with Cannabis.

Hemp almost legal as Big Pharma moves in on CBD

Please read the above linked article.

On my end, I am concerned about the control of Cannabis/Hemp and  the regulations which will follow legalization and what it means to the prison industrial complex.  I am concerned about the right to grow a Cannabis plant in my yard and use it personally for medicine and pleasure.  I am concerned about all the children and other people who were so wrongly denied the Cannabis plant since 1937 and before, who so badly needed it as a medication, which was ALREADY IN THE PHARMACOPEIA IN 1900’S, but that the Government pulled out from under them in the name of commerce. 

DEA guidance is clear: Cannabidiol is illegal and always has been

Cannabis, Hemp, Marijuana are all born from the same species.  Don’t let them divide us!

NEVER say legalize!  ALWAYS push for REPEAL of the CANNABIS Plant as a “whole”… 

When it is freed to the People of this Country, and it is no longer a crime to possess or grow on our own property, or use in our own homes, and the Hemp Farmers are free to grow and sell their Hemp plants AND products, then it can be produced by the          Pharma’s as a medication and THEIR products can be labeled as “CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES”!

Until then, Pharma should not be allowed to profit, or produce, any Cannabis medications!

smk

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) is conducting an Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program as authorized by KRS 260.850-260.869, and 7 U.S.C.§ 5940 (also known as Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill).  Industrial hemp plants, leaf, floral materials, and viable seed materials remain a Schedule I Controlled Substance under state and federal law; no person can grow, handle, broker, or process industrial hemp in Kentucky without a license issued by the KDA. For more information on applications, please visit the Applications for the Hemp Program page.  Industrial Hemp is a Controlled Substance and requires a KDA License to Grow, Handle, Process, or Market LINK


Legislative Research: KY SB50 | 2017 | Regular Session

Hemp in Kentucky

Arizona court: Hashish not included in medical marijuana law

Image result for hashish

An Arizona court has ruled that medical marijuana patients can still face arrest when in possession of hashish because it isn’t mentioned or included by name in a voter-approved pot initiative passed in 2010.

The Arizona Court of Appeals handed down the decision Tuesday in the case of Rodney Jones, a cardholder in the state’s medical marijuana program who was arrested in March 2013 at a Prescott hotel and indicted on a count each of cannabis possession and drug paraphernalia possession.

Police said at the time they had found Jones had 0.05 ounces of hashish in a jar, according to the appeals court ruling. After spending a year in jail, Jones waived his right to a jury trial in the case. He was later convicted and sentenced to more than two years in prison with credit for time served.

In his appeal, Jones had sought to have his conviction and sentence overturned by the court. But two of the judges on the three-member appeals court panel rejected his request, saying that the state’s medical marijuana act approved in 2010 “is silent” on hashish.

“If the drafters wanted to immunize the possession of hashish they should have said so,” the ruling said. “We cannot conclude that Arizona voters intended to do so.”

Hashish is a resin extracted from cannabis plants, and it is often used in oils and other medical marijuana products that are a part of the nation’s burgeoning, multibillion pot market.

The ruling had found that hashish is recognized under state law as a narcotic distinct from marijuana by the Legislature because of its potency levels.

Jones’ attorney did not immediately return a call requesting comment Wednesday.

Sarah Mayhew, who represented the Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice in supporting Jones in the lawsuit, said the parties would appeal the case to the Arizona Supreme Court.

“There are several things in this ruling that are just flat-out wrong,” said Mayhew, also an attorney in the Pima County Public Defender’s office.

She said the court had sought to apply marijuana and cannabis definitions in the state’s criminal code to the language drafted by medical marijuana advocates in the 2010 ballot initiative.

Voters had approved the medical marijuana act in order to provide broad protections to people seeking to access pot for medicinal reasons, she said.

By taking this step, the court narrowed the intent of the voters, Mayhew argued.

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Canadians Who Smoke Legal Weed Could Be Banned From U.S. For Life

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By Jason Lemon On 6/26/18

Marijuana will be legal for recreational use in Canada on October 17, but despite legalization, Canadians who admit using cannabis could be banned permanently from entering the U.S.

“It’s basically black and white—if you admit to a U.S. border officer at a U.S. port of entry that you’ve smoked marijuana in the past, whether it’s in Canada or the U.S., you will be barred entry for life to the United States,”

immigration lawyer Len Saunders told CTV News on Tuesday.

Saunders said he believes U.S. border agents will begin asking the question more frequently once Canada’s new marijuana legislation is implemented later this year. However, Canadians also have the right not to answer the question, he said. Although the questioned individual may be denied entry to the U.S. after refusing to answer, it will only be for that day and not a permanent ban, Saunders explained.

Prior to Ottawa’s decision to legalize recreational cannabis last week, conservative Canadian lawmakers met with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. According to reports, Sessions warned the elected officials that Canadians could face problems at the U.S. border if legalization moved forward.

Despite the fact that nine states and the nation’s capital, Washington D.C., have legalized recreational marijuana—and 29 states have legalized it for medical purposes—cannabis remains completely illegal under U.S. federal law. While the administration of former President Barack Obama implemented guidelines against prosecuting marijuana businesses that were legal on the state level, Sessions has taken a tougher stance.

The Canadian government has warned citizens on its website that legal cannabis use could still cause problems when traveling abroad. “Cannabis is illegal in most countries,” the website said. “Previous use of cannabis, or any other substance prohibited by local law, could result in a traveler being denied entry to their destination country.”

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Banned Canadians could still apply for temporary waivers to visit the U.S., according to Saunders. But their visa-free travel access would forever be revoked under current immigration laws.

Commenting on Canada’s decision to legalize marijuana, Hannah Hetzer, senior international policy manager at Drug Policy Alliance, told Newsweek it would be bizarre for the U.S. federal government to take a strong stand against the move.

“It would be very hypocritical for the U.S. federal government to come out staunchly against Canada’s legalization and be incredibly vocal about it,” Hetzer said, “because it puts the U.S. government in an uncomfortable position, where it’s still illegal on the federal level [but legal for recreation and medical use in many states].”

Beyond the legal disconnect in the U.S., the majority of Americans have tried marijuana at some point in their lives, according to polls. A 2017 poll by Marist and Yahoo News found that 52 percent of Americans over the age of 18 have used cannabis in the past. Additionally, 44 percent admitted that they continue to use the drug. Comparatively, statistics in Canada show that only 49.4 percent of men and 35.8 percent of women admit to having tried pot.

Just over 60 percent of Americans support legalized recreational marijuana, according to a January poll by Pew Research. Likewise, there is growing bipartisan political support for decriminalization and legalization.

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Russia Says Canada Weed Legalization Is a ‘Breach’ of International Legal Obligations

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By Jason Lemon On 6/25/18

Russia has come out strongly against Canada’s decision to legalize recreational marijuana, calling the move a “breach” of its “international legal obligations.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that a number of international conventions, to which Canada is a signatory, require privy nations to restrict the use of cannabis and other drugs to only medical and scientific purposes.

“We expect Canada’s partners in the G-7 to respond to its ‘high-handedness’ because this alliance has repeatedly declared its adherence to the domination of international law in relations between states,” the ministry said in an official statement.

Last week, Canada became the second nation in the world and the first member of the wealthy G-7 to pass legislation to legalize recreational marijuana. The U.S. neighbor plans to implement the new regulations on October 17. Uruguay was the first nation to legalize recreational marijuana, with legislation passed in 2013.

Canada has previously endorsed the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Convention of Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 U.N. Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. The U.S. is also a prominent signatory of the conventions. Despite the legalization of recreational marijuana in nine states and the nation’s capital, the U.S. claims to be abiding by the conventions as cannabis remains completely illegal at the federal level.

Although President Barack Obama’s administration instructed federal law enforcement not to interfere in lawful marijuana businesses in states where it has been legalized, President Donald Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has urged federal agents to do the opposite. Opposition to legal marijuana at the federal level has also caused tensions with national banks and lawful cannabis businesses in the U.S.

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Top U.S. banks have refused to do business with Uruguayan banks that manage money from legal cannabis sales. U.S. banks have cited federal regulations against drug trafficking and money laundering. Sessions also reportedly warned Canadian lawmakers prior to Ottawa’s vote, saying that legalization could cause problems for Canadian citizens when entering the U.S.

Although it remains unclear whether banks will take a similar stance when it comes to Canada, Hannah Hetzer, senior international policy manager at Drug Policy Alliance, believes the U.S. neighbor’s prominence could shelter it from a similar fallout.

“It really remains to be seen if U.S. banks will do the same for Canadian banks,” Hetzer told Newsweek. “We might just see that U.S. banks decide to say nothing in this case,” she said but added that “it could create an obstacle” if banks decide to take a stance against Ottawa’s new policy.

Hetzer also argued that citing federal anti-trafficking and money laundering laws to block business surrounding legal marijuana is counterintuitive. She explained that legalization and regulation work precisely to combat and undermine the criminal market.

The U.S. Justice Department declined to comment when asked by Newsweek about how it would respond to Canada’s decision. The U.S. Treasury Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

When it comes to Russia’s condemnation, Hetzer said she believes this will add up to little more than critical statements. “Canada is aware that there will be international opposition from some countries,” as well as that its move could “violate international drug control treaties,” Hetzer said. “But like Uruguay, Canada has said they are [legalizing marijuana] for the health and safety of their citizens,” she pointed out, explaining that the preamble to the international drug control treaty says that the health and welfare of mankind must be taken into consideration.

With just over 60 percent of Americans supporting legalized recreational marijuana, according to a January poll by Pew Research, and growing bipartisan support for decriminalization and legalization, some have suggested that the U.S. could potentially move to legalize at the federal level as well.

“Having a huge legal market in a mature, democratic neighbor is going to be a very significant signal to some of the holdouts that we have currently,” Democratic Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, who leads the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, told Mother Jones prior to Ottawa’s decision. “It’s another step—not toward just legalization but also normalizing it.”

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GENUINE U.S. MARIJUANA PARTY T-SHIRTS From Cave City Kentucky!

GENUINE U.S. MARIJUANA PARTY T-SHIRTS !

On April 20th, 2018 I received the following email from “Stripe”.

“Thanks for using Stripe.While we hate to give you anything less than a great experience, it does seem that your business is in violation of the Stripe Services Agreement, section A.7.b (“Prohibited Businesses and Activities”). Specifically, we are unable to accept payments for marijuana dispensaries and related businesses as mentioned here: https://stripe.com/prohibited-businesses.  These regulations are firm, so we sadly have no flexibility with them.”

As a result of the word “Marijuana”, which frequently appears on this website, as well as Cannabis, Hemp and a few other subjects that are not deemed appropriate for banking services, I have not been able to secure any local (U.S. based) “Merchant services”.

This means that I have no way to process online payments because my “Bank” (which shall remain unnamed) cannot accept a flow of money from a “Marijuana based website” either!

I was advised by someone I spoke to at a “merchant service company” that I would probably have to use an “offshore” bank account, which I will not do.

Therefore, for the foreseeable future, until the U.S. Government does something to open up the banking system to people like myself, I will only be able to process a sale via Cash, Check or Money Order.

This is very unfair to small businesses which are dependent upon the banking system!  However, those who are large Corporate entities seem to be managing to keep their businesses flowing…How, I am not sure?  I suppose they all have “offshore accounts”??

If you would like to purchase a “U.S. Marijuana Party” T-SHIRT, they are still for SALE!

The sad news is that the only way that I can complete the purchase for you is if you can send $25.00 (TWENTY-FIVE DOLLARS AND NO/CENTS) IN CHECK OR MONEY ORDER MADE OUT TO:

SHEREE KRIDER LLC

and mail to:  70 Mammoth Cave Loop, Cave City, Kentucky  42127.

If you have questions please email to shereekrider@usmjparty.com, or text me at 270-834-7332.

I would appreciate any sales I can get as I collect NO income for the websites and other work I do online and it helps to pay for the websites and other costs.

Please do allow four weeks for delivery just in case I have to have some printed up!

Thank You!

Today I introduced my bill to allow cannabis use in public housing…

Today I introduced my bill to allow cannabis use in public housing in DC and states where it’s legal for medical and/or recreational use. I signed the bill with Sondra Battle, a DC resident who lives in Section 8 housing and is prescribed cannabis to treat her fibromyalgia. pic.twitter.com/iyvUzpPMvA

— Eleanor Holmes Norton (@EleanorNorton) June 19, 2018

Congressional Bill Would Allow Marijuana Use in Public Housing

Published June 19, 2018  By  Kyle Jaeger

The signing ceremony took place with two members of the pro-legalization group DCMJ as well as Sondra Battle, a D.C. resident who uses cannabis to treat her fibromyalgia, according to a press release.

“I thank Sondra Battle and our DCMJ advocates for joining me to mark the introduction of what I am calling the ‘Sondra Battle Cannabis Fair Use Act,’” Norton said. “Residents like Sondra should not fear eviction from federally-assisted housing simply for using cannabis to treat their medical conditions.”

“Our bill recognized today’s realities and proven needs. Individuals who live in states where medical and/or recreational marijuana is legal, but live in federally-assisted housing, should have the same access to treatment as their neighbors.”

CONTINUE READING…

See the full text of Norton’s new bill below:

Marijuana Public Housing Bill by MarijuanaMoment on Scribd

Canada just became the 2nd country in the world to legalize marijuana

Canada marijuana

Jeremy Berke  25 m

  • Canada just became the second country in the world to legalize marijuana nationwide. Legal sales are set to begin October 17.
  • The bill passed Canada’s Senate 52-29 on Tuesday evening.
  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised during his 2015 campaign to legalize marijuana.
  • Marijuana stocks surged on the news on Wednesday morning.

Canada is the second country in the world to legalize marijuana, paving the way for recreational sales throughout the country.

Canada’s Upper House of Parliament on Tuesday evening approved the revised bill 52-29, making Canada the first G7 country to legalize marijuana. Uruguay did so in 2013.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday that legalization would officially take effect on October 17, citing provincial requests for more time to develop retail infrastructure.

“It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana — and for criminals to reap the profits,” Trudeau said in a tweet on Tuesday evening. “Today, we change that. Our plan to legalize & regulate marijuana just passed the Senate.”

What the bill does

Bill C-45, known as the Cannabis Act, legalizes marijuana but leaves it up to each province to decide how to sell it. Some provinces, like Ontario, are planning on provincially run outlets, while others, like Alberta, will open up marijuana retail to the private sector.

The federal government set a minimum age of 18 to purchase marijuana, though some provinces have indicated they will raise the age to 19, mirroring liquor-purchase laws. The bill makes the distribution and sale of marijuana to minors an offense.

marijuanaIt’s Canada’s moment. REUTERS/Andres Stapff

Recreational sales are expected to begin in eight to 12 weeks, according to Reuters.

The bill was part of a promise that Trudeau’s Liberal Party made during the 2015 campaign to keep marijuana out of young people’s hands and move the illicit market into a regulated framework.

“I’m feeling just great,” Sen. Tony Dean, who sponsored the bill in Canada’s Senate, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. “We’ve just witnessed a historic vote for Canada. The end of 90 years of prohibition. Transformative social policy, I think. A brave move on the part of the government.”

Activists applauded the move

Cannabis activists cheered the move on Wednesday morning.

“Canada should be applauded for taking bold and decisive steps towards ending the failed prohibition of marijuana,” Hannah Hetzer, the senior international policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement. “Canada’s progress will galvanize support for drug policy reforms in the US and all around the world.”

Erik Altieri, the executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, echoed Hetzer’s sentiment.

“We applaud Canada for showing federal legislators in the United States what can be accomplished with true leadership and dedication to sound public policy,” Altieri said in a statement.

Marijuana stocks are surging

Marijuana stocks surged on the news on Wednesday morning.

The Canadian Marijuana Index, an aggregate measurement of all publicly listed marijuana stocks in Canada, was up 3.3% as of 10:45 a.m. The overall North American index, which includes US stocks, was up 2.3%.

Golden Leaf Holdings, a cannabis company listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange, was the biggest gainer, with the stock surging 6.8%.

Legalized marijuana is expected to be a boon for Canada’s economy. The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, one of the country’s largest banks, predicts that Canada’s legal marijuana market will be a $6.5 billion industry by 2020.

Several Canadian marijuana firms, including Aurora Cannabis and Canopy Growth Corporation, are seeing a wave of investor excitement around marijuana legalization. Marijuana companies have been capitalizing on that liquidity to go on acquisition sprees.

Read more cannabis industry coverage:

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