Tag Archives: DEA

Don’t expect nationwide marijuana legalization under the Trump administration

Washington DC marijuana handout

With the inauguration of Donald Trump on January 20, the United States got a new president. And with that new president comes a long list of new appointees across various federal agencies and departments. While President Trump’s cabinet selection process has played out publicly, a variety of folks from former president Barack Obama’s administration have quietly stayed on.

One of the most prominent people that’s staying on is the head of the Drug Enforcement Agency, Chuck Rosenberg, who was appointed by former attorney general Loretta Lynch in May 2015.

And that’s particularly notable, as the DEA is responsible for enforcing drug policy in the United States. Most importantly for most Americans, Rosenberg is in charge of enforcing marijuana illegality in the US — an area where, traditionally, the federal government and individual US states have butted heads.

For instance, California legalized medical marijuana use in 1996; despite legality in California, the drug remained illegal on a federal level, and the US government — through the DEA — policed it as such. California medical dispensaries were raided by the federal government repeatedly, regardless of its legality in the eyes of the State of California.

That relationship dramatically changed in 2013 due to a document known as “The Cole Memo” (written by deputy attorney general James Cole). The document re-focused federal resources away from prosecuting individuals who were operating legally within their own states, and instead focused on containment and prevention.

In so many words, it directed federal agencies to stop clashing with state-level marijuana policy.

And DEA head Chuck Rosenberg has upheld that memo.

“He didn’t have too much of a problem following the administration’s directives on that issue,” Marijuana Policy Project senior communications manager Morgan Fox told Business Insider. “And it says a lot for continuity — things will remain relatively the same at the DEA.” 

Of course, this is all up for change. If Trump’s attorney general appointee, Senator Jeff Sessions, is appointed, he could direct the DEA to take a more hardline stance. And if President Trump himself decides to take a more hardline stance, that would also impact how the DEA operates when it comes to federal marijuana policy. To be clear, neither Sessions nor Trump have indicated as much.

As Fox told Business Insider, “The DEA head acts as the direction of the attorney general who acts at the direction of the president.” That said, both President Trump and Senator Sessions have indicated intentions to keep the status quo: allowing states to legislate and police their own drug laws.

In 2016, alongside Trump winning the presidency, several states enacted laws either outright legalizing recreational marijuana use, cultivation, and distribution/sales or legalized medical use. For the foreseeable future, it looks like the US government will continue to defer to individual states in terms of marijuana policy.

CONTINUE READING…

New DEA Rule Says CBD Oil is Really, Truly, No-Joke Illegal

Bruce Barcott

December 14, 2016

The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) this morning made CBD oil a little more federally illegal in a little-noticed bureaucratic maneuver this morning.

Today’s Federal Register (Dec. 14, 2016) contains an item (21 CFR Part 1308) that establishes a new drug code for “marihuana extract.”

“This code,” wrote DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg, “will allow DEA and DEA-registered entities to track quantities of this material separately from quantities of marihuana.” The move, the Register entry explained, is meant to bring the US into compliance with international drug-control treaties.

There is no major change in law brought about by the Register item. Rather, it serves to clarify and reinforce the DEA’s position on all cannabis extracts, including CBD oil. That position is: They are all federally illegal Schedule I substances.

CBD oil derived from hemp is now commonly available nationwide via web sites and mail order services. Those operations survive on the assumption that cannabidiol products below the legal threshold for THC percentage in hemp (0.3 percent or less) are technically legal.

Not so, says the DEA.

In the DEA comment on the entry, Rosenberg directly addressed the question: What if it’s only cannabidiol (CBD) and no other cannabinoids? The agency’s response: “For practical purposes, all extracts that contain CBD will also contain at least small amounts of other cannabinoids. However, if it were possible to produce from the cannabis plant an extract that contained only CBD and no other cannabinoids, such an extract would fall within the new drug code” and therefore remain federally illegal. In other words: The DEA is confident that it can find enough traces of other cannabinoids in your CBD oil to arrest and prosecute. And if they can’t, they still have the option of arresting and prosecuting based on the CBD oil itself.

RELATED STORY

Is CBD from Cannabis the Same as CBD from Cannabis?

Is your CBD derived from hemp? Doesn’t matter to the DEA. The new extracts classification applies to all “extracts that have been derived from any plant of the genus Cannabis and which contain cannabinols and cannabidiols.” Hemp is not a separate genus. (Although it may be a separate species; lot of debate on that point.) Legally speaking, hemp is simply cannabis with no more than 0.3 percent THC content.

The new rule seems to clarify the DEA’s position on hemp-derived CBD, which entered a legal gray area following Congress’ passage of the 2014 farm bill. That legislation allowed certain states to grow hemp in pilot projects, and blocked federal law enforcement authorities (ie, the DEA) from interfering with state agencies, hemp growers, and agricultural research.

What DEA Administrator Rosenberg seems to be saying with this clarification is: You may be able to grow hemp. But if you try to extract CBD oil from it, the DEA considers that a federal crime.

The rule did not contain any hint as to when the DEA will step into the 21st century and stop using the archaic version of the word “marihuana.”

Lead Image: Brennan Linsley/AP

CONTINUE READING…

The Stakes Are High As DEA Reconsiders Waging War On The Herb Kratom

11/30/2016 04:03 am ET

Those who use and study the plant say an outright ban could do serious harm.

Seven weeks after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officially withdrew its plan to ban kratom, the federal government is once again set to decide the fate of the herb and the people who rely on it for pain relief and other treatment.

The DEA had initially planned to use its emergency scheduling power to push through the ban without input from the public, despite concerns from lawmakers and scientists ― as well as kratom users ― that the move would do more harm than good. In October, however, the DEA opened a public comment period allowing individuals to weigh in on the agency’s decision to place mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, two active compounds in kratom, in Schedule I. Substances in this category include heroin and LSD and are considered to have no known medical benefit and a high potential for abuse.

With the comment period set to close on Thursday, the DEA will now have to take into account the nearly 9,000 submissions from people who wanted to voice their opinions about this proposed expansion of the war on drugs.

But kratom isn’t in the clear yet. The DEA is currently awaiting the results of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration analysis on the potential harms and health benefits of the herb, which will determine if kratom truly poses an “imminent hazard to the public safety,” as the agency initially claimed in August.

The DEA doesn’t know when it will get the results of the FDA’s review, Russell Baer, a spokesperson for the agency, told The Huffington Post.

“We’ve asked the FDA to expedite their analysis, but they’ve not given us any indication as to when that may be done, other than as soon as practical,” said Baer. “They’re involved in an exhaustive scientific review and evaluation, so these things do take time.”

Although Baer said he expects the DEA to wait for the FDA’s analysis before deciding on an appropriate schedule for kratom ― or whether it should be scheduled at all ― he noted that the agency could still proceed with emergency scheduling even in the absence of more concrete scientific evidence.

The DEA’s next steps will have huge implications for people like Joshua Levy. In the video above, Levy explains that he turned to kratom after struggling with dependence on the opioid painkillers he’d been prescribed following a hit-and-run accident. Like many kratom users, he says the herb gave him back the life that had been taken from him by addiction and other side-effects of narcotic painkillers.

“Since I started taking kratom, since I had gotten off of the pain pills, my life has basically opened up dramatically,” Levy told HuffPost. “I got a new job. I’m building a friendship up with my sister that I haven’t had in a long time. I’m not lazy anymore. I don’t want to isolate myself. I want to go out, I want to be out of the house.”

The kratom community is full of success stories like Levy’s. But together, they form only anecdotal evidence of the herb’s benefits, which is not enough to support a more official confirmation of its medicinal value.

Experts like Andrew Kruegel, an associate research scientist at Columbia University, hope the DEA will allow kratom to remain legal so they can keep working to unlock the herb’s potential.

Kruegel’s studies have shown that kratom can be used to alleviate mild pain, and that the plant’s negative side effects are relatively minor.

“As a scientist, I try to be as objective as possible and not overstate the promise of kratom,” said Kruegel. “We just don’t know that much about the plant yet.”

But Kruegel also has bigger hopes for kratom, which he believes can be used to aid in the development of safer alternatives to the prescription opioids that claimed more than 18,000 lives in the U.S. in 2014 due to overdose.

“Of course, if it’s in Schedule I, historically that greatly limits the ability to do research on it,” he said.

CONTINUE READING…

Petitioning to keep Kratom OUT of the Controlled Substance Act and Schedule I – We only have until December 1st!

kratom-plant

Recently I published an article with information pertaining to the rescheduling of Kratom by the U.S. Government via the DEA into Schedule I Status.

Fortunately the change was at least held off long enough for people to be able to make their comments on the subject.

The link to REGULATIONS.GOV where the DEA/Federal Government is accepting comments is only going to be active until December 1st so don’t forget to make your comment soon!

Additionally there is another petition to keep Kratom off the Controlled Substance list.  The link to that petition is here:

Do not place Kratom on the Controlled Substance List

Please sign this petition as well!

We are anti-prohibitionist’s!

sk

The DEA is accepting comments on the rescheduling of Kratom into Schedule I until December 1st…The time to comment is NOW!

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

 

Image result for kratom

 

Speak now or forever hold your peace!  You have been notified! 

The DEA reluctantly put on hold it’s intentions of placing Kratom into a Schedule I controlled substance category in August of 2016 after having such a backlash of individuals complaining about the proposed plans.  However, they are still contemplating that move and we only have until December 1st to make our comments through a website designed for us which states that this is …

“Your voice in Federal decision making” on the website of REGULATIONS.GOV.

An unknown number of people in the U.S. use Kratom daily to ease pain and withdrawal symptoms among other things.  It is a “plant” and it belongs to the “People”!  It is a part of our unalienable rights!

This is just the latest move by the DEA through the U.N. and “Agenda 21” to claim all of our rights to any substance that can possibly make the pharmaceutical companies more profitable in the future by denying access to this plant by the individual now.  In fact, a Patent application, dated 2009 exists already. 

United States Patent Application
20100209542

LINK

PLANT MATERIAL OR PLANT EXTRACT OF UNDETERMINED CONSTITUTION AS ACTIVE INGREDIENT (E.G., HERBAL REMEDY, HERBAL EXTRACT, POWDER, OIL, ETC.):  LINK

U.S. Classification
424/725, 514/285

STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENTAL SUPPORT [0001] This invention was made with government support awarded by: i) the National Institutes of Health (grant number NIH 022677); ii) the National Institute For Drug Abuse (grant numbers DA022677 and DA014929); and iii) the National Center for Research Resources (grant number P20RR021929). The government has certain rights in the invention.  LINK

Scientific American published an article “Should Kratom Use Be Legal?” in 2013, which features an interview with Edward Boyer, a professor of emergency medicine and director of medical toxicology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, which is a very good article concerning Kratom.  It is a good source of information for those who are not familiar with Kratom.  Ironically enough, it is the University of Massachusetts Medical School which is the “Assignee” on the above patent.  In addition, the following Patents are noted in 2016:

Citing Patent
Filing date
Publication date
Applicant
Title

US9265458
Dec 4, 2012
Feb 23, 2016
Sync-Think, Inc.
Application of smooth pursuit cognitive testing paradigms to clinical drug development

US9380976
Mar 11, 2013
Jul 5, 2016
Sync-Think, Inc.
Optical neuroinformatics

 

Please take note of the “LEGAL EVENTS” that are at the bottom of the page at this LINK.

The “drug war” has taken enough of our plants and enough of our lives.  We cannot continue to let them regulate us out of every plant of food and medicine which were ever given to us as Our “inalienable rights” as Human Beings and laid out in Our Constitution.  I wrote an article concerning this in 2015, entitled, HOW THE UNITED NATIONS IS STEALING OUR “UNALIENABLE RIGHTS” TO GROW FOOD AND MEDICINE THROUGH THE U.N. CONVENTION ON NARCOTIC DRUGS AND AGENDA 21 (LINK), which explains much of how this is being accomplished by our Government(s).

Kentucky Senate Bill 136, in 2016, was defeated and did not take effect this year.  However, there are many other states in which it has been rescheduled to a I on a state level.  If we do not stop this from happening now, we will never be able to once it is Federally rescheduled.  So take a moment and make your opinion heard.  Use the Federal website to post your comment now!

#PlantsRights #EndProhibition #EndTheDrugWar

 

KRATOM

 

 

https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=DEA-2016-0015-0006

https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=DEA-2016-0015-0002

https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=DEA-2016-0015

https://kentuckymarijuanaparty.com/2016/02/23/oppose-sb-136-banning-the-kratom-herb/

https://kentuckymarijuanaparty.com/2015/10/26/rights-and-freedoms-may-in-no-case-be-exercised-contrary-to-purposes-and-principles-of-the-united-nations-how-the-united-nations-is-stealing-our-unalienable-rights-to-grow/

http://www.americankratom.org/legal_status#_=_

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/should-kratom-be-legal/

http://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PG01&p=1&u=/netahtml/PTO/srchnum.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=20100209542.PGNR.

https://www.google.com/patents/US20100209542#legal-events

http://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PG01&p=1&u=/netahtml/PTO/srchnum.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=20100209542.PGNR.

https://www.google.com/patents/US20100209542

http://www.alternet.org/drugs/big-pharma-patents-kratom-alkaloids-real-reason-dea-banning-plant

 

sk

The DEA is withdrawing a proposal to ban another plant after the Internet got really mad

By Christopher Ingraham October 12 at 10:42 AM

The Drug Enforcement Administration is reversing a widely criticized decision that would have banned the use of kratom, a plant that researchers say could help mitigate the effects of the opioid epidemic.

Citing the public outcry and a need to obtain more research, the DEA is withdrawing its notice of intent to ban the drug, according to a preliminary document that will be posted to the Federal Register Thursday.

The move is “shocking,” according to John Hudak, who studies drug policy at the Brookings Institution. “The DEA is not one to second-guess itself, no matter what the facts are.”

The DEA had announced in August that it planned to place kratom in schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act, the most restrictive regulatory category, as soon as Sept. 30. But since announcing their intent to ban kratom, the “DEA has received numerous comments from members of the public challenging the scheduling action,” acting administrator Chuck Rosenberg wrote in the notice, “and requesting that the agency consider those comments and accompanying information before taking further action.”

A spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

[What it’s like to be high on kratom, according to the people who use it]

Kratom is a plant from southeast Asia that’s related to coffee. It contains a number of chemical compounds that produce effects similar to opiates when ingested.

People who take it have have said kratom helped them overcome addiction to opiates or alcohol and treat otherwise intractable pain. Researchers say that their work with kratom could eventually lead to the development of nonaddictive alternatives to powerful opiate painkillers. Placing kratom in schedule 1 would cripple researchers ability to study the drug, they say.

U.S. lawmakers were among the groups expressing their displeasure with the DEA’s intent to ban kratom. A group of 51 U.S. representatives wrote to the DEA saying that the DEA’s move “threatens the transparency of the scheduling process and its responsiveness to the input of both citizens and the scientific community.”

Another group of nine senators said the DEA’s “use of this emergency authority for a natural substance is unprecedented,” and urged the administration to reconsider.

The DEA will now open up a period for public comment until Dec. 1 of this year. It is also asking the FDA to expedite a “scientific and medical evaluation and scheduling recommendation” for the active chemical compounds in kratom.

At the close of the comment period, a number of things could happen. The DEA could decide to permanently place the plant in a schedule of the Controlled Substances Act, which would require an additional period for lawmakers and the public to weigh in. It could also decide to temporarily schedule kratom, which would not require any additional comment.

It could also decide to leave kratom unregulated.

[Police arrest more people for marijuana use than for all violent crimes — combined]

Advocates for kratom use, who say the plant has helped them treat pain and stop taking more powerful and deadly opiate painkillers said they are elated.

“I am in tears,” Susan Ash of the American Kratom Association said in an email. “Our voices are being heard, but we still have a long road ahead of us.

Lawmakers who criticized the initial announcement to ban kratom are also pleased. “Concerned citizens across the country have made it clear, they want the DEA to listen to the science when it comes to the potentially life-saving properties of kratom,” said Mark Pocan (D.-Wis.) in an email.

Researchers are welcoming the move, but they point out that the future of their work with the plant is an uncertain one.

“It’s certainly a positive development,” said Andrew Kruegel of Columbia University in an email. Kruegel is one of the researchers working to develop next-generation painkillers based on compounds contained in kratom.

Kruegel says that the FDA’s evaluation of the drug will carry a lot of weight in the DEA’s decision. But the kind of rigorous, controlled trials that the FDA typically refers to in situations like this simply don’t exist for kratom.

“Unfortunately, in the United States I don’t think we have a good regulatory framework for handling this situation or taking perhaps more reasonable middle paths” between banning the drug outright or keeping it unregulated, Kruegel says.

Still, he says, “the FDA is a scientific agency rather than a law enforcement agency, so I am encouraged that they will now be having more serious input on this important policy decision.”

Marc Swogger, a clinical psychologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center who has published research on kratom use and earlier called the decision to ban the plant “insane,” said in an email that “I’m happy to see this. It is a step in the right direction and a credit to people who have spoken out against scheduling this plant.”

CONTINUE READING…

Lawmakers want to defund the DEA’s marijuana eradication program

Is the DEA’s marijuana eradication program worth the $14 million to fund annually? Here’s a look at some numbers

https://i0.wp.com/www.thecannabist.co/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/p12.jpg

Published: Oct 10, 2016, 6:33 am • Updated: about 5 hours ago Comments (1)

By Christopher Ingraham, The Washington Post

In 2015, the Drug Enforcement Administration gave $20,000 to the state of New Hampshire to eradicate marijuana plants, according to federal documents. But the Granite State’s law enforcement agencies didn’t have much luck finding any weed to pull that year – their efforts uncovered a single outdoor grow site with a grand total of 27 plants.

Do the math, and U.S. taxpayers paid $740.74 for each pot plant uprooted in New Hampshire that year.

That’s an expensive weeding operation, but it could be worse. Utah received $73,000 in marijuana eradication funds, according to the federal documents, obtained by journalist Drew Atkins as part of a FOIA request. But agents failed to find a single pot plant to eradicate.

The DEA’s $14 million marijuana eradication program has been the subject of a fair amount of criticism in recent years. Twelve members of Congress have pushed to eliminate the program and use the money instead to fund domestic-violence prevention and deficit-reduction programs.

Its purpose is to “halt the spread of cannabis cultivation in the United States,” a mission that has become complicated as more states have legalized medical or recreational marijuana programs. Several more states have similar measures on the ballot this year.

DEA records show the program has been effective in some states, most notably California. Agents pulled 2.6 million marijuana plants in 2015, seizing more than 1,600 weapons in the process. Nearly $5.4 million was funneled into that state’s program.

Kentucky’s $1.9-million program had the next largest number of eradicated plants, more than 570,000.

Nationwide, the DEA documents show that spending on the program has shrunk from about $18 million in 2014 to $14 million in the current fiscal year. Some states – including Alaska, Colorado and Vermont – stopped receiving eradication funds completely.

California, where medical marijuana is legal, receives the lion’s share of marijuana eradication funds, in part because the “Emerald Triangle” region of Northern California. The area has long been home to many of the state’s legal and quasi-legal marijuana production operations, but law enforcement authorities have maintained that it also has been a haven for the grow operations of Mexican drug cartels.

Kentucky also receives a large amount of money to eradicate marijuana. The state has a surprisingly rich culture of marijuana cultivation.

Related: Meet Patrick Moen, the first-ever DEA official to defect to the marijuana industry

Rounding out the top 5 marijuana eradication states are Tennessee, Georgia and, perhaps unexpectedly, Washington. The aptly nicknamed Evergreen State legalized the recreational use of marijuana in 2012, and pot shops opened for business in 2014. So it may seem odd that the DEA is spending $760,000 this year to eradicate pot plants in the state.

But Washington is the only recreational marijuana state that doesn’t allow people to grow their own plants for recreational use. (In District of Columbia, incidentally, the situation is reversed: Homegrows are okay, but you can’t buy weed at the store.)

Washington also receives more marijuana eradication money than any other state with a recreational pot regime in place. Oregon received $200,000 this year, while Colorado and Alaska didn’t take any federal money for marijuana eradication.

New Hampshire, Louisiana, Delaware, Utah and New Jersey all spent well over $100 for every marijuana plant eradicated. Eleven states spent at least $50 per plant, while nearly half of the states – 23 of them – spent at least $25 in federal money for each marijuana plant they eliminated.

At the other end of the spectrum, states with big investments in marijuana eradication – like California and Kentucky – also had the most successful efforts to pull up large numbers of pot plants. So their per-plant costs are much lower.

To be perfectly clear, even in a fully legal, highly regulated market like Colorado’s there will be a need to enforce prohibitions on large-scale, unlicensed marijuana grows – similar to the way the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms busts illegal home alcohol distilleries. Beyond that, authorities often make a number of arrests at cultivation sites, or seize weapons and other property from people suspected of involvement with marijuana grow operations.

Still, some lawmakers are starting to question the need dedicated this level or resources to eliminating pot plants when so many states are relaxing their own restrictions.

“It makes zero sense for the federal government to continue to spend taxpayer dollars on cannabis eradication at a time when states across the country are looking to legalize marijuana,” Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., told me earlier this year. “I will continue to fight against DEA’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program in Congress and work to redirect these funds to worthwhile programs.”

CONTINUE READING…

The DEA spent $73,000 to eradicate marijuana plants in Utah. It didn’t find any.

 

Image result for marijuana

By Christopher Ingraham October 7

In 2015, the Drug Enforcement Administration gave $20,000 to the state of New Hampshire to eradicate marijuana plants, according to federal documents. But the Granite State’s law enforcement agencies didn’t have much luck finding any weed to pull that year — their efforts uncovered a single outdoor grow site with a grand total of 27 plants.

Do the math, and U.S. taxpayers paid $740.74 for each pot plant uprooted in New Hampshire that year.

That’s an expensive weeding operation, but it could be worse. Utah received $73,000 in marijuana eradication funds, according to the federal documents, released by Seattle-based non-profit news organization Crosscut. But agents failed to find a single pot plant to eradicate.

The DEA’s $14 million marijuana eradication program has been the subject of a fair amount of criticism in recent years. Twelve members of Congress have pushed to eliminate the program completely and use the money instead to fund domestic violence prevention and deficit reduction programs.

[Drug cops raid an 81-year-old grandmother’s garden to take out a single marijuana plant]

Its purpose is to "halt the spread of cannabis cultivation in the United States," a mission that has become complicated as more states have legalized medical or recreational marijuana programs. Several more states have similar measures on the ballot this year.

DEA records show the program has been effective in some states, most notably California. Agents pulled 2.6 million marijuana plants in 2015, seizing more than 1,600 weapons in the process. Nearly $5.4 million was funneled into that state’s program.

Kentucky’s $1.9-million program had the next largest number of eradicated plants, more than 570,000.

Nationwide, the DEA documents show that spending on the program has shrunk from about $18 million in 2014 to $14 million in the current fiscal year. Some states — including Alaska, Colorado and Vermont — stopped receiving eradication funds completely.

Here’s where that money’s going on a state-by-state basis.

California, where medical marijuana is legal, receives the lion’s share of marijuana eradication funds, in part because the "Emerald Triangle" region of Northern California. The area has long been home to many of the state’s legal and quasi-legal marijuana production operations, but law enforcement authorities have maintained that it also has been a haven for the grow operations of Mexican drug cartels.

Kentucky also receives a large amount of money to eradicate marijuana. The state has a surprisingly rich culture of marijuana cultivation.

Rounding out the top 5 marijuana eradication states are Tennessee, Georgia, and perhaps unexpectedly, Washington. The aptly nicknamed Evergreen State legalized the recreational use of marijuana in 2012, and pot shops opened for business in 2014. So it may seem odd that the DEA is spending $760,000 this year to eradicate pot plants in the state.

But Washington is the only recreational marijuana state that doesn’t allow people to grow their own plants for recreational use. (In D.C., incidentally, the situation is reversed: homegrows are okay, but you can’t buy weed at the store.)

[How police took $53000 from a Christian band, an orphanage and a church]

Washington also receives more marijuana eradication money than any other state with a recreational pot regime in place. Oregon received $200,000 this year, while Colorado and Alaska didn’t take any federal money for marijuana eradication.

You can also look at the 2015 marijuana eradication totals to compare the states on how much they’re spending per plant. Here’s what that map looks like.

New Hampshire, Louisiana, Delaware and New Jersey all spent well over $100 for every marijuana plant eradicated. Eleven states spent at least $50 per plant, while nearly half of the states — 23 of them — spent at least $25 in federal money for each marijuana plant they eliminated.

At the other end of the spectrum, states with big investments in marijuana eradication — like California and Kentucky — also had the most successful efforts to pull up large numbers of pot plants. So their per-plant costs are much lower.

To be perfectly clear, even in a fully legal, highly regulated market like Colorado’s there will be a need to enforce prohibitions on large-scale, unlicensed marijuana grows — similar to the way the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms busts illegal home alcohol distilleries. Beyond that, authorities often make a number of arrests at cultivation sites, or seize weapons and other property from people suspected of involvement with marijuana grow operations.

Still, some lawmakers are starting to question the need dedicated this level or resources to eliminating pot plants when so many states are relaxing their own restrictions.

Wonkbook newsletter

Your daily policy cheat sheet from Wonkblog.

"It makes zero sense for the federal government to continue to spend taxpayer dollars on cannabis eradication at a time when states across the country are looking to legalize marijuana,"Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) told me earlier this year. "I will continue to fight against DEA’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program in Congress and work to redirect these funds to worthwhile programs."

More from Wonkblog:

Marijuana really can be deadly, but not in the way you probably expect

Heavily armed drug cops raid retiree’s garden, seize okra plants

DEA warns of stoned rabbits if Utah passes medical marijuana

CONTINUE READING…

Kratom Advocates Sip Tea and Seethe at White House Rally Against DEA Ban

One user plans to move to Canada. Another plans to quit. Many more don’t know what to do.

By Steven Nelson | Staff Writer Sept. 13, 2016, at 6:20 p.m.

Several protest attendees brought their own bottle of kratom tea Tuesday to the White House. Those who did not were offered a Solo cup.

Several protest attendees brought their own bottle of kratom tea Tuesday to the White House. Those who did not were offered a Solo cup. Steven Nelson for USN&WR

Hundreds of passionate protesters gathered Tuesday near the White House to demand that the popular plant product kratom remain legal. It was jointly a business industry conference, a tea party and a desperate consumer lobbying effort — but the clear-eyed crowd appears to have little chance of near-term victory.

A comprehensive U.S. ban likely will take effect on Sept. 30, just a month after the Drug Enforcement Administration surprised users by saying it would invoke emergency powers to make leaves from the tree grown in Southeast Asia illegal by labeling two main constituents Schedule I substances.

In the face of long odds and silence from Capitol Hill, the event called by the American Kratom Association sought to pressure officials to reconsider while laying the groundwork for what may become a protracted re-legalization campaign.

A large jug of brewed kratom sat in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue, with red Solo cups offered to anyone who wanted some. At least one reporter sipped the brew, which tasted like astringent green tea. Another journalist took a pill offered as a free sample by a businessman.

Kratom users who attended the rally said it’s wrong for them to lose legal access to what they say is an effective treatment for pain, addiction, depression and other conditions.

Though many said they were angry, chant-leaders asked the crowd of a couple hundred to stay on message and favored reason over rage, which often is a leading emotion at White House protests staged by marijuana reform advocates who say decades in Schedule I has stalled medical cannabis research amid millions of arrests.

“I’m usually very quiet but felt the need to come out and speak,” says Veronika Bamford-Conners, a kratom-selling store owner from Sullivan, Maine, where, she says, most of her customers are older than 55.

“If they don’t have insurance and can’t afford medications, they find a cheaper alternative in kratom,” she says, though some seem to prefer relief from the leaf to painkillers, such as a 73-year-old man who she says called her weeping “because pharmaceuticals were killing him” before.

Chants at the rally advertised the death toll from accidental overdoses of opioids – more than 28,000 in 2014 alone, including legal painkillers and illegal drugs like heroin – with the low or nonexistent U.S. toll from kratom.

The DEA says it believes 15 deaths were caused by kratom, though American Kratom Association founder Susan Ash says the group hired a toxicologist who concluded each case could be attributed to other drugs.

Many kratom users say the plant has helped them abstain from substances they formerly were addicted to, often heroin or prescription painkillers.

“Kratom saved me, I was a bad heroin addict,” says David Allen, who traveled from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. “It keeps cravings away and helped me not drink. I came because I don’t want to lose my medicine.”

Allen says that although the DEA – and even some former kratom users – say the drug can lead to dependence, it’s nothing like the grasp of opioids. He says he believe it’s about as abusable as coffee, which comes from a related plant, and that like coffee withdrawal, ending kratom can cause minor headaches.

Brad Miller, a physics teacher at Spotsylvania High School in Virginia, says he drinks small amounts of kratom tea between three and five times a day to treat arthritis in his knees. He says the effects are “very mild” and “just enough to take the edge off so I can get through my day standing.”

Miller says prescribed painkillers from his rheumatologist were too strong and that unlike opioids he hasn’t developed an addiction to kratom. He says he went on a weeklong camping trip and – unlike the experiences of some users – felt no withdrawal symptoms.

“I didn’t have withdrawal symptoms, but I did have arthritis pain,” he says. “I’d be surprised if anyone has experienced strong withdrawal symptoms.”

Though Miller and others at the event said they aren’t sure what they will do at the end of the month, Heather Hawkins says she’s made up her mind to move to Canada, where kratom remains legal.

Hawkins, a journalist with northern Florida’s Pensacola News-Journal and owner of the Kratom Literacy Project, says she has an incurable bladder disease and is eyeing Vancouver after already moved to the Sunshine State from Alabama in reaction to a local kratom ban.

Talk about moving abroad often is spouted unseriously by political partisans around election time, but Hawkins says she’s completely serious after living in a painkiller-induced haze that left her depressed and unable to get out of bed.

“I’m not going to stay here [if the ban takes effect] because I’m not going back to that life,” she says.

Hawkins says she’s in addiction recovery from cocaine, which she says she used as self-medication to give her the energy to power through her pain and despair, and that if she regarded kratom as a drug she would not take it.

Though kratom is widely known for claims that it can help keep opioid addicts clean, it’s also credited with sapping desire for other substances.

Jeremy Haley, owner of Colorado’s Rocky Mountain Kratom, says he began using kratom in 2012 after a drunk driving arrest, and that it has helped veer him away from his alcoholism, which runs in the family.

Although the ban hasn’t yet taken effect, Haley says local officials have shut down his shop for what he views as dubious reasons, making him unable to sell the remaining inventory – the latest in what he says has been a constant regulatory headache that featured him asking Yelp reviewers to delete positive reviews to placate federal officials who wanted proof he was not marketing kratom for human consumption.

Haley plans to open a totally legal apothecary shop if the ban takes effect.

CONTINUE READING…



RELATED CONTENT
Pot Breathalyzer Hits the Street

A futuristic drug-detecting fingerprint scanner may soon follow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More on this…

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

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

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

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

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

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

But the fact is, their existence contravenes federal law.

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

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

That might not stop people from trying, though.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CONTINUE READING…

Marijuana studies

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