Tag Archives: Wyoming

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.”

CONTINUE READING…

Advertisements

Security troops on US nuclear missile base took LSD

Image result for LSD

*************************Above:  Link to SLIDESHARE VIDEO  ********************** ***************************************************************************************


By Robert Burns, Associated Press |

WASHINGTON (AP)One airman said he felt paranoia. Another marveled at the vibrant colors. A third admitted, “I absolutely just loved altering my mind.”

Meet service members entrusted with guarding nuclear missiles that are among the most powerful in America’s arsenal. Air Force records obtained by The Associated Press show they bought, distributed and used the hallucinogen LSD and other mind-altering illegal drugs as part of a ring that operated undetected for months on a highly secure military base in Wyoming. After investigators closed in, one airman deserted to Mexico.

“Although this sounds like something from a movie, it isn’t,” said Capt. Charles Grimsley, the lead prosecutor of one of several courts martial.

A slipup on social media by one airman enabled investigators to crack the drug ring at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in March 2016, details of which are reported here for the first time. Fourteen airmen were disciplined. Six of them were convicted in courts martial of LSD use or distribution or both.

None of the airmen was accused of using drugs on duty. Yet it’s another blow to the reputation of the Air Force’s nuclear missile corps, which is capable of unleashing hell in the form of Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs. The corps has struggled at times with misbehavior, mismanagement and low morale.

Although seen by some as a backwater of the U.S. military, the missile force has returned to the spotlight as President Donald Trump has called for strengthening U.S. nuclear firepower and exchanged threats last year with North Korea. The administration’s nuclear strategy calls for hundreds of billions of dollars in new spending in coming decades.

The service members accused of involvement in the LSD ring were from the 90th Missile Wing, which operates one-third of the 400 Minuteman 3 missiles that stand “on alert” 24/7 in underground silos scattered across the northern Great Plains.

Documents obtained by the AP over the past two years through the Freedom of Information Act tell a sordid tale of off-duty use of LSD, cocaine and other drugs in 2015 and 2016 by airmen who were supposed to be held to strict behavioral standards because of their role in securing the weapons.

“It’s another black eye for the Air Force — for the ICBM force in particular,” says Stephen Schwartz, an independent consultant and nuclear expert.

In response to AP inquiries, an Air Force spokesman, Lt. Col. Uriah L. Orland, said the drug activity took place during off-duty hours. “There are multiple checks to ensure airmen who report for duty are not under the influence of alcohol or drugs and are able to execute the mission safely, securely and effectively,” he said.

Airman 1st Class Tommy N. Ashworth was among those who used LSD supplied by colleagues with connections to civilian drug dealers.

“I felt paranoia, panic” for hours after taking a hit of acid, Ashworth said under oath at his court martial. He confessed to using LSD three times while off duty. The first time, in the summer of 2015, shook him up. “I didn’t know if I was going to die that night or not,” he said as a witness at another airman’s drug trial. Recalling another episode with LSD, he said it felt “almost as if I was going to have like a heart attack or a heat stroke.”

Airman Basic Kyle S. Morrison acknowledged at his court martial that under the influence of LSD he could not have responded if recalled to duty in a nuclear security emergency.

In prosecuting the cases at F.E. Warren, the Air Force asserted that LSD users can experience “profound effects” from even small amounts. It said common psychological effects include “paranoia, fear and panic, unwanted and overwhelming feelings, unwanted life-changing spiritual experiences, and flashbacks.”

It’s unclear how long before being on duty any of the airmen had taken LSD, which stands for lysergic acid diethylamide. The drug became popularized as “acid” in the 1960s, and views since then have been widely split on its mental health risks. Although illegal in the U.S., it had been showing up so infrequently in drug tests across the military that in December 2006 the Pentagon eliminated LSD screening from standard drug-testing procedures. An internal Pentagon memo at the time said that over the previous three years only four positive specimens had been identified in 2.1 million specimens screened for LSD.

Yet Air Force investigators found those implicated in the F.E. Warren drug ring used LSD on base and off, at least twice at outdoor gatherings. Some also snorted cocaine and used ecstasy. Civilians joined them in the LSD use, including some who had recently left Air Force service, according to two officials with knowledge of the investigation. The Air Force declined to discuss this.

Airman 1st Class Nickolos A. Harris, said to be the leader of the drug ring, testified that he had no trouble getting LSD and other drugs from civilian sources. He pleaded guilty to using and distributing LSD and using ecstasy, cocaine and marijuana.

He acknowledged using LSD eight times and distributing LSD multiple times to fellow airmen at parties in Denver and other locations from spring 2015 to early 2016.

“I absolutely just loved altering my mind,” he told the military judge, blaming his decisions to use hallucinogens and other drugs on his addictive personality.

Other airmen testified that it was easy to obtain LSD in a liquid form spread on small tabs of perforated white paper. Airmen ingested at least one tab by placing it on their tongue. In one episode summarized by a military judge at Harris’ court martial, he and other airmen watched YouTube videos and “then went longboarding on the streets of Denver while high on LSD.”

Harris was sentenced to 12 months in jail and other penalties, but under a pretrial agreement he avoided a punitive discharge. The lead prosecutor in that case, Air Force Capt. C. Rhodes Berry, had argued Harris should be locked up for 42 months, including nine months for the “aggravating circumstance” of undercutting public trust by using hallucinogens and other drugs on a nuclear weapons base.

“I cannot think of anything more aggravating than being the ringleader of a drug ring on F.E. Warren Air Force Base,” Berry said at the courts martial.

In all, the AP obtained transcripts of seven courts martial proceedings, plus related documents. They provide vivid descriptions of LSD trips.

“I’m dying!” one airman is quoted as exclaiming, followed by “When is this going to end?” during a “bad trip” on LSD in February 2016 at Curt Gowdy State Park, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) west of Cheyenne, where F.E. Warren is located. A portion of that episode was video-recorded by one member of the group; a transcript of the audio was included in court records.

Others said they enjoyed the drug.

“Minutes felt like hours, colors seemed more vibrant and clear,” Morrison testified. “In general, I felt more alive.” He said he had used LSD in high school, which could have disqualified him from Air Force service; he said that his recruiter told him he should lie about it and that lying about prior drug use was “normal” in the Air Force.

At his court martial, Morrison acknowledged distributing LSD on the missile base in February 2016. A month later, when summoned for questioning by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Morrison confessed and became an informant for the agency, an arrangement the Air Force said yielded legally admissible evidence against 10 other airmen. Under a pretrial agreement, he agreed to testify against other airmen and avoided a punitive discharge. He was sentenced to five months’ confinement, 15 days of hard labor and loss of $5,200 in pay.

Most of the airmen involved were members of two related security units at F.E. Warren — the 790th Missile Security Forces Squadron and the 90th Security Forces Squadron. Together, they are responsible for the security and defense of the nuclear weapons there as well as the missile complex.

By coincidence, the No. 2 Pentagon official at the time, Robert Work, visited F.E. Warren one month before the drug investigation became public. Accompanied by an AP reporter, he watched as airmen of the 790th Missile Security Forces Squadron — whose members at the time included Harris, the accused leader of the drug ring — demonstrated how they would force their way into and regain control of a captured missile silo.

Work, the deputy defense secretary, was there to assess progress in fixing problems in the ICBM force identified by then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who ordered an investigation after the AP reported on personnel, resource, training and leadership problems in 2013-14. Those problems included the firing of the general in charge of the entire ICBM force for inappropriate behavior the Air Force said was linked to alcohol abuse. A month later the AP revealed that an unpublished study prepared for the Air Force found “burnout” among nuclear missile launch officers and evidence of broader behavioral problems, including sexual assaults and domestic violence. Air Force officials say the force has since rebounded.

In an interview, Work said he was not aware during his visit that anything was amiss. Nor was he briefed later on the investigation. He said he wouldn’t have expected to be briefed unless the Air Force found that LSD or other illegal drugs were a “systemic problem” for the nuclear force, beyond the security forces group at F.E. Warren.

Work said he had never heard of LSD use anywhere in the nuclear workforce.

For the inexperienced members of the drug ring, Harris, the ringleader, had set out several “rules” for LSD use at a gathering of several airmen in a Cheyenne apartment in late 2015 that was recorded on video. Rule No. 1: “No social media at all.” He added: “No bad trips. Everybody’s happy right now. Let’s keep it that way.”

But social media proved their undoing. In March 2016, one member posted a Snapchat video of himself smoking marijuana, setting Air Force investigators on their trail.

As the investigators closed in, one of the accused, Airman 1st Class Devin R. Hagarty, grabbed a backpack and cash, text-messaged his mother that he loved her, turned off his cellphone and fled to Mexico. “I started panicking,” he told a military judge after giving himself up and being charged with desertion.

The Air Force said Hagarty was the first convicted deserter from an ICBM base since January 2013. In court, he admitted using LSD four times in 2015-16 and distributing it once, and he said he had deserted with the intention of never returning. He also admitted to using cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana multiple times. He was sentenced to 13 months in a military jail.

In all, disciplinary action was taken against 14 airmen. In addition, two accused airmen were acquitted at courts martial, and three other suspects were not charged.

CONTINUE READING…

Mummy Proves America Is 2,400 Years Behind On Medical Marijuana

mummyemebed

Photo: Via Wikimedia Commons.

A 2,400-year-old “Siberian Ice Maiden” apparently knew something that not all US lawmakers do: Cannabis is a perfect palliative for cancer.
Discovered in 1993 by archaeologist Natalia Polosmak, the mummified remains of this woman, also known as the “Princess of Ukok,” were recently examined by a team of Russian scientists. They found that the woman, who was heavily tattooed and died when she was between 20 and 30 years old, suffered from and ultimately succumbed to breast cancer.
“‘I am quite sure of the diagnosis — she had cancer,” one of the scientists told the Siberian Times. “She was extremely emaciated. Given her rather high rank in society and the information scientists obtained studying mummies of elite Pazyryks, I do not have any other explanation of her state. Only cancer could have such an impact.”
The researchers also believe that the woman used cannabis to treat herself. A container of the herb was found in her burial chamber, along with a “cosmetics bag.”
“Probably for this sick woman, sniffing cannabis was a forced necessity,” another scientist said, noting that wine, hashish, opium, henbane, mandrake, aconite, and Indian hemp were all used at the time as painkillers. “And she was often in altered state of mind. We can suggest that through her could speak the ancestral spirits and gods. Her ecstatic visions in all likelihood allowed her to be considered as some chosen being, necessary and crucial for the benefit of society. She can be seen as the darling of spirits and cherished until her last breath.”
Hey, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania: Stick that in your pipe and smoke it. (Siberian Times)