Blog

The latest in marijuana news, culture and politics
  • News Posted Sep 2016

    SOLDIERS BANNED FROM MARIJUANA EVENTS

    US Army soldiers based in Alaska received new regulations this week when they were prohibited from any events, fairs, or conventions dealing with cannabis. Signed by Maj. Gen. Bryan Owens, the policy states that attendance at cannabis events is inconsistent with military service and 'has the potential to adversely impact the health, welfare, and good order and discipline for soldiers...' Did the military also recently adjust policy so soldiers don't drink excessive amounts of alcohol or support the substance, or how about the adverse health and habitual effects of tobacco use? As usual, the government's views of marijuana are unfair compared to that of legal alcohol and tobacco and the result is impacting it's citizens and soldiers. U.S. Army Alaska today issued a commanding general policy letter prohibiting Alaska-based soldier attendance at marijuana, cannabis or hemp fairs, festivals, conventions and similar events. These types of events typically involve, but are not limited to, promoting the use of marijuana and disseminating information on the growing and processing of marijuana.

  • News Posted Sep 2016

    N.J. Marijuana Legalization Bill Would Treat Weed Like Tobacco

    What if marijuana was treated the same as tobacco and alcohol - available in convenience stores and gas stations as a common part of our society. A new law proposed in New Jersey would allow just that. Assembly bill A4193 would legalize marijuana for recreational use, allow retailers to sell the product, and 'provide for records expungement'. The regulation of marijuana manufacturing, distribution, and possession would fall under the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act. The bill would treat cannabis similar to tobacco, allow the sales to adults 18 and older. The Assemblymen sponsoring the bill also introduced a bill this year that would lower the drinking age limit down to 18, saying if an 18 year old can sign up for the military, they should be able to drink a beer. The proposed law – A4193 - would legalize marijuana and “provide for records expungement” for certain past marijuana offenses. In addition, the bill would make it possible for New Jersey retailers to sell cannabis products similar to tobacco products, including at local convenience stores. “This bill would legalize marijuana by removing all criminal liability associated with marijuana from the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice, Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes, as well as its regulation as a controlled dangerous substance under the New Jersey Controlled Dangerous Substances Act,” the bill reads

  • News Posted Sep 2016

    Marijuana is not a gateway drug, admits Obama’s Attorney General

    The anti-marijuana narrative has held onto the same innacurate beliefs for far too long, including the fallacy that marijuana is a gateway drug. But after many states have legalized the drug in some form and the data is clearly pointing the other way, the U.S. Attorney General admits that prescription drugs, and not marijuana, are the true gateway drugs to opioid abuse. The Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, spoke to a group of high school students this week about opioid and heroin abuse when one student asked if recreational marijuana could lead to the abuse of stronger drugs. Rather than stick to the 'say no to drugs' mantra, Lynch explained that heroin and opiate addictions typically start in a medicine cabinet and not through 'trafficking rings'. She continues to say that while those who expiriment in life may use marijuana, it is not a specific gateway to other drugs as previously believed. “In so many cases, it isn’t trafficking rings that introduce a person to opioids. It’s the household medicine cabinet. That’s the source,” Lynch told students before fielding questions from the audience. “When we talk about heroin addiction, we usually, as we have mentioned, are talking about individuals that started out with a prescription drug problem, and then because they need more and more, they turn to heroin,” Lynch said. “It isn’t so much that marijuana is the step right before using prescription drugs or opioids – it is true that if you tend to experiment with a lot of things in life, you may be inclined to experiment with drugs, as well,” Lynch added. “But it’s not like we’re seeing that marijuana as a specific gateway.

  • News Posted Sep 2016

    Holland-Style Marijuana Lounges Coming to America

    Similar to the problem of speakeasies during alcohol prohibition, marijuana users are forced into underground unregulated businesses if they want to smoke anywhere outside of their home. Many cities and states have considered allowing cannabis lounges but none have followed through as of yet. Legislators feel the market isn't quite ready, but unfortunately for them the free market persists regardless of legislation. Someone is willing to take the risks, meaning regulations are nowhere to be found. Is the cannabis tested for mold or pesticides, is the labeling accurate, is the bud even legal? When dealing with the underground market, you may never know, which is why legislators must get things moving and allow smokers a public place to socialize that meets professional standards. Either we offer a legal option for marijuana-friendly lounges, or “smoke-easies” will continue to proliferate in most major cities. Marijuana smoking is a social activity better enjoyed with friends, so the only real question is whether these marijuana-friendly clubs will continue to be clandestine, or whether they will be licensed and regulated and above ground  

  • Medical Marijuana Posted Sep 2016

    Marijuana In Germany: After Weed Sales Nearly Double, Will Legal Medical Cannabis Laws Change Soon?

    Germany legalized medical marijuana in 2005 for those suffering from chronic pain and illnesses to be treated on a self-therapy basis, and since the amount of patients has substantially grown. Some believe there aren't enough qualifying conditions  and that the methods to access marijuana are too scarce, leading Germany's Health Minister to propose a law allowing medical marijuana for all medicinal purposes, despite severity. The Federal Drug Commissioner announced a plan last year to have insurance companies cover the cost of medical marijuana for chronic patients, though no regulations have been set at this time. The first 6-months of 2016 are showing nearly double the sales of medical marijuana as the first 6-months of 2015, showing that Germans are happily turning to legal forms of the drug. Federal Drugs Commissioner Marlene Mortler announced a plan to allow chronically ill people get get medical marijuana expenses covered by insurance providers in 2015. She said the reform would go into effect in 2016. However, her initiative along with Gröhe’s widespread legal marijuana law – which he hopes to get inducted by early 2017 – has yet to take effect. Despite the cost, more Germans are trying to get their hands on doctor-supervised marijuana. The industry sold 61.8 kilograms of marijuana in the first half of 2016 compared with 33.8 in the first half of 2015. Officials didn’t have an explanation for the latest spike in cannabis sales, but suggested the rise may be due to the increase in licenses issued to patients in the first half of the year.

  • News Posted Sep 2016

    What’s in Your Weed?

    If you've smoked marijuana for some time now, you're probably aware of the two primary compounds, THC and CBD. But how familiar are you with the other active compounds and terpenes that effect the taste, smell, and overall feel of the drug? Research on marijuana and it's compound has remained limited due to the DEA's strict schedule 1 classification, but headway is being made in other countries to help us understand what we're putting in our bodies. The attached chart features several common terpenes found in popular cannabis strains, what kinds of effects they have on the user, and what studies support the notion. There are more than 80 active chemicals in a marijuana plant, but some are more important than others. The big two are the cannabidiols, colloquially known as THC and CBD, which are where the bulk of the medical (and, um, recreational) effects come from. Terpenes are what give marijuana flavor—it’s what makes Orange Crush taste and smell different than your Vanilla Kush—and are present in many other plants.     

  • Medical Marijuana Posted Sep 2016

    Mom and I opened a medical marijuana dispensary — here's what we see

    The marijuana industry has attracted all types of people eager to help patients and cash in on the budding flower that is cannabis. But you might not expect a mother/son duo who don't consume the drug to have opened the first licensed dispensary in Illinois. Thats right, Harbory, Illinois' first legal dispensary has taught the family what the average medical marijuana patient looks like and how they can be treated. Half-expecting the clientele to be young men looking to get stoned, the team was pleasantly surprised to see that their average customers would end up being elderly and women. The family first turned their interest to medical marijuana after their grandmother battled cancer without being allowed to try cannabis for relief. Since, the two have learned the ins and outs of the industry as well as how to best help their patients. My mother, Michele Koo, a plastic surgeon who wears high heels and a white lab coat when seeing patients, may not be the person you'd imagine running a dispensary. Nor am I, a Stanford University graduate who left a job at Anheuser-Busch making Super Bowl commercials with the Budweiser Clydesdales. I have never used marijuana; my mom smoked a few times in college. We became interested in medical cannabis after my mom's mom — "Na," we called her, Chinese for grandmother — died of cancer in California without the benefit of cannabis as an end-of-life palliative. First, I had thought our customers would be younger, male, urban and looking for a quick high. Early "Cheech & Chong," right? Wrong. Among the roughly 700 people who have walked through our doors, the typical patient — at Harbory we call them "members" — skews older and female, a demographic we are proud to match in our incredible staff. Many members are on a fixed income and must choose between buying groceries and buying medicine at our dispensary. These individuals are truly sick and seeking relief.

  • Medical Marijuana Posted Sep 2016

    Bills to regulate medical marijuana headed to Snyder

    Michigan legalized medical marijuana back in 2008, but in a way that left businesses to fend for themselves without regulation. As of this week, 5 bills detailing medical marijuana regulations are currently on their way to the Governor's desk where he is expected to sign them. Finally after 8 years of legislative process, Michigan's medical marijuana program has a chance at proper licensing, taxation, testing and regulation. While the program will be taking a professional step forward, not everyone is happy about the coming changes. Some are convinced that all the new requirements for the industry will drive up prices, though the policy director for the National Patients Rights Association says larger scale marijuana grows will likely drive the price down. Robin Schneider, legislative policy director for the National Patients Rights Association, based in Grosse Pointe, said: "We believe this is the best common-sense regulatory framework that will assure that patients get access to all forms of medical marijuana," and that what they get is safe and in carefully measured doses. The bills had been stuck in a Senate committee for 11 months, with sponsors unable to get the majority needed to move to the full Senate. But last Thursday, the bills were discharged from the committee and passed by the full Senate with the bare amount of votes necessary.

  • News Posted Sep 2016

    Marin hospital could be first in state to allow medical marijuana

    Hospitals may be the next businesses to allow for marijuana use in California as Marin General Hospital considers an open use policy for the drug. Marijuana seems to be the only drug that isnt' permitted for open use by patients, however Dr. Larry Bedard mentioned he knows it's being used behind closed doors as kind of a 'wink-and-nod' practice. Dr. Bedard hopes to bring marijuana into the hospital's light by introducing a resolution to the Marin Healthcare District that would have hospital staff research the implications of medical marijuana use by patients. After the DEA failed to reschedule marijuana last month, Dr. Bedard chose to focus the resolution the staff's approval of the drug. Patients wouldn’t be allowed to smoke it, since smoking is prohibited. But Bedard, a retired emergency physician at Marin General who now serves on the Marin Healthcare District board, says he knows of no other legally prescribed drug that cannot openly be used by patients in a hospital. The doctor is taking steps toward bringing it out into the open by introducing a resolution at Tuesday’s board meeting for Marin Healthcare District, which governs Marin General. The resolution, if approved, would direct the hospital’s administrative and medical staff to review and research the clinical and legal implications of using medical marijuana in the hospital and report back to the board

  • News Posted Sep 2016

    Canadian official slams marijuana policy on U.S. border as ‘ludicrous’

    Prohibition is not only taking it's toll on Americans, but also Canadians who are trying to cross the border and are maybe a little too open about their past. Matthew Harvey is just one of several who have been stopped at the border coming into the U.S. and then banned after admitting to a customs agent that he has smoked marijuana recreationally at one point before he got his medical marijuana card. It's important to note however that Harvey did NOT have any marijuana on him, and his admission of marijuana use was purely a historical event. According to U.S. law, any foreign national who admits to violating his country's controlled substance laws at ANY point can be barred from entering the U.S. Meanwhile, there are states in the U.S. selling both recreational and medical marijuana. Canadiana legislators hope to legalize marijuana in 2017, but will users be able to safely travel to the U.S. without worry of being banned? "This does seem to be quite a ludicrous situation, because, as you say, not only is the state of Washington, but three or four other jurisdictions in the United States have legalized marijuana," Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told CBC News. "There are certain ironies about the current American position that we will certainly be very vociferous in putting before them," said Public Safety Minister Goodale, "and trying to ensure that Canadians are treated properly and fairly with a lot of common sense, instead of the rather ridiculous situation that's emerged in the last number of days."

  • Medical Marijuana Posted Sep 2016

    Marijuana Breathalyzers To Test California Drivers For Pot Use

    After several states have legalized marijuana, law enforcement has been searching for the most effective and least intrusive method to test for impairment in drivers. Californians were the first to test a new device from Hound Labs which can detect if the user is high from marijuana smoke or even an edible. While testing the device, users who smoked 30 minutes to 3 hours prior both tested positive for THC, the active compound in cannabis. It's being called the marijuana breathalyze, developed with the help of the University of California's chemistry department , and the device can also check for alcohol. Until this new technology is ready, law enforcement is forced to rely on innacurate methods of detecting cannabis which can flag a user as 'impaired' days or weeks after the user has smoked. Hound Labs hope to finish field testing and get the device around the nation as soon as possible.  As a part of a initial field test, several drivers were pulled over due to poor driving and were asked to voluntarily blow into the marijuana breathalyzer developed by Hound Labs. The marijuana breathalyzer – which had some help in development by the University of California’s chemistry department – is able to detect THC on people’s breath after they’ve consumed edible pot products as well as alcohol. Until it’s perfected, police will have to continue relying on testing saliva, urine, and blood to measure marijuana in the system, which can show the presence of drugs days after the user is actually under the influence.

  • News Posted Sep 2016

    Daily Marijuana Use Linked to Lower BMI

    Marijuana use is often believed to be associated with the munchies, giving the impression that users are more likely to snack and be overweight. Howeverm, a study coming from the University of Miami is showing that daily marijuana users had about a 3% lower Body Mass Index (BMI) than those who do not smoke at all. In the study, 13,000 adults aged 18-26 were tested for BMI and marijuana use, and then tested again 6 years later. The women smokers' BMI tested 3.1% lower than non-smoking women, and the men smokers' BMI tested 2.7% lower than their non-smoking counterparts. Researchers don't have an exact explanation for the lower BMI associated with frequent marijuana use, but reserach suggests that cannabis smokers may break down blood sugar faster, allowing their body to keep extra weight off.  Researchers found that people in the study who used marijuana daily had about a 3 percent lower BMI (body mass index), on average, than those who did not use marijuana at all. The researchers said they don't know for sure what mechanism may explain this link. However, previous research has suggested that people who use marijuana regularly may break down blood sugar more quickly, which, in turn, may help to prevent weight gain, the researchers said.