Marijuana, Cannabis Sativa is currently classified as a Schedule 1 drug by the DEA, meaning a high potential for abuse and no medical value. But rather than fighting to prove it's medical value, advocates know it works and are more interested in exactly how many illnesses it can treat. A now financial advisor for a medical dispensary in Arizona had his mind turned upside down when he first tried medical marijuana with his young daughter, who was non-responsive for several years before trying the drug. Plagued by daily seizures, she was unable to develop or even make eye contact. Needless to say it was an emotional day when his daughter began smiling and crawling around. Since using cannabis her seizures shrunk to one every few months. This child success story with cannabis is not the only one, and the sooner research is conducted the sooner we will know how many children and adults can benefit from 1 simple plant. Medical marijuana use in minors has become more accepted in certain places, but when considering the alternatives of Adderall and Ritalin, which are meth based drugs to treat ADD, cannabis could be the best and safest alternative, but we won't know until we try. "Up until this point, I had been anti-marijuana. I was simply a desperate parent," describes Holyoak. "The single and sole difference between a child that's non-responsive, unable to feed herself and is in a wheelchair, and the bright, vibrant, loving and beautiful girl we have today is marijuana. That's the only difference," said Holyoak. "The standard treatment today for ADHD are drugs like Adderall and Ritalin, which are essentially methamphetamine. There needs to be more research on it," said Holyoak. "If this could be an alternative treatment to many of those other extremely harmful drugs, what a blessing that would be for all of us."
In 2014 the US Justice Department changed it's policy to allow Native American tribes to grow and sell marijuana on their land similar to how Colorado and other state's have legalized recreational marijuana. With newfound freedom, the Santee Sioux tribe planned the country's first cannabis resort, featuring a smoking lounge, night club, bar and food service, and even a music venue. Despite the perception of freedom, the threat of a federal raid remained, forcing the Sioux tribe to abandon the plan and destroy the crops. The Sioux only intended to cooperate with federal authority, but somehow two of it's legal figures are being charged with marijuana crimes. The federal government doesn't want any third party or non-Native American participation for neither the business or the consumer side of Native American cannabis. Eric Hagen, Monarch's chief executive, was charged by indictment with conspiracy to possess, possession and attempt to possess more than 10 pounds of marijuana. Jonathan Hunt, the vice president and cultivation expert, was charged with conspiracy to possess between a half-pound and a pound of marijuana.
Drug policy experts have made the point for years that the biggest consequence stemming from marijuana is being caught with it, making many wonder why it can turn otherwise innocent non-violent people, into convicted felons. This is clear in the case of Devotre Thomas, a 19 year old in Oregon who is facing up to a year in prison and fines for only a single gram of marijuana. Oregon legalized recreational marijuana for adults in 2014, but the federal government has not prosecuted a marijuana possession case in the state since 2011. So why step in now for such a small crime? Prosecutors expected Thomas to plead guilty, accepting his 6 month treatment program and a federal drug conviction which takes a toll when trying for student loans, a job, and even a home. But instead Thomas' laywer announced he would take it to trial and fight the case. Now he is risking up to a year in prison and fines, all because of a single gram of cannabis which is recreationally legal within the state. Is this how the American legal system should be spending it's time and money? "Why continue to try to ruin people’s lives?" asked Russ Belville, founder of the Portland chapter of the pro-marijuana group NORML, to KGW. "Make it tough for this kid to get a job, to be able to apply for college scholarships, to get security clearances, to own a home?" U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon told KGW that "I don't want kids using marijuana, but to have the heavy hand of the law in a case like this — when there are so many other much more serious issues — I think is a misallocation of resources." Thomas's case illustrates a concern many drug policy experts have raised for years — that most of the harms associated with marijuana use come not from using marijuana but from the punishment offenders receive at the hands of the criminal justice system.
Recently there have been more anecdotal reports of PTSD victims using marijuana to treat symptoms, but now the first official DEA approved study is recruiting veterans with PTSD to smoke different strains of cannabis on and off for a 12 week program observing the effects. The study will be conducted at both Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and Sisley's Scottsdale Research Institute in Pheonix, Arizona. The study has already recieved over 100 volunteers and is still accepting applicants. 76 combat veterans will be chosen next month and randomly assigned 1 of 4 different strains of marijuana to smoke up to 1.8 grams a day as needed and record the results. Researchers in Maryland and Arizona are looking for veteran volunteers to smoke up to two joints' worth of marijuana a day in a new study designed to find out if pot helps relieve symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. “We’re not arguing that cannabis is a cure, but our hypothesis is that it will at least reduce the symptoms,” says physician and study organizer Dr. Sue Sisley.
The issue of people driving high has come up more as states discuss marijuana laws, but some state's current solution could cause innocent sober drivers to be prosecuted for a DUI. Many state's have adopted the legal limit of 5 nanograms of THC in the blood stream for drivers, however according to Dr. Barry Logan, who authored a study by AAA on impaired driving, the 5 nanogram limit of THC has no scientific correlation with impairment. Due to THC's ability to linger in the human body, someone who tokes daily will naturally have a high amount of THC in the blood stream, even if they're not high or impaired. On the other hand, someone who rarely uses cannabis could smoke before driving, causing them to be impaired while remaining under the 5 nanogram limit. THC content and blood alcohol content are being treated the same way when they effect the person very differently. There will continue to be unjust incarcerations for tokers until a more efficient form of testing impairment is implemented. Researchers examined toxicology reports and sobriety exams from more than 600 drivers who had been arrested on suspicion of marijuana impairment. Results showed that increasing the amount of THC does not necessarily heighten its effects. Furthermore, chronic marijuana users may test positive for THC long after use despite no longer being impaired, while other people may show legal amounts of THC even when their driving indicates they’re a danger. This is a concern when you consider how many reckless drivers might go free despite hitting the roads high as a kite. According to the AAA report, roughly 70% of arrestees who were stopped due to driving that suggested impairment registered THC levels under 5 ng/ml once tested.
What kind of beer and wine do you like with your steak? How about your favorite strain of cannabis with a meal? Nug Run is a newer company with a fresh idea to send subscribers a monthly box of food paired with the perfect matching strain of marijuana. The company which began on the cannabis holiday, April 20th, is only able to appeal to California's medical marijuana patients at the moment. If Californians vote to legalize recreational marijuana this November, Nug Run will be able to significantly increase their subscription market. Nug Run is proud to get it's marijuana from small family-owned growers who use all natural processes. Ocampo started to experiment with pairing different types of cannabis with different foods, inviting friends with medical marijuana cards to small tasting parties. From there, the idea for Nug Run – a monthly box pairing foods and cannabis – was born. “Cannabis can be approached like any other food product, and it can be consumed in a new exciting way,” Ocampo said. “It’s a great way to introduce new people to cannabis, because they can use food to introduce them to the cannabis scene.”
Is your time of the month a particularly painful one? Do you live in Colorado or California with a medical marijuana card? Then you're in luck! Natural cannabis tampons have been mentioned in the past but are now available in limited markets, with hopes of expanding to all legal marijuana states. Where motrin, midol, and other pain killers might not alleviate cramps as desired, the mixture of coca butter, THC oil and CBD isolate from organically grown hemp have some praising the suppository for its muscle relaxing and rain relieving properties. You can purchase the 4-pack for $44 from the company Floria. Foria says their primary focus is on relieving pain, with an intention to “share the powerful medicinal properties of this plant while utilizing modern extraction techniques to standardize purity and potency.” Creating a tampon, rather than a pill per se, helps “deliver the medicine directly to where it is needed most.”
Earlier this month after President Juan Manuel Santos signed the bill, Colombia legalized marijuana for medical use. The bill has been drafted over again since 2014, and medical use has been permitted since 1986, but the country is now ready to thrive on a legal and regulated market. Colombia marijuana businesses will be able to import and export the drug and collaborate with markets around the world. The climate in Colombia is perfect for growing marijuana and now patients will be able to take full advantage of the safe and quality access to medical cannabis. Advocates in Colombia hope to quickly move passed the negative stigma that follows marijuana use and welcome the image of a patient finding relief. "From the flower, we make a concentrated extract that can be diluted into oral products or topical medication. Topical agents such as creams, oils or soaps can have higher concentrations of marijuana," said Cruz. "Fortunately, we have seen many patients almost completely reduce their episodes of epilepsy, and where Alzheimer's sufferers have not lost their minds. We have over 1,500 patients in our database, presenting various conditions but being treated with cannabis in various medical centers," he claims.
After working with legislators over the last year, Governor Rauner has finally signed legislation this week that decriminalizes small amounts of marijuana, allowing Illinois adults caught with 10 grams or less to be issued a fine up to $200 instead of jail time. The legislation also defines a standard of intoxication for drivers at 5 nanograms of THC, following several other states despite the lengthy time cannabis can stay in someone's system after impairment. According to the law, citation records will also be thrown out every six months unless local government decides against it. Decriminalizing marijuana not only gives smokers a peace of mind, but it takes an unnecessary burden off of the local law enforcement and legal system. The new law, which takes effect immediately, makes having 10 grams or less of marijuana will be a civil offense, punishable with a fine of up to $200. The Republican governor had been expected to sign the bill because it included language he requested after vetoing similar legislation last year. In his message to lawmakers at the time, Rauner said that existing penalties for petty marijuana offenses were too severe and that "criminal prosecution of cannabis possession is also a drain on public resources."
The first medical marijuana dispensary in Florida opened this week in Tallahassee with more locations not far behind. Trulieve has picked a location and received zoning verification for a place in Pensacola, and the website also suggests more locations coming in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Bradenton. The Pensacola location is currently awaiting word back from the Department of Health and further security renovations to meet dispensary requirements and plan to open the store as quickly as possible. With the ability to deliver around the state, Trulieve currently offers only low-THC dose treatments, but expects high-strength THC meds in August. Floridans will also have a chance to pass an amendmend on this November's ballot that would expand the medical marijuana program to more ailments. "I'm sure it will be a well-run organization, so I've got no problem with it," Armour said. "It's something that's coming around so we need it in Pensacola like they do anywhere else. Quite frankly, I welcome a good business to the area." "These dispensaries are for medical purposes only, so I see no reason to be opposed," Spencer said. With an amendment on the November ballot that would open up medical marijuana treatments to a much wider range of patients, the dispensary that can grab the biggest market early stands to make a considerable profit. Trulieve already offers statewide delivery and, in addition to Pensacola, its website lists "coming soon" locations in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Bradenton.
Speaking at the Democratic National Convention this week, Gavin Newsom exclaims his support for legalizing recreational marijuana and why other lawmakers should be joining him. Newsom points out the issues with prohibition today and how young people have far more access to marijuana than alcohol due to lack of regulation. He follows by saying, “you don’t have to be pro-marijuana to be anti-prohibition,” citing his wife as someone who does not support legalization. The future of legal marijuana is inevitable as over half have access to medical marijuana, 4 states have recreational marijuana, and several more, including california, will be voting to legalize marijuana in November. Newsom wants other legislators to join him in standing up for legal marijuana as a proper solution to revoke power from cartels, keep drugs away from young people, and lessen the unnecessary hardships prohibition has brought to communities of color. “How do you justify the current conditions?” Newsom asked. “For me, you can’t be neutral here. This is a social justice issue. It’s an economic justice issue. It’s a racial justice issue. People need to step up, either come out vehemently against it with a better alternative, explain away the status quo because you’re complicit in it ― society becomes how we behave ― or come on board.” The benefits to legalization, Newsom argued, are manifold: reducing the influence of drug cartels, creating stronger regulations to prevent underage kids from easily buying weed, mitigating the harmful effects of prohibition on communities of color.
Are you a master grower, or maybe an amatuer looking to test your skills, well it's finally your chance to show off your green thumb at this year's Oregon State Fair where they will feature award winning cannabis plants as a competition similar to the onions and pumpkins. From August 26 - September 5, the state's 9 biggest and best cannabis plants will feature blue, purple, and yellow ribbons in a private greenhouse only for those 21 and up. Samples will not be provided as the fair is not promoting the use of the marijuana, but the fair is moving in the same direction as the state, towards cannabis acceptance. Don Morse, chairman of the Oregon Cannabis Business Council, the sponsor of the marijuana exhibit, said nine plants will be displayed in a greenhouse that will have its own entrance and exit. The area will be monitored by a security guard. Only people 21 and older will be allowed in. "We are doing it 4H style," he said. "You get a blue, purple or yellow ribbon. We are celebrating the plant as a farm crop from Oregon." Fairgoers hoping for a sample will be disappointed, Morse said. "We are not promoting the use of cannabis," he said. "We are there to show plants to people over 21 what award-winning cannabis plants look like."