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The latest in marijuana news, culture and politics
  • News Posted Mar 2017

    "Marijuana as Medicine": National Institute on Drug Abuse Updates Its Website

    With all the confusion that revolves around the state-legal but federally-illegal marijuana industry, any clarification by a government entity or website is extremely valuable. This week the National Institute on Drug Abuse updated it's website with some interesting information that could be telling on how the future of the industry will progress. One major change to the site is the update to the section "What is CBD?" which is now titled "CBD and Childhood Epilepsy." This shift represents a huge step forward in our understanding of the different components of marijuana and how they can be isolated and concentrated to treat a specific condition completely separate from any recreational consumption of the drug. The site's additions also acknowledge individual states' rights to legalize the drug, clarifying further approval by the federal government. The last additions to the site underline what many researchers have been saying for years, marijuana needs to be studied much more so we have a clearer understanding of both it's benefits and long-term effects on humans and our development. The box itself explains how CBD can treat epilepsy; the small shift in the headline reflects how accepted this practice has become. So does a change in the verbiage. Instead of reading, "These drugs may be less desirable to recreational users because they are not intoxicating," the updated version is more direct: "These drugs aren't popular for recreational use because they aren't intoxicating." This change is major for medical patients: So much of the time, their medicine is compared to THC and negative cultural norms associated with smoking marijuana. Specifying that drugs that medical patients use are not in any way comparable to the high users get from THC is an important distinction.

  • Fun Posted Mar 2017

    LUXURY CANNABIS IS OFFICIALLY HERE

    Luxury cannabis is coming to the mainstream as art and fashion both continue shining the light on marijuana's newfound place in modern society. With the current cannabis industry's continued expansion, it's only natural that a high-end and sophisticated product would make it's way to the front of the market and attract a new type of consumer. The more diverse the marijuana consumer market becomes, the more solidified the industry becomes in our society. Beboe is a new company sprouting out of their local California market and selling luxury vaporizers and pastilles for all types of consumers. Featuring low-dose CBD and higher dose THC products, Beboe aims to have something for everyone to enjoy.  With more states getting on board with the legilization of marijuana, Kwan and Campbell hope to appeal to a growing cannabis consumer base. Starting this month, you'll be able to purchase Beboe's products from select marijuana dispensaries in California and online at beboe.com. Beboe's pre-filled vaporizers retail for $60 while pastilles infused with 5mg of THC/CBD sell for $25.

  • News Posted Mar 2017

    Jeff Sessions Says Marijuana Is Only 'Slightly Less Awful' Than Heroin. Science Says He's Wrong

    The amount of people holding onto outdated and inaccurate information about marijuana has been gradually falling for years now, but unfortunately some old dogs just cant learn new information. Most people are likely aware that marijuana is clearly less dangerous than heroin and opioids, but Attorney General Jess Sessions is stuck in the ill-informed drug war of the 1970's. In a statement he prepared for this week, Sessions cites marijuana as "only slightly less awful" than heroin, but almost any professional in a medical or research field would disagree. From the years 2000-2015, over 500,000 people have died from drug overdoses. While there are still no recorded deaths from a cannabis overdose, nearly 91 people die everyday from opioid overdose. Despite marijuana's medicinal benefits that have been shown to curb opioid overdoses in MMJ legal states, Attorney General Session's negative statements on marijuana are grossly ill-informed and not in line with modern science or research.  "The statement flies in the face of the science," said Dr. Donald Abrams, a professor of clinical medicine at the University of California San Francisco, who has studied the health effects of marijuana. "No one has died from an overdose of cannabis. There's abundant evidence that it is a useful intervention for chronic pain, and we may see it’s useful in harm reduction." "I've been a physician for almost 40 years and I’ve never admitted a patient for complications from cannabis use," Abrams said. "The number of patients we see with problems with use of alcohol, heroin, and methamphetamine is enormous. [Sessions'] statement is unfortunate and uninformed."

  • Medical Marijuana Posted Mar 2017

    Gov. McAuliffe expected to sign marijuana reforms

    If Virginia's Governor signs several new medical marijuana bills like expected soon, the state will become the second in the US to allow pharmacies to manufacture and sell medical marijuana oil to patients with intractable epilepsy. While this is progress, Virginia has a long way to go before it has a full medical marijuana program able to benefit a wide enough range of patients. Current state law calls for the automatic suspension of a person's driver's license if caught possessing even a small amount of marijuana, but a new bill seeks to give judges discretion over each ruling. Lawmakers seem to be listening to the voters as public opinion is showing in polls that Virginians want marijuana policy reform.  “We are optimistic,” she said. “The polling shows that Virginians desperately want their marijuana policy changed and laws reformed in some capacity, and I think that lawmakers are starting to hear the call in Virginia as well as throughout the U.S.” “It has no psychotropic effects, and no one is dealing it on the illicit market. For the people that are sick and really wanted the bill to pass, it was heartbreaking,” Vogel said. “I think this is a little bit of bias and a little bit of lack of education … The overwhelming majority of the voting public believes having access to that kind of medication is very helpful.”

  • Medical Marijuana Posted Mar 2017

    Epilepsy patients turning to medicinal cannabis, survey shows

    A recent study published in the journal Epilepsy & Behavior showed that of all the Australian patients with epilepsy, 14% are using  medical marijuana to treat their condition. The remarkable part is that 90% of those adult patients and 74% of child patients reported succesful results when trying to manage their epileptic seizures. Patients seeking out medical cannabis are hoping to try this new treatment in hopes of more favorable side effects. Though more research is needed followed by clinical trials, it's undeniable that these patients hold great value in marijuana to treat their epilepsy.  The main reason given for trying cannabis products was to seek a treatment with “more favourable” side-effects compared with standard antiepileptic drugs. “Despite the limitations of a retrospective online survey, we cannot ignore that a significant proportion of adults and children with epilepsy are using cannabis-based products in Australia, and many are self-reporting considerable benefits to their condition,” Suraeve said. “More systematic clinical studies are urgently needed to help us better understand the role of cannabinoids in epilepsy,” she said

  • News Posted Mar 2017

    Synthetic pot, or "fake weed," much riskier than marijuana, study finds

    It's that time of year again where the public needs reminded that a regulated product sold as "synthetic weed" or more commonly known as "spice" is being used by youth as an alternative to federally illegal and much safer, marijuana. These cheap dangerous drugs sold at gas stations to teenagers are readily available and labelled "not for human consumption" for legal purposes. The product's toxic ingredients have been repeatedly outlawed, but manufacturers simply slip through a loophole by choosing  other chemicals like pesticides to cover the synthetic buds that create a high for the user. Teenagers using this unpredictable and dangerous drug have shown to be more likely to be involved in violent behavior and dating violence and more prone to seizures, coma, and even death.  Marijuana is often seen as a relatively benign drug that produces a typically mellow high, but new U.S. government research shows that the drugs called synthetic pot appear to be much different. Teens often turn to synthetic agents because they are easily available, cheap, offer sensation-seeking thrills and are hard to detect, Krakower noted. Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said, “Teens who use synthetic [substances found in marijuana] are essentially playing a game of Russian roulette.” Fake pot is often sprayed with dangerous chemicals or even pesticides. These chemicals can lead to unpredictable -- and sometimes deadly -- outcomes, he warned

  • News Posted Mar 2017

    Government marijuana looks nothing like the real stuff. See for yourself.

    The federal government not only makes it extremely difficult to begin researching marijuana, but the sole source of marijuana used in research must be grown and supplied by the government's only official cannabis farm. A new clinical trial to test the effectiveness of medical marijuana on veterans with PTSD is underway, but a researcher from the study, Sue Sisley, has shown her concern that this government supplied marijuana hardly resembles the retail cannabis that patients are recieving around the US. A picture of the government grown cannabis next to commercial or medical grade marijana makes the difference clear as the former is filled with stems and leaves, which could be comparable to eating an apple with the seeds and branches. The max potency of the government marijuana is 13%, while the average commercial buds are around 19%, and some stronger strains even go up to 30%. The government regulated marijuana program is clearly out of touch with what real marijuana product is and therefore wont be able to properly test for the drugs effects in the real world. In light of these findings, officials hope to bring a better quality government cannabis product to research communities later this year.  A quick glance confirms it looks nothing like the commercial marijuana depicted above. While the real stuff is chunky and dark green, the government weed is stringy and light in color. It appears to be full of stems, which most consumers don't smoke. “It doesn’t resemble cannabis. It doesn’t smell like cannabis,” Sisley told PBS NewsHour last week. Jake Browne, a cannabis critic for the Denver Post's Cannabist marijuana news site, agrees. “That is, flat out, not a usable form of cannabis,” he said. Browne should know: He's reviewed dozens of strains professionally and is running a sophisticated marijuana growing competition called the Grow-Off. But NIDA's weed doesn't pass muster if you want to know how marijuana use is affecting people in the real world. Or if you want to run highly controlled medical experiments, like the one Sisley and Doblin are working on. It's not even tested for some common contaminants, like yeast and mold, that many states now check for as part of their regulatory regimes.

  • News Posted Mar 2017

    Israel Officially Decriminalizes Marijuana Use

    Last week officials in Israel approved a proposal decriminalizing marijuana use, lowering offenses of those caught smoking in public from criminal action down to a fine. Legislators agreed that criminal prosecution should only be used as a last resort and that a new campaign with emphasis on education would be more effective. First time offenders caught smoking in public will be fined 1,000 shekels ($271), with the fine doubling on a second offense. A third offense leads the offender to probation and a fourth includes criminal charges. Revenue from fines will be used towards antidrug education and treatment.  According to the proposal formulated by the Public Security and Justice ministries, any first-time offender caught using marijuana in public would receive a fine rather than face criminal action. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who led the reform, said that "the government's approval is an important step on the way to implement the new policy, which will emphasize public information and treatment instead of criminal enforcement.

  • News Posted Mar 2017

    Study: No Increased Crime In Medical Marijuana States

    The University of Victoria and a New Zealand Research Institute used FBI crime data from the last 30 years to conclude whether or not medical marijuana laws in the United States are associated with any rises in violent or property crime. Most people are probably not surprised to see hear that neither the establishing of marijuana dispensaries nor the increased rate of adult marijuana use are linked to any rising crime. While some legislators might still tout the idea that incoming marijuana legalization will harm public safety, the data has been found by multiple studies now that the legalization of medical marijuana laws are actually associated with a decrease in violent crimes such as homicide and assault. "We do not find evidence that medical marijuana laws consistently affect violent and property crime," authors concluded. "Our results suggest that liberalization of marijuana laws is unlikely to result in the substantial social cost that some politicians clearly fear."

  • Legalization Posted Mar 2017

    Vermont bill streamlines recreational marijuana legalization, focusing on home grows

    Marijuana advocates in Vermont were ambitous last year with the proposed recreational marijuana bill that failed to pass, but they're back this year and with better odds. Last year's failed bill involved a retail system similar to Colorados and promising high tax revenue, but this year's bill is bound to gain more traction in smaller steps. If passed, adults in Vermont would be able to grow their own marijuana at home and possess up to 1 ounce of the drug, but there would be no program to establish retail sales. This year's proposal has promise to pass with the bill's simpler structure and fresh members within the legislature.  The new bill, much shorter in length, would be framed more like the system in Washington DC, where there are no provisions for sales but people can possess and grow small amounts of marijuana. “Vermonters can now easily go down to Massachusetts and get it, then they come back and suddenly it’s illegal. That’s not a dichotomy we want to set up,” said Democratic Rep. Chip Conquest, another bill sponsor. Prospects for the bill are better than they were last year, Conquest said. It’s likely to make it out of the House Judiciary Committee, he said. “We have a lot of new members this year and it’s a very different proposal,” Conquest said.

  • Medical Marijuana Posted Mar 2017

    Georgia House passes medical marijuana expansion

    Georgia lawmakers are pushing a medical marijuana bill that would bring many current policies more in line with other medical marijuana states. If passed, House Bill 65 would nearly double the list of qualifying conditions for patients to be elible for medical marijuana, adding conditions such as: AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, autoimmune disease, epidermolysis bullosa, HIV, peripheral neuropathy and Tourette’s syndrome. The bill would also remove the one-year residency requirement as well as allow registered patients from other medical marijuana states to legally possess their medicine in Georgia. One feature of the bill not supported by advocates is lowering the max THC limit in cannabis oil from 5% to 3%. Under Georgia’s 2015 law, patients and, in the case of children, families who register with the state are allowed to possess up to 20 ounces of cannabis oil to treat severe forms of eight specific illnesses, including cancer, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy. The oil can have no more than 5 percent THC, the component in the drug that makes people high. The House vote comes two weeks after the state Senate passed a medical marijuana measure that would add autism to the list of eligible conditions, but also reduce the allowable maximum THC level in the oil to 3 percent — a mandate unpopular with many of the law’s advocates.

  • News Posted Mar 2017

    Federal: Bill Introduced To End Federal Marijuana Prohibition

    After establishing Jeff Sessions as the US Attorney General there has been worry of his historically negative view of marijuana and how he might effect the state legalized marijuana industry. Luckily, some concerned lawmakers have introduced legislation that would remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act, resolving any of the issues of state legal marijuana and the current federal prohibition on the drug. Not only are states plenty capable of handling their own marijuana policies, but current polls show that American voters overwhelmingly approve of medical marijuana at 71% and even recreational approval is at 59%. This bill is vital to keeping the current marijuana industry alive and protecting the many patients who rely on the medical marijuana industry to find relief.  The intent of the “Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017 is consistent with the view of most voters. According to recent polling by Quinnipiac University, 59 percent of Americans support full marijuana legalization and 71 percent believe that states, not the federal government, should set marijuana policy.  With the recent confirmation of militant marijuana prohibitionist Jeff Sessions to the position of US Attorney General, and with comments from the Trump administration warning of a coming federal crackdown in adult use states, passage of this Act is necessary to ensure that medical marijuana patients and others are protected from undue federal interference.