MJ News for 05/13/2014


Jul 25, 2008
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Will Minnesota medical marijuana supporters run out of time?

The clock is ticking on medical marijuana legislation at the Capitol.

With the Legislature scheduled to adjourn in a week, the Senate on Monday postponed taking up a bill passed by the House last week.

The delay will help lawmakers search for middle ground on competing versions of the legislation in the House and Senate, their sponsors said.

Gov. Mark Dayton said Monday that he hopes the Legislature will send him a medical marijuana bill he can sign into law.

The final measure can be a compromise between the House and Senate versions, Dayton said, but he prefers the House version -- especially because the Senate bill would let patients have access to whole-leaf marijuana for use in vaporizers.

"It's just, to me, impossible to believe that somebody is going to buy 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana, and not smoke it or not sell it to someone else who will," Dayton said during a news conference at the Capitol.

Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia allow medical marijuana. The issue has been pushed to the forefront in Minnesota and other states this year by families seeking access to the drug for children with severe seizure disorders.

Children take marijuana in a liquid form, and families say the treatment is superior to traditional pharmaceuticals that they say offer little relief and significant side effects.

Similar concerns have prompted lawmakers in seven states this year to allow limited access to a form of medical marijuana that's thought to help with seizure disorders.

In Minnesota, the House passed its bill Friday on an 86-39 vote after nearly five hours of emotional debate. Four days earlier, the Senate passed its bill 48-18.

The Senate might take up the House bill Tuesday, said Amos Briggs, spokesman for the Senate DFL Caucus. At that point, the Senate could table it, pass the House version or appoint a conference committee, Briggs said.

The House bill provides medical marijuana to patients with seizure disorders and seven other diagnoses. The Senate bill covers the same conditions, but also would help patients with intractable pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, severe nausea and wasting syndrome.

Law enforcement groups and doctors have questioned whether letting pain patients have medical marijuana would provide a way for people to fake symptoms and obtain legal cover for recreation use.

Critics have pointed to the experience in Colorado, where the majority of patients seeking medical marijuana have done so, in part, to deal with chronic pain.

Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, is the chief sponsor of the bill in the Senate; Rep. Carly Melin, DFL-Hibbing, is the chief sponsor in the House.

In a letter sent Sunday to Dayton and Melin, Dibble said his bill would limit cannabis to patients with "intractable pain," which has a specific statutory definition that means pain won't respond to any other type of treatment.

Dibble offered to require that patients receive a second diagnosis from a board-certified specialist in pain medicine before being approved for medical marijuana.

"Use of cannabis for this purpose has shown to allow for reduced use of expensive and harmful pain medications including highly addictive opioids," Dibble wrote.

During his news conference, Dayton would did not say whether he thought medical cannabis should be available to pain patients.

"I'm not qualified -- I don't, frankly, think the Legislature is qualified -- to decide who medically qualifies for something whose effects aren't established, except anecdotally..," Dayton said.

"I want people who need it and who might benefit from it to have access to it. I'm not going to say one should be in and one should not -- I don't have the expertise."

Dibble's bill would allow patients access to medical cannabis through a statewide network of dispensaries. As passed by the Senate, the bill would create up to 55 dispensaries, but Dibble said in his letter that he would trim the number to 24.

Under the House bill, one manufacturer chosen and regulated by the Minnesota Department of Health would provide medical marijuana at up to three sites. The structure creates a "monopoly business," Dibble wrote in his letter, saying there could be problems in terms of the pricing, quality and availability of cannabis from such a supplier.

Dibble argued that his bill does a better job addressing public safety concerns. He also criticized the House bill for restricting access to cannabis only in the form of liquids and pills.

"Refusing access to the whole plant form and providing only the limited, much more expensive forms of processed cannabis in the House bill leaves many patients behind, and exposes those who do participate to lesser efficacy and greater risk," Dibble wrote.

Neither bill would allow patients to smoke marijuana.

Dayton said that if the Senate bill has stronger protections for public safety, he hopes they will be included in whatever final compromise comes from the Legislature.

The governor said he opposes having 55 dispensaries, but he did not say whether 24 were acceptable.

The Minnesota Medical Association prefers the House bill, and Dayton said its position should be given "special consideration."

Like law enforcement officials, Dayton said he was concerned about the chance that legalizing medical marijuana could lead to more problems with drug addiction, particularly among teenagers.

"We want to do anything we can to relieve the pain and suffering of children and adults who suffer from diseases and afflictions that might -- might -- be helped by medical marijuana, but we want to do it in a way that's not going to open up even more people to greater harm," Dayton said. "I hope the negotiation can come forward with the best of each bill."

In an interview, Dibble said Monday's delay would allow "some conversations about some middle ground before we establish the formal conference committee process."

Melin agreed, but said: "Our biggest concern is that time is running out this session."


Jul 25, 2008
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(CO) Marijuana Industry Skeptical Of Banking Bill, Beefs Up Security

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is expected to sign a bill which could create more banking options for the marijuana industry.

However, marijuana insiders are convinced the federal government, which regulates banking, will not allow a “cannabis co-op” to provide basic banking services like a checking account.

“HB-1398 is likely not a solution to the banking problem,” said Michael Elliott, Director of the Marijuana Industry Group.

He says without the ability to put money in the bank the marijuana industry is often a cash only business. The abundance of cash is making marijuana businesses a target for criminals.

So, many dispensaries are going to extreme measures to protect their investments by hiring security firms that specialize in protecting marijuana.
From its “war room” in an office tower in Wheat Ridge, Canna Security America monitors surveillance video and alarm systems from marijuana businesses all over Colorado.

CEO Dan Williams says his business took hold when national security firms like ADT decided to bow out of protecting pot.

“We are happy to take that business,” Williams said.

His company strictly specializes in the cannabis industry. He also helped to write regulations which make high tech security systems mandatory for licensed marijuana businesses.

“You want this to be such a high deterrence that nobody would bother,” said Williams.

He says most criminals who try to steal from marijuana businesses are “unsophisticated.”

According to Denver Police there have been 49 burglaries and one robbery at marijuana businesses in the first four months of 2014.

Through his security systems, Williams says he’s helped police officers catch a number of teams of thieves, including a group of teenagers that smashed a stolen car through the doors of a grow house.

“We’ve seen people cutting holes in the roof and kind of belaying down like a mission impossible routine,” said Williams.

He says often crooks get in, but can’t get back out. “They are trapped in their own cage.”

But sometimes the thieves win. Last September, a pair of masked men walked off with $250,000 worth of plants from a grow house and are still on the run.

Some people in the industry are turning to armed guards to transport plants, check ID’s and keep an eye on the cash.

“If you ask me to grow marijuana, I wouldn’t know the first thing,” said Ted Daniels of Blue Line Security. “But I know how to protect it.”

Daniels says he can’t hire guards fast enough to provide armed protection for dispensaries filled with cash. He says he focuses on hiring former military and law enforcement to provide a skilled security force.

“A guy comes in to a dispensary with a gun and shoots two or three people, a panic button is not going to stop that. Cameras are not going to stop that and security doors aren’t going to stop that,” said Daniels.

“We are all having nightmares about this issue,” said Elliott.
He says it will take someone getting shot before Congress finds a fix for the banking issue.

“I say someone getting killed here in Colorado, we haven’t had that happen yet. But in California it has happened, people have been kidnapped and tortured over this issue,” he said.


Jul 25, 2008
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Man claims Revel prevented him from smoking medical marijuana, threatens to sue

A medical marijuana patient is challenging his right to use his prescription in an Atlantic City hotel, according to a report from the Press of Atlantic City.

Daniel Price, 23, of Atlantic City, tells the newspaper a security guard at Revel Casino Hotel told him he could not use marijuana inside the casino, despite having a prescription for it.

Price, who has been prescribed the drug since February to treat seizures and irritable bowel disease, said he did not specify how he planned to use the marijuana.

Regardless, Revel, like all casinos in Atlantic City, allows smoking in designated areas.

State guidelines for medical marijuana use encourage patients to only use the drug in their own homes, the report said. But they are not barred from law to use it in a private business.

A state Department of Health spokesperson told the Press of Atlantic City a private business is allowed to create its own guidelines on medical marijuana use. The New Jersey Department of Gaming said it plans to reach out to the Atlantic City casinos and encourage them to create policies.

Price's attorney, Michelle Douglass, argues that Revel is required to accommodate those with disabilities.

Revel declined to comment on the issue when reached by the Press of Atlantic City.

Douglass says the next step may be to file a lawsuit in New Jersey Superior Court.


Jul 25, 2008
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The NFL should stop testing for marijuana

The Cleveland Browns got some terrible news on Friday afternoon when the NFL announced that Josh Gordon had tested positive for marijuana and would likely be suspended for the entire 2014 season. This wasn't Gordon's first run-in with the NFL's substance abuse policy, which explains why the penalty was so severe.

Opinions about that substance abuse policy notwithstanding, it's tough to point the finger at anyone besides Gordon for choosing to ignore the rules of a system he'd come to know maybe a little too well. But when a superstar is suspended for something as minor as smoking pot it raises the question:

Why does the NFL even bother testing for marijuana?

It's not quite a rhetorical question. The policy is a relic, and certainly more trouble than it's worth for both teams and the league. The only semi-compelling argument behind teams testing for pot is itself a rationalization -- that the testing is simply an "intelligence test" to see if the player will follow (or successfully skirt) an arbitrary rule that has no bearing whatsoever on their ability to do their job at a high level. So, more of an obedience test than an intelligence test.

More importantly, it doesn't matter. If every NFL player were high every day, fans would neither notice nor care. I myself have exactly as much concern about a football player smoking pot as I do about the note on a menu warning that I'm risking food-borne illness if I don't order my steak well done.

Of all the many reasons not to care, let's start with this one: smoking pot has no bearing on a player's on-field performance. This isn't steroids we're talking about. This isn't HGH or blood doping. Many NFL players like to smoke, which gives them something in common with many Americans in their 20s. That is not going to change, apparently not even if the players know the exact hour of the exact day to expect to have their pee hauled off in a van.

So. This is not a competitive balance issue, it's not a quality of play issue, and if it's a marketing choice, it is one that is actually more damaging to the brand than it is helpful. The NFL has to maintain a certain image in order to attract corporate partners, and the image that it has chosen is a corporate and pot-unfriendly one. That makes sense, but what causes more negative attention: nonstop reports of players being suspended for violating the league's substance abuse policy, or quietly removing marijuana from the testing slate? Marijuana is only a problem for the NFL because the NFL insists on making it a problem.

Instead of beating itself over the head with its own concocted image issue, maybe they can let these guys who spend 40 hours a week crashing into the strongest, fastest, most armored one percent of people in the world smoke pot after a game without worrying about being labeled a "thug" or a "locker room cancer." If the NFL can't do this because the players are partaking in an activity that 48% of our nation's adults admit to trying, perhaps it can justify doing it because it's bad for business.

Society as a whole is starting to move away from the stigmatization of marijuana, and there are two franchises in states where it is legal to buy pot for recreational use. Many employers in these states, as well as in others where this sort of open sale and use is still against the law, simply decided to turn a blind eye to marijuana testing, opting instead for clear clauses in contracts that stipulate that employees may not show up for work under the influence.

The NBA has taken steps towards a more relaxed position. They keep all tests confidential until the third positive marijuana result. At that point the player gets a five-game suspension -- something equivalent to slightly less than a one-game suspension in the NFL.

Everything's a bargaining chip in the NFL, so it's likely that the league would want a concession from the NFLPA in exchange for leniency on marijuana testing. That's how the NFL does business, but the league needs to realize that drug suspensions reflect just as poorly on teams and on the league overall as they do on individual players.

The NFL doesn't have to condone pot use, of course. But they should be able to acknowledge that it isn't productive for the NFL as an employer to take on investigative responsibilities that produce zero benefit. If a player like Davone Bess splashes his stash all over Instagram, or gets caught with pot by the police, the league would still be within its rights to take action. This would at least make the "intelligence test" argument a bit more explicit.

The NFL is a professional sports league, and that's all it is. It is wildly successful because of what it puts on the field, not because it has dozens of NFL security agents running breathlessly around the country keeping a can of piss upright in order to safeguard the integrity of a urine sample taken from a 22-year-old special teamer. Goodell can just treat marijuana discipline in the way that the league currently treats assault charges. If you get arrested for punching someone, Goodell can suspend you, and he just might do it. But the league doesn't bother to dispatch NFL security to Nashville clubs to review random security footage from nights when Kenny Britt was in town.

This is not an argument that the NFL stop testing for PEDs or drugs such as heroin or cocaine. In the case of steroids, there are real competitive advantage and health issues associated with their use; testing for the use of powerful narcotics can be important in identifying someone who is making the wrong decisions and needs help. But let's not make the slippery slope argument. Let's not let fear of a completely different issue prevent the league from taking one good and reasonable step in a good and reasonable direction.

If you're the type of person that won't watch professional football because you're concerned that the players are smoking pot in their free time, that's a You problem, and for consistency's sake I hope you never go out to eat at a restaurant, watch any movies, or listen to any music. The concerns of fans like these, if they're even out there, is not the NFL's problem.

The NFL's problem, in the end, is that this particular policy prevents the league from putting out the best possible product. The fewer players get suspended, the better it is for every team, and the less time we have to spend talking about whether or not a player really "gets it" because they got caught getting high. That's better for all of us.


Jul 25, 2008
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Bermuda Report Urges Easing Marijuana Laws

A report commissioned by the government of Bermuda has endorsed legalizing marijuana for medical purposes and decriminalizing personal use of the drug.

The report from the Cannabis Reform Collaborative, which began reviewing drug laws in the British island territory in December, concluded that prosecutions for non-violent offenses related to marijuana are overwhelming the criminal justice system and disproportionately target non-white and immigrant populations.

It calls for phasing out penalties for marijuana possession toward eventual legalization for people 21 and older, and raising the drinking age from 18 to 21 so the two substances are treated the same.

The report finds that marijuana is "gaining global prominence" as a medicinal substance and it calls on the government to immediately allow its use with a prescription.

National Security Minister Michael Dunkley submitted the report from the Cannabis Reform Collaborative on Friday to the National Assembly and urged legislators to consider its recommendations. Dunkley said any changes to marijuana laws in the British territory would be made only in a "measured fashion."

Bermuda, an offshore financial center with a population of about 65,000, is a socially conservative society, but Stratton Hatfield, the chairman of the Cannabis Reform Collaborative, said he believes there is strong public support for change to drug laws in place since 1972.

"There's no doubt that the world recognizes that our approach to drug demand and supply reduction has failed," he said in an interview Monday. "The war on drugs has done nothing but cripple the communities."


Jul 25, 2008
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NY's medical marijuana bill: Glaucoma out, rheumatoid arthritis in

Recent amendments to New York medical marijuana legislation would include not allowing it to be used for glaucoma, but for rheumatoid arthritis, the bill's Senate sponsor said.

"We don’t want it to be like California. California was like the wild west," Savino said of the proliferation of medical marijuana dispensers there.

She said ophthalmologists told her that better drugs are available to treat the illness. But rheumatoid arthritis would be included.

"They now have better drugs that can treat glaucoma," Savino said on "The Capitol Pressroom," a public radio show. "In order to get a benefit from medical marijuana if you’re a glaucoma patient, you have to smoke a lot of it. There are now better drugs. So at their request, they said take this tool out of the toolbox."

The Assembly and Senate have legislation that would legalize medical marijuana on a limited basis for specific illnesses, which Savino described as "a serious, debilitating, life-threatening condition that’s going to be continuous for a very long time."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has his own proposal.

Savino said in a op-ed in the Buffalo News that the measure has enough votes in the Senate to pass, and it recently received Sen. Joseph Robach, R-Greece, Monroe County, as a co-sponsor. Medical marijuana legislation has repeatedly passed in the Democratic-led Assembly.

Senate GOP leader Dean Skelos told reporters last week that “there’s a good possibility” the Senate would vote on some type of medical marijuana bill before the Legislature ends session in late June.


Jul 25, 2008
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Plandai Biotechnology's VP of Global Marketing Jamen Shively Discusses Future of Cannabis at the Company

NEW YORK, NY, May 13, 2014 (Marketwired via COMTEX) -- Plandai Biotechnology (otcqb:pLPL) has plans to develop and market a cannabis extract once the political climate in the US sorts itself out. Nationwide legalization seems to be just a matter of time, and there are a host of companies, including Plandai, that are laying the framework for a successful future in the cannabis space well ahead of legalization. One such move was naming marijuana entrepreneur and former Microsoft executive Jamen Shively to its Board of Directors and announcing him as its Vice President of Global Marketing.

With less than 6 months until mid-term elections where it's likely even more states will legalize marijuana for, at minimum, medicinal purposes, Stock Market Media Group (SMMG) spoke with Jamen Shively (JS) to discuss Plandai's future in the cannabis arena.

SMMG: Moving forward what are Plandai's objectives regarding cannabis?

JS: "We have two short-term objectives with respect to cannabis. First, we need a legal platform from which we can conduct our research, and secondly, we need to finalize our Phytofare(TM) Pheroid(R) cannabinoid complex."

SMMG: Tell us more about finding a legal platform?

JS: "Regardless of state law, marijuana use -- even for medical research, is not legal on the federal level. While the FDA has granted some companies a limited license to perform trials, this is a long and arduous path.

So, our first goal is to find a government that is supportive of medical marijuana research. As you've read, we're in active discussions with South Africa as well as other countries we haven't disclosed. I'm confident that we will soon have the green light from somewhere."

SMMG: Explain finalizing the Phytofare(TM) Pheroid(R) cannabinoid complex?

JS: "We believe, based on scientific evidence, that we can retain the acid forms of THC, THCA and THCB in their natural state, thus negating the psychotomimetic actions of cannabis.

Pheroid's role is to provide protection to the nanoparticle antioxidants during the digestive process and through the liver, allowing the undamaged antioxidant molecules to pass unmetabolized into the bloodstream.

Once in the bloodstream, human cells perceive the fatty acids as a food source and bring the nanoparticles inside the cell membrane where, through the process of glycolysis, the Pheroid is eaten away, releasing cannabinoids into the white blood cells.

The white blood cells should then naturally travel along pathways and pass through the Blood Brain Barrier, delivering a clinical dose of Phtofare Cannabis complex able to undertake efficient antagonistic scavenging of free radicals, to the brain CB1 and CB2 neuron receptors."

SMMG: So the goal is a pharmaceutical?

JS: "Without boring you with too much science, we should be able to retain THCA and THCB without converting to the psychoactive THC. Our goal is to produce a non-psychoactive cannabinoid extract pharmaceutical, which should take cannabis extracts out of the banned substance category, thus creating a new class of botanical drugs containing cannabis through the supporting research and development of our product.

Long term, we hope to eventually receive an FDA clearance for our Phytofare(TM) Pheroid(R) Cannabis complex for treating one or more illnesses."

SMMG: Does this mean no Plandai cannabis extracts hitting the shelves anytime soon?

JS: "Not yet. First the research, then the product. We could rush something to market and slap the Diego Pellicer name on it, but we'd be no different than everyone else out there selling something with no regulations, no standards, and no hard clinical data.

This is not a short-term view we're taking -- we believe that cannabis has the potential to be an amazing wellness product, but first we have legal hurdles to overcome and then a lot of research."

About Stock Market Media Group

SMMG is a Research and Content Development IR firm offering a platform for corporate stories to unfold in the media with Reports, Interviews and Articles. SMMG is compensated for Plandai content by a third party who reserves the right to buy, sell or remain neutral on securities after the publication of this article. SMMG has received total compensation of $46,115, for content related to Plandai. For more information: www . stockmarketmediagroup.com .

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