MJ News for 06/18/2014

7greeneyes

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http://gothamist.com/2014/06/17/cuomo_wont_sign_medical_marijuana_b.php#.




Cuomo Won't Sign Medical Marijuana Bill Because It Allows For Smoking Marijuana


Continuing his record of craven political dickery with respect to sensible drug policy, Governor Cuomo said this morning that he would not sign a current version of the medical marijuana legislation working its way through Albany because it involves smoking marijuana. "This is supposed to be for serious diseases," Cuomo said on WCNY. "This isn't supposed to have loopholes that you can drive a truck through, right?"
On yesterday's WCNY show, Cuomo also questioned the amount of marijuana the law would allow patients to possess.

"Two and a half ounces of marijuana per month, that's about 150 joints, could be as many as 200 joints per month. You know, we're talking about a lot of marijuana distributed to individuals."

When pressed by the host Susan Arbetter on whether it's merely the language of "smoking" that concerns the Governor, or whether he'd rather see patients using a different form of ingestion altogether, Cuomo replied, "Smoking or not smoking, you don't need a lot of language to discuss that….This is not about commas and dotting 'i's and crossing 't's. We don't have a conceptual agreement."

Perhaps the Working Families Party-endorsed candidate doesn't have a conceptual grasp of how medical marijuana works.

The Lancet Neurology and the American College of Physicians both deemed smoking to be the most effective and fast-acting form of administering THC to patients. The vast majority of the research concerning medical marijuana involves smoking the plant.

"Prohibiting medical cannabis smoking would only make medical marijuana patients' lives more difficult," the Marijuana Policy Project said in a statement. "For many patients, it is the best mode of administration.

Vaporizing also allows nearly immediate relief, but good vaporizers can be very expensive and difficult for some patients to use. Smoking marijuana doesn’t cause lung cancer, and the dangers of smoking marijuana pale in comparison to smoking cigarettes."

For the record, government-issued marijuana cigarettes contain 0.8 grams of cannabis, a dose that is generally accepted to be sufficient for most ailments. Cuomo's joints would contain .35 grams of marijuana each.

Nearly four years ago, Irvin Rosenfeld, one of the few federal medical marijuana patients alive, smoked his 115,000th joint. Rosenfeld suffers from a rare kind of bone cancer, and smokes 10 to 12 joints a day from his supply of 300 every 25 days.

This afternoon, a group of legislators from both houses said they were making progress on Cuomo's demands—which involve stripping more diseases from the list of those that can be treated and placing the authority to grant more in the hands of the Health Commissioner, who is controlled by the Governor—but declined to go into specifics.
 

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/17/hillary-clinton-marijuana_n_5505379.html




Hillary Clinton Leaves Door Open On Marijuana Legalization


Hillary Clinton said Tuesday she supports medical marijuana "for people who are in extreme medical conditions" and wants to "wait and see" how recreational pot works in Colorado and Washington state.

In an interview with CNN international correspondent Christiane Amanpour promoting her memoir Hard Choices, Clinton suggested she may be open to marijuana policy reform.

Clinton, a former secretary of state and potential Democratic candidate for president in 2016, responded to Amanpour's question about marijuana legalization first with her thoughts on medical cannabis.

"There are younger people here who could help me understand this and answer it," Clinton began. "At the risk of committing radical candor, I have to say I think we need to be very clear about the benefits of marijuana use for medicinal purposes. I don't think we've done enough research yet, although I think for people who are in extreme medical conditions and who have anecdotal evidence that it works, there should be availability under appropriate circumstances. But I do think we need more research because we don't know how it interacts with other drugs."

Clinton also sounded supportive of new Colorado and Washington laws that have legalized recreational marijuana for adults.

"On recreational, states are the laboratories of democracy," Clinton said. "We have at least two states that are experimenting with that right now. I want to wait and see what the evidence is."

As for trying marijuana herself, Clinton said she'll continue to abstain.

"Absolutely not," she said. "I didn't do it when I was young, I'm not going to start now."

Although Clinton didn't fully embrace legalization for medical or recreational cannabis, her statements on CNN were a departure from her previous public comments.

In 2012, Clinton said she wasn't convinced that U.S. drug legalization would end the cartel violence ravaging Central America.

"I respect those in the region who believe strongly that [U.S. legalization] would end the problem," Clinton said then, as reported by Politico. "I am not convinced of that, speaking personally."

At the time, Clinton also commented on the passage of the recreational marijuana laws in Colorado and Washington.

"We are formulating our own response to the votes of two of our states as you know -- what that means for the federal system, the federal laws and law enforcement," she said.

During her 2008 presidential campaign, Clinton said, "I don't think we should decriminalize, but we ought to do research into what, if any medical benefits it has."

Currently, 22 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use. Still, federal law continues to ban the plant, classifying it as a Schedule I substance "no currently accepted medical use."
 

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http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ss...na_programs_are_a_front_for_legalization.html





Christie says medical marijuana programs are 'a front for legalization'


TRENTON — Following reports that New Jersey's medical marijuana program is suffering from low enrollment, Gov. Chris Christie called the program and similar programs across the U.S. "a front for legalization."

New Jersey passed its medical marijuana law in 2009, and former Gov. Jon Corzine, a Democrat, signed it just before Christie, a Republican, took office. The first dispensary opened in December 2012, with predictions that the drug could help tens of thousands of patients in the state with severe or painful illnesses.

But The Star-Ledger reported on Sunday that only 2,342 patients have signed up for the program.

And last week, the president and chief executive of Compassionate Care Foundation, Inc. of Egg Harbor Township — one of the state's three medical marijuana dispensaries — announced he had quit because he couldn't keep working for no pay in a struggling industry.

Christie said it's clear there is not a demand for medical pot.

"What there's a huge demand for is marijuana. Not medical marijuana," he said Monday night on his monthly radio show on 101.5-FM. "Because when we run a medically based program, you don't see the demand."

Some lawmakers, dispensary operators, and patients blame the low enrollment on the program's strict rules, high costs, the small amount of doctors willing to recommend patients, and Christie's lack of involvement in enhancing participation.

"There is so much reticence on the administration's part, I don't know how you break that logjam," state Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer), one of the lead sponsors of the law. "All they have to do is open their eyes."

But Christie said the program itself is suspect, suggesting that some people are using it not just to help sick patients but as path for all marijuana use to become legalized.

"What did these folks say?" the governor said Monday. "They weren't making enough money. You know, if this was a medical program, what's everybody worried about making money for?

"This is a fallacy," he added. "This program and all these other programs, in my mind, are a front for legalization. Unless you have a strong governor and a strong administration that says, 'Oh, medical marijuana? Absolutely. We are going to make it a medically based program.' No demand there — or very little."

Christie has repeatedly said that while he will administer the medical marijuana program by law, he will never support the legalization of recreational pot use in New Jersey while he is governor. He has said that would send the wrong message to children.

"We are following the law," the governor said Monday. "And we are following a medically based program. But I am not going to allow de-facto legalization of marijuana in this state or regular legalization of marijuana in this state by statute. It's not going to happen on my watch."
 

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http://www.usatoday.com/story/trave...na-colorado-washington-tsa-airports/10681759/




Marijuana at airports: Colo., Wash., adjust to new laws


It's been about six months since specialty shops selling recreational marijuana began operating legally in Colorado. In July, the first batch of shops licensed to sell retail weed will open in Washington State.

Both states prohibit locally-purchased pot from crossing state lines and marijuana remains illegal under the federal laws that also govern the aviation industry.

So as the busy summer travel season begins, we checked in with the TSA and some of the airports in the pot-pioneering states to see how they're enforcing – or plan to enforce – rules prohibiting passengers from taking pot on a plane.

TSA spokesman Ross Feinstein emphasizes that the agency's focus remains "terrorism and security threats to the aircraft and its passengers." And if you search for "marijuana" on the TSA's "Can I bring my ... through the security checkpoint?" tool, you'll get a message that begins "TSA security officers do not search for marijuana or other drugs."

But if TSA officers discover something – let's say a small amount of locally-legal pot – in a passenger's carry-on or checked luggage that may violate the federal law, Feinstein says those officers are required to refer the matter to local enforcement, "whose officials will determine whether to initiate a criminal investigation."

In an effort to keep travelers from trying, even inadvertently, to take pot through security checkpoints, airports in Colorado have instituted a variety of measures.

In January, Denver International instituted a policy that bans marijuana anywhere on airport property, including pre-security areas where having small amounts of pot would otherwise be allowed. Signs announcing the rules are posted and remind travelers that the airport can impose fines of up to $999.

Word seems to have gotten out: Since the beginning of the year, only ten passengers have been found to have small amounts of marijuana on them at the TSA checkpoints. "The Denver Police Department was called for each person and they all voluntarily complied with our rules by throwing [the pot] away before flying," said airport spokesman Heath Montgomery. "We established our rules early and worked to educate people about our expectations. That seems to be an effective combination," he said.

Other airports in Colorado are reporting much of the same.

At the Colorado Springs Airport, the local police department installed an amnesty box and as well as signs alerting passengers to the laws governing traveling across state lines with marijuana.

"We asking people to voluntarily comply," said Lt. Catherine Buckley of the Colorado Springs Police Department, "and so far only a small amount – 1.4 grams – has been turned in on one occasion."

In cooperation with its local sheriff's department, in January the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport set up signs and an amnesty box as well.

"We haven't really noticed too much of an issue," said Brian Grefe, the airport's assistant aviation director of administration, only that many images of its amnesty box have been showing up online. "It's been one of our biggest social media hits," said Grefe.

As Washington State gets ready for its first licensed recreational pot shops to open, "the best lesson it can take from Colorado is that while it is illegal to transport marijuana out of the state, people are still going to inadvertently show up with it at the airport," said Jeff Price an aviation and security expert and an a professor at the Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Price suggests airports in Washington take the approach Denver International adopted, "which is to ban it in the airport but then not prosecute people if they are caught with it – just send them back to their cars or confiscate and dispose of it properly," or to follow the lead of other airports that have set up pot amnesty boxes at TSA checkpoints.

So far, that's not what airports in Washington State seem to be planning.

Officials at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport say there are no plans to install amnesty boxes and no plans to change any airport procedures due to the opening of retail pot stores.

"I suppose a passenger could throw their pot in the garbage if they'd like," said airport spokesman Perry Cooper.

There are no plans to change procedures at the Spokane International Airport either. There, airport police officers who currently encounter travelers with small amounts of medical marijuana "advise them of the option to surrender it to the airport police who can legally destroy it," said airport spokesman Todd Woodard.

"Transporting marijuana across a state line is a criminal matter not an aviation issue," said Woodard. "We will not be installing amnesty boxes. Nor will we be erecting signage."
 

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/p...101-applications-medical-marijuana-developers




(Las Vegas) County approves 101 applications for medical marijuana developers


Clark County commissioners on Tuesday approved 101 applications from medical marijuana developers seeking to open production, cultivation and laboratory facilities from Laughlin to Las Vegas.

With unanimous votes, commissioners approved the vast majority, rejecting only five applications from a pool of 106. Commissioners started the day with 112 applications. The remaining six withdrew.

The marathon, seven-hour hearing capped the county’s foray into approving medical marijuana applications for special use permits. They approved 58 permits for cultivation facilities, 38 permits for production facilities and five permits for laboratories for testing the medical marijuana.

The applicants will still need approval from the state. Commissioners earlier this month approved 18 applications for dispensaries in unincorporated Clark County.

Prominent players in the medical marijuana applications include people like Randy Black, a longtime casino executive and businessman who retired last year from Mesquite Gaming, and Las Vegas Sun publisher and editor Brian Greenspun.

Tuesday’s process was a strong contrast to the dispensary phase. Then, there were 79 applicants aiming for one of 18 dispensaries, assuring a greater number of losers than winners.

That meant fewer furrowed brows and a lighter spirit Tuesday as applicants chatted in the hallway, holding maps and waiting their turn to get called before the commission.

Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak said that while the pace was quick — a six-minute limit for each presentation — commissioners had often visited individually with the developers and toured their proposed sites.

Marla Wilson, a co-manager of Vegas Valley Growers, has a background in pharmaceutical device sales. The company received cultivation and production permits.

“This is a great alternative for patients,” she said, adding that the option is needed.

Peter Ishak, who moved to Las Vegas from Los Angeles, is with Polaris Wellness Center, a company that’s planning cultivation and production work that includes sodas, brownies and cookies with the medicine, with an eye toward helping patients who cannot smoke.

Polaris Wellness Center, the company, had unsuccessfully made a run for a dispensary permit, though Ishak said they’re not discouraged by the initial rejection.

“There’s going to be other opportunities,” he said.

Black got approval for his company, Clear River, to set up a production and cultivation facility in Laughlin. He had also received approval for a dispensary in Laughlin.

Black said the Laughlin area is under-served and will benefit from the facility.

“It’s a lot of luck and a lot of preparation and a lot of prayers,” said Bob Gronauer Jr., Black’s attorney.

Applicants stressed the security of their operation — in one case employees will be required to wear uniforms without pockets to keep theft down.

Technology was also a big part of the presentation. For example, Redwood Warehouse, a company approved to operate on the west side of Redwood Street near Gary Avenue, plans to use cultivation that relies on natural light as much as possible.

The artificial light will be automatically adjusted based on how much natural light is present, said part-owner Leon Kermani.

The rapid-fire approach to approving the applications doesn’t mean the county’s done talking about medical marijuana. Commissioners plan to discuss related issues at a future meeting — including the issue of outdoor advertising for medical marijuana facilities.
 

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http://www.kxly.com/news/spokane-news/marijuana-retailers-getting-ready-for-opening-day/26540320




(Washington) Marijuana retailers getting ready for opening day


In a little over three weeks Washington will open its first recreational marijuana stores, with only a handful of retailers to receive licenses in July.

For Scott DeKay, it's going to be a family business.

"We got our display case here. We're going to have our pipes and then sealed samples of marijuana for customers to look at," said Scott DeKay, owner of Savage THC in Clayton.

He's filed the last bit of paperwork required to obtain a recreational marijuana retail license.

"They're trying to get 20 open by the first of July and I'm still hoping to be one of those 20," said DeKay.

Dekay says getting into the first group of retailers to open will be important to start paying off the cost of setting up shop.

"They'll stand here, like I said out front, they'll have the little tray right here. Put the product in, push it out," said DeKay as he demonstrated how the transaction will be handled behind bullet proof glass.

Now that the final paperwork is done, arguably the hardest part, second only to finding a retail space, Dekay only needs to pass an inspection, pay his license fee and secure product for opening day.

"I got my landlord, which was really, really, really tough but he's on board," said DeKay.

The Washington State Liquor Control Board said it's prioritized who gets a license by geographic region and population density, meaning retailers in bigger cities like Spokane and Seattle will be getting the first licenses. After that it falls to retailers who are the closest to passing inspection. The board says licenses will likely be mailed out close to July 7 and Dekay says he'll be ready and that the community is already stopping in with questions.

"Just to see what's going on and then they're like, 'It's you? What is going? Give me a hug,'" said DeKay.
 

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http://www.standard.co.uk/news/lond...e-tower-of-london-and-south-bank-9546187.html




Cannabis plants are growing outside the Tower of London and South Bank


Unusual botany has been cropping up alongside London’s landmarks in the form of cannabis plants.

Cannabis activists have been scattering hemp seeds across the capital to criticise drug laws and claim it is completely legal because they are “feeding the birds.”

The #Feed420 campaign invites participants to plants the seeds to provoke the government into changing cannabis laws for people using it for medicinal purposes.

Campaigners claim three foot high cannabis plants have been growing along the South Bank and by the Tower of London for months, with some still going unnoticed.

Finn Hemmingway, spokesman for Feed The Birds, said he believes there are as many as 2,000 people scattering seeds across the UK in support of the campaign.

He said: “Some of them are still there. The oldest are three months old and were planted eight to 10 weeks ago.

“I think a fair amount of them have gone unnoticed, in the coming months they will become more obvious.”

He added: “The war on drugs is a catastrophic failure, and I think that cannabis growing openly on the streets of London emphasises how ludicrous our drug laws are. Putting a human in a prison cell for using a plant is the crime."

"In an ideal world I would like to see medicinal users not being sent to prison for everyday use."

A spokeswoman for the Home Office confirmed the campaigners were not breaking the law, if they were not cultivating the plants.
 

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http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ca...abis-industry-2014-06-18?reflink=MW_news_stmp




Cannabis Therapy Pursues IP Strategy in Cannabis Industry


Cannabis Therapy Corp CTCO +14.00% a development stage company that aims to become a leader in the research, development, and commercialization of cannabinoid-based medicinal therapies and supplements, recently announced that it has selected international law firm Nixon Peabody LLP to manage and protect its current and future intellectual property assets.

"We are moving rapidly ahead in a sector where seemingly benign therapies, such as fish oils, can become billion dollar brands in very short order," said Cannabis Therapy Corp. President & CEO Soren Mogelsvang. "We have no intention of underestimating the potential value that cannabinoids can mean to both the medical community and to the public at large."

Nutraceutical Focus

Cannabis Therapy differs from many other publicly traded cannabis companies, like GW Pharmaceuticals plc GWPH -4.42% or Cannabis Sciences Inc CBIS -2.57% , in that it is focusing on nutraceuticals rather than pharmaceuticals. In contrast to pharmaceutical drug development's lengthy, high risk, and expensive pathways to commercialization, the company's nutraceutical approach aims to shorten the regulatory process and significantly speed up the commercial timeline.

In particular, the company plans to work with hemp, a low THC cannabis variety that is free of the psychoactive effects associated with marijuana and can be legally grown in several states under the recently passed Farm Bill. Long-term, the company aims to develop new, proprietary hemp strains with improved medicinal potential. With its planned ISO-compliant extraction and characterization processes, the company targets strict quality control and manufacturing standards, which aims to eventually benefit end-users across the nation.

The company may also offer laboratory purification and testing services, along with third-party product development, to a select group of industry partners in the future. By working with other groups, management could further expedite the commercialization of innovative, new cannabis-based nutraceuticals. The larger portfolio would also reduce any risks associated with individual products.

Intellectual Property

The hemp plant, which can be legally grown in many states, contains over 450 different compounds offering significant medicinal benefits without any meaningful psychoactive THC content. Cannabis Therapy plans to leverage these substances to create a diverse portfolio of nutraceutical products. By protecting the resulting innovations with patents, the company could build a sizable IP portfolio within the industry. This dynamic could create licensing opportunities in the future, particularly as cannabinoids and related substances become more widely accepted.

The agreement with Nixon Peabody could help dramatically in protecting future assets. The law firm has extensive experience working with both start-ups and established companies to develop comprehensive patent strategies to protect IP, with a focus on strategic portfolio management, patent prosecution, transactional matters, and associated client counseling.

"Nixon Peabody has strong experience in the pharmaceutical sector and in the development of new intellectual property," added Dr. Mogelsvang. "We look forward to working together to advance our business objectives."

Looking Ahead

Cannabis Therapy has been moving quickly to execute its business plan and move closer to commercialization. In may 2014, the company signed a commercial agreement providing an exclusive land lease and crop management services with Rocky Mountain Hemp Inc. in Springfield, CO. The agreement is aimed at growing the hemp necessary to create its line-up of THC-free, cannabis-based nutraceuticals.

"This is a major step forward and a key component of our strategic plan to become a vertically integrated manufacturer of safe, pharmaceutical grade cannabinoid products," said Dr. Mogelsvang in a prior press release. "It is critically important that we control the cultivation and processing of our crops, and we are extremely pleased to partner with Rocky Mountain Hemp Inc."

The vertically integrated nature of the company's operations mitigates other key hazards, such as supplier issues associated with hemp sourcing. By owning its own supply chain, from seed to sale, shareholders benefit from lower overall costs, potentially higher margins, and reduced risks. These factors make the company worth watching over the coming quarters as management executes its plans.

For additional information please see the following resources:

- Company Website - http://cannabistherapy.com/

- CannabisFN Profile - http://www.cannabisfn.com/mdc/cannabis-therapy-corp/
 
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