MJ News for 07/17/2014

7greeneyes

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http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/07/17/dc-marijuana-law/12770301/





D.C. marijuana decriminalization law takes effect



A marijuana decriminalization law passed by the D.C. Council in the spring took effect Thursday at 12:01 a.m. after a Congressional review process passed.

The new law, like others around the country, eases punishments for minor marijuana offenses.

Now, unless someone is discovered carrying more than an ounce of marijuana, officers can only confiscate the drug and write a $25 ticket.

Police also can no longer take action simply because they smell marijuana. They can no longer demand that anyone carrying under an ounce of marijuana produce identification, according to the Washington Post.

There will still be civil penalties for those caught using marijuana in public or caught with it on federal government property.

Police prepared for the arrival of the new law by reviewing an eight-page special order and taking an online tutorial, according to the Washington Times.

"As of midnight Wednesday night, no member can make or approve an arrest for marijuana possession without having first taken this training," Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump told the Times.

Supporters of this law, and others like it around the country, argue that laws for low-level drug crimes such as marijuana possession often target young black and Hispanic men, with the punishment sometimes affecting their entire lives. The district attorney in Brooklyn, N.Y., recently announced a similar change there, and for the same reason.

But Delroy Burton, chair of the D.C. Police Union, has criticized the law as too vague and confusing.

"This is not a simple issue," Burton told the Washington Post. 'It's about enforcement and decriminalization and where you draw the line of what officers can do or cannot do."
 

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http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/07/17/house-votes-to-allow-marijuana-related-banking/




House votes to allow marijuana-related banking



WASHINGTON – The House voted Wednesday in support of making it easier for banks to do business with legal pot shops and providers of medical marijuana.

The 236-186 vote rejected a move by Rep. John Fleming, R-La., to block the Treasury Department from implementing guidance it issued in February telling banks how to report on their dealings with marijuana-related businesses without running afoul of federal money-laundering laws.

Marijuana dealing is still against federal law, so banks who do business with marijuana dispensaries could be accused of helping them launder their money. Federal money laundering convictions can mean decades in prison.

The Treasury guidance was intended to give banks confidence that they can deal with marijuana businesses in states where they're legal. Many banks are still reluctant to do so.

That has forced many marijuana operations to stockpile cash, a situation that shop owners say is dangerous.

"They are operating just in cash, which creates its own potential for crime, robbery, assault and battery," said Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., whose state has legalized recreational pot use. "You cannot track the money. There is skimming and tax evasion. So the guidance by the Justice Department and the guidance by the Treasury Department is to bring this out into the open."

The vote is largely symbolic since Treasury already had gone ahead with the guidance, but it demonstrates a loosening of anti-marijuana sentiment on Capitol Hill.

"Whereas the federal government once stood in the way of marijuana reform at every opportunity, the changing politics of this issue are such that more politicians are now working to accommodate popular state laws so that they can be implemented effectively," said marijuana advocate Tom Angell.

A coalition of 46 mostly GOP moderates and libertarian-tilting Republicans joined with all but seven Democrats to beat back Fleming's attempt to block the Treasury guidance.

The underlying measure, however, would block the District of Columbia from implementing a local law decriminalizing pot possession. The D.C. City Council approved a measure reducing the penalty for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana to a $25 fine.

That provision, by Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., also would block the city from legalizing pot as Colorado and Washington state have done.
 

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http://www.azcentral.com/story/news...t-be-legalized-law-enforcement-says/12752537/




Ariz. law enforcement: Marijuana shouldn't be legalized


A majority of Arizona's sheriffs and county attorneys approved a resolution Wednesday opposing the legalization of marijuana in Arizona.

The voice vote at the Arizona County Attorney & Sheriff's Association meeting comes as marijuana advocates have set their sights on Arizona to replicate Colorado's model of regulated pot for recreational use in 2016.

The Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, which advocates for marijuana legalization and regulation intends to pursue full legalization in Arizona through a voter initiative in Arizona and several other states over the next two election cycles.

The resolution includes nearly two dozen points stating why the group opposes legalization, ranging from marijuana being harmful to the adolescent brain, negatively impacting IQ, and drug use leading to risky behavior. It cites more than two pages of publications to support its statements.

Among the points in the resolution:

■ If marijuana were legalized an additional 32,000 high-school students in Arizona would be more likely to use marijuana.

■ Driving while impaired by marijuana is correlated with an increased chance of being at fault in a crash.

■ Marijuana legalization would lead to increased marijuana use.

■ Marijuana use can impact safety and productivity in the workplace.

"... Be it further resolved that we support public education on the harms of marijuana, and proven prevention interventions such as community-based drug prevention efforts, drug treatment courts, offender re-entry programs and probation reform; and further support making drug treatment available to all who need it," the resolution states.

Most sheriffs and county attorneys voted "aye," according to Jen Marson, executive director of the Arizona Association of Counties. Coconino Sheriff William Pribil abstained from the vote; law enforcement officials from Apache and Santa Cruz counties were absent.

The resolution was sponsored by MATFORCE, an organization that aims to end substance abuse.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said he supported the resolution "to ensure a full and fair discussion in the debate over marijuana and other drugs." He said advocates of marijuana legalization have "left a gross misimpression of the real physical, mental and emotional harm" caused by marijuana.

Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, said the resolution is bewildering.

"It's baffling that law enforcement officials would prefer adults use alcohol instead of marijuana when alcohol is far more dangerous," Tvert said.

He speculated that law enforcement officials may be worried about losing influence if voters legalize marijuana for recreational use.

"Some law-enforcement officials view this as a loss of power for their offices," he said. "If they no longer need to arrest and prosecute thousands of adults for marijuana, they might not need as many resources as they're receiving."

In 2010, voters approved marijuana for medicinal use. About 50,000 people participate in the program, which has been condemned by law-enforcement officials and hailed by marijuana advocates.
 

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http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/the-number-of-marijuana-dealers-in-the-united-states/




The Number of Marijuana Dealers in the United States


Last week, I looked at the status of the legal marijuana market in Colorado following the release of a blockbuster report from the state’s Department of Revenue reviewing the first few months of legalization. A key finding of the report was that a substantial amount of the recreational market is composed of Coloradans moving from the black market to the retail market.

On one hand, this is a story about the success of decriminalizing an activity a lot of people do and pulling a lucrative business out of the shadows. But it also had me wondering about how many pot dealers there are in the United States. Counting them turns out to be a difficult problem, and a Google search turned up a bunch of useless Yahoo Answers about legalization.

Instead, I approached the question through a technique called Fermi estimation, a back-of-the-envelope strategy that is generally good about making sure you’re in the right order of magnitude if not exactly correct. You’re probably somewhat familiar with it if you’ve ever heard the classic interview question, “How many piano tuners are there in the city of Chicago?”

First, break the problem into parts. You estimate the demand (the number of piano tunings needed in Chicago in a year), and then given the demand, you estimate the supply (the number of piano tuners) needed to meet that demand. How many people are in Chicago? Given that, how many households? How many households with a piano? How often does a piano need to be tuned? How many pianos can a piano tuner tune in a week? So, how many piano tuners do you need to satisfy demand?

The answer won’t be perfect, but the objective is to get it in the ballpark. Are we talking dozens of piano tuners? Hundreds? Thousands? That’s what Fermi estimation is good at.

Back to marijuana. How many full-time pot dealers are there in the United States?

I looked at the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to get a headcount of people who smoke marijuana. According to the survey, 29.7 million Americans 12 or older had smoked within the past year. Of those, 18.1 million smoked pot within the past month. For our purposes, let’s assume the people who smoked within the past month are regular users, and the rest are occasional users. This means that in 2011, about 11.6 million smoked at least once a month, and 6.5 million people had used marijuana less than once a month. The report also estimated that 7.1 million people 12 or older used marijuana more than 20 times per month.

So this is what our demand for marijuana looks like:

Use, but less than once per month: 11.6 million occasional users
Use between one and 20 times per month: 11.1 million regular users
Use more than 20 times per month: 7.1 million heavy users
It’s important to draw these lines when it comes to usage, because it makes a difference when it comes to estimating how frequently people buy pot. Because we’re estimating the number of full-time pot dealers, we only want to look at the regular and heavy smokers; I’m going to assume that people who use pot less than once per month probably get it from friends.

For the next step, I assume that heavy marijuana users buy from a dealer twice a month, regular users buy once a month and infrequent users don’t buy from a professional pot dealer. This estimate is partially informed by consumption data I read in a RAND Corp. study, but mostly because it seems a reasonable frequency.

This means that 11.1 million people are buying weed once a month, and 7.1 million people are buying weed twice a month. This comes out to 29.2 million professional marijuana transactions per month in the United States. Let’s guess that a full-time pot dealer works every day, eight hours a day and can make one transaction per hour; that comes out to about 240 sales per month per pot dealer.

There’s a lot of liability for error in this estimate — that pace seems a bit speedy for a pot dealer, and it also assumes that pot dealers don’t run out of marijuana — but as long as we’re in the right order of magnitude of “a couple of hundred drug sales per month,” we’re in the ballpark.

With 29.2 million marijuana transactions per month and 240 transactions per dealer, division says that we’d need 121,600 pot dealers to satisfy demand. This seems surprisingly reasonable. That’s a little less than the number of family physicians in 2011.

So, how does this stack up against other metrics of the drug salesman profession? Again, we sought to estimate the minimum number of people required to satisfy the market, but unsurprisingly the actual number may very well be higher. Based on FBI statistics, there were about 94,900 arrests for marijuana sale or manufacturing in 2011. And while this number accounts for the entire marijuana production apparatus in the U.S. — at all steps in the chain, from producers to major traffickers to low-level part-timers — it’s unreasonable to expect that the nearly 121,600 estimate is exactly right. But hey, at least our source isn’t Yahoo Answers.

CORRECTION (July 17, 12:01 p.m.): Reader Dr. Jon Gettman wrote in to point out the NSDUH 18.1 million figure refers to monthly users, not annual ones as we wrote, and that the annual figure is 29.7 million users of marijuana. This error has been corrected — as have dependent numbers. This error underscores one of the advantages of Fermi estimations: it’s not super sensitive to any one input. For a more in-depth explanation of this, check out this XKCD What If? Post.
 

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http://www.webmd.com/brain/news/20140717/cannabis-paranoia\




Study Sheds Light on Cannabis and Paranoia


July 17, 2014 -- An in-depth investigation has concluded that people who smoke cannabis are much more likely to have paranoia than people who don't use the drug.

The study also identifies psychological factors that can lead to feelings of paranoia in people exposed to the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, THC.

The team of researchers, led by Professor Daniel Freeman, PHD, of the University of Oxford, found that worrying, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and having a range of unsettling changes in perceptions most likely lead to the feelings of paranoia.

Fearing Harm

A paranoid person is someone who has an unfounded fear that others intend to harm them. Many people have some degree of paranoia. Those who are young, poor, in bad health, contemplating suicide, or using cannabis are more prone to have paranoid episodes.

The scientists set out to explore two things:

Firstly, does cannabis cause paranoia?
Secondly, how does cannabis affect the mind in order to cause paranoia?
Injecting THC

They tested 121 participants between the ages of 21 and 50. All of them had taken cannabis at least once before.

None of the participants had a history of mental illness, and all were screened to rule out relevant health conditions. But all of those taking part said they'd felt paranoid at least once in the previous month.

The volunteers were not invited to smoke joints. Instead, the scientists injected some of them with THC in order to ensure the results were as accurate as possible.

Two-thirds of the participants were given THC, and one-third received a placebo.

The amount of THC given was equal to a strong cannabis joint, and the effects lasted about 90 minutes.

Virtual Reality

Immediately after being injected, the volunteers were asked to walk into a hospital cafeteria and buy an item. From there they were taken to a lab, where they wore virtual reality headsets displaying a neutral social situation that didn't have any hostile characteristics.

These experiments were followed up with questionnaires and interviews.

After analyzing the results, the scientists found that THC increased the likelihood of paranoia happening.

Half the participants had paranoid thoughts with THC, compared to just 30% with placebo.

The paranoia declined as the drug left the bloodstream.

The drug also caused a range of other psychological effects: anxiety, worry, lowered mood, negative thoughts about the self, various changes in perception (such as sounds being louder than normal and colors brighter), thoughts echoing, altered perception of time, and poorer short-term memory.

Negative Feelings

The researchers believe the study reinforces the idea that paranoia stems from multiple causes.

They say it's likely that paranoia creeps in because THC increases negative feelings, and the perceptual changes lead to the rise in paranoia. There was no indication that the poorer short-term memory caused the increase in paranoia.

Freeman tells WebMD that young people may be more at risk. "There's certainly evidence that if you use cannabis -- particularly when you're young -- and you use it a lot, that this can put you at risk for later problems."

He says the results don't have any implications for policing, the criminal justice system, or politicians.

"I think what it highlights is that if you have greater confidence in yourself, you improve your self-esteem, and if you try not to worry or ruminate about potential threats in the world... then the effects of the THC should hopefully be less capable of inducing paranoia," he says.

The study was part-funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London. It's published in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin.
 

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http://www.fox5vegas.com/story/26039686/latest-products-on-display-at-massive-cannibas-trade-show




(Nevada) Latest products on display at massive cannabis trade show


LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -
Medical marijuana dispensaries are coming to Clark County, and there's typically a lot more available at them than people may realize.

With that in mind, exhibitors from across the county have gathered at the Las Vegas Convention Center for the Champs Trade Show, one of the largest shows of its kind in the world. They're displaying state-of-the-art products for the medical pot business as prospective dispensary owners make business plans.

"The newest, coolest, freshest thing is what everybody wants to buy," an attendee who identified himself as Master Bong said.

About 800 exhibitors have everything from glass bongs to smoke soap and hemp shampoo. They're items you may soon find in a local dispensary.

"I'm all about helping people in smaller businesses and also being a part of something that's new and fresh," said Rob Browning, a representative from exhibitor Futurola.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is the basis of many of the products on display, including oils and chewing treats. Many consumers believe that Cannabidiol, a chemical compound found in cannabis, has positive medical effects without the high normally associated with cannabis.

"It releases the natural serotonins, endorphins. It helps me relax. It keeps me from getting too stressed out," attendee Bobby West said.

"Learning about CBD and the effects it has for some people – once I did that, I had to get involved," exhibitor Jason Golec said.

While CBD is legal in all 50 states, there are still distribution problems associated with it and many other marijuana products.

"Being in the cannabis business, there are all kinds of regulatory problems," exhibitor Andrew Hard said.

Because federal law deems cannabis illegal and the federal government regulates the banking industry, business dealing with controlled substances will get red-flagged by banks.

"They cannot process checks. They cannot run direct deposit. They cannot use direct deposit to pay their employees. This forces businesses to be cash only," Hard said.

Still, Champs attendees said this is a minor challenge for the booming industry.

The Champs Trade Shows wraps up Thursday at 6 p.m.
 

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http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-17/council-push-for-hemp-and-cannabis/5604832




(Tasmania) Council push for hemp and cannabis


The Derwent Valley Council in Tasmania will tonight discuss the setting up of a taskforce to examine whether council should push hard for the growing of industrial hemp and medicinal cannabis crops.

The move comes following a recent approach to the State Government for trials of medicinal cannabis crops which was rejected by the Health Minister Michael Ferguson.

If the taskforce is approved at tonight's council meeting, the plan is to look at both crops for medicinal, fibre and food products.

A second council, the Dorset council in the state's north east, will also discuss hemp and cannabis crops at its next meeting on Monday.

Mayor Barry Jarvis says many farmers have approached him to ask questions about growing hemp and cannabis crops and he believes it would fit well with poppy crops.

The Dorset council is expected to pursue talks with the State Government over the future growing of industrial hemp and medicinal cannabis.
 

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