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MJ News for 09/10/14

7greeneyes

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http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/09/health/teen-marijuana-use/




Frequent teen marijuana use linked to issues later in life




(CNN) -- Teens who use marijuana daily before age 17 are more than 60% less likely to get their high school diploma than those who've never used pot, according to a new study published Tuesday in the journal The Lancet Psychiatry.

The study, done by researchers in Australia and New Zealand, is a meta-analysis of three previous long-running studies that included nearly 4,000 participants.

Researchers looked at links between frequent cannabis use and seven developmental outcomes up until the age of 30. They looked specifically at whether the teens completed high school, got a college degree, were dependent on marijuana, had attempted suicide, were diagnosed with depression, used other illegal drugs and/or relied on welfare to support themselves.

The study found daily adolescent users were 18 times more likely to become dependent on marijuana, seven times more likely to attempt suicide, and eight times more likely to use other illegal drugs in the future.

Researchers also found that while a causal link to depression and welfare dependence was unlikely, heavy marijuana use increased the odds. Evidence was not sufficient, according to the study authors, to support a causal link between marijuana use and suicide.

"The results provide very strong evidence for a more direct relationship between adolescence cannabis use and later harm," said lead author Edmund Silins with the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, Australia. "The findings are particularly timely given the growing movement to decriminalize or legalize cannabis because this has raised the possibility the drug might become more accessible to young people."

The risks increased as the amount of marijuana used increased, according to researchers. They say those who used marijuana daily are at the greatest risk of poorer outcomes later in life. However, they admit these studies are limited in their ability to explain what's behind the associations.

Mason Tvert, communications director with the Marijuana Policy Project, said the study doesn't show using marijuana causes any of these problems; it just underscores a link between individuals who use marijuana and those who experience these types of problems.

"The article expressly states that there remains no evidence that using marijuana causes depression, suicide or dropping out of school," he said. "It simply shows that teens who are prone to developing these problems are more likely to have used marijuana."

"Nobody wants teens to use marijuana, but it's quite clear that it poses far less harm to the consumer and to others than the abuse of alcohol or prescription drugs."

The study authors said preventing or delaying cannabis use by teens is likely to have broad health and social benefits.

"Policy makers need to be aware that the early use of cannabis is associated with a range of negative outcomes for young adults that affect their health, well-being and also their achievement," Silins said. "The findings strongly suggest that any reforms to cannabis legislation should be carefully evaluated to make sure they reduce adolescence cannabis use and prevent potentially adverse effects on adolescent development."

According to the 2013 Monitoring the Future survey done in the United States, approximately 7% of high school seniors are daily or near-daily cannabis users. The annual study, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, looks at behaviors and attitudes of eighth, 10th and 12th graders.

NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow says she was not surprised by the study's conclusions.

"This analysis is consistent with findings that show heavy marijuana users generally report lower life satisfaction, poorer mental and physical health, more relationship problems, and less academic and career success compared to non-marijuana-using peers," Volkow said. "The risk of addiction is also higher when use initiates as a teen. It is important that we continue to discourage young people from using marijuana."
 

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http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/09/opinion/the-nfls-absurd-marijuana-policy.html




The N.F.L.’s Absurd Marijuana Policy




LOS ANGELES — VIRTUALLY every single player in the N.F.L. has a certifiable need for medical marijuana.

The game we celebrate creates a life of daily pain for those who play it. Some players choose marijuana to manage this pain, which allows them to perform at a high level without sacrificing their bodies or their minds.

I medicated with marijuana for most of my career as a tight end from 2003 through 2008. And I needed the medication. I broke my tibia, dislocated my shoulder, separated both shoulders, tore my groin off the bone once and my hamstring off the bone twice, broke fingers and ribs, tore my medial collateral ligament, suffered brain trauma, etc. Most players have similar medical charts. And every one of them needs the medicine.

Standard pain management in the N.F.L. is pain pills and pregame injections. But not all players favor the pill and needle approach. In my experience, many prefer marijuana. The attitude toward weed in the locker room mirrors the attitude in America at large. It’s not a big deal. Players have been familiar with it since adolescence, and those who use it do so to offset the brutality of the game. The fact that they made it to the N.F.L. at all means that their marijuana use is under control.

Had marijuana become a problem for me, it would have been reflected in my job performance, and I would have been cut. I took my job seriously and would not have allowed that to happen. The point is, marijuana and excellence on the playing field are not mutually exclusive.

A good example is Josh Gordon, the Cleveland Browns wide receiver who led the league last year with 1,646 receiving yards, despite missing two games for testing positive for codeine (for a strep throat, he said). He was suspended again late last month for the entire season after testing positive for marijuana. (At least five others were also suspended last year and this year for marijuana, according to the magazine Mother Jones.)

Most players are tested once a year under the N.F.L.’s substance abuse policy, between April 20 and Aug. 9. But players who test positive for a banned drug are placed in the league’s substance abuse program, where the testing is more frequent. It is in this probationary program that players tend to falter.

Gordon had marijuana in his system. He broke the rules. I understand that. But this is a rule that absurdly equates marijuana with opiates, opioids and PCP. The N.F.L.’s threshold for disciplinary action for marijuana is 10 times higher than the one used by the International Olympic Committee.

Nearly 17,000 Americans overdosed and died from prescription painkillers in 2011, according to the most recent figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These are the same pills I was handed in full bottles after an injury. The same pills that are ravaging our cities. The same ones that are creating a population of apathetic adults, pill-popping their way through the day and dead behind the eyes. The same ones that are leading high schoolers to heroin because the pills no longer get them high and are too expensive. Yeah, those.

And there’s Josh Gordon, one of the planet’s most successful athletes. He is fit enough to run dozens of offensive plays a game and torch world-class athletes in the process. He memorizes complicated playbooks every week, learns sign language, remembers the coded language the quarterback uses when switching a play at the last second and adheres to militaristic itineraries of life in the N.F.L. He seems like a man in full control of his faculties.

In my playing days, the marijuana smokers struck me as sharper, more thoughtful and more likely to challenge authority than the nonsmokers. It makes me wonder if we weren’t that way because marijuana allowed us to avoid the heavy daze of pain pills. It gave us clarity. It kept us sane.

The social tide is turning regarding marijuana. As of July, 35 states and the District of Columbia permit some form of medical marijuana, and 18 states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized it.

Professional football is a violent trade that could use some forward thinking. The N.F.L. and the N.F.L. Players Association, which agreed to the league’s substance abuse policy in collective bargaining, should rethink their approach. The policy reflects outdated views on marijuana and pain management, punishes players who seek an alternative to painkillers, keeps them in a perpetual state of injury and injury management, and risks creating new addicts.
 

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/10/females-tolerance-marijua_n_5784022.html




Females Build Up Tolerance To Marijuana Faster Than Males, Study Finds




Despite a shortage of research on the topic, it's been suggested that drugs affect men and women differently. And because of the recent legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington and medical marijuana in 23 states, it's now more important than ever that women understand how THC affects their body chemistry specifically.

Researchers at Washington State University have found evidence indicating that females may build up a tolerance to marijuana more easily than males do. While it's not entirely predictive, people with an increased tolerance of a drug are more likely to become addicted to it -- which means women may want to think twice before matching a man joint for joint.

The study focused on the pain-relieving effects of THC on male and female rats. In this case, rats made for good subjects, because, like humans, rats have a menstrual cycle (albeit one that lasts four to five days instead of 28), and they experience similar ovarian hormone fluctuations, which affect pain.

At the beginning of the trial, the female rats displayed a higher sensitivity to THC than the males. However, after 10 days of testing, researchers found that the female rats were needing higher doses of THC than the males just to experience the same degree of pain relief. In other words, while female rats started out being more sensitive to THC, after 10 days, they ended up less sensitive.

"We were looking at the pain-relieving effects," Professor Rebecca Craft, chair of the psychology department at WSU and lead researcher of the study, told HuffPost. "One of the things that is of concern if you're using any medication repeatedly is: Will it maintain its effectiveness over time?"

There have been a number of clinical trials in humans suggesting that marijuana and cannabinoid drugs alleviate pain. For women, this is an important issue, since medical researchers are now seriously considering these drugs' potential to relieve chronic pain -- something women in particular will benefit from if administered properly.

"Over their lifetime, women actually suffer quite a bit more pain than men do," Craft said. "So women have a lot of need for analgesic drugs."

As of now, rats are the most convenient method of exploring possible gender disparities in the pain-relieving effects of drugs, given their aforementioned hormone similarities to humans, as well as the difficulty of wrangling busy human test subjects to come into the lab at frequent, hyper-specific points of their cycles.

Craft is confident that these results are generalizable to humans, but she said that you can never be sure until you actually begin testing people.

"There are some differences in the species in terms of how they metabolize drugs," Craft said. "You really want to see some kind of confirmation that the same thing is happening in humans."

In a 2014 study, women reported feeling the "high" sensation more acutely than men when given a joint to smoke. This sensitivity, combined with Craft's findings, can better inform doctors who want to prescribe cannabis as a pain reliever and women who smoke cannabis recreationally.

Craft noted that it's possible today to get much stronger marijuana than when the drug first rose to popularity in the 1960s and '70s, and that it's easier now than ever to observe potential differences in how men and women respond to the drug. She suggested that women educate themselves about marijuana use and proceed with caution, just as they would with liquor consumption. Marijuana addiction does occur, though only in a small percentage of cases.

"I think it's great that there's been a social change in the fact that recreational drug use is more acceptable now than it used to be," said Craft. "But there are some greater risks for women with some drugs, and I think they need to be aware of that."
 

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http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/...king-system/w2Dy5xWNqyHK09Ip5pZW5H/story.html




(Massachusetts) Marijuana dispensaries need access to banking system




NEARLY TWO years after Massachusetts voters approved medical marijuana, nine distribution centers are to open next year in places like Brookline, Lowell, Salem, and Quincy. The state licensing process for these dispensaries has been convoluted. And yet that path seems easy to navigate compared with the latest obstacle: the banking system. Because the drug remains illegal under federal law, marijuana-related businesses nationwide have struggled to find banks that will accept their deposits. This is creating a bizarre and dangerous cash management situation for businesses that Massachusetts and other states treat as legal. Federal lawmakers and regulators should acknowledge this and allow marijuana dispensaries to use the banking system safely.

Nationwide, legal marijuana sales are expected to reach about $2.6 billion this year. In February, the Obama administration announced new guidelines for banks to legally do business with state-regulated marijuana merchants. But the action doesn’t prevent federal authorities from prosecuting or otherwise penalizing those banks. Not surprisingly, banks are still leery of serving the on-the-books marijuana industry. Recently, it was reported that only 105 banks and credit unions — 1 percent of the total nationwide — provide banking services to marijuana dispensaries, according to a top federal official.


The issue is most acute in Washington and Colorado, the only states to allow sales of recreational marijuana. But three-quarters of Americans now live in states with marijuana laws more lenient than the federal government’s. Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia allow some form of medical marijuana. In November, Alaska and Oregon voters will decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana.

In light of a shift in public sentiment, it’s worrisome to hear of marijuana business operators having to hide tens of thousands of dollars in cash in offices and carry it around in paper bags because banks refuse to take their money.

The cash stockpiling has created unintended consequences: New security businesses have sprung up to protect the cash that marijuana merchants are forced to transport. A Seattle marijuana businessman told The New York Times: “We have to play this never-ending shell game of different cars, different routes, different dates, and different times.” Meanwhile, owners of marijuana stores have to pay tens of thousands of dollars in state taxes using cash. Even more puzzling: Legal marijuana businesses without bank accounts are charged a 10 percent penalty by the IRS for paying payroll taxes in cash.

Congress seems to be doing something about the problem. This summer, the US House approved a bipartisan amendment that allows banks to accept deposits from marijuana stores and dispensaries. The bill prevents the Treasury Department from penalizing financial institutions that provide services to marijuana businesses that are legal under state law. The Senate should quickly pass it so that marijuana businesses can at least begin to apply for the banking services they need.
 

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http://blog.constitutioncenter.org/2014/09/philly-seeks-to-decriminalize-marijuana-2/




Philly seeks to decriminalize marijuana




Mayor Michael Nutter :giggle: and City Councilman James Kenney have reached a deal to decriminalize marijuana possession and use in Philadelphia. The bill could set the city on a course for full legalization.

Under the terms of the compromise agreement, those caught possessing fewer than 30g of marijuana would be issued a citation and fined $25. Those found using the drug in public would see a fine of $100.

“I have been working with the administration for many months on this issue,” Kenney told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I am very happy we have worked out a commonsense agreement that will keep police out on the street fighting crime … and will also save thousands of people a year from the life-altering consequences of a criminal record for a minor offense.”

In June, the City Council passed a bill making similar reductions in penalties for minor possession. At the time, Nutter refused to sign the bill, citing unaddressed concerns about public use.

On Monday, however, the mayor sang a different tune.

“I think Councilman Kenney’s advocacy here has caused all of us to talk about this and focus on this particular issue in a very, very different way,” Nutter said. “We were never at odds about the goal, and we share the same goal: People should not necessarily get arrested, or be hassled, or end up with a life-changing criminal record.”

The bill will be formally introduced to the Council on Thursday, when members return from their summer recess. It could go into effect as early as October 20.

Statewide, the possession or use of marijuana remains a criminal act. When members of the state Senate Appropriations Committee return from their own recess on September 15, however, they will consider the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act. If they approve, the full body will vote.

But even for states with legalization regimes, the controversy continues.

A report this week by the New York Times highlights the case of Brandon Coats, who was fired from his job as a customer-service representative for Dish Network after he tested positive for marijuana.

The catch: Coats lives in Colorado, where voters legalized pot by referendum in 2012.

On top of that, Coats tested positive because he has used medical marijuana nightly since 2009 to relieve the painful spasms felt after a car crash left him paralyzed at age 16.

Indeed, numerous businesses in Colorado and Washington, as well as states that only permit medical marijuana, are hewing to the drug-free policies they maintained before recent laws were passed. In fact, one survey shows 21 percent of businesses in Colorado actually tightened their restrictions after the 2012 vote.

As a result, citizens across the country are stuck between a permissive legal regime and a business culture that does not welcome their newly liberated habits.

Others face the added complication of a local government that doesn’t want pot shops opening in its backyard.

The city of Fife, Washington, offers an instructive example. While state voters joined Colorado in approving legalization in 2012, Fife was one of many cities in both states to pass local bans.

Tedd Wetherbee, the would-be owner of a strip-mall pot shop in Fife, sued the city to have the ban overturned as a violation of state law and the popular will.

In late August, Pierce County Judge Ronald Culpepper ruled in favor of the city, saying the ban does not conflict with state law. He did, however, reject an argument forwarded by city officials that federal law preempts state law in the case. (The Controlled Substances Act continues to ban marijuana as a Schedule I substance.)

Constitution Daily has also reported on a bubbling conflict between Congress and the District of Columbia over marijuana use within the capital’s borders, as well as continued uncertainty for banks and other financial institutions that hope to service the growing pot economy without the cloud of possible federal intervention.

It all adds up to the promise of more debate in the City of Brotherly Love.
 

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http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2014/09/09/cancer-patient-avoids-prison-for-growing-marijuana/




(Iowa) Cancer Patient Avoids Prison For Growing Marijuana




DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — A dying Iowa man who grew marijuana to treat terminal cancer was sentenced to probation Tuesday, avoiding prison even as he defended his decision to violate the law.

Judge Henry Latham chastised 48-year-old Benton Mackenzie for ignoring the law by growing 71 marijuana plants in a trailer outside his parents’ eastern Iowa home. He said growing so many plants would not be legal even in the 23 states that allow medical marijuana, which Iowa does not, and noted Mackenzie had two prior drug convictions.

But Latham said he was using his discretion to grant probation so Mackenzie could receive medical treatment for angiosarcoma, a rare cancer of the blood vessels that has caused large skin lesions on his buttocks. Latham suspended a potential 15-year prison sentence and issued a three-year term of probation instead, a relief to supporters and medical marijuana advocates who packed the Davenport courtroom.

Mackenzie, sitting in a wheelchair, told the judge he felt he didn’t have any choice but to break the law. He said the treatment from cannabis oil had made some of his tumors disappear since he was first diagnosed seven years ago. Wearing loose-fitting sweatpants that covered large skin lesions and appearing to grimace at times, he said he was justified ignoring laws that “take away my right guaranteed by the constitution to my life.”

“I have lasted seven years on a disease that takes people who don’t get treated in two years. And people who go through the traditional methods, they last three years. So basically I have proven the decision I made was the right one, to save my life,” he said.

Latham warned that Mackenzie must be substance-abuse free while on probation, and could be sent to prison for violating that term.

“You are a man with intelligence and passion. I hope you can put your efforts to a more constructive use than to continue to violate the laws of this state,” he said.

Latham also ordered probation for Mackenzie’s wife, 43-year-old Loretta Mackenzie, and his 23-year-old son, Cody Mackenzie. Loretta Mackenzie said staying free will allow her to remain the primary caregiver for her husband, whose condition is worsening.

The case has outraged advocates for medical marijuana, who believe the family should not have been prosecuted.

They were charged following a June 2013 raid on the property of the Long Grove, Iowa, home where they live with Mackenzie’s parents. Sheriff’s deputies found 71 marijuana plants, growing equipment, drug paraphernalia and a small amount of marijuana in Cody’s room.

At trial, Latham barred Benton Mackenzie from testifying about his cancer, noting that a medical necessity defense is not allowed in Iowa.

Jurors in July found Mackenzie and his wife guilty of manufacturing marijuana and related charges. Their son was found guilty of possession, but he maintained his innocence Tuesday.

Scott County Attorney Mike Walton has said he’s enforcing state law and noted that Mackenzie’s two prior felony drug convictions from 2000 and 2011 make him a “habitual offender.” But on Tuesday, assistant county prosecutor Patrick McElyea recommended a sentence of probation after noting Mackenzie’s poor health.

The office recently dropped charges of hosting a drug house against Dorothy and Charles Mackenzie, who are in their 70s, stemming from the raid.

Benton Mackenzie smiled as he left the courthouse in his wheelchair, telling reporters he had been prepared for a prison term. He said he will ask his probation officer for permission to travel to Oregon so he can resume treatment under that state’s medical marijuana law.

He hopes his case will lead to a more robust medical marijuana law in Iowa, where lawmakers recently voted to allow only the most severe epilepsy patients to use cannabis oil for treatment.

“I hope this is the straw that breaks the camel’s back and brings some sanity to lawmakers’ decision-making process,” he said. “I hope I am the last person who has to go through this.”
 

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http://www.politics.co.uk/blogs/201...y-decriminalised-cannabis-and-it-was-a-disast




Britain secretly decriminalised cannabis – and it's a disaster




For some time now, England and Wales have had a semi-decriminalisation programme for cannabis. And it has ended up criminalising more cannabis users than ever before.

But it doesn't criminalise all cannabis users: it primarily targets people who are young, black or Asian. It is a story of muddle-headed government initiatives, skewed police incentives, racism, drug wars and the old, old habit of treating white people more leniently than everyone else.

In 2004, when cannabis was made Class C, cannabis warnings were introduced. These were spoken warnings given by a policeman on the street if you were caught with a small amount of weed for personal use. Five years later the drug was returned to Class B, but the cannabis warnings remained. This effectively gave the police discretion in how they treated cannabis possession. The result of this discretion was the disproportionate targeting of black and Asian youths.

Cannabis warnings are now the first step on the 'escalator' system of options available to the police if you're caught. It goes like this:

First time: Cannabis warning. Informal, verbal, doesn't form part of your criminal record. This is the least harsh option available to a police officer if they catch you with drugs.

Second time: Penalty Notice for Disorder (PND). Issued to anyone who has already got a cannabis warning within the last 12 months. Results in an £80 fine which must be paid in 21 days. Like cannabis warnings, they don't contribute to your criminal record. Also like cannabis warnings, they are issued there and then on the street.

Third time: Caution. Police can use this instead of sending someone to court for prosecution. Anyone accepting a caution must admit their guilt and it does figure on their criminal record. Cautions are preceded by an arrest and being taken to the police station.

Fourth time: Charge. The police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) can charge an individual for possession and send them to the courts.

This is the best-case escalator scenario, where you are being treated as leniently as possible. The police can, if they want, charge you on a first offence. But that's not how it's supposed to work.

Nevertheless, it sounds reasonable. Clearly, this was partial, informal decriminalisation. Criminal penalties continued, but someone caught with cannabis was not expected to face severe criminal sanction. So even when cannabis was reclassified as Class B in 2009, the police had the freedom to maintain its previous classification in all but name.

What this policy has really done, though, is suck more people into the criminal justice system.

When the cannabis warnings were introduced, Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) chairman Andy Hayman said there should be a "presumption against arrest" and urged police officers to "use their discretion".

It worked for a while. The number of cautions issued dropped 40% in the first year. But by 2005 they were rising again. By 2011, the number of people found guilty of cannabis possession in court exceeded the number for the year before the warning scheme was introduced.

The graph below shows how many more people came into contact with the criminal justice system for cannabis. Partial decriminalisation had merely added a host of new police powers to the armoury.

What caused it? How did a method brought in to make the drug system more liberal do the opposite?

The problem is that a cannabis warning is classified as a 'recorded crime outcome'. That means that it is classified as a crime that has been detected and resolved. On the books, the verbal cannabis warning given to a teenager is equal to a murderer being brought in after months of painstaking detective work.

When the coalition came to power one of the first things it did was get rid of the target culture in the police force. But that only gets you so far. Humans are humans and police are police. Officers who want to get on in their careers still want to get their numbers up.

Cannabis crimes are a low-hanging fruit. They're an easy way to make it look as if you are a productive and hard-working member of the force.

Niamh Eastwood, executive director of Release, says:

"Many police officers on the street will proactively go out looking for people who are in possession of drugs for their own personal use, usually cannabis, in order to demonstrate their effectiveness to their superior officers.

"This activity is most concentrated in areas of deprivation, where young people, often those from black and Asian backgrounds, are continually stopped and searched in the hope that small amounts of drugs will be found and an outcome achieved.

"In our view the police have been given ample opportunity to change their practices and have failed."

Police officers go into areas they know they're likely to catch a bunch of kids with some drugs on them and they search people. The first occasion may just be a cannabis warning, but on the next visit it'll be a penalty notice, a caution – or straight to court. This informal model of decriminalisation didn't really decriminalise anything, it just introduced a new soft method of bringing young black and Asian kids into the criminal justice system.

The stats speak for themselves: seven out of 1,000 white people are searched for drugs. That doubles to 14 per 1,000 for those who are mixed race, like some weird kind of ethnic arithmetic. It's 18 per 1,000 for Asians and 45 per 1,000 for black people.

Black people are then charged for possession of cannabis at five times the rate of white people in London. For cannabis warnings, the rate is three times.

It's not just the police. The CPS is also responsible. It is absolutely not in the public interest to stuff the courts and the prisons full of people with some weed in their pocket. Its own guidance says so. But in practice, that's what they do.

Cannabis cases, like drug stop-and-search, provide low-hanging legal fruit. They have a very high rate of successful prosecution. You only need forensic confirmation that it's cannabis and a police officer to say they found it on the kid. Job done. No-one takes a young black kid's word over a police officer. The jury will almost always convict. They don't have much choice.

By 2010, the CPS was bringing more prosecutions for drugs than in any year since the Misuse of Drugs Act in 1971, and this was mainly driven by cannabis possession. Every year, between ten per cent and 15% of all indictable offences brought before the courts are for drug possession.

The people who get prosecuted are young – often very young. One in ten of them are between the ages of 15 and 18. And they are disproportionately black. Black people are sentenced at a rate of 4.5 times that of white people for drug offences. They are subject to immediate custody at five times the rate of white people.

The effect on those found guilty is shameful and well-documented. They are often thrown in jail, at the cost of £40,000 a year to the taxpayer. Once in there, they are statistically much more likely to go back to jail. They meet more criminals, try more things and learn a few others. With a criminal record, they find it harder to get a job. Without a job, they are more likely to turn to crime. And to benefits, while we're at it. Putting people in jail when you don't have to is a very, very bad way to reduce a deficit.

But the negative effect of this system isn't just in these worst-case scenarios. It starts earlier, on that first contact, when a young black kid is stopped and searched by a policeman for drugs.

This aggressive approach to disadvantaged communities defines many people's first and lasting impression of the police. It leads them to believe – often rightly – that they are bullies and thugs, coming into their neighbourhoods, taking control of them for a small amount of weed in their pocket, and starting a process which will, a few steps down the road, ruin their life chances. Of course, the white middle class kids are smoking that weed too. But they're not in the neighbourhoods the police use to get their numbers up.

It creates a generation of kids who don't trust the police, who are less likely to report a crime, to get in contact as a witness, or even join the force. It creates a generation who will laugh in your face if you mention 'community policing'.

What is the solution? It is easy. Stop counting cannabis warnings as a 'recorded crime outcome'. Remove the incentive for police to criminalise youth. It could be done with a flick of the pen and the situation would be much improved.

Theresa May is currently committed to reducing the number of stop and searches. If she is serious about it, this would be a very good way to do it.
 

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http://www.fastcompany.com/3035175/food-week/three-beginner-mistakes-to-avoid-when-eating-cannabis




THREE BEGINNER MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN EATING CANNABIS




You're visiting a friend in Colorado, or Oregon, or California, and they offer you something you haven't eaten since college: a marijuana edible. Maybe it's something they've cooked themselves, or maybe it's store-bought. What could go wrong?

Three things, probably:

1) You spend a lot of money and get nothing.

Many people spend hundreds of dollars on marijuana only to screw up the extraction process.

"When cooking with weed, it is very important to use fat (oil, butter, milk) because THC is fat soluble and not water soluble," says Matt Gray, cofounder and CEO of The Stoner's Cookbook. "If you want good extractions, you have to put the time and attention into following the proper steps."

Most recipes you'll find leave out the most important step, says Gray.

"The first mistake many people make is they forget to decarboxylate their cannabis. A lot of home chefs skip this important step, and put the plant directly into the oil or butter.

Decarboxylation removes the CO2 molecule from THTA, turning it into the THC molecule which your brain loves so much. To do this, put the ground cannabis in the oven at 240 degrees Fahrenheit for about 90 minutes. After the cannabis has decarboxylated, it is ready to be infused into oil or butter.

2) You eat way too much and end up having a PTSD-inducing trip.

"You can always eat more edibles, you can't eat less," says Gray. "It's important to go slow and give your body time to react to the THC in edibles." He recommends having other (clearly labeled) foods that contain no THC, so that people who are still hungry can eat without getting more medicated.

Remember: It can take up to two or three hours before the drug takes hold, so don't wait 45 minutes and chow down on more.

3) You don't know how to sober up.

Drinking coffee induces a nice placebo effect for drunks, but what about people who are too high? There are indeed some antidotes for THC, besides simply sleeping it off. Gray, who cites the British Journal of Pharmacology, says there are two acute ways to reduce the effects of THC. They are:

*Eating pistachios or pine nuts. They contain pinene,which is a chemical that helps with mental clarity.

*Eating the citrus acid found in lemons, oranges, and grapefruits. Make sure you eat the pulp!
 

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http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/...king-system/w2Dy5xWNqyHK09Ip5pZW5H/story.html




(Massachusetts) Marijuana dispensaries need access to banking system




NEARLY TWO years after Massachusetts voters approved medical marijuana, nine distribution centers are to open next year in places like Brookline, Lowell, Salem, and Quincy. The state licensing process for these dispensaries has been convoluted. And yet that path seems easy to navigate compared with the latest obstacle: the banking system. Because the drug remains illegal under federal law, marijuana-related businesses nationwide have struggled to find banks that will accept their deposits. This is creating a bizarre and dangerous cash management situation for businesses that Massachusetts and other states treat as legal. Federal lawmakers and regulators should acknowledge this and allow marijuana dispensaries to use the banking system safely.

Nationwide, legal marijuana sales are expected to reach about $2.6 billion this year. In February, the Obama administration announced new guidelines for banks to legally do business with state-regulated marijuana merchants. But the action doesn’t prevent federal authorities from prosecuting or otherwise penalizing those banks. Not surprisingly, banks are still leery of serving the on-the-books marijuana industry. Recently, it was reported that only 105 banks and credit unions — 1 percent of the total nationwide — provide banking services to marijuana dispensaries, according to a top federal official.


The issue is most acute in Washington and Colorado, the only states to allow sales of recreational marijuana. But three-quarters of Americans now live in states with marijuana laws more lenient than the federal government’s. Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia allow some form of medical marijuana. In November, Alaska and Oregon voters will decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana.

In light of a shift in public sentiment, it’s worrisome to hear of marijuana business operators having to hide tens of thousands of dollars in cash in offices and carry it around in paper bags because banks refuse to take their money.

The cash stockpiling has created unintended consequences: New security businesses have sprung up to protect the cash that marijuana merchants are forced to transport. A Seattle marijuana businessman told The New York Times: “We have to play this never-ending shell game of different cars, different routes, different dates, and different times.” Meanwhile, owners of marijuana stores have to pay tens of thousands of dollars in state taxes using cash. Even more puzzling: Legal marijuana businesses without bank accounts are charged a 10 percent penalty by the IRS for paying payroll taxes in cash.

Congress seems to be doing something about the problem. This summer, the US House approved a bipartisan amendment that allows banks to accept deposits from marijuana stores and dispensaries. The bill prevents the Treasury Department from penalizing financial institutions that provide services to marijuana businesses that are legal under state law. The Senate should quickly pass it so that marijuana businesses can at least begin to apply for the banking services they need.
I want to know how the **** it's publicly traded on the federal stock market?
 

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