MJ News for 10/16/2014

7greeneyes

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http://www.azcentral.com/story/news...a-lawmakers-bill-legalize-marijuana/17252435/




Arizona lawmaker plans bill to legalize marijuana




PHOENIX — An Arizona lawmaker plans to introduce a proposal next year to legalize recreational marijuana before a similar proposal could get decided by voters in 2016.

Republican Rep. Ethan Orr of Tucson aims to convince fellow conservatives that a voter-approved measure is nearly impossible to change once it is approved and not the way to set up a complex system of rules and taxes for the drug, The Arizona Capitol Times reported Monday (http://bit.ly/ZWCLLV ).

The only way to change voter-approved measures in Arizona is through a two-thirds vote of each the state House and Senate, and the revisions must align with the intent of the measure.

"I would rather us as elected leaders be the ones directing the conversation and the debate, and ultimately controlling the policy, as opposed to letting it go to a citizens' initiative where you can't change the law once it's in place," he said.

Advocates for legal recreational marijuana are aiming to put their proposal on Arizona's ballot in 2016.

Voters have already approved the use of marijuana to treat certain medical conditions such as chronic pain, cancer and muscle spasms.

Republican Rep. Bob Thorpe of Flagstaff said he has concerns about Colorado's legal industry, especially in when it comes to health, use by children and the effect on nearby states. And he said passing a measure in Arizona likely would be impossible politically.

"I think being a Republican and sponsoring a bill that legalizes marijuana might be a third rail," Thorpe said. Something that you really don't want to touch as a Republican because you'll get cooked, especially by the base."

Mason Tvert, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, which is organizing the 2016 ballot measure, said more libertarian-leaning Republicans favor legalization and opinions in the party are changing along with those of the public.

Tvert said his group is moving forward with the 2016 measure because it's unclear if lawmakers will approve a measure.

There have been other efforts to legalize pot in the state. Former Rep. John Fillmore, a Republican, introduced a bill in 2011, and former Rep. Ruben Gallego, a Democrat, proposed a measure this year — but neither made progress.
 

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http://lostcoastoutpost.com/2014/oct/15/fireman-save-marijuana-harvest/




(California) Fire Crews Save Marijuana Harvest [Dog Found]




This afternoon, marijuana was saved from being prematurely set aflame as firefighters in Redway struggled to put out a fire in a drying room attached to a home off Redway Drive. According to Cal Fire Battalion Chief Marty Hobbs, the cause is under investigation but the fire apparently occurred when a fan used for circulating the air malfunctioned.
Hobbs explained that the room was initially difficult to access. The homeowner eventually showed up to check on her rental and was able to provide a key.

“Heaters and fans were running when we got in,” Hobbs explained. Low hanging marijuana made it difficult for crews to enter the structure. Firefighters would have had to crouch down very low to find the fire source.

“The stuff was in our way,” Hobbs said. Normal procedure is to remove items that block access. “When contents are in our way, we remove it out of the building,” he explained. If there is enough firefighters on the scene, Hobbs said, crews will also typically salvage items of importance to the resident. “If there is anything of value—computers, pictures—if we have extra personnel, they’ll start taking out anything to protect it from damage.”

In this case, a tarp was spread on the ground. Firefighters carried out armfuls of cannabis and heaped in on the tarp. “It is still there,” he explained, “and it is going to be there when we leave.”

During the firefighting, the marijuana, Hobbs said, was “re-hydrated.” He explained that he doesn’t know enough about the crop to speak to its condition but he stated that a local was able to explain that “it was salvageable.”

Two 215’s [valid doctor’s recommendations for cannabis] were posted on a tree near the building.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department was on the scene briefly.
 

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/15/colorado-marijuana-_n_5985312.html




Marijuana Legalization Not Lighting Up Colorado's Hottest Races




DENVER -- "It's tough to get the stoners to the polls," budtender Maxwell Cranford said from behind the counter at The Clinic, a medical and recreational marijuana dispensary located less than a mile from the state capitol here.

As Cranford's remarks suggest, the legalization of recreational marijuana hasn't been a potent issue thus far in Colorado's gubernatorial and Senate races, despite polarized public opinion on the matter. Indeed, an informal survey of industry employees revealed that they're not concerned that Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper's Republican opponent, former Rep. Bob Beauprez, would threaten the industry if elected.

Beauprez has said that, as governor, he would consider repealing marijuana legalization, which Coloradans voted for in November 2012.

"It's dumb for [Beauprez] to say that because it's making so much money for the state," said Mandy Perras, a colleague of Cranford's at The Clinic.

The Clinic, where Cranford and Perras advise visitors on the relative merits of brownies vs. cookies, suckers vs. sodas and indica vs. sativa, is a typical Denver dispensary. It could be mistaken for a doctor's office, except that it fastidiously checks whether visitors are 21.

Asked whether they were voting with the fate of the industry in mind, neither Cranford nor Perras said they thought legalization was in danger of being reversed, regardless of the election's outcome.

The two employees didn't express much enthusiasm for Hickenlooper, who said during a debate that he thought voters were "reckless" to approve Amendment 64, which legalized marijuana in the state. Hickenlooper's leadership implementing the measure, however, has been generally well-regarded.

At the Native Roots dispensary downtown, budtender Ryan Hicks agreed that the industry, which has already generated millions of dollars in revenue, wouldn't be threatened if Beauprez prevails in November.

"Business is good, states all over are copying us, it's creating jobs," he said. "The industry's here to stay."

Unlike in the governor's race, marijuana legalization hasn't come up in the close contest between Sen. Mark Udall (D) and his Republican challenger, Rep. Cory Gardner, though the candidates have taken opposite approaches in Congress to how federal authorities deal with the industry.

Gardner was one of just two members of Colorado's congressional delegation to vote against an amendment that prohibited enforcement of federal drug laws against state-licensed medical marijuana businesses. He also wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder last year questioning the Justice Department's authority to allow Colorado to opt out of federal drug laws. Udall, for his part, has advocated for the federal government to allow marijuana businesses access to basic banking services.

Though the National Cannabis Industry Association and the Marijuana Policy Project have both given $2,500 to Udall's campaign, pro-marijuana advocates haven't engaged in much political activity on the ground in support of his re-election bid. NCIA spokesperson Taylor West suggested that since sales are booming, "there's only so much energy [marijuana] businesses can give to being politically active."

The Marijuana Industry Group's Mike Elliott offered another explanation for why the issue hasn't flared up in the race, calling cannabis legalization "a tricky political issue that defies conventional political norms."

"Gardner's in a very weird spot of being this tea party Republican, pro-small business, pro-states' rights candidate who said 'Please stop my state from implementing the will of the voters,'" Elliott explained. "Talk about a weird place to be in -- his own values are contradictory to the position he's taken."

Elliott's group held a fundraiser for Hickenlooper in August. In general, however, the gubernatorial race hasn't attracted significant spending from groups on either side of the legalization debate.

Rachel O'Bryan, a spokeswoman for Smart Colorado, a nonpartisan nonprofit that advocates for stricter regulations, said that she could envision the marijuana industry having more influence in the future as revenues continue to reach new highs.

"There's the potential for well-financed industry to move opinion," she said.

There is one issue, however, that elicited a much stronger reaction from the marijuana industry employees HuffPost talked to -- an issue that has nothing to do with cannabis.

Amendment 67, a measure that will appear on Colorado's ballot in November, would expand the definition of a person in the state's criminal code to include "unborn human beings." Opponents say the measure could ban abortion and some forms of contraception.

That warning had been absorbed by Hicks, Cranford and Perras, all three of whom said they'd be voting against the measure. And they won't even have to venture far from their couch, because for the first time ever, every registered Coloradoan will receive, and be able to return, their ballot through the mail.
 

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http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobsu...ister-stoners-will-try-to-get-your-kids-high/




The Mythical Menace Of Marijuana-Infused Halloween Candy




Move over, razor blades and shards of glass. The latest menace to innocent trick-or-treaters, according to the Denver Police Department (DPD), is marijuana-infused candy passed off as unspiked versions of the same treats.

This week the DPD posted a video in which Patrick Johnson, proprietor of Denver’s Urban Dispensary, warns that “there’s really no way to tell the difference between candy that’s infused and candy that’s not infused” once the products have been removed from their original packages. The video illustrates Johnson’s point with images of innocuous-looking gummy bears and gumdrops. He advises parents to inspect their kids’ Halloween haul and discard anything that looks unfamiliar or seems to have been tampered with.

Det. Aaron Kafer of the DPD’s Marijuana Unit amplifies that message in an “Ask the Expert” podcast, saying “there’s a ton of edible stuff that’s out there on the market that’s infused with marijuana that could be a big problem for your child.” Noting that “all marijuana edibles have to be labeled,” Kafer recommends that parents make sure their kids “avoid and not consume anything that is out of the package.”

CNN turned these warnings into a widely carried story headlined “Tricks, Treats and THC Fears in Colorado.” According to CNN, “Colorado parents have a new fear to factor in this Halloween: a very adult treat ending up in their kids’ candy bags.”

Actually, this fear is not so new. For years law enforcement officials have been warning parents to be on the lookout for marijuana edibles in their kids’ trick-or-treat sacks. And for years, as far as I can tell, there has not been a single documented case in which someone has tried to get kids high by doling out THC-tainted treats disguised as ordinary candy. Since 1996, the year that California became the first state to legalize marijuana for medical use, the newspapers and wire services covered by the Nexis database have not carried any reports of such trickery, although they have carried more than a few articles in which people worry about the possibility.

After the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) raided a San Francisco manufacturer of marijuana edibles in September 2007, for instance, the agency claimed it was protecting children, especially the ones who dress up in costumes and go begging for candy on October 31. “Kids and parents need to be careful in case kids get ahold of this candy,” said Javier Pena, special agent in charge of the DEA’s San Francisco office. “Halloween is coming up.” According to the Contra Costa Times, medical marijuana advocates “dismissed Pena’s Halloween reference as an ‘absurd’ attempt at ‘pure publicity.’”

A similar motive could be discerned three years later, when the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department “warned parents to be on the lookout for marijuana-laced candy, soda, freezer pops and other edibles that could be handed out on Halloween,” as the City News Service put it. “You really can’t tell the difference,” said Capt. Ralph Ornelas of the department’s Narcotics Bureau. “We felt obligated to share this information with the parents and the community.” As critics noted, Ornelas felt obligated to share this information just four days before voters decided the fate of Proposition 19, a marijuana legalization initiative opposed by his boss, Sheriff Lee Baca.

State officials also have been known to use Halloween as an excuse to remind people that drugs are bad. In 2008 Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum warned that “federal and state law enforcement agencies have reported that flavored drugs, particularly methamphetamines, heroin and marijuana, are circulating throughout the United States and could be ingested by unsuspecting children.” He advised parents to “check their children’s candy for anything which may resemble one of these new drug forms.” McCollum gets extra for mentioning candy-flavored meth, an apparently apocryphal threat that the DEA was never able to confirm.

Sometimes drug warriors play the Halloween card just because it’s there. Last October, after campus police seized 40 pounds of marijuana-infused candy at West Chester State University in Pennsylvania, the Associated Press reported that Chester County Deputy District Attorney Patrick Carmody “says there’s no indication students planned to distribute the candy to children for Halloween.” Rather, “Authorities believe the candy was meant to be shared and sold among university students.” Carmody still could not resist. “With Halloween just around the corner,” he said, “the last thing we want to see is drug-laced candy hitting the streets.”

Reporters do not necessarily need prodding from law enforcement officials to draw this connection, based purely on temporal coincidence. In October 2012, Buffalo police raided a college party and seized 640 pot-infused lollipops that had been shipped from California. Here is how the A.P. story began: “Just in time for Halloween…”

A year later, KYTV, the NBC station in Springfield, Missouri, reported that police had intercepted a package of cannabis candy mailed from Colorado to Joplin. “Halloween is just around the corner,” KYTV noted, adding that “the sheriff wants everyone to know that candy like these lemon drops are being circulated throughout the area, a safety concern for kids.” To ratchet up that fear, the station quoted a random mother of three. “I hope it was never intended to give to kids or to harm children,” she said, “but it is scary, especially with Halloween coming up, that they might be in contact with something like that, so it’s frightening.”

The prospect of seemingly friendly folks slipping your kids cannabis candy on Halloween is a bit less frightening when you realize how little evidence there is that anyone wants to do that. With marijuana edibles selling for much more than the regular candy you can get by the bagful at Walmart, it would be a pretty pricey prank. So far it does not seem that anyone has been tempted to play it. Dispensaries have been selling marijuana edibles for years in Colorado, where medical use of cannabis has been legal since 2001. Yet Michael Elliott, executive director of Colorado’s Marijuana Industry Group, says he is not aware of any incidents where edibles have been surreptitiously distributed to trick-or-treaters in that state or any of the 22 others that allow medical use.

“We don’t have any cases of it,” confirms Ron Hackett, a spokesman for the Denver Police Department. Nor does he know of any such cases in other jurisdictions. “This is our first year with [recreational] edibles, and we just kind of wanted to put it out there as a reminder,” Hackett says. “It’s just something that we really wanted to get out there and get ahead of, because kids will eat anything.”

A blogger at Ladybud, a “women’s lifestyle publication with a focus on activism specific to Drug War reform and other socially progressive issues,” detects a more sinister agenda. “This is just another way for those who most benefit from marijuana prohibition to try to convince the public that prohibition protects children,” she writes. “The real message here is that the average citizen should be wary of cannabis users; they might want to drug your kids and get them ‘hooked’ too.”

She has a point, although one should not discount the perennial appeal of urban legends about children in peril, especially the sort of unconfirmed yet scary tales that led many parents to closely examine their kids’ Halloween treats long before marijuana edibles were openly sold in stores. If you worry that malicious strangers are sticking needles into chocolate bars or dosing caramel apples with poison, you probably will also worry that they are passing off expensive marijuana edibles as dime store candy—just for kicks.

There is a cost to such bogeyman stories, and it goes beyond needlessly discarded candy. These rumors portray the world as a darker, more dangerous place than it really is, which is probably not conducive to a happy childhood or a successful adulthood. At the same time, the credence that public officials lend to such fanciful fears makes any reasonably skeptical person doubt other warnings from the same authorities, an unfortunate result when those warnings happen to be accurate and useful. I assume that happens from time to time, although no examples spring to mind.
 

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/15/eric-holder-vanita-gupta-marijuana_n_5992082.html?




Eric Holder's New Civil Rights Chief Is More Evolved On Marijuana Than He Is




WASHINGTON -- The newly named acting head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division has called for the legalization and regulation of marijuana, putting her ahead of Attorney General Eric Holder on that issue.

Vanita Gupta, the senior American Civil Liberties Union attorney who will take over the Civil Rights Division next week, wrote a CNN column last month praising the legalization and taxation of marijuana in Washington and Colorado. Her column focused on the story of Jeff Mizanskey, a Missouri man sentenced to life in prison for buying a few pounds of marijuana. Gupta argued there was a much better option than incarceration.

"The solution is clear. Instead of taxpayers spending millions of dollars on this unnecessary enforcement and keeping folks like Mizanskey in prison for the rest of their lives, states could follow Colorado and Washington by taxing and regulating marijuana and investing saved enforcement dollars in education, substance abuse treatment, and prevention and other health care," Gupta wrote.

Although Holder allowed the Washington and Colorado reforms to go into effect and seems to be evolving slowly on the issue, he hasn't outright endorsed either legalization or decriminalization of marijuana. This past spring, the attorney general told The Huffington Post that it's "hard to tell" if pot will be legal around the country in a decade. He also avoided directly endorsing decriminalization in the District of Columbia, his hometown. But he signaled last month that he doesn't believe marijuana belongs in the same law enforcement category as heroin.

Gupta, on the other hand, wrote that those "who seek a fairer criminal justice system, unclouded by racial bias," must "at minimum" demand that the government decriminalize possession of marijuana.

She also called the laws legalizing marijuana in Washington and Colorado "racial justice victories" and said the war on drugs has been "a war on communities of color."

Tom Angell of the advocacy group Marijuana Majority said that having "someone who believes that marijuana legalization is a social justice issue serving as the chief civil rights official in the Justice Department will be simply game changing."

That said, the Civil Rights Division doesn't oversee federal drug enforcement, as a Justice Department official pointed out to Roll Call on Wednesday afternoon.
 

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http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2014/oct/16/colorado-cannabis-laws-pot-smoking-tourism




Colorado’s new cannabis laws make it a top spot for pot tourism




As the sun rises over the Rockies, a tour bus pulls up outside the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver and deposits a new load of tourists. It’s not your usual busload, though. This group has come from Texas for a weekend organised by Spiro, a luxury cannabis tour operator, and its package includes a visit to a spa, dinner, a trip to a farm and a weed-infused cooking class. Some of them will buy and smoke, some are just curious, but they’re all here for the pot.

Until now choices for pot tourism have been limited. There’s Amsterdam, of course, where tourists can buy up to five grams and smoke in coffee shops, but this year in the US, since Washington state and Colorado legalised personal recreational purchasing and consumption of marijuana, there’s been a rush to open dispensaries and growing operations, particularly in Denver. Medicinal marijuana has been available in Colorado since 2000, so many existing suppliers are investing in more plants, space, shops and staff. There are, as yet, no Starbucks-style chains though; many of the dispensaries (selling everything from ready-rolled joints to smoking paraphernalia) are small and independently owned.

Drawn by the mountains and the laid-back atmosphere, tourists arrive daily in Colorado from other US states and, increasingly, from overseas. Buying cannabis is the easy part; smoking it is another story, as Colorado also has tough anti-smoking laws. Whether in edible or smokeable form, marijuana use is prohibited in public spaces, including streets and parks, and in places visible from public spaces (such as your hotel balcony). You can smoke inside at clubs such as Studio A64 in Colorado Springs, and a new wave of hotels allow smoking (of tobacco or weed) in 25% of the rooms.

Since the beginning of 2014, it is estimated that cannabis sales have brought Colorado $47m in tax revenue, with an estimated third of those sales to customers from out of state. From resorts in western Colorado, such as Aspen, to the university town of Boulder, new dispensaries are opening to take advantage of those looking for a more-refined buying experience. They tend to look like luxury fashion boutiques, with no tie-dye or Bob Marley shirts in sight. You’ll find ads for cannabis yoga, pot reading groups, arts clubs and other social activities meant to help take some of the stigma out of smoking and make it more communal. Edible products are becoming popular, with treats from chocolates to cocktails on sale – their serving sizes limited to 100mg (milligrams) of active ingredient THC per product.

From sea to shining sea, states are watching how the situation in Colorado develops – with, of course, an eye on the tax dollars. It must only be a matter of time before you can book a marijuana tour of the entire US – yoga and chocolate brownies included.

•My 420 Tours has packages from $1,295pp, including two nights’ accommodation. Spirotours has half-day tours from $399pp
 

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http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/283718.php




Creativity is not improved through cannabis use, claims study





Some people believe that smoking cannabis boosts creativity. But a new study by researchers from Leiden University in the Netherlands claims this is not the case; smoking cannabis may even hinder creativity.

The research team, including Lorenza Colzato of the Cognitive Psychology Unit at the Institute of Psychology at Leiden University and the Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition, recently published their findings in the journal Psychopharmacology.

Cannabis, or marijuana, is the most commonly used illicit drug in the US. According to a 2012 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 7.3% of individuals aged 12 and over had used cannabis in the past month.

Some cannabis users claim the drug enhances creativity. As the researchers point out, Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, once stated: "The best way I could describe the effect of the marijuana and hashish is that it would make me relaxed and creative."

Such effects have previously been attributed to the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis - tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The researchers wanted to test how cannabis - with different doses of THC - influenced creative thinking.

Enhanced creativity from cannabis use 'is an illusion'

The researchers enrolled 59 healthy regular cannabis users (52 males and seven females) to the study and divided them into three groups.

One group was given cannabis with high THC content (22 mg, equivalent to three joints), another group was given cannabis with a low dose of THC (5.5 mg, equivalent to one joint), while the remaining group was given a placebo.

The team notes that none of the candidates were aware of what they were being given.

All participants were then required to complete a series of cognitive tasks that measured two forms of creative thinking: divergent thinking (coming up with ideas by exploring as many solutions as possible) and convergent thinking (finding the only correct answer to a question).

The researchers found that cannabis with high-dose THC significantly impaired divergent thinking among participants, compared with low-dose THC and a placebo. "This is reflected in the decreased scores for fluency, flexibility, and originality of responses of participants in the high-dose condition," the researchers say.

Furthermore, they found that participants who smoked cannabis with low-dose THC did not significantly outperform those who smoked the placebo when it came to divergent thinking.

Low- and high-dose cannabis appeared to have no effect on convergent thinking among participants.

Commenting on the team's findings, Colzato says:

"The improved creativity that [cannabis users] believe they experience is an illusion. If you want to overcome writer's block or any other creative gap, lighting up a joint isn't the best solution. Smoking several joints one after the other can even be counterproductive to creative thinking."

Medical News Today recently reported on a study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, which claimed women may be more sensitive to the effects of THC than men.
 

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