MJ News for 11/20/2014

7greeneyes

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http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/19/opinion/miron-marijuana-legalization/





Why Congress should legalize pot





Following the liberal footsteps of Colorado and Washington, Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia passed ballot initiatives to legalize marijuana this month. Florida's medical marijuana law failed, but only because as a constitutional amendment it needed 60% support; 58% voted in favor of it.

In 2016, another five to 10 states will likely consider legalization -- possibly Arizona, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. It's not surprising. Opinion polls show that marijuana legalization now commands majority support across the country.

Do these developments mean that full legalization is inevitable?

Not necessarily, but one would hope so. Marijuana legalization is a policy no-brainer. Any society that professes to value liberty should leave adults free to consume marijuana.

Moreover, the evidence from states and countries that have decriminalized or medicalized marijuana suggests that policy plays a modest role in limiting use. And while marijuana can harm the user or others when consumed inappropriately, the same applies to many legal goods such as alcohol, tobacco, excessive eating or driving a car.

Recent evidence from Colorado confirms that marijuana's legal status has minimal impact on marijuana use or the harms allegedly caused by use. Since commercialization of medical marijuana in 2009, and since legalization in 2012, marijuana use, crime, traffic accidents, education and health outcomes have all followed their pre-existing trends rather than increasing or decreasing after policy liberalized.

The strong claims made by legalization critics are not borne out in the data. Likewise, some strong claims by legalization advocates -- e.g., that marijuana tourism would be a major boom to the economy -- have also not materialized.

The main impact of Colorado's legalization has been that marijuana users can now purchase and use with less worry about harsh legal ramifications.

Yet despite the compelling case for legalization, and progress toward legalization at the state level, ultimate success is not assured.

Federal law still prohibits marijuana, and existing jurisprudence (Gonzales v. Raich 2005) holds that federal law trumps state law when it comes to marijuana prohibition. So far, the federal government has mostly taken a hands-off approach to state medicalizations and legalizations, but in January 2017, the country will have a new president. That person could order the attorney general to enforce federal prohibition regardless of state law.

Whether that will happen is hard to forecast.

If more states legalize marijuana and public opinion continues its support, Washington may hesitate to push back. But federal prohibition creates problems even if enforcement is nominal: Marijuana business cannot easily use standard financial institutions and transactions technologies such as credit cards; physicians may still hesitate to prescribe marijuana; and medical researchers will still face difficulty in studying marijuana.

To realize the full potential of legalization, therefore, federal law must change. The best approach is to remove marijuana from the list of drugs regulated by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the federal law that governs prohibition.
Standard regulatory and tax policies would still apply to legalized marijuana, and states would probably adopt marijuana-specific regulations similar to those for alcohol (e.g., minimum purchase ages). State and federal governments might also impose "sin taxes," as for alcohol. But otherwise marijuana would be just another commodity, as it was before the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.

A more cautious approach would have Congress reschedule marijuana under the CSA.

Currently, marijuana is in Schedule I, which is reserved for drugs such as heroin and LSD that, according to the CSA, have "a high potential for abuse ... no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States ... [and] a lack of accepted safety for use." Hardly anyone believes these conditions apply to marijuana.

If marijuana were in Schedule II, which states it as "a high potential for abuse ... [but a] currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States," doctors could legally prescribe it under federal law, as with other Schedule II drugs such as cocaine, methadone and morphine.

Given the broad range of conditions for which marijuana may be useful, including muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis, nausea from cancer chemotherapy, poor appetite and weight loss caused by chronic illness such as HIV, chronic pain, stress, seizure disorders and Crohn's disease, doctors would have wide reign to prescribe, making marijuana all but legal as occurs under the broadest state medical marijuana laws, such as California and Colorado.

Medical science would also face fewer regulatory hurdles to marijuana research. This "medicalization" approach, while perhaps politically more feasible than full legalization, has serious drawbacks.

Federal authorities such as the Drug Enforcement Administration could interfere with marijuana prescribing -- as sometimes occurs with opiate prescribing. Taxing medical marijuana may be harder than taxing recreational marijuana. And the medical approach risks a charge of hypocrisy, since it is backdoor legalization. But medicalization is still better than full prohibition, since it eliminates the black market.

For 77 years, the United States has outlawed marijuana, with tragic repercussions and unintended consequences. The public and their state governments are on track to rectify this terrible policy. Here's hoping Congress catches up.
 

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http://www.adn.com/article/20141119/apoc-mulls-subpoena-marijuana-advocate-charlo-greenes-financials





(Alaska) APOC mulls subpoena of marijuana advocate Charlo Greene's financials




The Alaska Public Offices Commission is deliberating whether or not to subpoena Anchorage marijuana activist Charlo Greene's financial documents in an effort to understand if she might have violated campaign finance law.

The five-member commission came to no immediate conclusion Wednesday on whether to issue a subpoena to Greene -- whose legal name is Charlene Egbe -- which would force her to provide documents related to an online fundraising campaign.

The possible subpoena is only investigating Greene’s actions. Greene, a former KTVA-TV reporter who quit live on air to dedicate herself to her marijuana business full-time, could face fines if the commission finds she violated campaign finance law.

Alaska law requires all entities advocating for candidates or campaigns to register with the commission. All donations and expenditures related to campaign activities must be documented with the commission. The agency will issue its recommendation on whether or not to subpoena within 10 days of the hearing, according to APOC executive director Paul Dauphinais.

Should the commission decide to issue the subpoena, it then has the power to seek judicial enforcement of the request if Greene does not comply.

Greene contends the fundraising was not done to advocate for Ballot Measure 2, the initiative that voters approved Nov. 4 to legalize recreational marijuana in Alaska. While Greene registered her Alaska Cannabis Club business with the commission Oct. 2, filing a handful of independent expenditures, she then stopped and began challenging the agency’s jurisdiction over her fundraising efforts.

Greene’s representation reiterated to the commissioners during the 40-minute meeting that Greene’s IndieGogo campaign was to raise money for her “freedom and fairness fight” in legalizing marijuana. That’s a campaign, they argued, but a separate campaign from Ballot Measure 2.

Greene contends that the fundraising was for her as an individual and business owner, and that the Alaska Public Offices Commission has no authority for records related to her own finances. The online fundraising campaign netted Greene just over $8,400.

“The (Cannabis Club) is not intended as a political entity,” Greene’s representative, Don Hart, told commissioners at the hearing.

“It seems like unfair prosecution for one of the smallest players in this election,” said fellow Greene representative Ronda Marcy.

Both Hart and Marcy met Greene at Ballot Measure 2 hearings, which were held across the state. Both were involved in previous marijuana legalization campaigns in 2000 and 2004.


Commissioners asked questions of Greene’s representatives and of Tom Lucas, APOC group campaign disclosure coordinator.

Lucas pointed out to commissioners that even businesses are still subject to campaign disclosure rules. He used BP as an example, noting that if the company advocated for or against a ballot measure or candidate, they would be required to register and file expenditures with the commission.

“The fact that it is a business entity does not take it out of the jurisdiction of the Alaska Public Offices Commission,” Lucas said.

He also addressed Greene’s claims that she was harassed to come into compliance by Lucas with multiple phone calls and voicemails. In an earlier commission filing, Lucas noted difficulty in reaching Greene.

“The purpose of the contact was to try to bring her into compliance as soon as possible so any civil penalties that could be growing could be stopped in their tracks,” Lucas told the commission.

After the hearing Greene said if the commission decides to issue the subpoena she will continue to fight it, and that since coming out as owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club in September she has been transparent in her business dealings. But Greene contends APOC is overreaching in this matter. She said other smaller entities that advocated for the measure on Facebook don’t appear to be facing similar challenges from APOC.

“We understand the position that we're put in and that we have extra scrutiny paid to us and probably will for a long time,” Greene said. “But we just want to make sure we understand the position we’ve been put in and protect ourselves and other people’s rights.”
 

7greeneyes

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http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/11/19/marijuana-poisoning-incidents-spike-in-washington-state/




Marijuana poisoning incidents spike in Washington state




Marijuana exposure incidents, or 'pot poisonings,' have spiked in Washington state, especially among teenagers, in a trend experts said on Tuesday appears to be linked to the state's largely unregulated medical marijuana industry.

Marijuana exposures are defined as any situation where an adult or child suffers an adverse reaction to the consumption of marijuana, such as increased heart rate, paranoia or stomach illness, according to the Washington Poison Center.

Some 210 marijuana exposures were reported in the first nine months of the year, more than in all of 2013, according to Washington Poison Center Clinical Managing Director Alexander Garrard.

"Our thought is that the spike is potentially related to the number of unlicensed medical marijuana dispensaries that are opening up around the state," he said.

Washington legalized recreational marijuana use in 2012, with the first retail stores opening in 2014 under a highly regulated and taxed system in contrast to the relatively lax pre-existing regime for medical pot.

The state's medical marijuana industry, legalized in 1998, sells products of unconfirmed potency as well as marijuana edibles attractive to children, like gummy bears and lollipops.

While retail stores have been slow to open, Garrard said medical dispensaries have been expanding steadily over the past year.

He said most exposures among young children are accidental, with parents reporting their children found and ate marijuana-laced items such as cookies and candy bars.

Exposure incidents among teens ages 13 to 19 have seen the biggest spike, a trendline possibly linked to accessibility, Garrard said. There were 39 teen exposures in all of 2013, with almost as many reported this year through August, data shows.

"A kid may have access to it (medical marijuana) and who knows what they are doing with those products when they go to school, and they are hanging out with their friends," Garrard said. "It's really hard to track that information."

Marijuana detractors argue the push to legalize pot, which remains illegal under federal law, comes amid a lack of clear data about how cannabis affects young brains and bodies.

Garrard urged anyone suffering from illness linked to marijuana to report the incident to the poison center, which keeps patient information confidential.

"A lot of what we know about these adverse effects comes from these case reports or people having shown up in the hospital," he said.
 

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http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/official-bob-marley-marijuana-blend-on-the-way-20141119




Official Bob Marley Marijuana Blend On the Way





The world's most famous reggae singer is on the verge of becoming the Marlboro Man of Marijuana: The Bob Marley estate has licensed the Legend singer's name and likeness to create a special blend of herb dubbed Marley Natural.

Marley's widow Rita Marley and children Cedella and Rohan have teamed up with Privateer Holdings, a private equity group specializing in the legal marijuana market, to exclusively mass-produce those "heirloom Jamaican cannabis strains" that Marley himself smoked to make the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer the face of the herb revolution. Privateer also owns Tilray, a 60,000-square-foot property on Vancouver Island, British Columbia that ranks as the world's largest marijuana grow farm.

Although the blend won't hit the States where pot is legal – which now includes Alaska and Oregon – until late-2015, Marley is now positioned to become the face of a movement to legalize weed not just in America but worldwide. "Bob Marley started to push for legalization more than 50 years ago. We're going to help him finish it," Privateer Holdings CEO Brendan Kennedy told NBC News.

"It just seems natural that Daddy should be part of this conversation," Cedella Marley, 47, the reggae legend's first-born daughter, told NBC News in a taped statement. "As Daddy would say, 'make way for the positive day.'" Son Rohan Marley added, "Herb is for the healing of the nation; herb is for the meditation; herb is for the higher vibrations."

Rita Marley, who was once a member of Marley's backup singing group the I Threes, said in a statement, "You can depend on Bob, too. He’s 100 percent behind what is happening. He's happy because this is what we dreamed of," referring to marijuana legalization. "It was unruly for them to call it weed or drugs. We saw it as a spiritual thing, given to us by God." The Marley family also shared a commercial for the Marley Natural, as well as the blend's logo, a dread lion positioned between two pot leaves.

Marley finished ninth on Forbes' most recent list of the top-earning dead celebrities, with annual earnings of around $20 million for his estate (not including all the bootlegged clothing and paraphernalia featuring the singer's likeness). With the release of Marley Natural Fine Cannabis, and with the legal weed industry in America already at $50 billion and climbing with every state that decriminalizes marijuana, Marley's estate can expect to rocket up the posthumous earnings list in the near future.
 

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http://www.nydailynews.com/news/nat...nabis-station-pays-600-bill-article-1.2016614





San Francisco TV reporter gets high on cannabis products, gets his station to pay $600 bill




Getting high has its perks. At least it did for TV reporter Mike Sugerman who got his station to sign off on his $600 expenses bill on cannabis products.

Sugerman did not purchase the products to recreationally get high, he did it to conduct an experiment and find out what exactly are San Francisco dispensaries selling.

After being extremely ill from having bacteria in his aorta, and being prescribed some medical marijuana to help him get better, Sugerman noticed certain products would get him really high, while others had no effect on him. That got him thinking, what exactly is in the cannabis products that he was consuming?

Sugerman decided to use his medical marijuana card and purchase edibles, flowers and other random cannabis products from 12 different dispensaries.

He then had each product tested in a lab to determine the potency of each product. Once he got the results he wrote it all in a report.

His report revealed that some products contained pesticides and that some had less THC than indicated on the labels.

According to Sugerman, these cannabis products do not have FDA regulations due to the government classifying marijuana as an illegal drug. Therefor some of the products sold by dispensaries may be sold without being tested since federal agencies can't monitor the products.

"It turned out to be a great story and I think one that will really resonate in the community," Sugerman said in an interview with The Guardian. "We're flying blind here. And it's medicine. "
 

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http://www.kgw.com/story/news/local...rtland-to-host-cannabis-cup-in-2015/19243131/




(Oregon) Portland to host Cannabis Cup in 2015





PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland will host a massive marijuana event the same month that the drug becomes legal in Oregon.

The Cannabis Cup is coming to Portland in July 2015, High Times confirms.

High Times, which currently produces six Cannabis Cups in locations where marijuana is legal or has legal medical programs, will add Oregon as its seventh destination next year.

We talked with Dan Skye, the Editor in Chief of High Times, about what Oregonians can expect from the event next year.

Skye, who was on his way to the 27th annual Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam, said the Portland event will be something of a marijuana trade show, bringing together vendors who work in the marijuana industry.

"It's a chance for the public to see all these new businesses and check out some of the cannabis merchandise," he said.

Since marijuana will be legal, vendors will be able to offer free samples of products including edibles.

But Skye was quick to point out that the Portland Cannabis Cup will be a ticketed event open to people 21 and older, which differs from other marijuana-centric events like Hempstalk that are open to people of all ages.

Hempstalk denied permit for 2015 event at Waterfront Park

"IDs are checked, you have to be 21. We follow the rules rigorously. We are very up-front about what we are doing here," he said. "The fact is, it is legal. Everybody should get used to that. If you look at the evidence in Colorado there is no damage to the so-called social fabric."

The event will also feature educational seminars and national music acts – past Cannabis Cups have included performances by Cypress Hill and Ice Cube, and Skye hopes to add big-name musicians to the Portland bill.

The Denver event, which is held on April 20 (an unofficial marijuana holiday), attracted around 40,000 people and 500 vendors.

While Skye doesn't think the Portland event will draw as many people, it's still expected be a huge event for the city.

For Skye, the main purpose of the Cannabis Cup is to help remove the stigma around marijuana.

"It mainstreams cannabis, makes people see there are viable businesses cropping up around cannabis," he said.

And he's elated that pot has been legalized in the state.

"We're really thrilled that Portland turned the page on this," he said. "It makes economic sense, it makes social sense."

A location for the 2015 Portland Cannabis Cup has not yet been chosen.
 

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http://marijuana.com/news/2014/11/show-me-cannabis-skip-medical-phase-enact-legalization/





(Missouri) Show-Me Cannabis: Skip Medical Phase, Enact Legalization




Citizens or lawmakers enacted medical marijuana programs in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska long before voters legalized the plant for adult use. Many prominent targets for legalization in the next election cycle, such as California, Nevada, Arizona, Maine and Vermont, also allow medical marijuana.

In a move that may be seen more often in coming years, pro-pot advocates in Missouri want to skip the medical marijuana phase and go straight to legalization. (Editor’s note: Missouri passed a medical marijuana law in 2014, but it is limited to CBD and only for intractable epilepsy.)

Show-Me Cannabis, a Missouri marijuana activist group, filed the petition last week to put a legalization initiative on the 2016 ballot. To earn a place on the ballot, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander has to provide his approval, then petition backers can launch a drive to collect 165,000 signatures from registered voters. The group’s director thinks they can do it and he’s not alone.

“We still have a long road ahead of us,” says Show-Me Cannabis Executive Director John Payne. “But we can feel the wind at our backs.”

Other marijuana advocacy groups, a newly-elected state representative and the editorial board of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch agree that the time is right for Missouri legalization.

Trish Bertrand serves as president for the Springfield, Mo. chapter of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). She hasn’t forgotten that legalization attempts in 2012 and 2014 failed to gather enough signatures, but she thinks 2016 will be different.

“I really think it will pass here,” Bertrand said.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial Board published an article on November 13 making its case for legalization. The newspaper pointed to civil rights issues as a significant factor. They reference a 2013 ACLU report showing that blacks are almost four times more likely to be arrested than whites for marijuana in Missouri. The numbers get worse when you look at St. Louis.

“The disparity in the city of St. Louis in that study was a whopping 18 to 1,” according to the editorial.

Missouri Representative-elect Shamed Dogan attended the Fall Cannabis Reform Conference on Saturday. Show-Me Cannabis organized the event in downtown St. Louis and Dogan explained his thinking on the issue.

“It is a state versus federal thing,” Dogan said. He argues that just because marijuana is prohibited by federal law doesn’t mean Missouri can’t have its own laws.

Will a full legalization proposal make it onto Missouri’s 2016 ballot? Only time will tell.
 
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