MJ News for 12/04/14

7greeneyes

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http://denver.cbslocal.com/2014/12/02/marijuana-dining-still-on-shaky-legal-ground-in-colorado/




Marijuana Dining Still On Shaky Legal Ground In Colorado





ASPEN, Colo. (AP) – Acclaimed chef Chris Lanter is talking a crowd of eager foodies through a demo on cooking with marijuana. As he prepares steak au poivre, he describes how to deglaze the pan with pot-infused brandy. How to pair marijuana with fine foods. How to make marijuana’s skunky tang work for a dish, not ruin it.

One catch – there’s no actual weed at his demonstration.

Marijuana aficionados paid $250 for a weekend-long celebration of marijuana and food, yet state and city regulations prohibit any “open and public” use of the drug, even at licensed businesses holding private events.

It’s a strange dichotomy. The nascent marijuana industry in Colorado is moving well beyond just pot brownies. Dispensaries are doing a booming trade in cookbooks, savory pot foods and frozen takeout dishes that incorporate the drug. But for now, halting attempts at creating a marijuana dining scene have had mixed results.

Colorado may have legalized marijuana, but it still prohibits “on-site consumption,” a caveat aimed at preventing Amsterdam-style coffee shops where pot can be purchased and consumed in the same place. Recreational or medical marijuana is now legal in 23 states and Washington, DC. – though each state prohibits on-site consumption and pot sales in bars or restaurants.

As Colorado’s recreational industry nears its first anniversary, authorities increasingly are cracking down on attempts to push the pot-dining envelope.

The city of Denver, where the marijuana industry is concentrated, wrote 668 tickets for “open and public consumption” through September, up from 117 the year before, when marijuana was legal, but sales were not. And the county that includes Colorado Springs is trying to crack down on so-called “smoke-easys,” or private clubs that allow marijuana use, sometimes paired with refreshments.

Even private events at restaurants aren’t safe. Denver authorities are using permit codes and alcohol laws to fine and even press charges against people trying to throw private events at which pot foods are served.

The result has been that chefs interested in infusing foods with pot, or pairing regular dishes with certain strains thought to accent a particular flavor, are unable to try it outside catered events at private homes. Even chefs who will talk publicly about doing “medicated” catered house parties, like Lanter, are skittish about sharing details.

“There’s so much potential here, and the interest is unbelievable. But right now, everybody’s kind of scared to be doing it,” says Lanter, owner and executive chef at Aspen’s tony Cache Cache restaurant.

Which isn’t to say folks aren’t experimenting with the limits of the law.

A bed-and-breakfast in Denver offers guests samples of cannabis strains alongside regular breakfast dishes. Guests at The Adagio get marijuana samples at daily happy hours, too, where strains of pot are paired with crudites and bacon-wrapped chicken bites, complete with tasting note presentations from growers.

“It’s a way to bring our guests together and move away from campy, stereotypical pot foods,” says Joel Schneider, CEO of the MaryJane Group, which operates two marijuana-friendly hotels.

But Schneider has to be careful. The pot he hands out goes only to paying hotel guests over 21, allowing him to argue the tastings aren’t public. His attempts to do more public events have been shut down by police. He also avoids serving any foods that contain marijuana, something that could land him a criminal citation.

Chefs worried about criminal charges point to Amy Dannemiller, owner of Denver-based Edible Events, which helped organized last summer’s cannabis-friendly concerts with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. Dannemiller, known professionally as Jane West, recently pleaded guilty to an alcohol charge related to her upscale bring-your-own marijuana parties.

The events were held at tony bars and art galleries, where guests paid $95 or more for an open bar and a place to use marijuana. Dannemiller received a deferred six-month sentence. Now she is pushing for a new law to clarify how marijuana can be consumed at adults-only events.

Foodies interested in marijuana dining insist the law eventually will change to permit cannabis dining. They say the drug pairs well with food and that public acceptance will grow once people stop associating cannabis dining with brownies and junk-food munchies.

Back at Lanter’s event in Aspen, one attendee had good reason for optimism about fine dining with cannabis. Marcy DiSalvo attended the first iteration of
Aspen’s noted Food & Wine Classic, held in 1983, and found similarities with this year’s cannabis cooking celebration, called the Cannabis Grand Cru.

“You know, it was a lot like this – just a couple hundred people getting together to talk about their love of food. And wine. Or in this case, marijuana,” DiSalvo said. “This is classy. It’s done right. It’s not a bunch of stoners; it’s people with a gourmet approach.”
 

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http://www.mprnews.org/story/2014/12/03/daily-circuit-medical-marijuana





How will Minnesota's medical marijuana program work?





Minnesota chose two companies to grow and sell medical marijuana. Out of 12 applicants, Leafline Labs and Minnesota Medical Solutions were picked to have product ready for sale by July.

More from MPR News:

Minnesota Medical Solutions said its cannabis greenhouse in Otsego will be up and running this week.
Lawmakers passed the strictest medical marijuana law in the country earlier this year. It prohibits smoking of the drug and requires instead that it be manufactured in pill or oil form.

Medical marijuana will only be available to patients suffering from about 10 conditions including ALS and cancer.


Manny Munson-Regala, Minnesota Department of Health assistant commissioner, joins The Daily Circuit for an update on how the program will work, and what's still left to figure out. Kyle Kingsley, CEO of Minnesota Medical Solutions, will also join the discussion.
 

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http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Applications-Flood-in-to-Dispense--284543571.html





(Chicago, Illinois) Applications Flood in to Dispense Medical Marijuana




The clock is ticking on the state’s first decisions concerning the licensing of medical marijuana in Illinois.

“We’re a locomotive moving down the tracks and nothing is going to stop us,” says Marla Levi, who has submitted an application for a patient card. “I can’t wait!”

Zoning Board Signs Off on Marijuana Farm, 6 Dispensaries in City
Levi suffers from multiple sclerosis, one of 40 debilitating illnesses that are eligible for medical marijuana treatment. She says marijuana, which she consumes in brownies, has done far more to alleviate her symptoms than other prescription treatments.

“It relaxes the whole body,” she says. “It alleviated my pain, lets me sleep better, and pain is part of the MS.”

Only licensed physicians can write a prescription for medical marijuana, and under terms of the Illinois law, any pot must be consumed in the patient’s home. A total of 60 dispensaries will be licensed to fill prescriptions statewide.

So far, 211 have applied.

It isn’t clear how many dispensaries will be located in the City of Chicago.

“With the passage of this legislation, we are in a position to help people have relief from chronic conditions,” says Janet Sameh, one of over 200 applicants for a dispensary license. “If we were just money driven, we would make different choices that were a lot less expensive.”

And it is expensive. Sameh and her 12 associates have already spent thousands of dollars on what is admittedly a gamble that they might not even be approved.

“There’s been consultant fees, there’s been attorneys,” she said. “I’m going to guess we invest $150,000 before we even know one way or another.”

Applicants who are granted a dispensary license face what the state hopes are airtight regulations. No building can be located within a thousand feet of a school or day care center. All must be outfitted with high tech security systems to protect not only the pot but what is expected to be large volumes of cash.

No matter how progressive the state believes it has become, marijuana is still considered a controlled substance in the United States. Thus, banks and credit card companies will not be a part of the process. That means the Illinois medical marijuana program will be cash-only.

“We’re going to be lucky if we break even (in the first year)," Sameh said. “We don’t even know if it’s going to get renewed by the legislature. So it’s a gamble on our part!”

Skeptics see a nudge-nudge world where thousands of so-called “patients” will start developing new maladies, descending on dispensaries with custom prescriptions from feel-good doctors. Sameh insists that isn’t going to happen.

“Dispensaries are going to have the responsibility to make sure the cards are valid and the patient is authorized to purchase,” she said. “They are also going to have to have a relationship with the doctor. They can’t just walk in and say, ‘Hi, I want a referral!’”

Some 8,000 patients have already applied for marijuana cards in Illinois.
“The world has opened up for patients, and I’m excited,” Levi said. “I hope that it can be the best that it can be.”
 

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http://dcist.com/2014/12/council_passes_legislation_to_ban_p.php





(Washington D.C.) Council Passes Legislation To Ban Pre-Employment Marijuana Testing




The D.C. Council unanimously passed temporary legislation yesterday that will prohibit an employer from drug-testing potential employees for marijuana before a conditional job offer has been made.

The bill, the "Prohibition of Pre-Employment Marijuana Testing Emergency Act of 2014" was introduced by Councilmember Vincent Orange (D-At Large) in March of this year, and explicitly states that an employer cannot test a potential employee for marijuana use until after an offer for employment has been made. After an employee has been hired, however, they "must still adhere to the workplace policies set forth by their employer."

“The citizens of the District voted for Initiative 71, to legalize marijuana, and this bill will protect citizens who legally smoke marijuana but are then subsequently penalized for it through loss of employment opportunities,” Orange said in a statement. “The bill aims to prevent the loss of a job opportunity for job seekers who have used marijuana prior to receiving a job offer but it does not remove an employer’s right to prohibit the use of drugs at work or at any time during employment.”
 

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http://www.cbsnews.com/news/cannabis-infused-wine-delivers-a-full-body-buzz-says-melissa-etheridge/





Cannabis-infused wine delivers a "full body buzz" says Melissa Etheridge




Pot brownies, cookies and other potent treats have been around for years, but as more states pass legislation to legalize marijuana, a rock star would like to introduce you to a more sophisticated form of cannabis cuisine.

In partnership with the owners of Greenway Compassionate Relief, a medical marijuana dispensary in Santa Cruz, California, Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge is cultivating a line of "cannabis-infused fine wines." Due to legal restrictions, however, she's only allowed to call her creation a "wine tincture."

What kind of effect does it have on the body? "You feel a little buzzed from the alcohol and then get a delicious full body buzz," Etheridge told CBS News.

Unlike most other edibles, Etheridge's wine tincture doesn't involve heating the cannabis. The "cold extraction" that takes place during fermentation creates a compound that she says is far less psychoactive than the compounds found in marijuana smoke or cooked edibles. In other words, the wine won't make you high or paranoid.

Etheridge told CBS News that after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 and going through chemotherapy she began using marijuana for medicinal reasons.

"Once I considered it medicine, I became much more interested and have taken it into my lifestyle to keep stress down and keep my GI system level - it's been messed up since chemo," Etheridge says.

Etheridge is clear about her mission to help reduce the social stigma associated with marijuana. She wants to galvanize social change and make people more comfortable consuming cannabis products. She believes the wine tincture could be used recreationally and even therapeutically.

However, the director of NYU's Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship, Dr. Stephen Ross, is skeptical about the wine having any therapeutic benefits, especially with cancer patients. "Alcohol is carcinogenic and highly toxic. Mixing cannabis with alcohol is not a good idea from a perspective of wanting to introduce cannabis as medicine," he told CBS News.

"The wisdom of prescribing alcohol to any patients is highly suspect," Ross adds.

But setting aside any medicinal claims, Etheridge may be onto a promising business venture. As more states legalize marijuana for medical or recreational use, entrepreneurs are recognizing the potential to make big money off this increasingly mainstream and popular product.

Liquid cannabis is a relatively untapped, recent addition to the marijuana market, and Etheridge's cannabis-infused wine business is still in its very early stages.

"Right now, it's a passion project,"says Etheridge, who recently released a new album and is currently on tour.

At present, she and her partners have about 90 cases of the wine tinctures available for sale only to people with a proper prescription in California.

Etheridge says they hope to ramp up production in anticipation of a loosening of marijuana laws. She believes cannabis lovers in California may not have to wait too much longer for legislation legalizing marijuana for recreational use.

And she may be right about that. Though California voters struck down a marijuana legalization initiative known as Prop 19 in 2010, and remain closely divided in recent polls, some activists are working to put the issue back on the ballot in 2016. Now that Colorado, Oregon, Washington state, Alaska and Washington D.C. have all legalized marijuana, legalization efforts may be gaining momentum.

However, marijuana-infused food and drink products have been a particular source of concern in Colorado. A state panel is currently considering new restrictions or even a possible ban on edibles after a number of cases of children consuming them and landing in the hospital.

According to CBS San Francisco, California Governor Jerry Brown, who opposes legalization, said he's looking closely at how Colorado is handling the issue in case his state moves in the same direction.
 

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http://www.smh.com.au/business/mark...dicinal-cannabis-company-20141204-11zr60.html





Investors flock for Australia's 'George Clooney of medicinal cannabis' company




Australia's first initial public offering in a medicinal marijuana company is three times oversubscribed, giving high hopes to its founder's ambitions to become "the George Clooney of medicinal cannabis".

Perth-based Phytotech, due to list on the Australian Securities Exchange on December 22, is seeking to raise $5 million. Founder and executive director Ross Smith said investors - some from as far afield as Russia and the United States - have already asked for shares worth $15 million.

"South of the equator there's nothing available in the medicinal cannabis sphere," Smith told Reuters by telephone. "We're going to close it early because it's so massively oversubscribed."

Smith set up Phytotech in August to sell medicinal marijuana and develop a disposable device to inhale the drug. He envisions any advertising for the products to run along the lines of the ads for Nestle Nespresso coffee machines that feature Clooney.

"I'd be on the shore of Lake Como, puffing away and two beautiful women would come up and say, 'Is that a Phytotech?' and I'd say 'Why, yes'," Smith said with a laugh.

According to the IPO prospectus filed with the stock market regulator, Phytotech plans to grow medicinal grade marijuana in Israel, the only country that allows exports of the drug, for sale in the United States, Canada and Europe.

It is also positioning itself for possible changes in Australia, where the cultivation and sale of cannabis are banned. There are trials to grow medical cannabis in a couple of states and legislation to allow its sale is before parliament.

Phytotech priced its IPO at $0.20 a share, the minimum issue price stipulated by the Australian Securities Exchange. It is offering 25 million shares.

"It is priced for risk," Smith said. "But if we don't list at $50 million plus on debut, I'll be very surprised."

Shares in companies offering medicinal marijuana have already proved a hit in the United States, giving rise to a so-called "dot bong" boom. Around 20 countries and scores of U.S. states have legalised medical cannabis use.

Smith, 51, who was convicted for possessing and cultivating marijuana in 1989, said the idea for the business came to him when he was offered medicinal grade marijuana while hiking in New Zealand last year.

"I'd broken my back previously and with a few puffs I could walk up and down mountains easily, carrying a heavy rifle and a deer or pig or whatever," he said.
 

7greeneyes

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Such baseless propaganda. They have no scientific citations here, just supposed Doctor heresay and finger-wagging. :doh:



http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/a...-new-form-emphysema-using-drug-ten-years.html





Cannabis users 'have lungs of 80-year-olds': Doctors warn people are turning up at A&E with new form of emphysema after using drug for less than ten years





Cannabis smokers in their 30s have lungs so badly damaged that they look like an 80 year old’s, doctors have warned.

They say that young adults who have smoked cannabis for less than a decade are turning up at A&E with a severe, rapid and advanced form of the lung disease emphysema.

Some are in their 30s and in some cases their lungs are so badly damaged that they are put on long-term oxygen therapy.

One patient, studied in Ysbyty Gwynedd, a hospital in Bangor, north Wales, is waiting for a lung transplant, a British Thoracic Society conference heard.

Emphysema, in which the millions of tiny air sacs in the lungs are gradually damaged, is normally caused by tobacco and usually occurs late in life.

It is thought the cannabis-tobacco mixture found in joints is more damaging because they are often smoked without a filter. Cannabis smokers also tend to inhale for longer and much of the cannabis on sale today is much stronger than in the past.

Dr Damian Mckeon, a consultant in respiratory medicine at Ysbyty Gwynedd, who studied eight patients who had smoked at least five joints a day, said: ‘We are seeing young people on the wards with the lungs of 80 year olds after less than a decade of smoking cannabis and tobacco.

‘Our study was in a rural region of North Wales but we believe these cases may represent the tip of the iceberg.

‘Cannabis is far stronger these days and we are seeing the emergence of a new severe form of emphysema – which could lead to people struggling for breath for the rest of their life.

‘We urgently need a detailed study across the UK which analyses the national picture of cannabis-use and lung disease.’

Dr Bernard Higgins, of the British Thoracic Society, said: ‘This study is yet another small but persuasive piece of a jigsaw pointing to a real danger of regularly smoking joints.

‘The Government should monitor this emerging evidence carefully and take it into account when considering future drugs and smoking policy.’
 

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http://www.sandiego6.com/news/local/Carlsbad-company-offers-cannabis-for-canines-284714661.html





(California) CARLSBAD COMPANY OFFERS CANNABIS FOR CANINES




Roxie is getting around a lot better these days.
"She's not limping anymore, she plays like a puppy some days," says her owner, Janell Thompson.

Just a few months back the 12-year-old yellow lab was limping from hip dysplasia and arthritis. Thompson credits Roxie's renewed vigor to hemp.
"It's a perfect natural alternative for me," she said.

Thompson says she saw such improvement with Roxie that her company Hemp Health Inc. added a line of pet products containing hemp.

The company sells sprays in vanilla and peppermint flavors, and will soon be adding a bacon-flavored one. They also offer capsules, creams and oils containing hemp. It’s not FDA approved to treat medical conditions, so the company can't make any outright claims but it says clients are using it as a natural way to treat a number of health conditions including seizures, anxiety and pain relief.

Co-owner Katarina Maloney says the healing qualities come from cannabidiol or CBD and while hemp is a member of the cannabis family, like marijuana, it's different from marijuana because it doesn't contain THC.

"There's that differentiation that people should know because there's no THC in it, so people can't get high," said Maloney.

Maloney says that means pet owners can legally give it to their pets.
"Our products are coming from industrial hemp which is 50 states legal," she said.

The company has been around for four months. As for Roxie, Thompson says because of hemp she's feeling well enough to jump on the furniture again.
"It's wonderful I have my little girl back," she said.

Hemp Health Inc.'s website is: hemphealthinc.com/
 

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencet...e-detect-high-drivers-tested-spring-2015.html





The breathalyser for CANNABIS: Scientists develop device to detect high drivers - and could be tested out in spring 2015





Driving under the influence of drugs is illegal, but until now police officers have had to wait for blood tests to confirm whether a driver is high, which can take up to 24 hours.

Now, scientists have developed a cannabis-detecting breathalyser that generates results almost immediately.

Researchers at Washington State University came up with the handheld breathalyser to detect THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.

The gadget uses ion-mobility technology, which is used by airport security professionals to detect drugs and explosives, The Seattle Times reported.

The prototype device, which could be tested on humans as soon as next year, is not designed to detect how stoned a driver is, but simply to confirm whether they have THC in their system.

The idea is, that is the chemical was detected, a driver would be given a blood test, which could then be used as evidence in court.

Taking drugs affects people's driving skills, and can give them slower reaction times, nausea, hallucinations, panic attacks, paranoia, 'the shakes,' dizziness, fatigue and the affects their ability to concentrate properly, which could increase their chance of having a road accident.

Washington State University’s research could soon help out the Washington State Patrol, which have said that a quarter of blood samples taken from drivers in the area in the last year tested positive for cannabis.

The state legalised cannabis two years ago and in 2013, 1,362 drivers tested positive for having active cannabis in their system – 25 per cent more than the previous year.

It is estimated that 720 of these people had THC levels high enough to lead to an automatic drugged driving conviction under state law.

The Washington State Patrol says it welcomes anything that gets impaired drivers off the road.
 

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http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/...uguay-tries-to-tame-a-monster-called-cannibis




Uruguay Tries To Tame A 'Monster' Called Cannabis




To gauge international interest in Uruguay's legal cannabis market, spend just a few minutes at a small marijuana shop called Urugrow in Uruguay's capital, Montevideo.

In a period of about 10 minutes, owner Juan Manuel Varela gets a call from Brazil. A man from Canada shows up to see what the market would be for his company, which sells child-safe packaging for marijuana products. Shortly after, two American travelers stop by looking to score weed.

Another lurking pot-preneur, Argentinian Mauricio Luporini, explains to them that under the new law, selling to foreigners is illegal — to their obvious disappointment.

Afterwards, Luporini says that he is also looking to get a piece of the cannabis market.

"Uruguay is such a little country, with such few people," he says. "The speed of the people is slow, you know. But It has a great potential."

A Progressive Approach To Pot

Foreigners are dreaming big, but the locals seem a bit overwhelmed with all the interest in a new law that was passed legalizing marijuana in the last year.

The law allows Uruguayans to register to grow their own weed, or join growing clubs — cooperatives of up to 45 people — for personal consumption.

Under President Jose Mujica's maverick leadership, Uruguay went further than any country in the world: The government will plant, cultivate and ultimately distribute marijuana, too.

Mujica says decades of failed drug war policies necessitated a radical new approach to curb drug violence and addiction. If the government sells dope, the idea goes, the criminals can't. But the reality has proven complicated, and some advocates say the government has bitten off more than it can chew.

"I think the Uruguayan government has been invaded by a big monster, which is called cannabis," Luporini quips.

A Cultural Shift Out Of The Shadows

Under a tarp tied to a rusted car, dozens of cannabis plants are being pruned in the summer sun at a new growing club. The club is located in a small house with Che Guevara and Bob Marley posters on the wall and a sign outside that shows a cannabis leaf. For the club, the new law is about community and progress.

"We don't see this as a business," says Julio Rey, the president of the Cannabis Growers Association of Uruguay. "We see this as a social advance and a victory of rights."

And that is part of the wider issue here — everyone sees the law a different way. Rey objects to the requirement to register people as an unnecessary headache and he doesn't want to see the industry commercialized, unlike the businessmen flooding into the country.

Club members have been traveling around the country to inform rural residents about the new law and how it works. Despite the publicity and world-wide attention, only about 15 clubs and 1,000 people have registered for the government program.

Rey explains this is partly as a cultural issue — pot smoking flourished in the shadows for a long time. But he worries if people don't sign on, the black market in cannabis will thrive. Others are concerned that tourists, unable to buy legally, might turn to criminals for their pot.

Personal Consumption May Be The Easy Part

The government faces even greater challenges. It has had to change the planned location of its marijuana fields — Rey says no one in Uruguay knows how to plant marijuana on an industrial scale — and who will guard it. So far the project hasn't gotten off the ground.

There's also fierce debate about how the drug will be distributed. The law calls for pharmacies to do it, but that has raised other questions, like how should this product be taxed?

"If you tax it like cigarettes, for example, you will make it too expensive," says analyst Ignacio Zuasnabar of Uruguay's Catholic University. "It won't be competitive, and people will still go to the black market."

Pablo Iturralde Vinas, a right-of-center opposition politician, worries about the government's plan to plant and sell drugs.

"The state is very inefficient in the grand majority of the things it does," Vinas says. "So imagine, planting marijuana will be equally inefficient. The government will probably have a great number of public employees that will produce something that is vastly more expensive."

Implementing the law is "one or two months behind schedule," acknowledges Julio Calzada, who oversees the law as secretary general of the National Commission on Drugs, but he says the stages are going as planned.

"This is the first time this has been done anywhere in the world," Calzada says. "There are a lot of things we are inventing from nothing."

Or as another Uruguayan said, with a mixture of chagrin and pride, "We are kind of just winging it."
 

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