MJ News for 12/09/2014

7greeneyes

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/08/marijuana-legalization-federal-law-poll_n_6291022.html





Americans Want States With Legal Marijuana Protected From Federal Prohibition





A majority of Americans want each state to decide its own marijuana laws and don't want federal interference with those that legalize cannabis.

A report released Monday by centrist think tank Third Way says 60 percent of American voters believe states should decide whether to legalize marijuana. And 67 percent of Americans want a new federal law that would make states that legalize medical or recreational marijuana "safe haven" from U.S. laws against cannabis, as long as the states have a strong regulatory framework.

Four states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana (although D.C.'s law still bans the sale of cannabis). Twenty-three states, as well as D.C., have legalized marijuana for medical purposes. But federal law continues to outlaw all uses of marijuana. The Obama administration issued guidance urging federal prosecutors to refrain from targeting state-legal marijuana operations. But guidance isn't law, and can be changed.

Third Way proposes a federal "waiver" system allowing a state to act outside of federal law on marijuana policy without fear of prosecution. Those states would have to show the federal government that a robust regulatory system was in place and be re-evaluated periodically.

"This 'waive but restrict' framework would provide consistency and protect public safety more effectively than either current law or the other policy proposals on the table," Third Way says in a report.

Federal laws against marijuana foster fear of prosecution by those compliant with their state laws, and put burdens on state-legal marijuana businesses, which often cannot open traditional bank accounts or participate in business tax and payroll services. Most banks refuse to work with marijuana businesses lest they be implicated as money launderers.

Some members of Congress have been working for years to reform U.S. marijuana laws. About a dozen bills were introduced in 2013 aimed at limiting the federal government's ability to interfere with states' legal marijuana programs. While Congress has failed to pass those bills, the House in May passed bipartisan measures aimed at limiting Drug Enforcement Administration crackdowns on state-legal medical marijuana shops, and at preventing the agency from interfering in states' legal industrial hemp programs.

"A supermajority of Americans believe that federal policymakers have a role to play in this discussion, and that they should act to provide a safe haven from federal law for states that have already legalized marijuana and are acting responsibly to strictly regulate it," " the Third Way report says.

The Third Way poll was conducted Aug. 21 to Aug. 24, interviewing 20 likely voters, and Sept. 25 to Oct. 29, surveying 856 registered voters.
 

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http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/12/08/colorado-oks-marijuana-credit-union/20056367/




Colorado OKs marijuana credit union




DENVER — Colorado's marijuana businesses have a cash flow problem: Too much cash is flowing in and they've nowhere to put it.

Most banks refuse to work with marijuana businesses, which are legal in Colorado but remain illegal at the federal level. Now, a new credit union aimed specifically toward the cannabis industry hopes to offer a solution.

The Fourth Corner Credit Union hopes to open its doors within weeks in Denver, offering to accept cash deposits and to permit members to make electronic transfers for payroll and rent, and to buy supplies.

"We are on the one-yard line," said Mark Mason, an attorney advising the credit union's nine founders.

Colorado's banking regulators granted Fourth Corner a charter on Nov. 19, and now the union is waiting for the Federal Reserve to issue it a master account number, which would give it access to the country's electronic banking system. The credit union believes that it will get the account number without a fight because the Federal Reserve must give out numbers to organizations that have been granted state charters.

And despite marijuana remaining illegal on the federal level, Colorado's banking regulators say they're respecting their state's laws by approving Fourth Corner. The credit union still needs insurance and to sign a lease before opening.

"I'm a pro state's rights guy, and in Colorado we have legalized," said Chris Myklebust, the Colorado commissioner of financial services. "When I pull a $20 bill out of my pocket, and look at the front, it says it's legal tender for all debts public and private. Legal businesses in a state should be able to use the currency of the nation."

Federal prosecutors set the credit union in motion when they issued what's known as the Cole Memo, authored in summer 2013 by deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole. The memo sets out eight areas where federal prosecutors and investigators will focus their limited resources on enforcing federal marijuana laws, including keeping pot out of the hands of kids, preventing it from being diverted outside states that have legalized its possession, and "preventing revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels."

It's that language Myklebust sees as giving the green light for a well-regulated credit union handling marijuana money. Most banks avoid dealing with the marijuana industry because they could get prosecuted for engaging in drug trafficking or money-laundering. Fourth Corner officials say they can stick within the Cole memo's confines because they're going to carefully track and monitor each transaction. Traditional banks that suspect they are handling marijuana money are required to file special reports alerting federal regulators and prosecutors.

"If you can't get your cash into the Federal Reserve system, you end up stockpiling it in your home, in caves, in your business. At some point, the risk becomes worth it for organized crime," he said. "I've never even held a joint but I really want to see them banked."

Money-management concerns have gotten so bad in Colorado that many of the state's largest stores have hired armed security guards to handle their cash, which they use to pay bills and even their taxes, sometimes delivering it to the state Department of Revenue in buckets and boxes.

"We consider ourselves regulated, legitimate businesses. We just want to have the same access to banking that other legitimate businesses have," said Kristi Kelly, owner of GoodMeds marijuana dispensary and one of Four Corner's founding members. "I don't want to pay people in cash."

Writing a check would be far easier, said Dan Sullivan, a vice president at Blue Line Protection Group, one of the country's biggest marijuana-security firms. Blue Line's armored cars and ex-police-and-military guards collect tens of thousands of dollars a week from clients, securing the cash in private vaults.

"What a lot of people don't understand is that electronic money is easy to move around," Sullivan said. "Cash is an enormous amount of work."

The flows are enormous: one confidential informant told federal investigators that one Denver-area marijuana store clearing $500,000 a month, according court documents in a federal asset-seizure case, although its tax records claimed it had taken in $1.4 million for the entire year in 2011. Sullivan said many Colorado store owners are collecting tens of thousands of dollars in cash a week, in many cases stockpiling it at home or in storage lockers because they have nowhere else to put it.

"It takes a lot to do it right. Of course, there are a lot of people who do it wrong," Sullivan said.

Blue Line is working with several banks to provide its own financial services, although they would be more limited than what Fourth Corner hopes to offer.

Anyone with an "interest" in the marijuana industry would be eligible to join Fourth Corner, which organizers say would look no different than any other credit union. Colorado lawmakers this fall also created a system to permit marijuana co-op banks, but that effort has lagged because federal officials haven't indicated whether a co-op could get Federal Reserve access.

"As the state of Colorado, we've worked to push on every door. Now it's up to the federal government," Myklebust said. "It creates a sense of hope because the answer hasn't yet been no. But there's also a sense of frustration because we haven't heard yes."

Fourth Corner's founders are optimistic they've found the right path to navigate the legal and banking minefields the industry faces. But they're also willing to admit they don't have all the answers, and are eager to work with state and federal regulators to meet compliance rules and get and keep their doors open. To start, the credit union will largely limit its operations to Colorado, and many transactions will have to be approved by bankers keeping a close eye on where the money is flowing, to ensure it's going to pay legitimate bills and not being diverted to cartels or gangs.

"They don't give you a how-to manual to bank marijuana money," Mason said.
 

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http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/a...ijuana-middle-is-the-new-drug-policy-majority






The ‘Marijuana Middle’ is the New Drug Policy Majority





On Tuesday morning, some key Republicans and conservative scholars will huddle at the Heritage Foundation to explain how "scientific understanding of the real dangers of marijuana" should chasten the people who want legal weed in their states. The timing is ideal, as the moderate Third Way think tank is just out with a poll showing clear consensus in favor of medical marijuana and narrowly in favor of straight-up legalization.

Third Way’s national poll fielded by Anzalone Liszt Grove in October 2014 found the country equally divided on legalizing recreational marijuana for use by adults, with 50% supporting legalization and 47% opposed to it. There is no such split for medical marijuana, with 78% in favor of allowing individuals to use marijuana for medical purposes if a doctor recommends it (18% oppose).

The data was collected in two waves, first with a late summer focus group, next with an October poll of 856 registered voters, conducted online. That doesn't raise any flags; the 50-47 split in favor of legal recreational marijuana is in sync with the 51-47 support level Gallup found this year. When the data was broken down by subgroup, Third Way found that millennials, non-whites, and independents all strongly favored legalization. More than 30 percent of Republicans favored it. And everyone favored medical marijuana. The issue was so promising that Third Way was able to identify a "marijuana middle," open to some relaxation of the law, if it were explained to them smartly enough.

The focus group found that some of the winningest arguments for marijuana were the ones that appealed to liberty, and to fear of an overreaching government. To wit:

"Participants simply did not believe that a cancer patient in a state that has legalized medical marijuana would be prosecuted by the federal government," according to Third Way's report. (This argument actually cut against the legalization campaign, as voters didn't expect the state to go after people if the law remained the same.)

Focus group-ers were swayed by arguments that the states should determine marijuana policies without the feds mucking things up. This put "advocates of a safe haven on the side of public safety—ensuring states can measure outcomes, regulate responsibly, and make sure that businesses play by the rules."

Participants needed the issue to be explained to them, but they were sold on the idea that a black market cash-focused marijuana industry was less safe than a legal one that could put its money in banks.


Libertarian and liberal supporters have been warning, for years, that the side effect of draconian pot laws was decreased confidence in law enforcement. If something's illegal, yet everyone you know can obtain it easily, the mind wanders and contemplates other laws that might not be worth their ink.

But Third Way was an exception to the libertarian foment. In Washington, D.C., where a marijuana measure passed easily, a city with a largely black electorate was sold on the message that the war on drugs had led to mass incarceration, ruined lives, and ineffective policing. Third Way didn't see that message resonating across America. "Focusing on the War on Drugs as a whole lumps marijuana together with hard drugs like meth, cocaine, and heroin—and that’s the exact opposite argument you want to make with the marijuana middle," argued Third Way.
 

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http://www.king5.com/story/news/local/tacoma/2014/12/07/medical-marijuana-collectives/20072465/





(Washinton) Tacoma closer to shutting down medical marijuana collectives




TACOMA, Wash. -- All medical marijuana collectives in Tacoma could soon have to shut down.

City leaders addressed plans last week to send out letters to cease operations as early as January, as they are not licensed under Initiative 502. Both business owners and patients are now expressing concerns.

From its name to the signature green cross donned on its signs, it isn't hard to figure out what's inside Ancient Holistic Remedies in Tacoma.

"This is our apothecary," said owner Kimberly Braga. "It's our traditional Eastern apothecary, and we do have cannabis."

Richard and Kimberly Braga opened up their business in 2012 in honor of Kimberly's dad, who died of cancer. His treatment of choice was marijuana. They now serve people like Susan Fairchild, who have turned to cannabis for healing.

"There are days I could not cut hair if I didn't have this to rub on my feet, my joints and my hands because I have severe arthritis," said Fairchild.

However, Ancient Holistic Remedies and an estimated 50 other collectives could soon be forced to close its doors. The Tacoma City Council revealed a plan to shut down unregulated pot shops in the start of the new year.

"Ultimately, with these collective gardens, we respect the work that they've done and the work that went into this process, but there's just such legal ambiguity and another concern is that there's such a proliferation or concentration of these stores in certain neighborhoods," said Tacoma City Council Member Anders Ibsen.

This move would ultimately only leave recreational marijuana stores in the city. Those aren't an option for Fairchild, who wants to get healed, not high.

"I will not go to a recreational pot shop," said Fairchild. "There's a big difference. It's like going to a liquor store to get Isopropyl alcohol."

It won't be option for the Bragas either, who say they don't support recreational marijuana and despite getting business licenses and paying taxes, they'll be grouped with others who don't.

"They aren't taking the time to see who's doing things right and they're going to rope us all into the same boat and set us out to sail, which is tragic," said Braga.
 

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/local...ff94f6-7f2e-11e4-8882-03cf08410beb_story.html





Congressional budget deal may upend marijuana legalization in D.C.




Tucked in the massive spending bill needed to prevent a federal government shutdown may be a measure sought by conservative House Republicans to halt marijuana legalization in the nation’s capital, advocates for the measure say.

Seven in 10 D.C. voters backed an initiative last month to follow Colorado and Washington state in legalizing marijuana.

But three people who have been closely tracking the issue say budget negotiators in the Democratic-controlled Senate have agreed to curb the popular measure. Congress has the power to do so by restricting city spending.

“This is old-school, backroom, dirty politics,” said Adam Eidinger, one of the three, who led efforts to pass the city’s marijuana legalization measure, known as Initiative 71. “It is fundamentally undemocratic.” The other two keeping track of the issue are a lobbyist and a congressional staffer who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of negotiations.

Congressional Republicans have previously used the technique, known as a spending “rider,” to prevent the heavily Democratic city from spending money on abortion coverage for the poor. For 11 years, one was used to prevent D.C. from implementing a voter-backed measure to allow medical marijuana.

But Eidinger said that if it happens this time, he will blame Democrats.

“They have the power to decide this, and if they want to shut down the government to protect a vote by the people, I think that would play well nationally,” he said. “If they don’t, there will be a reaction, and it won’t be to go campaign again for Democrats.”

Spokespersons for House and Senate budget negotiators declined to comment and said the budget deal will not be final until it is released.

It was unclear Tuesday morning what Democrats may exact in return, but if passed as advocates fear, the spending bill would effectively render the will of D.C. voters invalid. The city would not be allowed to spend its own money for the remainder of the fiscal year to implement a new drug law. With Republicans set to take full control of Congress next year, there also appeared to be little chance that would soon change.

The spending bill would let stand a D.C. law to decriminalize marijuana, the three sources say. District lawmakers in March joined 18 states that have stripped away jail time for possession of the drug, making the offense punishable by a fine of just $25.

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson blasted the prospect of congressional interference.

“If Congress really has concerns, why don’t they sit down and talk with us instead of these high profile moves that are very dramatic?” he said.

“This is the heart of the District government’s frustration. … It’s really not about the best policy or governing the District thoughtfully. If it was, there would be discussions, relationships, meetings, hearings,” Mendelson said.
 

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rob-kampia/whats-next-for-marijuana-_b_6264934.html





What's Next for Marijuana Legalization?





In the wake of the big election victories on November 4, many people are asking, "What's next for the push to legalize marijuana in the United States?"

It generally falls into four buckets:

1. Legalizing Marijuana for Adults in 11 More States and D.C.

Measures to regulate marijuana like alcohol have now passed in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. All four states did so via the ballot initiative process.

The state that will most likely be next to legalize is Rhode Island, which would be the first to do so via state legislature. Also this spring, the District of Columbia is expected to enact a similar law through its city council.

There's also a real opportunity to legalize marijuana through five more state legislatures between now and 2017 -- Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, New Hampshire, and Vermont. There will also be serious legislative activity in other states, such as New York, but it is less clear when such legislation will pass.

In November 2016, at least five states are expected to vote on similar ballot initiatives -- Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada -- and one could potentially appear on the ballot in Missouri.

By the end of 2017, marijuana could be legalized in 15 states and D.C., which would comprise 26% of the nation's population.

2. Legalizing Medical Marijuana in Two or Three More States

Medical marijuana is legal in 23 states and D.C. The next two states that are most likely to follow suit are Florida and Pennsylvania -- the former via a ballot initiative in November 2016 and the latter via the state legislature.

Regarding Florida, approximately 58% of the electorate voted for medical marijuana on November 4, but because Florida requires initiatives to obtain 60% of the vote to pass, the initiative failed. If the same initiative is placed before the voters in November 2016, the initiative is likely to pass, because the electorate during presidential elections is typically larger, younger, and more independent.

Medical marijuana initiatives could also appear on ballots in Arkansas and Ohio, and there's a real chance that Michigan could improve its existing medical marijuana law by allowing the licensing of dispensaries.

3. Decriminalizing Marijuana Possession in Five More States

There are serious efforts to decriminalize marijuana possession through five state legislatures in 2015 and 2016 -- Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Texas.

While the definition of "decriminalization" varies from state to state, the idea is to remove the threat of arrest and jail, instead treating marijuana possession like a speeding violation.

4. Continue Making Progress in Congress

This year saw the first real breakthrough in Congress, with the passage of an amendment on the House floor to prohibit the U.S. Justice Department (which includes the Drug Enforcement Administration) from spending taxpayer money to interfere with state-level medical marijuana laws.

This amendment, which was sponsored by Congressmen Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Sam Farr (D-CA), passed the Republican-controlled chamber by a 219-189 vote. Whether this amendment is included in the omnibus spending bill for fiscal year 2015, it's almost a certainty that the House will vote on the amendment again in the spring or summer of 2015 (for fiscal year 2016).

Also in the House, there's growing momentum for various marijuana-related bills, including bills to (1) give states the right to enact their own marijuana policies without federal interference, (2) allow Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend medical marijuana to their patients, and (3) prohibit the federal government from seizing your property unless you've actually been convicted of a crime.

In the Senate, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said he intends to hold a committee hearing to investigate marijuana legalization, and Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Corey Booker (D-NJ) will probably take a leadership role in trying to pass the aforementioned Rohrabacher-Farr amendment on the Senate side.

Also, both chambers will be considering whether to allow marijuana legalization to take root on the local level in D.C., because Congress has ultimate jurisdiction over the nation's capital.

According to the latest national poll on the issue, which Gallup conducted in October, 51% of American adults support making the "use" of marijuana legal. And then there's the question of who the next president will be, with Sen. Rand Paul being the best choice, but with the possibility that people like Hillary Clinton could also be good about not interfering with state-level marijuana laws.

So things are in flux right now, but marijuana policies are obviously trending in the right direction.
 

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https://www.yahoo.com/health/why-parents-of-children-with-epilepsy-are-104174561217.html





Why Parents of Children with Epilepsy Are Increasingly Turning to Marijuana



It’s more about desperation, than the desire to be rebellious.

When Bonni Goldstein, MD, medical director of Canna-Centers, a group of medical marijuana practices in California, prescribes cannabidiol — a compound extracted from marijuana — to children with epilepsy, she always clarifies to their parents that the long-term risks of the compound are unknown. “It wasn’t available 30 years ago,” she explains. Yet, “every single parent has said to me, ‘Well, I don’t know the long-term effects of the medications my child is taking, and the seizures haven’t stopped. I’d like to give my child the best chance possible.’”

Without fail, they accept the cannabidiol, or CBD. In fact, many have come to Goldstein specifically for the drug, knowing already, through Internet forums, that the marijuana extract could equal hope for their sick child.

“To many of these people, it’s just another medication to try,” says Goldstein.

A number of her pediatric patients are non-responders — that is, they’re among the roughly one-third of people with epilepsy for whom conventional medications don’t work. The meds may reduce the frequency or severity of seizures, but fail to eliminate them entirely; some children don’t respond to the drugs, period. “What’s driving people is the option of another medication, even if it’s not been thoroughly researched,” she says. With epilepsy, “it’s very difficult, especially when a child is involved, to live a normal life. Seizures are unpredictable. Imagine being in Target with your child, and your child drops to the floor. Imagine getting a call from school that your child is seizing.”

For Ray Mirzabegian, director of the nonprofit Realm of Caring California, the decision to seek out CBD was an obvious one. Just a couple years ago, his 10-year-old daughter, Emily, was taking four different anti-seizure medications. “Unfortunately, that causes a vegetative state,” he tells Yahoo Health. She’d tried a total of 13 medications, and none effectively controlled her epilepsy: At her worst, she was having 120 seizures a day, at best, 40 to 45 a month. “At that point, [doctors] start retrying some of the medications that failed,” hoping to create a cocktail of several drugs that would work, says Mirzabegian. “We decided that’s not the route to go.”

A couple of years ago, Emily Mirzabegian was taking multiple medications in an attempt to decrease seizures from epilepsy.

As with Mirzabegian, it’s often desperation — not rebellion against convention — that pushes parents to seek medical marijuana for their children. It’s hope that drives them to scour the Internet, searching for any shred of information that may provide relief, even though public opinion is largely against them. Goldstein has seen families move across the country to California just to seek CBD for their children, since marijuana is still a Schedule 1 drug — that is, “with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse” — under federal law. (Medical marijuana has been legal in California since 1996.)

Around 2011, recalls Goldstein, cannabis-testing labs became more widespread. This enabled doctors, growers, and patients to determine exactly how much THC (the psychoactive component of marijuana) and CBD (the proposed anti-seizure element) are found in different strains of the drug. As a result, Goldstein says she’s seen a significant uptick in the number of parents seeking medical marijuana for their children with epilepsy — a trend likely accelerated by the 2013 CNN documentary “WEED,” which made “Charlotte’s Web,” a strain of marijuana used to treat epilepsy, a household name among parents of seizure-stricken children.

“Charlotte’s Web is high in CBD and low in THC,” says Goldstein. “Someone looking to get high would be disappointed by its effects.” According to a report in the journal Epilepsia, Charlotte, the little girl for whom the strain was named, has been weaned from all other antiepileptic drugs after 20 months of effective treatment with Charlotte’s Web. Similar varieties of CBD-rich marijuana available in California include ACDC, Harlequin, and Cannatonic. “CBD is taken as an oil under the tongue or swallowed,” Goldstein says. “It’s not smoked.”

Since the documentary’s release, an increasing number of parents have gone public, admitting that their children with epilepsy are being treated with CBD. Just last week, a Eugene, Oregon, family shared their success story with a local news station, KATU, saying they resorted to CBD oil after their young son became suicidal — what they believe was a side effect of his anti-seizure medications. “I have my son again. He’s not this fog of a child. He’s not this angry child. He’s my child exactly,” the boy’s mother, Tanesha Smelser, told KATU. Like Charlotte’s Web, the oil that her son is taking is low in THC — less than 1 percent — and high in CBD.

It was this CNN documentary that prompted Mirzabegian’s first visit to Colorado — just three days after he saw it — where he met with the Stanley brothers, the growers who produce Charlotte’s Web. “I couldn’t bring anything back, because it’s illegal to transfer the product between state lines,” he says. But he did return to California educated about the potential benefits of CBD, prompting him to buy any CBD-rich product he could find in his state. “Two-and-a-half years ago, a lot of the dispensaries didn’t know what CBD was,” he says. “We bought a lot of stuff — and all of them failed.” (Later testing revealed that the products he’d purchased didn’t truly contain CBD.)

That’s when Mirzabegian started a Facebook page, “The Pediatric Cannabis Group of California,” dedicated to bringing Charlotte’s Web to children with epilepsy in his home state. Within a few months, hundreds of parents had joined — and with the help of the Stanley brothers, Mirzabegian was able to open the California chapter of their non-profit, Realm of Caring, in August 2013.

It’s not just in the United States that parents are becoming desperate. “I have a family who is actually coming to see me from Europe, because they can’t find any relief for their child’s seizures,” says Goldstein. In Chile, a group of about 100 parents have banded together, creating a group called Mama Cultiva, or “Mama Grows,” designed to share information about cultivating marijuana and extracting cannabis oil to treat their children with epilepsy. Many grow marijuana in their own backyards, even though they could be imprisoned for up to 15 years for doing so.

To many in the medical community, these parents are relying, at best, on shaky science. A 2013 Cochrane review of studies examining CBD as a treatment for epilepsy concluded that, due to the dearth of large, high-quality studies, “the safety of long-term cannibidiol treatment cannot be reliably assessed.”

“All we can say is that it appears to be safe for short periods of time,” David Gloss, MD, a neurologist and co-author of the Cochrane review, tells Yahoo Health. “You have to remember this is new — we do not have long-term studies,” adds Goldstein. “There are a couple kids in Colorado that have been on it for over two years and have had no negative side effects.” In a recent Epilepsy & Behavior study, the only side effects of CBD that parents reported in their children were drowsiness, fatigue, and a decrease in appetite; none reported psychoactive effects.

However, as Orrin Devinsky, MD, a professor of neurology at NYU, tells Yahoo Health, “we don’t fully understand the safety of medical marijuana for children.” Even so, he does believe there’s enough data to permit compassionate use in children with epilepsy that can’t be controlled through available medications and diet.

The anecdotal outcomes have been undeniably impressive: In a 2013 survey of parents who belong to a Facebook group devoted to sharing information about CBD for epilepsy, published in Epilepsy & Behavior, 84 percent reported a reduction in their child’s frequency of seizures while taking the drug. And 11 percent said the seizures disappeared entirely.

Since Emily, the daughter of Mirzabegian, started taking CBD, her frequency of seizures has decreased dramatically to about four per month. “It’s allowed us to bring her off meds, and that alone has brought so much of her back — behavior, cognition, speech, learning ability, everything,” her father says. “And there are cases even better than ours. I have patients in San Diego now, several of them, who have been seizure-free for eight, nine months.”

Ray Mirzabegian and his daughter Emily; the number of seizures she experiences has decreased since she began taking CBD.

It’s stories like this that continue to compel parents to relocate their families to California and Colorado. “Families ask, ‘Given the dramatic responses documented in the media, how could any reasonable physician deny access to [medical marijuana]?’” Devinsky wrote in a recent commentary in Epilepsia. The problem is, there’s a lack of clarity about how, exactly, CBD might stave off seizures, although a handful of potential mechanisms have been identified, says Gloss. “There’s a whole list of potential targets — they may all work together, or it may be one of them in particular,” he says. “We don’t really know.”

What is clear: Animal studies have shown that CBD works as an anticonvulsant, giving patients and providers hope that a new drug is on the horizon. In fact, GW Pharmaceuticals is currently investigating Epidiolex, a purified form of CBD, as a treatment for Dravet syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy that begins in infancy (the type that both Charlotte and Emily suffer from).

Until the FDA approves a CBD-derived drug, Gloss says he “can’t make a judgment. There have been case reports of people who started taking marijuana and their seizures went away — maybe for those children, there is something there.” However, he cautions, these parents are skirting the methods of conventional medicine. “This isn’t how we typically prescribe medicine in the United States,” says Gloss. “We do things by trials, we see that things are safe, and then they become approved by the FDA. Do the benefits outweigh the risk? Right now we don’t know. The data is not out there for [CBD] to be used outside of a research trial.”

“There’s certainly not enough research,” concedes Goldstein. “But you have to remember, some of these kids are having hundreds of seizures a day. Any parent would pick up and move for their child if they heard something might work and actually has some scientific basis. People have this vision of medical marijuana as someone sitting and smoking a joint. That is no longer what this is about.”

It’s not just the lack of research that’s creating a roadblock for parents — it’s also the legality of CBD. About six months ago, Mirzabegian opened a California clinic strictly offering Charlotte’s Web, along with training and seminars for parents. “Nine days later, it got shut down, even though the state issued us a license that cost us three grand,” he says. The solution: He’s currently working with an existing dispensary to distribute Charlotte’s Web — a set-up he considers less than ideal. “Dispensaries do not allow minors to come in,” he says. “So I have to tell the parents, ‘Look, you need to keep your children in the car.’ What if the little kid wants to use the restroom? It’s just embarrassing — it sucks.”

In California alone, the waiting list for Charlotte’s Web is between 1,200 and 1,300 people. “Nationwide, it’s 14,000 probably,” Mirzabegian says. However, he’s hopeful that 2015 will be the year he’s finally able to help these thousands of other parents, currently unable to access Charlotte’s Web due to federal laws against shipping CBD across state lines. The Charlotte’s Web Medical Hemp Act of 2014, introduced by U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-PA, is due for Congressional review, and if passed, would allow nationwide shipment of CBD products that contain little to no THC.

In addition to tackling the legal side of the CBD issue, Realm of Caring is also working to facilitate “real” research. “We as a foundation are part of clinical trials right now — whoever is coming off the waiting list is part of clinical trial data collection,” Mirzabegian says. “I need the scientific community to buy into this and believe us. We have hundreds of people using CBD now, and they’re reporting data. And the medical community doesn’t like this data — they say, ‘Oh, it’s anecdotal evidence.’ Anecdotal evidence is so underrated — it’s evidence from human beings.”
 

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http://www.fastcompany.com/3039206/...nnabis-is-more-soccer-mom-and-less-bob-marley





THE KEY TO REBRANDING CANNABIS IS MORE SOCCER MOM AND LESS BOB MARLEY




Despite the recent dramatic changes in the world of marijuana—hello, THC-infused lemonade legally sold in L.A. dispensaries—there is one holdover from the past that won’t go away. Ask most people who is using and profiting off the cannabis industry and they’ll describe a Harold and Kumar-type or Bob Marley-wannabe. Regardless of what studies, polls, and legislators say, many resist the notion that soccer moms are lighting up in large numbers or that the industry—from dispensaries to hemp home accessories—is in the hands of a growing group of savvy entrepreneurs. Enter Jennifer Mannix and Olivia DeFalco, two twenty-somethings who, in their heels and sheath dresses, seem decidedly more Condé Nast than Cheech and Chong. And with their full-service branding company Cannabrand, they are introducing the world to the modern cannabis entrepreneur.

"Like all industries, cannabis companies need to be branded and marketed effectively," says Mannix, co-founder of the Denver-based company. She and her business partner knew that they were the ones to launch the company, not because of a shared affinity for marijuana, but because of their ability to spot trends and solve problems. "We had both been avidly following the cannabis industry for years. Once we were aware that recreational use was going to become legal in Colorado, we planned to open a full-service marketing agency catering to the cannabis space," says Mannix. She and DeFalco studied together at University of Colorado at Boulder and a few years ago opened a boutique marketing agency called MARCA Strategic. Then they decided to go niche and focus Cannabrand exclusively on cannabis culture. Clients have included Mindful, a network of Colorado dispensaries looking to overhaul its look from logo to employee uniforms, as well as soon-to-launched Bold Harvest, an edibles company created by a restaurant industry veteran.

"Our clients range from small startups to international public companies," Mannix says. For these businesses, they do everything from logo creation to websites to social media management. "Jennifer is the creative director and was able to create all of the artwork for our company, including website design, logos, marketing materials, as well as direct creative strategy. I am the strategic director with a strong PR and marketing background who leads strategic aspects," she explains, calling them a "dynamic duo" who financially bootstrapped the venture as soon as they saw that the legal tide was turning in favor of the cannabis entrepreneur.

As innovative as it may be to venture into newly legalized terrain, it is also risky. Laws can always change and public sentiment can turn against legalization. To Teflon-proof their business, Cannabrand is thinking outside of the box, offering brand extensions to show off their business creativity and simultaneously raise public support of cannabis legalization. They have the blog CannaBuzz, with its tagline "Covering cannabis culture and the recreational movement" with posts like the one titled "What it’s like to be a mother in the cannabis industry," written by a woman on their creative team. It also means that they are looking beyond Colorado. "We envision opening branches across the nation, and we will continue to influence policy and the federal legalization of cannabis," says Mannix. In other words, they are way more Fortune 500 forward-thinking than High Times laissez-faire.
 

7greeneyes

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...lucinogenic-skunk-starter-kits-souvenirs.html





The 'Big Buddha' flooding UK with cannabis seeds... sold openly on your local high street: How 'headshop' dealers make millions - and a mockery of drug laws - by passing off hallucinogenic skunk starter kits as 'souvenirs'





Flashing a smug grin as he poses proudly in a field of flourishing cannabis plants, this is the businessman responsible for allegedly flooding Britain with high-strength cannabis, fuelling a multi-million-pound market in home-grown illegal drugs.

Milo Yung, who calls himself ‘the Big Buddha’, claims to be the founder of Britain’s ‘number one’ brand of cannabis, which is sold around the country in colourful packets boasting of the product’s ‘unique high’ and ‘old skool taste’.
Despite the cartoon of a smiling Buddha on the label, buyers would have no doubt that they are buying seeds to grow skunk – a potent, high-strength form of cannabis which has been blamed for an epidemic of mental health problems among users.

There have even been boasts that Big Buddha Cheese won first prize in a recent ‘Cannabis Cup’ to produce strong, psychoactive strains.

But astonishingly, while it is illegal to grow, use or sell cannabis in Britain, Yung’s product can be bought entirely legally over the counter in hundreds of high street shops across the country – because he is selling the seeds, not the plants or its products themselves.

An investigation by The Mail on Sunday has revealed just how easy it is to buy these seeds in Britain.

We can also reveal how two businessmen from the West Midlands are exploiting this loophole, earning a highly lucrative income from their expanding empire.

Because Customs officials appear powerless to seize the seeds, Big Buddha appears to be indirectly inspiring the explosion of up to 500,000 cannabis farms and making a mockery of Britain’s drug laws.

Our reporters visited so-called ‘headshops’ in London, Exeter and Edinburgh, which all openly sell cannabis seeds alongside the materials needed to cultivate and use the drug.

Big Buddha Cheese came highly recommended by staff working at the shops in London and Edinburgh, with one claiming to have sold ‘hundreds’ of the packets, although they are carefully marketed as ‘souvenirs’.

The seeds are also openly sold online, with a disclaimer on the company’s website claiming: ‘All seeds are sold as souvenirs only. All seeds are sold as souvenirs and grow information is for educational reference only. All products ordered will only be used in a lawful manner.’

But once bought and planted, instructions on the packet make clear that the seeds can be grown to produce flowering cannabis plants and a crop of illegal drugs within seven to nine weeks.

A packet of ten seeds – sold for £55.50 or even cheaper online – can produce an equal number of plants, which would be enough to grow drugs with a street value of more than £40,000 a year.

The Mail on Sunday has traced Big Buddha Seeds Company – fronted by Yung with his business partner Andrew Hines – to a cannabis growing operation across Europe, including Spain, where laws permit the use and cultivation of the plants for personal use.

Yung, 40, openly brags about his cannabis production, touring the world visiting marijuana festivals promoting his brand of strong skunk which he has spent years developing by cross-breeding plants.

But The Mail on Sunday can reveal that Yung’s real name is Michael Walong Ng, and he grew up in Birmingham. Until two years ago, he was registered as living with his 64-year-old father in a modest £240,000 semi-detached property in the city’s suburbs.

It is a far cry from his lifestyle now. Yung currently resides on Ibiza, where he drives a Mercedes, boasts about buying a yacht and mixes with celebrities in the Spanish party island’s most exclusive clubs.

A brief look at his Facebook page reveals him openly smoking cannabis and bragging about his exploits.

On Friday, he posted a picture of a Moroccan form of hash – a resin collected from the flowers of cannabis plants – with the message: ‘This weekend is going to be celebrated in style!!’

Yung also spoke freely in an interview he gave under his Big Buddha alias, where he described growing cannabis as being ‘a true love in my life.’ Talking about his early days in the business, he added: ‘I produced my first crop of cheese...

‘I immediately knew what to do with it, make this available to everyone to enjoy. At that time a lot of trouble happened; people around me were getting busted so I moved away to Spain.

‘I spent time in the southern Spanish growing belt, learning a little more about the way of the land. We are now currently residing between Spain and England, and have manufacturers based across Europe.’

Though Yung appears to be the face of the firm, his business partner keeps a lower profile.

Hines, 45, is the sole director of BBSCO Ltd – thought to stand for Big Buddha Seeds Company – the UK registered firm behind their empire. The company’s latest accounts show that its net assets have increased threefold in a single year to £294,542 in 2014, suggesting the company is thriving.

Hines could not be reached for comment last night, and Yung did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Hines has previously registered several trademarks for the business, openly available to browse on the internet, including ‘BBCP’ and ‘big buddha’, and ‘cheese’. Meanwhile, BBSCO Ltd has trademarked ‘Big Buddha Seeds’, ‘Blue Cheese’, ‘Big Buddha Cheese’ and ‘Cheese Powder’.

A Birmingham PO box address has been listed by Hines, which matches an address previously given for the company.

This newspaper’s investigation sparked fury among anti-drugs campaigners last night, who said current legislation was allowing money to be made from ‘ruining people’s lives’.

Mary Brett, chairman of Cannabis Skunk Sense, said: ‘It’s just contemptible. I’ve got absolutely no time for these people. They don’t seem to care that kids’ and families’ lives are completely ruined.

‘At the expense of all these kids, ruining their lives, they’re living the life of Riley. This loophole for cannabis seeds needs to be closed now before we go any further, before any more kids’ lives are subjected to the awful damage. Cannabis acts as a gateway to harder drugs. We’ve got members in our charity who’ve had children start on cannabis, go on to a harder drug and they’ve died. We have several bereaved parents.’

Current laws permit the sale of cannabis seeds, including hemp, which has traditionally been used for bird seed.

But the law provides a loophole which, bizarrely, allows headshops also to sell seeds which, when grown, produce a highly potent skunk.

Hundreds of thousands of suburban houses across the country have been converted into hidden marijuana factories after an explosion in production in recent years.

Only last week, police seized £250,000 worth of plants from a makeshift cannabis farm hidden inside an old church in Burnley.

Norman Baker, who resigned as a Home Office Minister last month after producing a report recommending headshops be closed down, said: ‘There are legitimate uses for hemp seeds so we have to be careful not to damage legitimate business and industry.

‘However, if there is a strain that is appearing that has no legitimate use and is associated with a damaging outcome, then the Government should look at that particular issue.

‘I’m very keen the Government should direct their resources at those people who are making money out of drugs and causing misery rather than pursuing users.’

HMRC confirmed that the importing of cannabis seeds is perfectly legal, while the Home Office refused to comment specifically on the loophole in the law.

A spokesman said: ‘Any attempt to germinate cannabis seeds is considered to be cultivation, which is illegal under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. It is also an offence to incite a person to cultivate cannabis or to sell any article believing it to be used for prepare a controlled drug for administration.

‘There are no plans to review the Misuse of Drugs Act, which provides a robust legislative framework for protecting the public from the harm posed by illegal drugs.’

Susan Bedack, whose 29-year-old son was committed to a psychiatric hospital after developing schizophrenia following years of cannabis use, said: ‘They should be locked up, absolutely. But that’s not going to happen because we’re too soft in this country.

‘They have to be arrested for what they’re doing. All they’re interested in is money. They don’t care about human life, they don’t care about people like my son who had his whole life ruined.

‘And not only his life. I had a good life. Not any more. And it’s all because of this.

‘My son was an exceptionally bright child – he didn’t even drink or smoke cigarettes. He was a healthy young man. To see him like this, it’s heart-breaking.’
 

7greeneyes

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http://www.seattleweekly.com/home/955697-129/trichome-serves-cannabis-infused-coffee-and-now





(Washington) Trichome Serves Cannabis-Infused Coffee, and Now Cocoa in Partnership with Hot Cakes





The integration of marijuana in Seattle has been rocky despite its legalization in 2012, with few legitimate retailers and noted ups and downs with the medical marijuana outlets. Anecdotally, when friends of come from out of town and ask, “Hey, where can I buy pot? It’s legal here right?” I shrug and say the city hasn’t really figured that out yet.


So, perhaps the way to publically fuse marijuana and Seattle, a city known for its myriad espresso drinks, is with coffee. If so, Trichome, the weed-based lifestyle shop located at 618 S. Jackson St., is already ahead of the game.

For several months, the shop has been holding monthly “Cannabis & Coffee” events. In November, Trichome partnered with Café Vita, offering their Guatemalan Valmar and PNG YUS fair trade beans, said John Le, co-owner of Trichome, which opened in April, 2013, with the mission of having the “whole industry of marijuana mature a bit.”

“During the [November] event,” explained Le, a former cardiovascular surgery assistant, “we served Elevated Coffee.” Elevated Coffee is a blend of individual pour-over coffee, grass-fed organic butter, virgin coconut oil and cannabis-infused coconut oil.

Trichome avoids any legal grey areas, so to speak, with the police because their events are private and ticketed and they restrict access to folks who are 21-plus.

In November, Trichome also held its first non-coffee event, called Elevated Cocoa with the help of Hot Cakes. Trichome also holds non-food-centric events like educational workshops, art showings, album release parties and more. Their next Cannabis & Coffee event is slated for Dec. 21st, partnering with Conduit Coffee.

I can’t help but wonder, though, what a cannabis-infused coffee tastes like? “Since we emulsify each Elevated Coffee with an immersion blender,” explained Le, “you wind up with a warm, frothy cup of coffee with a mouth feel similar to that of a latte, the flavor is smooth with a light creamy finish. It’s delightful!”

Le, who started smoking weed more regularly with a friend while working as a surgical assistant, said marijuana “helped me from bugging due to stress.” Now, his habits and industrious nature may help Seattle move forward with its entire marijuana industry.
 

lyfespan

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Always an informative thread, thanx for the heads up.
 

sasnak

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Thanks 7....I always enjoy reading your news updates.
 

umbra

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thanks for your time bringing this to us
 
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