MJ News for 12/17/2014

7greeneyes

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http://www.contracostatimes.com/bre...fficer-found-marijuana-home-wont-face-charges





(California, USA) Richmond officer found with marijuana in home won't face charges




RICHMOND -- A Richmond police officer found with marijuana in his home earlier this year likely won't be charged with a crime, authorities said, but his future on the police force is undetermined.

Veteran K-9 officer Joe Avila has been on paid administrative leave since September, pending an internal investigation, officials in the Richmond Police Department said.

The Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office has been investigating since the case came to its attention earlier this year but is not inclined to file charges, said Robin Lipetzky, the county's chief public defender. According to Lipetzky, the decision likely stems from evidence not strong enough to produce a conviction.

A search warrant affidavit obtained by this newspaper shows that Avila picked up a box containing about 4 to 5 pounds of marijuana from a UPS store on Nov. 25, 2013. Avila then radioed a dispatcher to say that he would file an incident report.

Avila never did so, according to the search warrant. Instead, in what several police sources have said is a violation of Richmond police policy, the marijuana ended up in his Oakley home instead of being placed into a department evidence locker.

The matter came to officials' attention after an officer was assigned in January 2014 to investigate Avila's alleged failure to write more than three dozen police reports, the warrant said.

As the investigation continued, internal affairs investigators informed Avila he would be placed on administrative leave for failing to file 37 reports, one of them the report of the marijuana he picked up at the UPS store. When questioned, Avila told investigators that he used 2 pounds of the marijuana to train his police dog in February 2014, and when pressed, he acknowledged there may be more in the trunk of his K-9 patrol car or at his house.

During their search, police found marijuana in the home.

According to police sources, Richmond police officers are required to follow strict guidelines about labeling, packaging and storing potential evidence and must file a police report before the end of their shift unless special circumstances dictate they don't.

Neither Avila nor his attorney have returned calls to discuss the case.

When his future with the department will be determined remains unclear. Calls to the city's human resources department were referred to the city attorney's office, which did not return a call Tuesday afternoon.
 

7greeneyes

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs...-marijuana-use-falls-as-more-states-legalize/





Teen marijuana use falls as more states legalize




Teen alcohol and drug use -- including marijuana use -- was down across the board in 2014.

That's the big take-home from the 2014 Monitoring the Future study by the University of Michigan and the National Institutes on Drug Abuse, which was released Tuesday morning. The MTF is an annual survey of 40,000 8th-graders, 10th-graders and 12th-graders. It's notable both for its size and for the fact that it was conducted this past spring, in the midst of a nationwide conversation about drug reform in the run-up to the midterm elections. Here's what the survey found:

Marijuana use? Down. Alcohol use? Way down. Cigarettes? Waaay down. Fewer than 15 percent of 12th-graders reported using cigarettes any time in the past month, down from well over 35 percent in the late 1990s. Monthly alcohol use dropped from nearly 55 percent of 12th-graders in 1992 to less than 40 percent in 2014. Even weed, which has been on a flatter trajectory since the 1990s than the other substances, is down year over year.

These numbers comport with findings earlier this year from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the government's other major substance use barometer.

Even better news is that frequent, daily use -- which experts agree is the most harmful to developing young minds -- is also down considerably. Cigarettes posted the sharpest drop in daily use, falling from nearly 25 percent of 12th graders in 1997 to about 7 percent in 2014. Frequent alcohol use has declined, although less dramatically. Frequent marijuana use had been on a slight rise for roughly the second half of the 2000s, but since about 2011 it's either held steady or fallen.

"Both alcohol and cigarette use in 2014 are at their lowest points since the study began in 1975," the study's authors conclude in a press release. The National Institutes of Drug Abuse agrees: “with marijuana use appearing to level off, and rates of many other drugs decreasing, it is possible that prevention efforts are having an effect,” said director Nora D. Volkow in a release.

The marijuana findings are particularly noteworthy given that Colorado and Washington state implemented full-scale retail marijuana markets this year, and Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., voters opted to do the same. A central tenet of legalization opponents, from present-day prohibitionists like Andy Harris all the way back to Richard Nixon, has been that loosening restrictions on marijuana will "send the wrong" message to youngsters and lead to an explosion in teen use.

Harris sums up the mindset best in a recent appearance at the Heritage Foundation: "Relaxing [marijuana] laws clearly leads to more teenage drug use. It should be intuitively obvious to everyone that if you legalize marijuana for adults, more children will use marijuana because the message that it's dangerous will be blunted."

While it's a politically potent message -- nobody wants to see more kids doing drugs -- there's a substantial body of research showing that teen pot use hasn't risen in the states that have legalized medical marijuana. In 2014, a year when marijuana was all over the news and national attitudes toward the drug are relaxing, teen use actually trended downward.

Or, look at it from the other side: In the early 1990s the federal drug war was in full swing. But teen marijuana use spiked sharply during that period. It didn't start falling until the late '90s, when the first states began implementing medical marijuana laws.

This isn't to say that repealing harsh marijuana laws will necessarily cause teen use to trend downward. But it does at the very least illustrate that it's impossible to draw a straight line from "relaxing marijuana laws" to "increased teen use," as Harris and other prohibition enthusiasts do. And there are compelling arguments to be made that taking the marijuana trade off the black market, and letting government and law enforcement agencies, rather than criminals, control the marijuana market, will lead to better overall drug use outcomes among teens.

Regardless of where you come down on the drug war, there's something in here for everyone to be cheerful about. The kids, broadly speaking, are alright.
 

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http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/20...king-show?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=thesalt





Way Beyond Brownies: Vice Launches A Marijuana Cooking Show




On Sunday, my mother sent me an email: "OMG! Watch this unbelievable cooking show!"

It wasn't spam, and my mother, who's 65, does not use OMG lightly.

The fuss was over a 20-minute video about a 91-year-old grandmother who cooks Italian classics in marijuana-infused butter.

It's the first episode in a new series called Bong Appetit from Munchies, Vice Media's food channel. Vice is the media company that aspires to be "the largest network for young people in the world."

But the appeal of a marijuana cooking show apparently extends far beyond computer-bound stoners clicking for chuckles.

As the show's producer, David Bienenstock, who's based in Santa Cruz, Calif., tells The Salt, there's really so much more to the world of marijuana cuisine than pot brownies and lollipops at the edible shops popping up around Colorado, Washington and California. Bienenstock has been writing Vice's "Weed Eater" column since April and is a former editor at High Times.

"We're moving beyond marijuana as something frightening. A lot of people are curious, and food is a great way for people to access the culture," he says. "Once they can access it, they start to understand it's something we shouldn't be suppressing and should be celebrating."

The culinary connection has largely been ignored, Bienenstock says. (Except on this blog: We've reported on a butcher who feeds marijuana to his pigs and a marijuana food truck.)

Which perhaps explains the freshness of characters like Aurora Leveroni, also known as "Nonna Marijuana." The charming 91-year-old first shared her marijuana cooking skills on YouTube in 2011, courtesy of the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana, which her daughter, Valerie Corral, founded.

"I like to cook with medical marijuana because I feel that it helps those who have been ill and had to endure pain, and I will use it if it helps anyone," she tells Munchies. But that does not include herself. While Valerie says has used marijuana to treat grand mal seizures since the 1970s, when she was injured in a car accident, Nonna says she doesn't partake.

But like any good Italian grandmother who comforts through food, she's more than happy to cook it for others. And so Nonna shares her marijuana-infused butter technique with Bong Appetit host Matt Zambric.

Then Valerie offers Zambric a tour of her impressive marijuana garden, which features 20 different strains that her organization, WAMM, supplies to patients and caregivers on donation basis.

Next it's time to get back to the kitchen to make chicken pot-cciatore and gnocchi with Nonna. We won't tell you how it ends, but suffice it to say it's delectable.
 

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http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/12/department-justice-congress-war-medical-marijuana





The Federal War on Medical Marijuana Is Over





Good news for medical pot smokers: The $1.1 trillion federal spending bill approved by the Senate on Saturday has effectively ended the longstanding federal war on medical marijuana. An amendment to the bill blocks the Department of Justice from spending money to prosecute medical marijuana dispensaries or patients that abide by state laws.

"Patients will have access to the care legal in their state without fear of federal prosecution," Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.), a supporter of the rider known as the Hinchey-Rohrbacher amendment, said in a statement. "And our federal dollars will be spent more wisely on fighting actual crimes and not wasted going after patients."

The Department of Justice last year pledged not to interfere with the implementation of state pot laws, but the agency's truce left it with plenty of room to change its mind. Earlier this year, for instance, the DOJ accused the Kettle Falls Five, a family in Washington State, of growing 68 marijuana plants on their farm in Eastern Washington, where pot is legal. Members of the family face up to 10 years in jail—or at least, they did; the amendment may now stop their prosecution.

More broadly, the change provides some added peace of mind for pot patients in California, where the DOJ's pledge appeared not to apply. The Golden State's 1996 medical pot law, the first in the nation, has long been criticized by the DOJ as too permissive and decentralized.

Medical marijuana activists hailed the amendment's passage as a landmark moment for patients' rights. "By approving this measure, Congress is siding with the vast majority of Americans who are calling for change in how we enforce our federal marijuana laws," said Mike Liszewski, Government Affairs Director for Americans for Safe Access.

The CRomnibus spending bill wasn't a universal victory of marijuana advocates, however. Another rider aims to prevent the District of Columbia from legalizing marijuana; it prohibits federal funds being "used to enact any law, rule, or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce penalties associated with the possession, use, or distribution of any schedule I substance." But Reason's Jacob Sullum notes that the rider may be moot because DC's pot law has already been "enacted" by voters—it passed at the polls in November by a 2-to-1 margin.

Whatever the outcome in DC, the appropriations bill is an undisputed win for pot smokers. As Slate's Josh Voorhes points out, "the District is home to roughly 640,000 people; California, one of 23 states were medical pot is legal, is home to more than 38 million." In short, Congress has done a bit of temporary weed whacking in its backyard, but it's acknowledging that stopping the repeal of pot prohibitions by the states is all but impossible.
 

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http://www.star-telegram.com/opinion/editorials/article4532993.html






Texas marijuana law changes proposed




The cost of policing, prosecuting and punishing violators of Texas’ still stringent marijuana laws is enormous — in dollars, the toll on individuals and the burden on the overall criminal justice system.

About 70,000 arrests (or 6.5 percent of all arrests) in Texas each year are for marijuana possession, and carry an annual price tag of about $734 million, according to state Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, who notes that the vast majority of those violators are accused of simple possession.

If a coalition of liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans gets its way, the Texas Legislature will further decriminalize marijuana possession next session.

Moody introduced a bill this week to make possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana a civil action that carries a $100 fine rather than a crime punishable by jail time.

In addition to abolishing jail time for such an infraction, proponents of the law say, it removes the threat of arrests and a criminal record for those accused.

Current Texas law provides for punishment of up to six months in jail and a $2,000 fine for anyone convicted of possessing less than 2 ounces of marijuana.

Joining forces with Moody in announcing the proposed change were Texas District Judge John Delaney and other members of the coalition representing organizations such as Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition, the ACLU of Texas, Marijuana Policy Project and Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy.

The coalition cited a 2013 poll by Public Policy Polling that showed that more than 60 percent of Texans favored limiting punishment to a fine of $100 for possession of up to an ounce of the drug.

While decriminalization is likely to be a tough sell in the next Legislature (and with Gov.-elect Greg Abbott opposing it), it is the proper path to take.

The ACLU’s Matthew Simpson states it clearly:

“The war on marijuana is a failure and has needlessly ensnared hundreds of thousands of people in the criminal justice system, at tremendous human and financial cost. It’s time to implement reforms that are fairer, more compassionate and smarter at reducing drug dependency and improving our health and safety.”
 

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/abdullah-saeed/this-could-be-the-next-ma_b_6331806.html





This Could be the Next Major Legal Marijuana Brand




The continuing trend of state-level marijuana legalization has led to growing business establishment, the likes of which this recently illegal trade has never seen. At the tail-end of 2014, which saw legalization initiatives pass in Oregon, Alaska and Washington D.C., joining the ranks of Colorado and Washington, numerous purveyors of cannabis are throwing their hats into what promises to be a booming ring of commerce. As announcements of these brands emerge, cannabis consumers and legalization advocates scrutinize entrepreneurs' intentions, hoping that the next big cannabis brands are in the game for compassion over profits.

The newest legal cannabis brand to enter the fold is IVXX, a company based in Oakland whose products are currently sold in Northern California dispensaries and will soon be available in Nevada as well. Beyond these territories, IVXX plans to expand into more cannabis-legal states as the laws continue to evolve. IVXX currently offers high quality marijuana strains, THC concentrates and pre-rolled joints with a focus on consistency in quality and providing an understanding of the products to consumers.

The brand's founders represent both sides of the incentive to enter a big-time cannabis venture. CEO Salwa Ibrahim is a dispensary operator based in Oakland, CA who has long been an outspoken activist for cannabis legalization as part of Oaksterdam University, an educational institution focusing on cannabis cultivation and business. IVXX President Derek Peterson is also the CEO of his own company, Terra Tech, a company establishing cannabis-growing operations in marijuana-legal states that is currently raising money on Wall Street for a venture in Nevada. Both Ibrahim and Peterson profess a commitment to creating quality and consistency that is lacking in the current California dispensary market, which is largely unregulated and sources supplies from various quasi-legal cooperative grows. According to a press release, Peterson said, "Our goal in developing this brand is to make certain we bring absolute quality and accountability to the entire industry."

To date, a number of companies have announced plans to launch national and international cannabis brands despite the product's illegal federal status, and few have dodged criticism for their intentions. In late 2012, former Microsoft executive Jamen Shively began a bombastic press campaign promoting his venture, Diego Pellicer, a major purveyor of "premium marijuana." Shively's hyperbolic vision for the brand and his novice with the plant itself troubled legalization advocates fearing the commercialization of cannabis as well as established marijuana industry entrepreneurs who admonished his attempt to enter the industry.

More recently, a cannabis-focused private equity firm called Privateer Holdings announced a partnership with the descendants of Bob Marley to create a multinational cannabis brand called Marley Natural. The announcement was met with internet backlash calling it a betrayal of the music icon's anti-establishment message. Outspoken legalization advocate Russ Belville assailed Privateer's CEO for speaking negatively about existing "stoner" culture.

Time and time again, the legalization advocacy community has demonstrated their weariness of outside business interests since the legal marijuana industry became a prospect. The hope is that small dispensary operations with a focus on caregiving have the opportunity to grow to larger scales and maintain their ultimate, compassionate goal as they expand into major brands.

In this sense, IVXX may be the brand that weathers scrutiny. Ibrahim campaigned for recreational legalization in California before opening her dispensary, Blum Oakland, which has grown to serve over 700 medical patients a day. Peterson is also a partner in Blum Oakland. Though he dons a suit and tie and earned his business chops on Wall Street, he's an open recreational and medical cannabis user. While IVXX strives to be a profitable venture, both its founders entered the cannabis realm as a matter of personal interest in the growing liberalization of cannabis in the US. In a statement, Ibrahim dedicates IVXX to "the thousands of people that have fought tirelessly, risking their own freedoms and lives to make cannabis, and its incredible potential, openly accepted and available to everyone." This sentiment is sure to win over any skepticism and may just be the winning trait of the first big, legal cannabis brand.
 

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http://www.independent.co.uk/news/u...igarette-to-go-on-sale-in-the-uk-9930443.html




KanaVape cannabis e-cigarette to go on sale in the UK





The vaping trend seemingly knows no bounds as the first “cannabis” e-cigarette goes on sale in the UK tomorrow.

The KanaVape, which contains hemp, has been legalised for use in France by people with cancer, multiple sclerosis (MS) and other conditions requiring pain relief.

Its creators told The Independent it will go on sale around the world tomorrow but the Home Office has cast doubt on whether that would be legal, saying the product must be tested for controlled substances.

Antonin Cohen and Sebastien Beguerie said the KanaVape cannot be compared to a joint or spliff because it does not contain THC, the chemical credited with causing cannabis highs.

A statement on its website said the product is made from certified hemp, which contains far less of the chemical than marijuana, and “does not have any psychoactive or euphoric effect”.

It is one of more than 60 active “cannabinoids” in the plant, which have varying effects including relaxation and pain relief.

“We made KanaVape to give millions of people a legal and tasteful way of using cannabinoids,” Mr Cohen and Mr Beguerie said.

“We craft our production with love, care and scientific research. KanaVape is good for our customers and good for the planet.”

The website boasts that the vaporiser allows the enjoyment of the “original flavour” of hemp without the accompanying smoke or psychotic effects.

“Stay relaxed, keep a clear mind and an active lifestyle with KanaVape – anytime, anywhere,” it says. “It will not make you ‘high’ but will help you relax.”

The hemp inside contains 5 per cent cannabidiol, which is being tested for medical applications around the world.

Licences are available to grow hemp in the UK and it can be legally sold in certain forms, including oil, paper and clothing.

A spokesperson for the Home Office said KanaVape would have to be tested for illegal substances before going on sale.

“Cannabis is classed as an illegal drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971,” he added.

"It is an offence to supply and possess a controlled drug and to supply any article believing it to be used for their administration.”

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency is responsible for approving products for medical use.
 

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http://rt.com/uk/215267-cannabis-drugs-kids-medical/





New CBD derivative (Epidiolex) is being tested at Edinburgh University




Children with a severe form of epilepsy could be treated with a new drug derived from the cannabis plant. The element of the plant used is non-psychoactive, meaning patients would not receive the usual cannabis high.

The medicine, called Epidiolex, has been trialed in the US, where early studies showed promising results, reducing the frequency and severity of seizures.

Trials of the drug, which contains the compound Cannabidiol (CBD), will begin at Edinburgh University's Muir Maxwell Epilepsy Centre, based at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh, and London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital.

The tests will currently only take place upon children whose seizures cannot currently be controlled by other types of medicine, primarily those with Dravet Syndrome, an incredibly rare form of epilepsy.

Some children will receive doses of Epidiolex, while others will be administered a placebo.

If the tests are successful, further trials will study the effects of the drug on children with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, which typically occurs in between one and five per 100 children with epilepsy.

There are further test centers in the US, France and Poland.

Dr Richard Chin, director of the Muir Maxwell Epilepsy Centre, said that a new treatment for children with rare forms of epilepsy was essential.

“Many children with serious forms of epilepsy do not respond to the medications that we currently have available,” he said. “We need new means of treating these conditions so that we can give back some quality of life to these children and their families.”

Dravet Syndrome frequently becomes noticeable in children under the age of one. It can cause prolonged and multiple kinds of seizure, and in extreme cases can be fatal.

The syndrome also has a severe impact on children’s development in formative years.

The drug has been developed by GW Pharmaceuticals, a British company, which is also sponsoring the trial.

News of the pioneering treatment follows the passing of a federal spending measure which effectively ends the government’s prohibition of medicinal cannabis in the US.

The new legislation signals a huge shift in current drug policy and global perceptions of cannabis use.
 

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