Monday, December 31, 2012

Marijuana Legalization Plans for 7 States

The Daily Chronic

The Daily Chronic has an informative article on states with upcoming strides toward legalization.
WASHINGTON, DC — Following landmark victories in Colorado and Washington on November 6, many people are asking, “What states will be next to enact measures to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol?”

The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), one of the nation’s largest marijuana reform organizations which has been instrumental in passing medical marijuana, decriminalization, and marijuana legalization bills in several states nationwide, has announced the next seven states that they plan perusing marijuana legalization.
List of states and dates proposed:
  • Alaska with a tax and regulate ballot initiative in 2014
  • Nevada with a tax and regulate campaign slated for 2016.
  • California with a planned legalization initiative for the 2016.
  • Maine with a tax and regulate marijuana legalization bill in 2013.
  • Rhode Island with a a tax and regulate bill in 2013.
  • Oregon with a tax and regulate campaign slated for 2013.
  • Massachusetts with a 2016 tax and regulate for adult use campaign.
If you reside in any states don't let the opportunity pass you by to make a difference. Two down 48 to go.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Croatia Will Decriminalize Marijuana In 2013

Via: Croatian Times.

From the start of 2013, those caught with small amounts of narcotic drugs for personal use in Croatia will no longer face criminal conviction. The criminal offence will be degraded to a minor offence. The new law is aimed at decriminalising possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use, but not its production, writes daily newspaper Jutarnji list.

In other words, growing just a few plants of Indian hemp for personal health needs remains a criminal offence, and those growing it still will risk facing a fine and up to three years in prison. A working group from the Ministry of Justice who suggested the law change about decriminalisation of possession of a small amount of drugs, has not proposed a precise regulation regarding the production of narcotic drugs for personal use for chronic health problems.

"We can not regulate criminal law, because it is not up to the Ministry of Justice to decide which substances, when it comes to medical purposes, should be prohibited, and which should not. The decision on whether a drug is a medicine or not is up to the Ministry of Health. Everything that is on the list of banned substances shall be punished in some way, "said Justice Minister Orsat Miljenic. reports the

Monday, December 10, 2012

Consider drugs decriminalisation system, MPs say

The government is being urged by MPs to closely consider a system of drugs de-criminalisation pioneered in Portugal.

The Home Affairs Committee said it was impressed with the approach to cutting drug use where people found with small amounts are not always prosecuted.

It also asks ministers to monitor the effects of cannabis legalisation in other parts of the world.

The Home Office rejected its call for a Royal Commission on UK drugs policy, saying that was "not necessary".

Official figures show that drug use in England and Wales is at its lowest rate under current measurements since 1996.

However, there is concern over the growth and prevalence of "legal highs", some of which are banned, amid a recorded rise in deaths linked to their use.

The committee stops short of supporting a relaxation of legal sanctions for drug use, as suggested by experts at the UK Drug Policy Commission in October, but it does call on ministers to look in detail at the idea.

In its wide-ranging report, the cross-party Home Affairs Committee said MPs had visited Portugal as part of attempts to understand different systems of decriminalisation which were being used around the world to manage the harm of drugs, rather than just hand out penalties for their use.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Incoming Dutch government ditches 'weed pass' plan


The incoming Dutch government has ditched plans for a national "weed pass" that would have been available only to residents and that would have effectively banned tourists from Amsterdam's marijuana cafes.

However, under a provisional governing pact unveiled this week, cities can bar foreigners from weed shops if they choose.

The pact says that it wants only Dutch residents to have access to marijuana cafes, but leaves enforcement up to cities. Amsterdam opposes a ban, which would hurt tourism.

Some cafe owners said Tuesday that they are satisfied Dutch weed policy will remain unchanged, while others criticized the lack of clarity.

Marijuana trafficking is technically illegal in the Netherlands, but people can't be prosecuted for possession of small amounts and the drug is sold openly in designated "coffee shops."

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fiona Apple arrested for possession of hash in Texas


TMZ reports that Fiona Apple was arrested in Texas yesterday (9/19) for possession of hash. She's currently beind held at Hudspeth County Jail.
Fiona Apple was arrested at a border stop in Texas yesterday ... after authorities claim they found hashish on the "Criminal" singer's tour bus ... TMZ has learned.

It all went down in Sierra Blanca, TX -- where stars like Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg and Armie Hammer have all been arrested for drugs in the past.

But apparently, Apple didn't learn from their mistakes ... and when her bus was stopped for inspection, cops turned up the hash -- a strong form of cannabis.

Cops say Apple was also in possession of a small amount of weed.

The 35-year-old singer was arrested for possession and is currently being held at Hudspeth County Jail.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Uruguay could soon become the 1st national government to sell cannabis directly to citizens

Uruguay has long been at the vanguard of social reform in Latin America. Today, it is on the verge of passing into law one of its most radical ideas yet.

The Broad Front – the center-left coalition that holds power – is proposing a state monopoly over the production and distribution of marijuana, making Uruguay the first national government to sell cannabis directly to citizens. The government says the measure is necessary to combat rising drug-related crime, decrease health risks for users, and counter ineffective US policies on drugs. But within Uruguay, interest groups have labeled the legislation totalitarian, while some international bodies argue it breaches global conventions.

“We’re putting this forward as international policy,” says Sebastian Sabini, president of the parliamentary commission created to debate the bill. “The war on drugs has failed. There are more consumers and more violence.”

“Uruguay is opening up a new path,” he says.

Pushing the envelope
Uruguay is often overshadowed by the far larger economies of its neighbors Brazil and Argentina. But the country has made a name for itself with a long history of pushing the envelope on social issues.

In 1918, Uruguay became one of the first countries in the region to officially separate the state from the Roman Catholic Church. It implemented South America’s oldest mandatory pension system in 1896, and a bill to decriminalize abortion is expected to pass later this year.

But the bill proposing the legalization of marijuana has been denounced by the United Nations for breaching its 1961 convention on narcotics, and Uruguayans are also skeptical: Polls say just 40 percent approve.

“We’ll end up with people who don’t use marijuana buying it to sell on and make a quick buck,” says Hugo Lacasa, a street trader in Montevideo.

In early September, a parliamentary commission began a six-month debate to refine the bill, which will next be voted on in Congress. The Broad Front has a majority in both houses, but given the audacity of the proposal, President Jose Mujica, a former leftist guerrilla, has said it must have a minimum of 60 percent approval by lawmakers. Usually, just a 51 percent simple majority is required.

'Tackling' black market
The government introduced the bill in part because of “the failure of the global ‘war on drugs,’ ” according to the text of the proposed law. It also believes that by separating the marijuana and hard drug markets, less people will become addicted to the latter – especially "paco," a cocaine-based paste.

Violence linked to the black market for drugs will plummet too, says Julio Calzada, secretary general of Uruguay’s National Committee on Drugs. “Uruguay’s criminality rate has increased by approximately 10 percent in the last few years,” Mr. Calzada says. “We can tackle that by regulating the $40 million marijuana market.”

But legalization campaigners insist the plans would place too much control in the hands of government while the UN is irked by the “grave violation” of its drug interdiction strategy.

Alternative to the 'war on drugs?'

The war on drugs was instigated by President Nixon in the 1970s in an attempt to curtail the consumption of drugs in the US. Since then, a similar strategy of zero tolerance has been adopted by politicians across the Americas, aided by Washington. Amid pushback from drug-trafficking cartels, violence has escalated, and tens of thousands of people have died.

Uruguay’s bill has been depicted as an alternative to that strategy, and other Latin American countries like Bolivia and Guatemala have expressed their support.

The Uruguayan government argues that the war on drugs can never achieve a “world without drugs.” Cannabis use rose by almost 9 percent worldwide between 1998 and 2008, proponents of the bill say.

Uruguay, a country of just 3 million people, has also supported Bolivia’s calls to legalize the coca leaf – the key ingredient of cocaine but also traditionally used in its natural state for medicinal purposes, and to stave off hunger and altitude sickness.

President Mujica said the government will require around 150 hectares, or 370 acres, of plantations to meet the needs of what they estimate are Uruguay’s 18,000 regular marijuana consumers. Most of the current supply is trafficked from Paraguay.

A 'totalitarian' bill
Mr. Sabini, the president of the parliamentary commission, says that if the state controls cultivation, smokers will be assured of a safe product.

A monthly limit of 40 grams per person will also be imposed, Mr. Calzada says. Foreigners will not be allowed to purchase the cannabis, as has been the case in popular party destinations like Amsterdam, Holland.

“The bill is there to resolve Uruguay’s problems,” said Mujica. “We don’t want drug tourism.”

However, in what may come as a surprise, the proposed legislation has not won over marijuana legalization activists, who label it totalitarian.

Juan Vaz, a leading campaigner once jailed for growing cannabis plants, is lobbying lawmakers to ensure they also allow private, domestic production. The current law would mean that individual growers keep breaking the law, and only state-run production would be legal.

“The government should regulate home cultivation rather than seek a monopoly,” says Mr. Vaz.

Mujica has said the proposal puts Uruguay “at the vanguard” once more. “The problem isn’t the marijuana in itself,” he said. “It’s the trafficking and the violence associated with the black market.”

“It’s time for a new approach,” says Mr. Calzada.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

GOP Mogul Behind Drug Rehab 'Torture' Centers Is Bankrolling Opposition to Pot Legalization in Colorado

The Nation

When you look at drug prohibition objectively it, it show how that it only makes since if you are gaining something for continued prohibition. In this case it's shocking to see how far some people will go to continue the business as usual.
Marijuana legalization would harm kids, says Smart Colorado, a group advertising stock images of children along with messages asking for voters to reject Amendment 64, a ballot initiative this year to legalize and tax pot.

Smart Colorado, led former Republican senate candidate Ken Buck and a team of Republican lobbyists and campaign operatives, hopes to drive down the popularity of Amendment 64 before Election Day. The supposedly family-friendly group, however, relies heavily on funds from a pair of controversial Republican fundraisers who once led a drug rehab center shut down over wide-ranging child abuse scandals.

Save Our Society from Drugs, a Florida-based nonprofit founded by Mel and Betty Sembler, has given Smart Colorado contributions totaling $151,497 through September, according to The Nation’s review of state finance disclosures. That’s 95 percent of the money raised by the group so far.

The Semblers have been waging a war on marijuana for decades.

Before they led Save Our Society from Drugs, and its sister nonprofit, the Drug Free America Foundation, the Semblers were at the helm of STRAIGHT, Inc., which operated drug abuse treatment centers, mostly for teenagers, from 1976 through 1993.

Former clients of the rehab center recount episodes of brutal beatings, rape and systematic psychological abuse.

At one facility in Yorba Linda, California, state investigators found that STRAIGHT Inc. subjected children to “unusual punishment, infliction of pain, humiliation, intimidation, ridicule, coercion, threats, mental abuse…and interference with daily living functions such as eating, sleeping and toileting.” Samantha Monroe, who was placed into a STRAIGHT Inc clinic in Tampa at age 13, says she was locked in a room, and forced to wear a clothes stained with urine, feces and menstrual blood—a punishment her counselors called “humble pants.”

Richard Bradbury, a former STRAIGHT patient and counselor-turned-whistleblower, told the St. Petersburg Times that Monroe’s experiences weren’t unique. “It was pure child abuse,” Bradbury told reporters. “Torture.”

In 1988, Fred Collins, an 18-year-old college student, paid a visit to his brother, who was in treatment for drug abuse, at an Orlando STRAIGHT Inc. clinic. Counselors accused Collins of being high on marijuana because his eyes were red, and held him against his will for months. The abduction, strip-searches and other abuses ended when Collins managed to escape. He was one of many to win judgments against the chain of drug rehab clinics before it was forced to close after investigations and lawsuits began to mount in several states.

Though the STRAIGHT drug rehab clinic no longer exist, the Sembler network of anti-drug nonprofits have proliferated, in part because of the family’s extensive political connections. Mel, who served as a major fundraiser for George H.W., Jeb and George W. Bush, was appointed as the Ambassador to Italy in 2001. Betty Sembler, awarded “honorary agent status by the DEA,” has led various anti-drug commissions and task forces on the state and federal level.

Three years after STRAIGHT shut down, the Semblers changed its name to the Drug Free America Foundation, headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The Drug Free America Foundation, a nonprofit that shares resources, an office and staff with the Save Our Society group financing the Amendment 64 opposition in Colorado, has a contract with the federal government to help small businesses develop their own drug-testing programs for employees. In 2010, taxpayers forked over $250,000 to a Sembler group to oversee a drug-free workplace program for the Small Business Administration. It also helps produce anti-marijuana literature and promotional campaigns.

Mel Sembler, who made his fortune in real estate, says his opposition to marijuana use influenced his move to the GOP. He switched party affiliation in 1979, when he claims he found out “[President Jimmy] Carter was doing all this pot smoking and stuff in the White House.”

Since then, he’s been a proud Republican. Explaining his early support for Mitt Romney (he’s now a leader of Romney’s Florida fundraising team), Sembler says he accompanied then-Governor Romney to Israel during his first official visit and trusts the candidate’s business acumen. Viveca Novak, of, noted that Sembler was spotted on a Romney bundler yacht during the Republican convention last month.

Sembler hasn’t renounced his sordid legacy with the STRAIGHT clinics. An online biography of Mel Sember posted by his nonprofit proudly touts his role in founding the scandal-plagued rehab centers. The biography cheerfully claims, that during “its 17 years of existence, STRAIGHT successfully graduated more than 12,000 young people nationwide from its remarkable program.” There is no mention of the child abuse scandals that led to its downfall.

There’s little time to worry about the past. He’s waging two battles now: one in Colorado, and another to evict a former Choom Gang member from the White House.

Cannabidiolic acid, a major cannabinoid in fiber-type cannabis, is an inhibitor of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell migration.

This does not imply that weed cures cancer. There are negative and positive effects caused by smoking. However the continued demonization of marijuana could be preventing any number of drug treatments derived form it's component parts.
Cannabidiol (CBD), a major non-psychotropic constituent of fiber-type cannabis plant, has been reported to possess diverse biological activities, including anti-proliferative effect on cancer cells. Although CBD is obtained from non-enzymatic decarboxylation of its parent molecule, cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), few studies have investigated whether CBDA itself is biologically active. Results of the current investigation revealed that CBDA inhibits migration of the highly invasive MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells, apparently through a mechanism involving inhibition of cAMP-dependent protein kinase A, coupled with an activation of the small GTPase, RhoA. It is established that activation of the RhoA signaling pathway leads to inhibition of the mobility of various cancer cells, including MDA-MB-231 cells. The data presented in this report suggest for the first time that as an active component in the cannabis plant, CBDA offers potential therapeutic modality in the abrogation of cancer cell migration, including aggressive breast cancers.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

UF study shows long-term drug abuse starts with alcohol

University of Florida

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Alcohol — not marijuana — is the gateway drug that leads adolescents down the path toward more serious substances, a new University of Florida study shows.

The findings may not settle a decades-old debate over how drug abuse begins, but it could help educators and policymakers build more effective drug-prevention programs, said Adam Barry, an assistant professor and researcher in the College of Health and Human Performance.
I'm not really a believer in the correlation/causation stance. I do however believe that if you have a tendency for dependence you will always crave something to fill that hole. The article dose provide evidence that the claim that marijuana is the gateway is false.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Elect Mike Smith Georgia House Dist. 69

Elect Mike Smith

Smith aims to legalize and tax marijuana. He said, "The failed war on drugs is the lynchpin of the Republican party's Southern strategy, which was designed to trick white Southerners into voting against their own interests. With the legalization of marijuana, we can increase tax revenue, close expensive for-profit prisons, and use the savings to improve the education of our children."

Legalize and tax marijuana. The failed "war on drugs" is nothing but a war on minorities. It is the lynchpin of the Republican party’s Southern strategy, which was designed to trick white Southerners into voting against their own interests. With the legalization of marijuana, we can increase tax revenue, close expensive for-profit prisons, and use the savings to improve the education of our children.

Smith, a father of three, has worked as a disability attorney in LaGrange for the past 30 years. He has a BA in History from LaGrange College, JD and LLM degrees from Atlanta Law School, and an MA in Psychology from the University of West Georgia.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Newark Mayor Cory Booker Declares Drug War ‘A Failure,’ Endorses Medical Marijuana

Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker tweeted on Wednesday, calling the government's war on drugs a failure that unfairly targets the black population. His criticism comes after New Jersey advanced a bill to decriminalize marijuana. If it passes, a person caught with 15 grams of pot or less would only face a $150 fine.

Booker supports treatment over incarceration, saying the drug war was costing billions and destroying lives. He stated the high percentage of blacks in New Jersey's prisons, writing that they make up 60 percent of the jail population, despite being 15 percent of the state's population.

Drug war is a failure costing billions of tax dollars annually AND destroying lives, plus it has a glaring racial component @LibProgressive
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) May 23, 2012

In NJ blacks are about 15% of population but over 60% of prison population and DRUGS fuels much of the incarceration @LibProgressive
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) May 23, 2012

So yes we need to radically change the conversation from INCARCERATION to what will really end this national nightmare. @LibProgressive
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) May 23, 2012

I fear legalizing it all would lead 2 more addiction RT @msupolitical: last thing I want is giving more power 2 govt. legalize it all period
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) May 23, 2012

However, I’m with you on medical marijuana. And NJ should do more to make it real for those who need it@msupolitical
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) May 23, 2012

Friday, May 4, 2012

Nancy Pelosi condemns raids on medical marijuana

May 2, 2012
San Francisco – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today in response to recent federal government actions threatening safe access to medicinal marijuana for those who are seriously ill or enduring difficult and painful therapies:

“Access to medicinal marijuana for individuals who are ill or enduring difficult and painful therapies is both a medical and a states’ rights issue. Sixteen states, including our home state of California, and the District of Columbia have adopted medicinal marijuana laws – most by a vote of the people.

“I have strong concerns about the recent actions by the federal government that threaten the safe access of medicinal marijuana to alleviate the suffering of patients in California, and undermine a policy that has been in place under which the federal government did not pursue individuals whose actions complied with state laws providing for medicinal marijuana.

“Proven medicinal uses of marijuana include improving the quality of life for patients with cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and other severe medical conditions.

“I am pleased to join organizations that support legal access to medicinal marijuana, including the American Nurses Association, the Lymphoma Foundation of America, and the AIDS Action Council.

“Medicinal marijuana alleviates some of the most debilitating symptoms of AIDS, including pain, wasting, and nausea. The opportunity to ease the suffering of people who are seriously ill or enduring difficult and painful therapies is an opportunity we must not ignore.

“For these reasons, I have long supported efforts in Congress to advocate federal policies that recognize the scientific evidence and clinical research demonstrating the medical benefits of medicinal marijuana, that respects the wishes of the states in providing relief to ill individuals, and that prevents the federal government from acting to harm the safe access of medicinal marijuana provided under state law. I will continue to strongly support those efforts."

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Marijuana Vaporizer Provides Same Level Of THC, Fewer Toxins, Study Shows

ScienceDaily (May 15, 2007)
A smokeless cannabis-vaporizing device delivers the same level of active therapeutic chemical and produces the same biological effect as smoking cannabis, but without the harmful toxins, according to University of California San Francisco researchers.

Results of a UCSF study, which focuses on delivery of the active ingredient delta-9-tertrahydrocannibinol, or THC, are reported in the online issue of the journal "Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics."

Not ground breaking news material in any way shape or form. However I try to post all news related to cannabis that i tend to come across(even when it is five years old).

Friday, April 20, 2012

Forbes Let's Be Blunt: It's Time to End the Drug War

April 20 is the counter-culture “holiday” on which lots and lots of people come together to advocate marijuana legalization (or just get high). Should drugs—especially marijuana—be legal? The answer is “yes.” Immediately. Without hesitation. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200 seized in a civil asset forfeiture. The war on drugs has been a dismal failure. It’s high time to end prohibition. Even if you aren’t willing to go whole-hog and legalize all drugs, at the very least we should legalize marijuana.

It's a great article that states the issue as it is not as how people would like it to be framed.

Happy 420

April 20 has evolved into a counterculture holiday in North America, where people gather to celebrate and consume cannabis. Some events have a political nature to them, advocating for the decriminalization of non-medical cannabis in the United States.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Obama: Drug legalization not the answer to cartels

President Barack Obama participates in a three-way conversation with Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff and Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos (not pictured) at the CEO Summit of the Americas, in Cartagena, Colombia, Saturday, April 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
(AP) CARTAGENA, Colombia - President Barack Obama said Saturday legalizing drug use is not the answer to trafficking in illegal narcotics in the Americas, countering a growing chorus in Latin America to discuss decriminalization as a way to ease deadly cartel violence.

Mr. Obama says he is open to having a debate about legalization, but he doesn't believe it will lead to an agreement to legalize drugs.

President Obama was speaking to an assembly of top executives from the hemisphere as part of the sixth Summit of the Americas here.

The president said the answer to the drug cartels is societies that have strong economics, rules of law, and a law enforcement infrastructure that is sound.

He said the responsibility also rests with countries that are big destinations for the drugs to reduce demand for illegal narcotics.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Rhode Island Marijuana Legalization and Decriminalization Bills Get Hearing Today

Legalization of Marijuana Act would regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol

PROVIDENCE, RI — A pair of bills, one that would legalize and tax marijuana and one that would reduce possession penalties by decriminalizing marijuana, are both scheduled to receive a hearing by the House Committee on Judiciary at the Statehouse Wednesday afternoon.

The first bill, HB 7092, would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in Rhode Island. Under the proposed bill, marijuana would remain illegal, but penalties for possession would be significantly lessened. If passed, Rhode Islanders caught with an ounce or less would pay a $150 dollar fine, but face no jail time.

The second bill, HB 7582, the “Legalization of Marijuana Act,” would outright legalize marijuana, regulating it much as the state regulates alcohol. The bill, if passed, would allow anyone 21 years old or older to possess and grow small quantities of marijuana, and would impose a cannabis tax.
Get out there and show your support.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Amendment 64

Majority Of Denver Republicans Vote To Legalize Marijuana
Fifty-six percent of the delegates at the Denver County Republican Assembly voted in support of a resolution to regulate marijuana like alcohol in the Centennial State. While the initiative, known as Amendment 64, did not receive the two-thirds majority required to adopt it as a plank in the party's platform, advocates are hailing the vote as significant.

"It is impressive and encouraging that a majority of some of the most active Republicans in Denver voted to endorse the initiative," wrote the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in a statement. "As more and more Colorado citizens see their friends and neighbors voicing their opposition to marijuana prohibition, we expect support for the initiative will continue to grow."

The Assembly, which voted Saturday on the initiative, did adopt a resolution affirming that medical marijuana is a 10th Amendment issue that should be left to the states.

Under a medical marijuana law enacted in 2000, Colorado patients with a note from their physician can access marijuana from a dispensary. But federal prosecutors have ramped up enforcement around medical marijuana in recent months, resulting in the closure of dozens of dispensaries around the state.

The vote comes shortly after television evangelist Pat Robertson took to the airwaves on "The 700 Club" to condemn arrests for marijuana possession.

"On the heels of the Pat Robertson endorsement of Amendment 64, it is great to see increasing support for regulating marijuana like alcohol across the ideological spectrum," the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol added.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Medical Marijuana Dispensaries to Open in Washington, D.C.

This summer, residents will be able to buy legal cannabis at dispensaries within a few miles of the White House, the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Cultivation centers are leasing space, and the city will decide who will be able to open shops by the end of March.

“The DEA is based here. The drug czar’s office is based here. How is that dynamic going to work when some of these entities say marijuana is not a medicine” with lawful medical marijuana dispensaries nearby, said Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director at the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Washington’s law will be stricter than California’s. To purchase pot, patients must be diagnosed with HIV, cancer, glaucoma or other terminal or chronic illnesses and will be authorized to carry a maximum of 2 ounces. They won’t be allowed to smoke in public or at dispensaries.
Great step in the right direction, but full legalization will always be the goal.

Friday, January 13, 2012

DEA Admits THC is Medicine

If the Feds Get Their Way, Big Pharma Could Sell Pot -- But Your Dime Bag Would Still Send You to Jail | Drugs | AlterNet

The DEA initially made public its desire to recognize the use of marijuana plant-derived pharmaceuticals in a "notice of proposed rulemaking," which appeared in the November 1, 2010 edition of the Federal Register.

The agency posted, "This proposed rule is issued by the Deputy Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to modify the listing of the Marinol formulation in schedule III so that certain generic drug products are also included in that listing." (Marinol is the brand name for dronabinol, a prescription pill approved by the FDA in the mid-'80s that consists of synthetic THC in sesame oil and is encapsulated in a soft gelatin capsule.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Florida Medical Marijuana Bills Filed

Florida Medical Marijuana Bills Filed | The Daily Chronic

For the second year in a row, medical marijuana legislation has been filed in Florida, and for the first time ever, bills have been filed in both the House and the Senate. The bills, House Joint Resolution 353 and Senate Joint Resolution 1028, ask the legislature to approve a referendum on medical marijuana for the November ballot.

If the legislature approves the resolutions, the referendum must then win the approval of 60% of the voters. If 60% of the voters approve it, the state constitution would be amended to include medical marijuana language.

Under the resolutions, patients with a doctor’s recommendation and his or her primary caregiver would have an affirmative defense if charged with a marijuana offense as long as the amount of marijuana was not greater than the amount set by the state and could still mount an affirmative defense if it was, provided that greater amount is “medically necessary.” The amount is not set in the resolutions; instead, the legislature would be charged with setting quantity limits in the event the referendum passes.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Marijuana Shown to Be Less Damaging to Lungs Than Tobacco

Marijuana Shown to Be Less Damaging to Lungs Than Tobacco |
UCSF-Led Study Compares Effects on Pulmonary Function

A large-scale national study suggests low to moderate use of marijuana is less harmful to users’ lungs than exposure to tobacco, even though the two substances contain many of the same components.
This comprehensive study, led by UCSF and University of Alabama at Birmingham, collected data from more than 5,000 U.S. adults for more than 20 years.
Smoking cigarettes can cause significant lung damage, including respiratory symptoms, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer. It accounts for an estimated 443,000 deaths, or nearly one in every five deaths, each year in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Data for the long-term effects of marijuana use on the pulmonary system has been scarce until now.

“We found exactly what we thought we would find in relation to tobacco exposure: a consistent loss of lung function with increasing exposure,” said the paper’s lead author, Mark Pletcher, MD, MPH, associate professor in the Division of Clinical Epidemiology at UCSF. “We were, however, surprised that we found such a different pattern of association with marijuana exposure.”
Mark Pletcher, MD, MPHIn a paper published today in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), researchers analyzed the relationship between current and lifetime exposure to marijuana and pulmonary function. The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study collected medical data from 5,115 men and women in four U.S. cities from 1985 to 2006.
They measured air flow rate – the speed in which a person can blow out air – and lung volume, which is the amount of air a person is capable of holding, typically about six liters of air for an adult male. Lung function was measured using a common medical device called a spirometer that measures air flow when the participant breathes in and out.
“Essentially with tobacco, the more you use, the more loss you have with both of the indicators, air flow rate and lung volume,” said the paper’s last author Stefan Kertesz, MD, MSc, associate professor in the Division of Preventive Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine and the Birmingham VA Medical Center. “There’s a straight-line relationship: the more you use, the more you lose.”
The same was not true with marijuana use. Air flow rate increased rather than decreased with increased exposure to marijuana up to a certain level.
“An important factor that helps explain the difference in effects from these two substances is the amount of each that is typically smoked,” Pletcher said. “Tobacco users typically smoke ten to 20 cigarettes/day, and some smoke much more than that. Marijuana users, on average, smoke only two to three times a month, so the typical exposure to marijuana is much lower than for tobacco.”
“And marijuana is one where a lot of people dabble with it in their late teens and 20s, and some people continue with relatively low levels for a long period of time,” Kertesz added.

Heavy Marijuana Use May Take Toll

Although there was a suggestion that very heavy use of marijuana might be taking a toll on the lungs, the researchers could not get reliable estimates of the effects of very heavy marijuana exposure, as such smokers were relatively rare in the study population.
All participants in the study began as young, healthy adults 18 to 30 years old from four communities: Oakland, Chicago, Minneapolis and Birmingham. They volunteered to be part of this long-term medical research study, agreeing that their data could be used to explore questions, including about tobacco and marijuana use.
Researchers believe the results can supplement the growing body of knowledge about beneficial aspects of low to moderate marijuana use in controlling pain, stimulating appetite, elevating mood and managing other chronic symptoms.
“Our findings suggest that occasional use of marijuana for these or other purposes may not be associated with adverse consequences on pulmonary function,” Pletcher said. “On the other hand, our findings do suggest an accelerated decline in pulmonary function with heavier use – either very frequent use or frequent use over many years – and a resulting need for caution and moderation when marijuana use is considered.”
Pletcher is the lead author of the paper; co-authors are Eric Vittinghoff, PhD, and Feng Lin, MS; of the UCSF Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics; Ravi Kalhan, MD, MS, of the Divison of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine; Stephen Sidney, MD, MPH, of Kaiser Permanente of Northern California, Oakland; Joshua Richman, MD, PhD, Monika Safford, MD, and Stefan Kertesz, MD, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
The study was supported by funds from the National Heart Lung Blood Institute.
UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care.