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Emerald Cup rises from ashes to new heights

The Leaf Online - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 15:55

Northern California’s famous Emerald Cup cannabis festival rose up from the ashes of the devastating Wine Country Fire that scorched Napa and Sonoma Counties during the height of the 2017 outdoor harvest. With that same relentless optimism that carried cannabis consumers and growers through the depths and horrors of the War on Marijuana, the crowd […]

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World Health Organization Says CBD Shouldn’t be a Controlled Substance

The Joint Blog - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 09:04
The United Nations’ World Health Organization (WHO) says that current information doesn’t justify cannabidiol (CBD), a compound found in cannabis, being a controlled substance.

“There is increased interest from Member States in the use of cannabis for medical indications including for palliative care”, states the WHO report released yesterday. “Responding to that interest and increase in use, WHO has in recent years gathered more robust scientific evidence on therapeutic use and side effects of cannabis and cannabis components. To that end, the ECDD [Expert Committee on Drug Dependence] did an initial review of a cannabis compound called cannabidiol (CBD).”

The report claims that “Recent evidence from animal and human studies shows that its use could have some therapeutic value for seizures due to epilepsy and related conditions. The ECDD therefore “concluded that current information does not justify scheduling of cannabidiol”.

The committee “postponed a fuller review of cannabidiol preparations to May 2018, when the committee will undertake a comprehensive review of cannabis and cannabis related substances.”

The post World Health Organization Says CBD Shouldn’t be a Controlled Substance appeared first on TheJointBlog.

US CA: This Colorado City Declined To Allow Pot Sales. Now It's

MAP - Cannabis - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 08:00
Los Angeles Times, 14 Dec 2017 - SECOND THOUGHTS At the two malls in town you can buy key chains and Christmas ornaments shaped like marijuana leaves. Along a downtown shopping corridor, paintings of cannabis plants grace storefront windows.

CN NS: Column: Problems With Pot Deadline Looming

MAP - Cannabis - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 08:00
Truro Daily News, 14 Dec 2017 - It's enough to make you want to roll a big, fat one. The province is attempting to have a regulatory framework in place prior to the legalization of marijuana on July 1. Weekly, maybe daily, the confusion grows over what the brave new world of legalized weed will look like.

WHO Finalizes CBD Recommendations

NORML Blog - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 19:15

The use of the naturally occurring cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) possesses no likely abuse potential and therefore should not be subject to international drug scheduling restrictions, according to recommendations finalized today by the World Health Organization’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence.

Concludes WHO: “Recent evidence from animal and human studies shows that its use could have some therapeutic value for seizures due to epilepsy and related conditions. Current evidence also shows that cannabidiol is not likely to be abused or create dependence as for other cannabinoids (such as Tetra Hydro Cannabinol (THC), for instance). The ECDD therefore concluded that current information does not justify scheduling of cannabidiol and postponed a fuller review of cannabidiol preparations to May 2018, when the committee will undertake a comprehensive review of cannabis and cannabis related substances.”

A preliminary report issued by WHO in November affirmed, “[T]here is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”

In September, NORML submitted written testimony to the US Food and Drug Administration in opposition to the imposition of new international restrictions regarding CBD access. The FDA is one of a number of agencies that advised the World Health Organization in their review.

Despite the international health agency’s acknowledgment that CBD is therapeutic, safe, and well-tolerated, it remains classified under US law as a schedule I controlled substance.

“The domestic classification and criminalization of cannabidiol as a schedule I controlled substance is out of step with both available science and common sense,” NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said. “It is yet another example of the US government placing ideology over evidence when it comes to issues related to the cannabis plant.”

Text of the WHO recommendations are online here.

Wisconsin lawmakers give unanimous approval to hemp

The Leaf Online - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 15:59

Get ready to see more emerald fields of cannabis hemp in America’s Midwestern farm belt.  Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed legislation into law November 30, making the crop’s approval unanimous. Members of the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate earlier in the month had unanimously approved the proposal, Senate Bill 119, to establish a state-sponsored pilot program to […]

The post Wisconsin lawmakers give unanimous approval to hemp appeared first on The Leaf Online.

Canada: 'Legitimate Concerns'

MAP - Cannabis - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 08:00
Edmonton Sun, 13 Dec 2017 - Indigenous leaders ask where they stand in legal marijuana plan OTTAWA - Indigenous leaders looking at the prospect of legalized marijuana in Canada say they don't see a route to riches, but rather a serious risk that the black market in pot will set its sights on their vulnerable communities.

Bermuda House Passes Bill to Decriminalize Cannabis Possession

The Joint Blog - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 07:40
Bermuda’s House of Assembly has overwhelmingly approved legislation to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis.

The Misuse of Drugs (Decriminalization of Cannabis) Amendment Act, tabled by Minister of Social Development and Sport Zane DeSilva, would decriminalize the possession of up to seven grams of cannabis for personal use. The measure now goes to the Senate for consideration. Passage in the Senate would send it to Governor John Rankin who could sign it into law, allow it to become law without his signature, or veto it.

Although police would no longer be able to arrest individuals with up to seven grams of cannabis under the proposed law, they could still seize it. The minister would also be tasked with drawing up regulations for substance abuse education or treatment for those caught possessing cannabis.

According to a Profiles of Bermuda poll released in 2015, 79% of voters in Bermuda support either decriminalizing or legalizing cannabis.

The post Bermuda House Passes Bill to Decriminalize Cannabis Possession appeared first on TheJointBlog.

Study: Cannabis May Help HIV Patients Keep Mental Stamina Longer

The Joint Blog - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 06:15
A new study published in the journal AIDS has found that THC can potentially slow the process in which mental decline can occur in up to 50% of HIV patients.

“It’s believed that cognitive function decreases in many of those with HIV partly due to chronic inflammation that occurs in the brain,” says Norbert Kaminski, lead author of the study which was conducted at Michigan State University. “This happens because the immune system is constantly being stimulated to fight off disease.”

According to Science Daily, Kaminski and his co-author, Mike Rizzo, a graduate student in toxicology, discovered that the compounds in marijuana were able to act as anti-inflammatory agents, reducing the number of inflammatory white blood cells, called monocytes, and decreasing the proteins they release in the body.

“This decrease of cells could slow down, or maybe even stop, the inflammatory process, potentially helping patients maintain their cognitive function longer,” Rizzo said.

The two researchers took blood samples from 40 HIV patients who reported whether or not they used marijuana. Then, they isolated the white blood cells from each donor and studied inflammatory cell levels and the effect marijuana had on the cells.

“The patients who didn’t smoke marijuana had a very high level of inflammatory cells compared to those who did use,” Kaminski said. “In fact, those who used marijuana had levels pretty close to a healthy person not infected with HIV.”

Kaminski, director of MSU’s Institute for Integrative Toxicology, has studied the effects of marijuana on the immune system since 1990. His lab was the first to identify the proteins that can bind marijuana compounds on the surface of immune cells. Up until then, it was unclear how these compounds, also known as cannabinoids, affected the immune system.

HIV, which stands for human immunodeficiency virus, infects and can destroy or change the functions of immune cells that defend the body. With antiretroviral therapy — a standard form of treatment that includes a cocktail of drugs to ward off the virus — these cells have a better chance of staying intact.

Yet, even with this therapy, certain white blood cells can still be overly stimulated and eventually become inflammatory.

“We’ll continue investigating these cells and how they interact and cause inflammation specifically in the brain,” Rizzo said. “What we learn from this could also have implications to other brain-related diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s since the same inflammatory cells have been found to be involved.”

Knowing more about this interaction could ultimately lead to new therapeutic agents that could help HIV patients specifically maintain their mental function.

“It might not be people smoking marijuana,” Kaminski said. “It might be people taking a pill that has some of the key compounds found in the marijuana plant that could help.”

The full study and its abstract can be found by clicking here.

The post Study: Cannabis May Help HIV Patients Keep Mental Stamina Longer appeared first on TheJointBlog.

Pennsylvania: Permitted Hemp Crops to Grow From 50 to 5,000 Acres in 2018

The Joint Blog - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 05:53
Pennsylvania officials plan to increase the number of acres permitted for the cultivation of industrial hemp next year from less than 50 acres to over 5,000, reports 90.5 WESA, a National Public Radio station.

This year marked the first time since the 1930s that farmers in Pennsylvania could legally grow hemp, thanks to legislation approved by state lawmakers in 2016. Although less than 50 acres were permitted for hemp cultivation in 2017, State Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding says the agency plans to increase this 100-fold in 2018, to around 5,000 acres. Redding believes the crop could increase the productivity of existing farmland.

“Research … at Penn State (showed) that you can actually use industrial hemp as a double crop, behind wheat”, said Redding. “I think if that plays out to be real, that is a game changer. You immediately change what options farmers have and you open up new markets.”

Individual growers or higher education institutions can apply for permits to grow the crop, with applications for next year due by January 19th.

The post Pennsylvania: Permitted Hemp Crops to Grow From 50 to 5,000 Acres in 2018 appeared first on TheJointBlog.

Over $4 Billion in Marijuana Sold in Colorado Since Start of Legal Sales

The Joint Blog - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 04:25
Effective today, the Colorado Department of Revenue (CDOR) released statewide historical sales data on marijuana sales from January 2014 to present, and will release monthly reports going forward on the seventh business day of every month.

According to this data – dubbed the Marijuana Sales Report – there has been over $4 billion in marijuana and marijuana products sold since legal recreational sales began in 2014. The data shows that this year (up to the end of October) there has been $1,259,861,988 in marijuana sold, just shy of the $1,307,203,473 sold in 2016. In 2015, there was just shy of $1 billion sold ($995,591,255), and in 2014, the first year of legal sales, there was $683,523,739 sold. For comparison, there has been $2,951,855,447.08 in legal marijuana sold in Washington State, though sales there began in July of 2014, not January like Colorado.

According to the CDOR; “The Marijuana Sales Reports show unaudited monthly sales as self-reported by businesses on State sales returns and do not use Metrc® data (the Marijuana Enforcement Division’s Marijuana Inventory Tracking System). The Marijuana Tax Data reports show tax revenue collected monthly as posted in the State’s accounting system.”

Below is a marijuana sales chart provided by the CDOR:

The post Over $4 Billion in Marijuana Sold in Colorado Since Start of Legal Sales appeared first on TheJointBlog.

Indigent Marijuana Defendants Will Be Covered Under Amended Contract Between Kansas City and Legal Aid of Western Missouri

NORML Blog - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 19:57

On April 4, 2017, Kansas City residents decriminalized marijuana possession with an amazing 75% of voters supporting that move. The Initiative was led by NORML KC, the Kansas City Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

The Petition decriminalized marijuana possession by eliminating arrests, eliminating the possibility of jail as a sentence, and requiring almost all such cases to be handled in municipal court which does not result in a criminal conviction. The previous range of punishment was up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $500. The new maximum fine is $25.

Prior to the election in April, certain public officials claimed they were concerned about the welfare of indigent marijuana defendants who would no longer be eligible for free legal services under the City’s contract with Legal Aid of Western Missouri (LAWMO). Supporters of the Initiative pointed out that this problem could easily be fixed by amending the City’s contract with LAWMO. Now, that has happened.

The previous KC/LAWMO contract limited free legal services to indigent defendants charged with offenses which carry possible jail sentences. The new amendment specifically allows for LAWMO to represent indigent defendants facing marijuana possession charges.

According to The Kansas City Star, April 4, 2017, LAWMO represented defendants in about 59% of municipal marijuana cases during the past fiscal year.  The Star reported that approximately 70% of marijuana defendants are black, in a city where the population is only 30% black.  Studies consistently show that marijuana use rates are virtually the same between black and white Americans.

“NORML KC is pleased that the City has chosen to do the right thing in protecting its most vulnerable population by amending the contract with LAWMO,” said Jamie Kacz, Executive Director of NORML KC. “Prosecuting non-violent cannabis offenses should not be a priority in our city when over half of the nation has some form of safe and legal access.”

Attorney Dan Viets, Missouri NORML Coordinator and a member of the national NORML Board of Directors, said that the voters of Kansas City spoke loudly and clearly in getting the Initiative a landslide victory. “It was incredible that with no funding and only a small group of volunteers supporting the effort, this Initiative passed with the support of 75% of the voters!”

Further reform efforts are underway statewide. The New Approach Medical Cannabis Initiative campaign intends to place a measure legalizing medical cannabis on the November 2018 Missouri ballot. Missouri NORML Chapters, including NORML KC, are an important part of the coalition which is supporting this measure. The Initiative would provide funding for veterans’ services and regulate cultivation, processing and dispensing of cannabis to patients whose doctors have recommended such use. The campaign has gathered more than 125,000 signatures.  Nearly 170,000 valid signatures will be required to qualify for the ballot.

CN ON: Doctors Call For No Tax On Medicinal Marijuana

MAP - Cannabis - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 08:00
The Record, 12 Dec 2017 - Ottawa must withdraw its plan to charge tax on medicinal marijuana or risk having an adverse effect on patients, a group of more than 50 doctors warned Monday as the federal government hashed out a pot-tax revenue-sharing agreement with the provinces and territories. The doctors, who describe themselves as a group of physicians who routinely prescribe marijuana to their patients, say applying a sales or excise tax to medicinal pot would impose a financial barrier for those who use the drug to manage their symptoms, compared to patients who take other medication.

CN NS: Editorial: Planting The Seed Of Opportunism

MAP - Cannabis - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 08:00
Truro Daily News, 12 Dec 2017 - It's funny how quickly a criminal enterprise can turn into a legitimate business opportunity. As a federal Conservative politician, even as late as 2015, Julian Fantino was opposed to the legalization of marijuana. In 2004, he even compared weed to murder in an interview with the Toronto Sun, saying, "I guess we can legalize murder too and then we won't have a murder case. We can't go that way." Now, he's partnered with former RCMP deputy commissioner Raf Souccar to open a medical marijuana business, Aleafia Total Health Network.

Teen Marijuana Use Drops In Colorado and Washington; Now Lower Than Before Legalization

Toke Signals - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 00:09

The federal government on Monday published survey data showing the rate of current marijuana use among Colorado and Washington teens decreased significantly last year and is now lower than it was prior to both states’ legalization of cannabis for adult use. The rate of past-month marijuana use by Colorado individuals ages 12-17 dropped nearly 20 […]

The post Teen Marijuana Use Drops In Colorado and Washington; Now Lower Than Before Legalization appeared first on Toke Signals with Steve Elliott - Toke Signals with Steve Elliott - Your source for uncut, uncensored, no holds barred, non-corporate-controlled cannabis news.

New Ohio Initiative Would Legalize Marijuana, Advocates Hope to Place it on 2018 Ballot

The Joint Blog - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 22:14
Proponents of legalizing marijuana in Ohio have announced a new initiative that would do just that.

Advocates of the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Amendment are attempting to put their measure to a vote of the people during the November, 2018 general election. The initiative, described by supporters as a “free market” approach, would allow anyone 21 and older to possess and use marijuana and hemp, while establishing a system of licensed retail outlets and cultivation centers. Home cultivation for personal use would also be allowed.

“If you can own a bar, or make beer, wine or spirits, you will be able to own a marijuana dispensary, processor or cultivation,” says initiative supporters, who need to collect 305,592 signatures from registered voters in order to place the issue on next year’s ballot.

Although those behind the initiative are the same as those behind a failed 2015 initiative to legalize marijuana, supporters say the measure is quite different, and was developed after months of research and discussion.

An overview of the initiative – uploaded to Scribd by marijuana journalist Tom Angell – can be found by clicking here.

The post New Ohio Initiative Would Legalize Marijuana, Advocates Hope to Place it on 2018 Ballot appeared first on TheJointBlog.

Federal Survey: Teen Marijuana Use Down in Colorado and Washington, Now Lower Than it Was Prior to Legalization

The Joint Blog - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 21:46
According to survey data released by the federal government on Monday, the current rate of marijuana use among Colorado and Washington teens is now lower than it was prior to the states legalizing marijuana for adult use.

The rate of past-month marijuana use by individuals ages 12-17 dropped nearly 20% from 11.13% in 2014-2015 to 9.08% in 2015-2016, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) performed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). It is now lower than it was in 2011-2012 (10.47%) and 2012-2013 (11.16%). Marijuana became legal for adults 21 and older in December 2012, and legal adult marijuana sales began in January 2014.

The rate of past-month marijuana use among 12-17-year-olds also dropped in Washington (from 9.17% in 2014-2015 to 7.93% in 2015-2016), and it is now lower than it was prior to legalization in 2012 (9.45% in 2011-2012 and 9.81% in 2012-2013).

“Colorado is effectively regulating marijuana for adult use”, says Brian Vicente, partner at Vicente Sederberg LLC, who was one of the lead drafters of Amendment 64 and co-director of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. “Teen use appears to be dropping now that state and local authorities are overseeing the production and sale of marijuana. There are serious penalties for selling to minors, and regulated cannabis businesses are being vigilant in checking IDs. The days of arresting thousands of adults in order to prevent teens from using marijuana are over.”

Vicente continues; “These survey results should come as welcome news to anyone who worried teen marijuana use would increase following legalization. As a proponent of Amendment 64 and a parent of two young children, they certainly came as welcome news to me.”

The post Federal Survey: Teen Marijuana Use Down in Colorado and Washington, Now Lower Than it Was Prior to Legalization appeared first on TheJointBlog.

Study: CBD dosages are often stronger than labeled

The Leaf Online - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 15:33

A study published in the November issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA, has found that the cannabinoid content on nearly 70 percent of sampled cannabidiol (CBD) products purchased online were either over or under their labeled dosages. This poses a risk of potentially serious harm to patients and personal consumers, warned the […]

The post Study: CBD dosages are often stronger than labeled appeared first on The Leaf Online.

President Trump Signs Bill that Protects State Medical Marijuana Laws

The Joint Blog - Sat, 12/09/2017 - 04:36
A day after the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate approved legislation that extends protections for state-level medical marijuana laws, President Trump signed the measure into law.

President trump signed the legislation into law this morning, temporarily preventing a government shutdown. The measure extends legal protections that prevents the government from using funds to enforce federal cannabis laws in states that have legalized the substance for medical uses (including those with a licensed dispensary system). The extension, however, is temporary; it will be valid until December 22nd, at which point lawmakers will need to pass another extension to avoid a shutdown of most government funding and to prevent invalidity the medical marijuana protections.

These protections – passed in 2014 as the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment – prohibits the Department of Justice and DEA from using federal funding to enforce federal marijuana laws in a state that has legalized medical cannabis.

The bill signed into law by President Trump also extends protections on state-level hemp research programs.

The post President Trump Signs Bill that Protects State Medical Marijuana Laws appeared first on TheJointBlog.

Interfaith activist Marcus played role in passing Prop. 215

The Leaf Online - Fri, 12/08/2017 - 23:55

The drug policy reform movement lost another important activist, advocate and visionary Thanksgiving weekend. Jane Marcus, who served on the board of the Women of Reform Judaism, was instrumental in securing its endorsement for Prop. 215, the medical marijuana initiative California voters passed in 1996. The importance of that endorsement reverberated and spurred other communities […]

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