DEA

California: San Diego Alzheimer's Researcher Calls For More Marijuana Studies

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A group of San Diego scientists put out a study recently suggesting an active ingredient in marijuana may be helpful in preventing Alzheimer's disease.

Future research is needed to confirm the results, but one of the scientists worries those follow-up studies may not happen due to restrictions on research involving marijuana.

"To work on anything related to marijuana or these psychoactive drugs in the United States is, from a scientific point of view, extremely difficult," said Dave Schubert of the Salk Institute, the study's senior author.

"There are so many rules and limitations on what can be done," he said.

Schubert and his colleagues exposed human brain cells to THC in lab experiments. They found that by stimulating cannabinoid receptors in these cells, THC reduced the inflammation and plaque build-up that precede the onset of Alzheimer's.

Schubert said these results are promising, but to know if THC can actually keep Alzheimer's at bay in patients, follow-up studies will need to confirm this effect in animals and humans. That won't be easy, Schubert said, because the Drug Enforcement Association still considers marijuana to be a dangerous drug with no medical use.

"Best to let the science do its work and sort these things out," Schubert said.

Arizona: DEA Agent Echoes Message of Billboard Supporting Marijuana Initiative

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The Independence Day-themed ad highlights benefits of regulating and taxing marijuana in Arizona: ‘Adults could buy American and support schools, not cartels’

A 23-year veteran of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) who spent years investigating Mexican drug cartels is throwing his support behind the initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Arizona and echoing the message of a billboard supporters launched this week at Tempe Marketplace.

“If Arizona regulates marijuana, adults could buy American,” reads the Independence Day-themed ad, instead of buying marijuana that has been illegally smuggled across the Mexican border into Arizona.

It also notes that revenue from regulated marijuana sales would “support schools, not cartels.” The proposed initiative would initially generate $64 million in annual state tax revenue, including $51 million for K-12 education and all-day kindergarten programs, according to an independent study conducted by the Grand Canyon Institute.

Arizona: 4th of July Themed Billboard Highlights Benefits of Marijuana Legalization

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Backers of the ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Arizona have launched an Independence Day-themed billboard to highlight the benefits of regulating and taxing marijuana.

“If Arizona regulates marijuana,” the billboard reads, “adults could buy American,” instead of buying marijuana that has been illegally smuggled across the Mexican border into Arizona. The ad also notes that revenue from regulated marijuana sales would “support schools, not cartels.”

The proposed initiative would initially generate an estimated $64 million in annual tax revenue, including $51 million for K-12 education and all-day kindergarten programs, according to an independent study conducted by the Grand Canyon Institute.

California: Care By Design Medical Marijuana Facilities Prepare to Resume Operations

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Early Wednesday morning the Care By Design (CBD Guild) production facilities in Santa Rosa, California and Sonoma County were searched and temporarily closed by the Santa Rosa Police Department and the DEA (Federal Drug Enforcement Administration). Law enforcement seized equipment, computers, product, payroll, payroll taxes and financial paperwork, and detained Dennis Franklin Hunter, a founding patient-member of CBD Guild.

Initially, the court set Dennis’ bail at $5 million. However, he was released within 48 hours and no charges have been filed at this time. Employees were granted re-entry to the facilities this morning, where an all-employee meeting was held.

“The company will work closely with government officials and law enforcement to swiftly resolve the investigation and address any and all concerns regarding our operations," said Nick Caston, spokesman for CBD Guild. "We maintain our strong commitment to operating with full transparency.

"Our main focus is resuming operations and providing our thousands of patients with the medicine that they depend on," Caston said. "For some of our patients this is truly a matter of life or death.”

California: Santa Rosa Medical Marijuana Company Raided By Federal DEA Agents

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Care By Design (CBD Guild) production facilities in Santa Rosa, California and Sonoma County were searched and temporarily closed on Wednesday morning by local law enforcement and the federal DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration). Law enforcement seized equipment, computers, product, payroll, and financial paperwork.

Care By Design produces an array of medical marijuana products for thousands of patients in California, including patients suffering from cancer, epilepsy, chronic pain, PTSD and other intractable medical conditions.

Care By Design products are CBD-centric. CBD is a therapeutically beneficial compound that does not get people high, and can moderate the intoxicating effects of THC. Care By Design products are available in non-smokable formulations such as gel caps and oral sprays, and available in a variety of CBD:THC ratios so that patients can manage the psychoactive effects of medical marijuana.

Nebraska: UNL Still Waiting For Hemp Seeds

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Nebraska researchers were recently issued a permit by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency to do hemp research. The University of Nebraska Lincoln's Department of Agronomy and Horticulture is ready to grow -- they just need the seeds.

Once the DEA signs off on the paperwork, seeds should be imported from the Parkland Industrial Hemp Growers Cooperative based in the Canadian town of Dauphin, Manitoba.

It will take about three weeks or so to get the seeds, said Héctor L. Santiago, assistant dean of the Agronomy Department’s Agricultural Research Division.

Hemp is marijuana’s nonpsychoactive cousin; it lacks the chemical that gets people high: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). State and federal rules require that seeds used by researchers are certified to produce plants with a THC content lower than 0.03 percent.

UNL Professor Ismail Dweikat hopes to get plants in the ground this year. If seeds don’t arrive before June 15, he plans to grow them in a greenhouse.

A wide variety of hemp products have been gaining popularity in the United States in recent years, ranging from food and clothing to neurological medication and fiber-reinforced polymers. Industry estimates report annual hemp product sales were more than $580 million last year, according to a 2015 Congressional Research Service report.

Arizona: VA Hospital Blocks Presentation On Cannabis, PTSD

Dr. Sue Sisley is upset that the Phoenix VA hospital blocked her presentation about marijuana and PTSD despite DEA approval.

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix blocked a doctor from giving a lecture about marijuana's effect in veterans with post traumatic stress disorder, although her study is approved by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Dr. Sue Sisley is conducting a study on PTSD and medical marijuana that is funded by a Colorado research grant. The Phoenix VA Medical Center denied Sisley the opportunity to give a presentation there, despite having her work approved by the DEA.

“The notion that the Phoenix VA hospital refuses to allow that information to be shared with their medical staff is really shameful,” Sisley told KTAR-FM.

Medical marijuana is legal in Arizona, but possession of pot is still a federal crime. Dr. Samuel Aguayo, associate chief of staff for research at the Phoenix hospital, said the VA center isn't allowed to promote or recruit veterans for marijuana research.

“VA medical staff are not authorized to make a decision on whether marijuana and marijuana research is appropriate for veterans,” he explained.

Sisley argued that the VA has a duty to support research that could uncover new treatment for veterans with PTSD.

“If they refuse to do that, I think that is negligent and it’s an abomination,” she said.

U.S.: DEA Approves PTSD Marijuana Study

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Drug Enforcement Agency has approved a study on the effect of medical marijuana on post traumatic stress disorder. It will be the first randomized, controlled research in the U.S. for PTSD that will use the actual plant, and not just oils or synthesized marijuana.

Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, or MAPS, say the DEA's approval gives researchers the OK to purchase marijuana for the study from the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

The group should begin recruiting and enrolling participants as early as June, MAPS spokesman Brad Burge said.

"The contract with the state of Colorado was signed on April 20 — an unofficial national holiday in some circles — meaning the funds are en route to MAPS. We are now preparing to place the order for the marijuana for the study," Burge said in an email to Military Times.

Colorado in 2014 awarded a $2 million grant to MAPS for the research and at the same time gave an additional $5.6 million to several other organizations to support medical marijuana studies.

Colorado: Illegal Marijuana Grow Operations Busted, More Than A Dozen Arrested

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Approximately 30 Colorado homes and warehouses suspected of having illegal marijuana grows have been raided as part of an extensive law enforcement action Thursday, resulting in more than a dozen arrests.

Many of the raids were conducted in the Denver metro area. Police say the raids are all tied to one illegal operation. The suspects allegedly came from Texas and bought houses in Colorado to grow marijuana in, then ship it out of state for a huge financial gain.

A Colorado National Guard truck had to be called in at a house in Centennial to haul away a large amount of marijuana grow equipment. More than 300 plants were found a that location.

A neighbor told CBS-TV4 that she was shocked to see how big the operation was.

“I can’t believe this is happening in this neighborhood. It’s just so out of character for the people that live here,” Rebecca Rattray said. “I’m a little shocked that there’s still a market to grow pot illegally.”

Police had to use tear gas to extract a man who had barricaded himself at one location near Colorado Springs.

The activity on Thursday is the culmination of a year-and-a-half long investigation by the North Metro Drug Task Force, the DEA, U.S. postal inspectors and the Colorado Attorney General’s office.

Photo courtesy CBS

US: DEA Considers Dropping Marijuana From Category Of Most Dangerous Drugs Within Three Months

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Marijuana may soon be demoted on the Drug Enforcement Agency list of most dangerous drugs.

The DEA said it should decide in the first half of 2016 whether to reclassify marijuana in a category other than Schedule I, a group that is said to have no medical purpose but "potentially severe psychological or physical dependence." Schedule I drugs include heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and peyote.

Polls consistently show that a majority of Americans want pot available for recreational use, but it's unlikely the DEA decision will change its status of being illegal according to federal law.

Reclassifying marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II would make it easier for researchers to earn about its effects, medicinal and otherwise.

Currently, all marijuana used for research is grown by the University of Mississippi.

Twenty-three states have legalized some form of medical marijuana, with Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia having legalized recreational use.

The head of the DEA, however, has voiced strong opposition to the idea that marijuana has medical benefits.

“What really bothers me is the notion that marijuana is also medicinal — because it's not,” DEA head Chuck Rosenberg said in November.

U.S.: DEA Plans Decision On Rescheduling Marijuana By Mid-Year

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Drug Enforcement Administration plans to decide whether marijuana should be reclassified under federal law "in the first half of 2016," according to a letter from the DEA to senators.

The agency was responding to a 2015 letter from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and seven other Democratic senators urging the federal government to stop blocking research into the medicinal benefits of cannabis.

If marijuana is reclassified at all, it would have to be moved to a "less dangerous" category, because it is currently considered Schedule I under federal law, the category of drugs considered the most dangerous of all. Schedule I drugs, by definition, supposedly have no medical value and a high potential for abuse. The insanity of including cannabis -- which, of course, can be used to treat hundreds of conditions -- should be obvious.

There are five categories (schedules) classifying illegal drugs. Marijuana has been considered Schedule I since Nixon's War On Drugs kicked off in 1971. That means the federal government officially considers marijuana to be just as dangerous as heroin -- and it means the government thinks pot is less dangerous than either cocaine or methamphetamine, both of which are considered Schedule II drugs.

U.S.: Gary Johnson Predicts Obama Will Take Marijuana Off Schedule I

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Former New Mexico Governor and 2016 Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson on Tuesday said he thinks President Barack Obama, on his way out of office, is going to reschedule marijuana, taking it off the federal government's Schedule I list of narcotics considered the most dangerous of all drugs.

"It's going to be just like alcohol," Johnson told David Sherfinski of The Washington Times. "I'm going to predict that Obama, when he leaves office, is going to deschedule marijuana as a Class I narcotic. I wish he would have done that to this point, but I think he's going to do that going out the door. That's a positive."

Marijuana is currently on the Schedule I list with heroin and LSD. Methamphetamine, cocaine, and oxycodone, on Schedule II, are both officially considered safer than cannabis by the United States federal government.

Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton wants to reschedule marijuana as a Schedule II drug, effectively handing control of it over to Big Pharma. Her opponent for the Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders, wants to deschedule cannabis entirely, taking it off the list of controlled substances, and leave its regulation up to the states.

New York: Victims of the War On Drugs Call For Abolishing The DEA

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Decades of violence, corruption, support for authoritarian governments, and illegal spying on Americans leave DEA unfit for service

Ahead of major United Nations meeting on global drug policy, activists call for new approach focused on public health and safety

What: Banner drop & protest at the NYC Drug Enforcement Administration Office.
When: This Friday (3/18) @ 11 AM
Where: Drug Enforcement Administration, New York City office, 99 10th Ave, NYC 10011

Details: People with a history of drug use, the formerly incarcerated and people living with AIDS, all identifying as “victims of the Drug War,” will protest the Drug Enforcement Administration for its role in perpetuating the worst of drug war policies, including mass incarceration of people of color, fueling violence abroad, and fighting scientific evidence and public health needs in order to wage the Drug War at all costs.

Protesters will do a banner drop off the High Line Park reading "Just Say NO to the DEA", followed by blocking traffic in front of the office.

For more background on DEA abuses, click here to read the fact sheet.

U.S.: New Report Shows DEA Failed To Process Drug Evidence Properly

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

U.S. Department of Justice Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz on Thursday released a new report on the federal Drug Enforcement Administration which exposes the DEA's failure to comply with rules for tracking, recording, and processing seized drug evidence.

"Unknown quantities of drugs are being left vulnerable to theft because, among other issues, evidence is not being processed in a timely manner, or in some cases, at all," media relations associate Mikayla Hellwich of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) told Hemp News Friday afternoon.

Nearly 70 percent of drug seizures examined by the Inspector General were placed in "temporary storage" for more than the maximum allowed three days, according to the IG's office, reports Eric Katz at Government Executive. During that period, the drug "exhibits" aren't entered into the tracking system.

Additionally, according to the IG's report, the DEA isn't properly tracking the third-party shipping vendors when they are required to send seized drugs for laboratory testing.

"We believe that the longer a shipment is in transit or missing, the higher the likelihood that theft or tampering of the drug exhibit can occur," the report reads.

U.S.: Some Members Of Congress Ready To Call It Quits On Marijuana Eradication

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Drug Enforcement Administration is continuing its losing streak. Last week, 12 House members led by Democrat Ted Lieu of California wrote to House leadership asking for a provision in an upcoming spending bill that would strip half the funds from the DEA's Cannabis Eradication Program and instead spend that money on programs that "play a far more useful role in promoting the safety and economic prosperity of the American people": domestic violence prevention and overall spending reduction.

The DEA pisses away about $18 million a year in coordination with state and local authorities to pull up marijuana plants being grown both indoors and outdoors. The ineffectual program has been plagued with scandal, controversy, and ridicule. In the mid-2000s, it was revealed that most of the "marijuana" plants pulled up in the program were actually ditchweed, feral hemp plants that contain almost no THC, reports Christopher Ingraham at The Washington Post.

U.S.: Medical Marijuana Patients Deliver Petition Demanding DEA Head's Firing

ChuckRosenbergDEA[KamenkoPajic-UPI]

100,000+ Petition Signers Outraged That Obama Administration Official Called Medical Cannabis a "Joke"

A group of medical marijuana patients and their supporters on Friday delivered more than 100,000 petition signatures demanding the resignation or firing of the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) after he called the medical use of cannabis a "joke."

The petition -- http://change.org/nojoke -- has more than double the amount of signatures garnered by an earlier petition that helped lead to the ouster of the previous DEA head, who also opposed medical marijuana. The current petition was started just two weeks ago.

“There is no doubt in my mind that my son Jagger is still alive today because of medical cannabis," said Sebastien Cotte, who participated in the petition delivery. "Cannabis has tremendously decreased the pain and seizures caused by his mitochondrial disease, while improving his quality of life. For our family, that’s no joke.”

Numerous scientific studies show that marijuana is beneficial in alleviating the symptoms of serious conditions like cancer, AIDS, epilepsy and many others.

"My mom uses medical marijuana to deal with the severe pain caused by multiple sclerosis,” said Tom Angell, founder and chairman of Marijuana Majority, the organization that started the petition. “This issue is not a laughing matter for her and millions of other people who have seen the benefits of cannabis for themselves."

South Dakota: You Can Get Busted Here For Smoking Weed In Another State

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

South Dakota's Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe announced over the weekend that it is suspending operations on its planned marijuana resort -- which had been planned for a New Year's Eve opening -- and that it has burned its cannabis crop. The tribe said it was seeking "clarification" from the federal Department of Justice to ensure "the continued success of the marijuana venture."

Federal law isn't the only roadblock for the Santee Sioux marijuana resort plan, reports Phillip Smith at AlterNet. The plan also quickly drew intense opposition from the state's GOP political establishment and law enforcement figures (no surprise there). That brouhaha has brought renewed attention to one of the strangest state marijuana laws in the United States, South Dakota's "internal possession" law.

South Dakota Atty. Gen. Marty Jackley, a Republican, warned not once, but twice, when the tribe announced its plans in June, "South Dakota law prohibits the internal and physical possession, distribution, and manufacture of marijuana by: (1) all non-Indian persons anywhere in South Dakota including within Indian country; (2) all persons, including tribal members, outside of Indian Country."

U.S.: DEA Chief Called Medical Marijuana A Joke; Patients Calling For His Resignation

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Last week, acting administrator Chuck Rosenberg of the Drug Enforcement Administration called medical marijuana "a joke" while talking with reporters. Medicinal cannabis patients are now calling for Rosenberg's resignation, with an online petition getting more than 16,000 signatures on Change.org.

"What really bothers me is the notion that marijuana is also medicinal -- because it's not," Rosenberg said in a Q&A with reporters, reports Christopher Ingraham at The Washington Post. "We can have an intellectually honest debate about whether we should legalize something that is bad and dangerous, but don't call it medicine -- that is a joke."

"There are pieces of marijuana -- extracts or constituents or component parts -- that have great promise" medicinally, he said, obeying his masters in Big Pharma who seem to want to market individual cannabinoids, but not the whole, organic plant itself. "But if you talk about smoking the leaf of marijuana -- which is what people are talking about when they talk about medicinal marijuana -- it has never been shown to be safe or effective as a medicine."

U.S.: New Bill Would Cut Off Federal Forfeiture Funds For DEA Marijuana Raids

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new bill with bipartisan support would eliminate one controversial source of funding for a federal marijuana seizure program.

The "Stop Civil Asset Forfeiture Funding for Marijuana Suppression Act," introduced by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) would prevent the Drug Enforcement Administration from using federal forfeiture funds to pay for its Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program, reports Nick Sibilla at Forbes. The bill would additionally ban transferring property to federal, state or local agencies if that property "is used for any purpose pertaining to" the DEA's marijuana eradication program.

The DEA gets millions of dollars annually under this program; the take was $18 million in 2013. It then funnels the cash to more than 120 state and local agencies to "eliminate marijuana grow sites" nationwide.

Last year, the program was responsible for more than 6,300 arrests, eradicating more than 4.3 million marijuana plants, and seizing $27.3 million in assets. More than half of all those plants were destroyed in California, which also accounted for more than a third of the seized assets and nearly 40 percent of the arrests.

Oregon: Congressman Earl Blumenauer Calls For End To Failed Marijuana Prohibition

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As Oregon’s Emerging Marijuana Industry Visits Capitol Hill, Rep. Blumenauer Calls for Federal Government to Get Out of the Way

As representatives from the Oregon Cannabis Association visited Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Representative Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) on the House floor called for an end to the federal government’s failed approach of marijuana prohibition.

“Mr. Speaker, advocates from the new emerging marijuana industry in Oregon are descending on Capitol Hill at a very critical time for this fledgling industry," Congressman Blumenauer said. "They have a report about the implementation of Oregon’s Ballot Measure 91, overwhelming approved by voters last year to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana at the state level.

“Possession became legal July 1st," Blumenauer said. "Retail sales were authorized in existing dispensaries on the 1st of October to significant interest around the state. The first week saw an estimated $11 million in sales. They are working hard to implement the spirit and the letter of the measure, working closely with the Oregon legislature to refine it – learning from the experiences of states like Washington and Colorado that have already legalized adult use.

“Theirs is a positive story of economic opportunity, product development, tax revenues, more freedom for individuals, and eliminating the racial disparities in the enforcement of a failed policy of prohibition that comes down heavily against young men of color – especially African Americans," Rep. Blumenauer said.

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