Marijuana

Germany: Study Says Synthetic THC Kills Cancer Cells

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

German researchers have published a report online which asserts that FDA-approved synthetic THC (dronabinol) kills cancer cells and offers cancer patients a "low-toxic" therapy option.

The findings, published in the journal BMC Cancer, demonstrate that synthetic THC displayed "remarkable anti-proliferative as well as pro-apoptopic efficacy ... in a broad spectrum of acute leukemia cell lines." These findings "provide a promising rationale for the clinical use of cannabinoids ... in distinct entities of acute leukemia," they concluded.

The anti-cancer properties of cannabinoids were recognized in 2011 and published on the website for the US National Cancer Institute, cancer.gov. An excerpt from the report said, "Cannabinoids appear to kill tumor cells but do not affect their non-transformed counterparts and may even protect them from cell death. ... In the practice of integrative oncology, the health care provider may recommend medicinal cannabis not only for symptom management but also for its possible direct antitumor effect." The posting disappeared from the website several days later.

The ability of particular cannabinoids to halt the spread of cancerous cells has been demonstrated and documented for over four decades in laboratories.. The medicinal, and other, benefits of cannabis continue to be confirmed and increasingly accepted as several US states, and various other countries around the world, hope to legalize medical and/or recreational marijuana this year.

Oregon: Cellist Arrested For 100-Plus Pounds Of Pot

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

An accomplished classical musician from Minnesota was charged Tuesday with two misdemeanor counts on allegations that he had more than 100 pounds of marijuana in his car. Fortunately, he was in Oregon when arrested.

Davis R. Huckaby, 35, was stopped for speeding 39 miles per hour in a 25 mph zone in south-central Oregon near Bly. A search of his car led to the state trooper finding 113 pounds of pot in the trunk. Valued at roughly $226,000, the traffic stop resulted in Huckaby being charged with possessing more than eight ounces of marijuana and unlawful delivery, counts that are misdemeanors.

The state trooper's search of the car was performed after "several indicators of criminal activity" were observed after the stop, according to court records.

Thanks to the recent legalization of recreational marijuana in Oregon, nearly all felony counts for marijuana possession have been eliminated in the state, regardless of amount.

Huckaby was still being held in the Klamath county jail on Tuesday in lieu of $10,000 bail. His attorney, Phil Studenberg, said that his client could be facing "a prison sentence, which is just wrong on every level" if the arrest had been made in another state.

Huckaby was a cellist for the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra from 2009 to 2013. He has lived in Southern California since leaving the orchestra in 2013.

Huckaby has previously been arrested and convicted of drunken driving in Ramsey county, Minnesota.

Florida: "Mr. 420" Found Guilty Of Drug Charges

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A Florida man who proclaims himself to be "Mr. 420" has been sentenced to four years in prison on a number of charges.

Ray Cunningham, 63, of Melbourne, Florida was exposed after undercover investigations revealed that he and his wife, Margherita, were selling fake medical marijuana licenses. In addition to producing and selling the official-looking fake licenses, which were embellished with the Brevard County seal,the couple was accused of selling and distributing bags of marijuana.

After pleading no contest to two counts of illegal use of official county or municipal seal, as well as charges for sale or delivery of cannabis and possession of cannabis, Margherita was sentenced to probation last July.

Cunningham and his wife were operating from two adjoining office suites in Melbourne as Florida Medical Marijuana Certifications.

Referring to himself as Mr. 420 at 420certifications.com, the Florida Medical Marijuana Certifications website, Cunningham had plans to open a marijuana dispensary. It was recently revealed that medical marijuana will be on the Florida ballot in November.

Photo: Melbourne Police Department

California: Leo Vapes at SAG Awards

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By Derrick Stanley, Hemp News

Leonardo DiCaprio,star of the critically acclaimed movie " The Revenant", was spotted indulging in a few puffs on a vape pen at Saturday's SAG Awards in Los Angeles, Shortly afterward, he was announced as the recipient of the 2016 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding male Actor in a Leading Role.

This would not be the first time that Leo has been known to enjoy a pull in public. In a recent appearance on The Tonight Show Miley Cyrus commented to Jimmy Fallon about being seated near Leo at the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special. "He was hitting a vape pen," she said."But it wasn't him that was making me kinda nervous--I was feeling this emotion because there's an etiquacy [sic] of, when you're there, that you pass that s**t Leo! And he never did, so that was weird to me."

Leo's chances are looking good for taking home his first ever Oscar for best actor this year, just another reason he will be remembered as a great actor. Just like Bogart.

Image courtesy of Getty Images

Texas: Local Marijuana Reform Advocates To Gather In Amarillo, Lubbock For Training

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Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy is mobilizing activists throughout Texas in an effort to inject marijuana policy debate into 2016 state legislative races

Local marijuana policy reform advocates will gather Saturday (in Amarillo) and Sunday (in Lubbock) for advocacy training events.

The Amarillo event, on Saturday, January 9, will be held at 12:30 p.m., at the Amarillo Southwest Library, 6801 SW 44th Ave. Details of the event are available at http://texasmarijuanapolicy.org/marijuana-law-advocacy-training-amarillo/.

The Lubbock event, on Sunday, January 10, will be held at 12:30 p.m., at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites South, 6506 I-27 South. Details of the event are available at http://texasmarijuanapolicy.org/marijuana-law-advocacy-training-lubbock/.

The events, hosted by Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, are the sixth and seventh in a series of events being held around the state as part of an effort to inject the marijuana policy debate into 2016 state legislative races.

“Marijuana prohibition has been a miserable failure, and we want to give concerned Texans the tools to help enact sensible marijuana policy reform,” said Heather Fazio, a spokesperson for Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy. “Our communities should not be using their limited law enforcement resources to criminalize adults for using a substance that is safer than alcohol.

Indiana: Marijuana Based Religion Is Growing Like A Weed

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Do you use cannabis every day, religiously? So does Indiana's Bill Levin, and he's taking advantage of the state's controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) -- passed to legalize discrimination against gays in restaurants and other establishments -- to offer a bold test of the law's ban on government restraints on the exercise of religion.

Adherents of the recently established First Church of Cannabis worship and smoke marijuana, reports Steven Nelson at US News & World Report, which is illegal to grow, use or possess under state law.

It's unclear if local police and prosecutors will take action against the church, or accept claims the conduct is protected by the RFRA. We'll know more after the church's first worship service, scheduled for July 1, the same day the RFRA takes effect.

Levin said he's trying to find a church building willing to lease him space. He said the July 1 service will happen "come hell or high water" and that he will consider any suitable alternative, including religious campgrounds, private land, or a public park.

California: Fresno Deputy Police Chief Arrested For Heroin, Oxycodone, Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The deputy police chief of Fresno, California, was arrested on Thursday and charged with multiple conspiracies to distribute heroin, oxycodone and marijuana, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Keith Foster, 51, was arrested along with three other Fresno residents, according to a statement from the FBI, reports Eric M. Johnson at Reuters.

Foster had always appeared just behind the police chief at press conferences.

"It is important that we do everything we can to maintain and enhance the trust that our citizens have in us," Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said in a "he must be kidding" kind of statement at a news conference after Deputy Chief Foster's arrest. "When things of this nature happen, it does serve to erode that trust," the Chief admitted.

"This is a very sad day for the Fresno Police Department, the citizens of Fresno, and the law enforcement profession," Chief Dyer said, report Rick Montanez, Corin Hoggard and Sontaya Rose at ABC 30.

Dyer claimed he was "just made aware" of the case" after Foster was arrested n Thursday. Federal investigators were authorized to use wiretaps on telephones.

Mississippi: Proposition 48 Marijuana Legalization Drive Underway

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

While Mississippi certainly isn't on anyone's short list of states where cannabis legalization is just around the corner, a determined group of activists say they can bring change to the Deep South.

In Ballot Initiative 48's distinct favor is the fact that more and Mississippians are seeing through their state's antiquated marijuana laws, which are both harsh and outdated.

More than 800 volunteers have fanned out across the state seeking the needed 107,000 signatures that would qualify the referendum for the November ballot, reports Barry Bard at Marijuana.com.

Initiative 48 would legalize the "production, sale, and use of recreational and medical marijuana and industrial hemp" much like Colorado had done.

Recreational marijuana would be taxed at 7 percent, with all proceeds would go to the Mississippi Public School System.

Activists believe the first seven months alone of legalization could bring in $17 million in additional taxes to support the state's struggling schools.

Remembering Jim Klahr, Oregon Cannabis Freedom Fighter

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By Michael Bachara, Hemp News

Musician Jim Klahr, an activist working to establish cannabis as an option for healthcare providers in the United States and a pre-transplant patient at Oregon Health Science University (OHSU), passed away awaiting a liver donor at OHSU on November 9, 2014.

Days earlier, on November 4, 2014, Oregon residents voted to end marijuana prohibition with Measure 91. In the campaign's declaration of victory, Anthony Johnson, the chief petitioner of the measure, thanked Klahr for his dedication and commitment to the issues surrounding cannabis.

As a long-time Oregon medical marijuana activist Klahr continually expressed the need for cannabis advocates to run for political office to have their voice and views represented within the legislature.

Klahr was a founder of Oregon Green Free – to help those who utilize the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program to become self-sufficient under the law of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act. He believed medicinal, social and sacramental cannabis all have their place in society.

As an eight-year member of the Oregon Advisory Committee on Medical Marijuana (OACMM), the committee established to implement rules for the state's medical marijuana program, he fought tirelessly for cannabis freedom, eventually serving two-terms as OACMM Co-Chair.

A chief petitioner on Oregon Measure 74, the 2010 initiative to improve safe access for medical marijuana patients, Klahr was also an instrumental spoke in the campaign to elect Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum in 2012.

U.S.: Thursday Marks 80th Anniversary of End of Alcohol Prohibition

JamesGierachLEAP

Thursday, December 5 marks the 80th anniversary of the ratification of the 21st Amendment, which ended the prohibition of alcohol in 1933. The amendment repealed the 18th Amendment, passed in 1920, after more than a decade of increased crime, dangerously unregulated products, and a failure to reduce consumption convinced the American public prohibition was an ineffective and destructive way to attack the problems associated with substance use.

Alas, it was a lesson quickly forgotten. Decades later America repeated the mistake with the prohibition of drugs -- heir to all of the same problems as alcohol prohibition and then some.

As former prosecutor and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) board member James Gierach says, "Al Capone and other gangsters thrived when government outlawed what people wanted. When booze went legit with the 21st Amendment, mobsters had to wait only 40 years before government did it again with drugs. Same problem, same solution: legalize, license, regulate and tax."

Two comparisons with the current War On Drugs are particularly worthy of note.

First, the prohibition of alcohol was actually closer to what reformists today call “decriminalization” – the removal of criminal penalties for use and possession while sales, distribution and manufacture remain prosecutable offenses.

Florida: Billionaire Marijuana Philanthropist, Progressive Insurance Chairman Peter Lewis Dies

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Peter Lewis, the billionaire chairman of Progressive Insurance and a prominent donor to marijuana legalization, died Saturday afternoon at age 80 at his home in Coconut Grove, Florida, according to his adviser Jennifer Frutchy.

Lewis was a high-profile backer of drug-law reform, reports Luisa Kroll at Forbes. He spent almost $3 million on the November 2012 election, contributing $2 million to the I-502 marijuana legalization drive in Washington state and another $1 million to the medical marijuana effort in Massachusetts; both were successful.

"We were, of course, incredibly grateful for Mr. Lewis's significant contributions that made Initiative 502 possible," I-502 author Alison Holcomb told David Holley of Bloomberg News. "We're very hopeful that others will follow in the example he set."

Cynics pointed out that Progressive Insurance is the chief source of the auto insurance policies that those convicted of driving under the influence of marijuana in Washington (cannabis DUI) under I-502 will be forced to buy; 502, in addition to legalizing possession of up to an ounce of pot, created a whole new crime in Washington state, that of driving with more than 5 ng/ml of THC in the blood (previously, law enforcement had to prove actual impairment to make a DUI stick).

Colorado: Under Denver Ordinance Just The Odor Of Marijuana Could Get You A Year In Jail

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"Bad News, Dude: If That Pot You're Smoking Smells Like Pot, It's Not Legal Anymore"

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

It seems the minute marijuana legalization was approved by voters in Colorado and Washington, some politicians started trying to find ways to undermine the will of the people. Now, in Denver, the mere smell of marijuana wafting from your backyard could be illegal if the city council passes a new ordinance.

The ordinance, which will be introduced at Monday's city council meeting, comes in advance of legal retail marijuana sales, which are scheduled to begin in January, reports Jeremy Mayer at The Denver Post.

The ordinance would prohibit pot smoking in parks and in the 16th Street Mall, and would also ban toking in private property if it is "visible to the public," such as on your front porch or in a car, or if the odor of cannabis could be detected from neighboring property.

"Your activities should not pervade others' peace and ability to enjoy," Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said. "Marijuana is one of those elements that can be quite pervasive and invasive," the Mayor claimed. "I shouldn't have to smell your activities from your back yard." The mayor didn't explain why we should have to smell his intolerance from ours.

If the ordinance is approved by the city council, the mayor will sign it and it will take effect immediately. Offenders could face a fine of $999 and up to a year in jail.

Study: We're #1! Marijuana is the Top 'Illegal Drug' Used Worldwide

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

We're Number One! Marijuana is the most popular "illegal drug" in the world, according to the first-ever global survey of illicit drug use, but widely used opioid painkillers such as Vicodin, Oxycontin and codeine kill the most people. (Cannabis, of course, has never killed anyone in history.)

In addition to cannabis and opioids, researchers looked at abuse of cocaine and amphetamines in 2010, based largely on previous studies, reports the Associated Press. Ecstasy and psychedelic drugs weren't included, due to lack of data.

The scientists found that for all drugs studied, men in the 20s had the highest rates of "abuse." The countries where drug use was most prevalent were Australia, the United Kingdom, Russia and the United States. Results of the study were published online Thursday in the scientific journal The Lancet.

There were few solid numbers upon which to rely, according to the researchers, who came up with modeling techniques to reach estimates.

"Even if it is not very solid data, we can say definitely that there are drug problems in most parts of the world," said Theo Vos of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, the study's senior author.

Study: Frequent Users of Marijuana, Alcohol and Tobacco Already Know the Health Risks

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Users of marijuana and alcohol tend to know more about the health effects of those substances than those who abstain, according to new research.

The findings, drawn from a large sample of Swiss men, showed that men who regularly use marijuana, alcohol and tobacco looked for information about the health risks of those substances more than those who didn't use them, reports Tia Ghose of Fox News reports.

This calls into question the effectiveness of campaigns against substance abuse, which often count on scare tactics highlighting the health risks of drugs, according to the study, which was published in the International Journal of Public Health on July 11.

"When you know a lot about the risks and everything about the substances, it doesn't really bring you to consume less," said study coauthor Petra Dermota, a psychologist at the University of Zurich. "You even consume more." (Perhaps in the case of cannabis, at least, once folks have looked into it and learned it is virtually harmless, they aren't scared to use it anymore.)

To see whether health information kept people from using drugs, Dermota and her associates surveyed 12,000 men, all around age 20, who were entering the Swiss Army. Because the Swiss have universal, mandatory military service, the sample represents a cross-section of the young male population, Dermota said.

New York: Staten Island Traffic Sign Hacked To Read 'Smoke Weed Every Day'

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A portable traffic sign in Staten Island, New York, invited motorists to "SMOKE WEED EVERYDAY" after someone apparently broke into the machine and changed its text.

That phrase apparently wasn't the only pro-marijuana sentiment to flash on the traffic sign last weekend, with at least one other passerby posting an Instagram picture of the sign reading something similar, reports Ryan Lavis at the Staten Island Advocate.

The text on the portable sign was soon restored to its original message, warning drivers of shifting traffic patterns.

The Department of Design and Construction is currently overseeing a large sewer project in the area, but responsibility for the sign itself falls on the contractor for the site, according to DDC spokesman Joseph Soldevere.

The contractor corrected the sign on Monday and put on new locks, Soldevere said. Construction on the project should end next summer, he added.

(Photo: Mike Tompkins/Staten Island Advocate)

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