Sunday, 30 June 2013

Community turns to Social Media to Combat Synthetic Cannabis




Social media is the secret weapon in the battle against retailers who choose to sell synthetic cannabis, it was agreed by many of the attendees at the recent public meeting held at Kuranui College.  Parents, local councillors, the police, and social and health agencies attended the meeting organised by the South Wairarapa college to discuss mounting concerns over the accessibility and the legal issues surrounding the use of synthetic cannabinoids in the local community.

Kuranui College Principal Geoff Shepherd stated that the community had a very real problem. “There is a very small minority of students who have access to these synthetic drugs and we’re seeing the residual effects of their influence during school time, which clearly impacts on these students’ learning and development. It is a community issue and we need a community strategy to combat this problem,” he said.

Care NZ Drug and Alcohol Counsellor Teresa Ahipene provided the gathering with information about the synthetic drugs, explaining that students reported that they felt the effects were stronger than cannabis, with worse side effects which may last for many months after the user had stopped taking the drugs. 

Users are understood to display a dissociative state, which ranges from a detachment from reality and loss of time and place, to mild psychosis and aggression.  Other effects include a dry mouth, rapid pulse rate, itchy skin, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, agitation, anxiety and in many cases, severe paranoia and phobic behaviour.

Mrs Ahipene highlighted the fact that these products are chemical in nature and are not intended for human consumption. “They are sold in really attractive, colourful packages so they can be very appealing to young people. There’s very little information available as to the long-term effects of their use, so when young people are choosing to use these drugs they are putting their physical and mental health at risk and we don’t know if these effects are permanent,” she explained.

“However, it’s reassuring to see that many of our young people are choosing not to get involved or are discontinuing their use because of the risks and the impact seen on their peers,” she added. Health care professionals at the meeting agreed that social media appeared to be one way in which young people shared their negative experiences and their thoughts around the risks.

The drugs are often marketed as herbal incense or as a herbal smoking product and are therefore perfectly legal.  However, it is illegal for those youngsters under 18 years of age to purchase them, so the police do at least have some power to prosecute and fine retailers who sell directly to children. This does not prevent older people from buying and supplying to underage users.

Several members of the meeting felt that because the drugs are very cheap and sold in dairies, youngsters believe that they must be O.K., so a crucial priority for communities is to remove their accessibility.

As synthetic cannabinoids are not covered under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, the Temporary Class Drug Notices are currently the only way to regulate their sale. The notices are issued on substances rather than the commercial product, meaning that all products that contain those substances effectively become banned. However, as soon as one substance is banned, the synthetic cannabis manufacturers change the ingredients slightly and remarket the product.

This is set to change in August when a new body, the Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority, begins supervising a new legislation requiring manufacturers to prove that any psychoactive substance is no more than “low risk” before it is sold. This will involve pre-clinical and human clinical testing to be paid for by the manufacturers themselves and is estimated to cost in the region of $2 million per substance.  They would also have to list their ingredients, standard doses and provide health and safety messages.

Mr Shepherd, as Principal of the local secondary college, has already written to the dairies in the region which are allegedly selling the drugs. He asked them to consider the risks posed to young people and asked them not to stock these products.

Featherston Councillor Solitaire Robertson suggested that the region should aim to become synthetic cannabis free.  A very effective method appears to be in the use of Facebook posts. A number of parents explained how they were spreading the word by sharing posts about individual retailers who are apparently selling the drugs. This ‘name and shame’ tactic is aimed at “hurting these businesses in the pockets”. Community Constable Dean Fawcett said a positive method would be to support those retailers who display the “We choose not to sell synthetic cannabis” posters that are distributed by the police. Other ideas were to form a parent support group and hold information sessions with other community groups.

Those present were delighted that people had made the effort to attend the meeting, but felt there were many more people in the community who may have been put off by the public forum. “We need to get the message to the youth in our community and this needs to be done through a different forum, perhaps through using our young community leaders, such as our local rugby club captains or young musicians who have a good rapport and will be listened to by our youngsters,” suggested Mr Shepherd.

Mrs Ahipene said it was also important that parents ensure that they are aware of the possible impact of these drugs on their children and that they had conversations with their children at home so that they were able to ask questions and know where to go to find help.

If a parent requires more information on where to obtain advice or help, they should contact their child’s school counsellor, check out www.carenz.org.nz

Source -- http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/AK1306/S00795/community-turns-to-social-media-to-combat-synthetic-cannabis.htm

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Israeli Orthodox Rabbi Efraim Zalmanovich: Medical Marijuana Is Kosher




Efraim Zalmanovich, the orthodox rabbi of the Israeli town of Mazkeret Batia, said Friday that distributing and smoking marijuana is kosher as long as it's for medical purposes, according to an article on NRG, the website of the Maariv newspaper.

Recreational use is another issue, according to Zalmanovich.

“Taking drugs to escape this world in any excessive way is certainly forbidden,” Zalmanovich said, according to the JTA.

The rabbi's comments are not the first made by a Jewish religious leader on the substance, the Times of Israel reports.

Zalmanovich’s ruling modifies an opinion by Rabbi Hagai Bar Giora, head of kitchens, bakeries factories catering and events at the Israeli chief rabbinate, who in March told Israel’s Magazin Canabis: “If you smoke it, there is no problem whatsoever.”
While marijuana is currently illegal under Israeli law, the nation's ministry of health has issued medical marijuana permits for some patients. Officials say the number of people prescribed cannabis reached around 11,000 this year, though they plan on tightening the application process. Activists are pushing for broader acceptance, however, as the nation makes bold strides on scientific research involving cannabis and THC, the psychoactive compound in the drug.

Zalmanovich’s comments add him to a list of people who are more liberal in their views on medical marijuana than President Barack Obama. While 18 states -- and soon to be 19 with the addition of New Hampshire -- as well as the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use, federal law still considers it a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning it is judged not to have any medicinal qualities. Obama's administration has spent nearly $300 million to fund enforcement efforts against medical marijuana in these states.

Source -- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/28/israeli-rabbi-marijuana-kosher_n_3518933.html?utm_hp_ref=world

Friday, 28 June 2013

Google Quietly Giving Aid To Marijuana Activists



Cancer patients who Google the words "chemotherapy nausea" today get a host of advertisements for treatment, including pills, skin patches and folk remedies used to prevent vomiting. Next month, however, the same search will turn up an ad for something a bit more controversial: medical marijuana.

The change comes courtesy of the charitable unit of Google, which last week gifted a Michigan medical marijuana advocacy group $120,000 worth of its services. As part of the grant, the group, Michigan Compassion, will be able to promote medical marijuana use through Google's popular AdWords platform -- the plain-text advertisements that pop up to the right side of any given search result.

Michigan Compassion does not sell marijuana but connects patients and growers, and it says the ads will appear alongside searches likely to be made by chemotherapy patients.
“The goal is to link the negative effects of chemotherapy and the positive effects of cannabis,” Amish Parikh, vice-president of Michigan Compassion, told The Huffington Post.
The ads' value is small in the scheme of Google's AdWords program, which brings in over $40 billion per year in revenue, but they represent a change for the Mountain View, Calif. firm, which has a strict policy against hosting ads for marijuana-related searches. 

Read more http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/27/google-marijuana_n_3511186.html

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Marijuana-Fed Pigs Make 'Best Pork Chop You've Ever Had'




SNOHOMISH, Wash. -- The white van with tinted windows pulled up to the driveway with its cargo - cardboard boxes full of marijuana. And the customers eagerly awaited it, grunting and snorting.
The deal was going down for three hungry Berkshire pigs from a Washington state farm, and a German television crew was there to film it.
Part flavor experiment, part green recycling, part promotion and bolstered by the legalization of recreational marijuana in Washington state, pot excess has been fed to the hogs by their owners, pig farmer Jeremy Gross and Seattle butcher William von Schneidau, since earlier this year.
Gross and von Schneidau now sell their "pot pig" cuts at von Schneidau's butcher shop in Seattle's Pike Place Market at a premium price – bacon is $17 a pound while chops go for $16.90 a pound.
"He's like `let's see what kind of flavor it gives it.' So we ran it and it gave good flavor," Gross said. "It's like anything else, what you feed them is what they're going to taste like. It's almost like a savory alfalfa fed cow or alfalfa fed pig."
The meat, though, won't get people high.
It's just a flavor infusion.
While the passage of recreational marijuana inspired the experiment, Gross and von Schneidau get the marijuana excess – roots, stems, and other part of the plant that are grinded and not used for consumption – from a medical marijuana dispensary. At the butcher shop, cuts from the pot pigs are signed with a little drawing of a marijuana leaf stuck on them with a toothpick.
"It tastes like the best pork chop you've ever had," said Matt McAlman, who runs Top Shelf Organic, the dispensary that is providing the pot plant waste for the pigs to eat.

The idea has brought worldwide attention. On a recent afternoon, Gross hosted a crew from a German science show while von Schneidau has already been interviewed dozens of times.
The men, though, are relishing the spotlight to advertise von Schneidau's idea of locally sourced food. Gross' hogs at his Snohomish, Wash., farm were being fed recycled byproduct before the marijuana idea.
While Gross raises pig on his property, he works full time as a construction foreman. The only way he can stay in the pig business, he said, is the free feed he collects from a local distillery and brewery. He feeds his pigs barrels of the distillery wheat "mash" every day, fortified by a nutrient mix his veterinarian created. Gross gets his free pig feed, while the distillery and brewery get rid of waste.
Gross is applying that model to the medical marijuana excess and von Schneidau hopes it's an example people use as production of marijuana ramps up under the state-approved system.
"Absolutely, it's a good opportunity to help people get rid of their waste," said von Schneidau, who is also attempting to start a privately-owned mobile slaughterhouse.
But currently the state draft rules say pot plant waste must be "rendered unusable" by either grinding it or mixing it with non-consumable, recycled solid waste, such as food waste, compost, soil and paper waste. The state's rules for medical marijuana do not say how to get rid of marijuana byproducts.
John P. McNamara, a professor at Washington State University's Department of Animal Sciences, doesn't find the experiment amusing.
"Of all the crazy things I've seen in my 37-plus years, this is the dumbest things I've ever seen in my life," he said.
McNamara said in order to introduce a drug or medicine to feed that's being given to animals that make part of the food supply, the federal government must sign off on it after extensive review. He adds that research has shown that cannabis ingested can be transferred onto tissues.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is the agency that oversees the nation's food supply. The agency, on its website, says it "approves the additives or drugs that are used in feed products."
Currently, Gross is only feeding three pigs the marijuana mix, which on a recent afternoon the chopped down on with fervor, sticking their snouts into the pile of mash.
Asked if feeding marijuana affects the pigs, such as perhaps giving them munchies, Gross said can see no effect on the pigs.
Already all pigs do is sleep and eat, he said.
But his farm manager mentioned that one of the more salty sows mellows out after a feeding.
___

Source and Video -- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/27/marijuana-pigs_n_3509206.html?utm_hp_ref=business

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

How Marijuana Is Tested


Marijuana testing is becoming more and more common, and I don’t see that trend ending anytime soon. As states pass medical marijuana reform laws, it is almost certain that marijuana lab testing will be a requirement. It’s a good thing for patients too, because they should know what they are consuming. Long gone are the days when you had your friend try your marijuana to see how good it is. Objective data and analysis can provide information that even the most veteran marijuana consumer cannot. Below is a video from long time friend of TWB Masterbong taking us inside a marijuana testing laboratory

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YF8Obx4TMdI

Source- http://www.theweedblog.com/how-marijuana-is-tested-2/

Spain Study Confirms Cannabis Oil Cures Cancer Without Side Effects

The medical science is strongly in favor of THC laden hemp oil as a primary cancer therapy, not just in a supportive role to control the side effects of chemotherapy. The International Medical Verities Association is putting hemp oil on its cancer protocol. It is a prioritized protocol list whose top five items are magnesium chloride, iodine, selenium, Alpha Lipoic Acid and sodium bicarbonate. It makes perfect sense to drop hemp oil right into the middle of this nutritional crossfire of anti cancer medicines, which are all available without prescription.

Hemp oil has long been recognized as one of the most versatile and beneficial substances known to man. Derived from hemp seeds (a member of the achene family of fruits) it has been regarded as a superfood due to its high essential fatty acid content and the unique ratio of omega3 to omega6 and gamma linolenic acid (GLA) – 2:5:1. Hemp oil, is known to contain up to 5% of pure GLA, a much higher concentration than any other plant, even higher than spirulina. For thousands of years, the hemp plant has been used in elixirs and medicinal teas because of its healing properties and now medical science is zeroing in on the properties of its active substances.

Both the commercial legal type of hemp oil and the illegal THC laden hemp oil are one of the most power-packed protein sources available in the plant kingdom. Its oil can be used in many nutritional and trans-dermal applications. In other chapters in my Winning the War on Cancer book we will discuss in-depth about GLA and cancer and also the interesting work of Dr. Johanna Budwig. She uses flax seed oil instead of hemp oil to cure cancer – through effecting changes in cell walls – using these omega3 and omega6 laden medicinal oils.
Actually there is another way to use medical marijuana without smoking the leaf. According to Dr. Tod H. Mikuriya, “The usual irritating and toxic breakdown products of burning utilized with smoking are totally avoided with vaporization. Extraction and inhaling cannabinoid essential oils below ignition temperature of both crude and refined cannabis products affords significant mitigation of irritation to the oral cavity, and tracheobronchial tree from pyrollytic breakdown products.
Read more at  http://www.realfarmacy.com/spain-study-confirms-cannabis-oil-cures-cancer-without-side-effects/



Sunday, 23 June 2013

Rihanna boldly promotes legalising marijuana while smoking rolled-up cigarette and wearing customized veiled pink beanie

Rihanna has once again gone public about being in favour of legalizing marijuana.
The superstar - who had been performing in Ireland - posted a picture on Instagram which showed her smoking a rolled up cigarette with '#legalizeit' written below the image on Saturday.
And now she has moved on to Amsterdam where she posted new Twitter images holding two huge cigarettes that look like joints.

In Amsterdam: Rihanna posed with two suspicious looking rolled-up cigarettes on Saturday in Holland

 Ready to light: Rihanna gets ready to ignite some serious looking rolled-up cigarettes in Amsterdam

One reads: Where am I ??? At Heauxm !!! - while in the other she writes: I'm just a girl ...#Amsterdam.
The Umbrella singer has posted numerous images on social media of herself smoking suspicious looking cigarettes before but this is a clear indication on where she stands on the issue.
Dressed in a trendy white mermaid sweatshirt, baggy jeans with converse sneakers, the performer is also seen dripping in diamond jewellery.
Her heavily made-up face is hidden behind a veil attached to her customized pink beanie hat as she sits in what appears to be a hotel room alone.
In another image released on Twitter she blows some thick smoke from her mouth with the message:  Naked mermaid on my shirt #WAVES #silverspoonattire.


 Blowing smoke: Rihanna Tweets image of her smoking rolled-up cigarette


 Smoking gun: Rihanna posts Instagram message on Saturday backing legalizing marijuana


Face to face: Rihanna poses with her father Ronald Fenty after her concert in Dublin

Yet the superstar did show a gentler side to her personality when she posted an image sitting opposite her father Donald Fenty while writing: 'Pops giving me word last night #dublin'.
Rihanna is no stranger when it comes to controversy over pot smoking - back in April she celebrated 'US weed day' by posing with four girlfriends on bicycles.
As she sat beside her friends smoking another rolled up cigarette the Barbadian crooner wrote 'Our ~420 #clique' referring to the day which was founded by a group of High School students in 1971.

Mona Lisa smile: Rihanna smiled demurely as she held a pair of black Ray Ban sunglasses 

Saturday, 22 June 2013

You Could Build a Border Fence Out of Seized Marijuana









If you've always wanted to roll a spliff the size of the Washington Monument, the Border Patrol may be able to help.

Border agents and related workers at ports of entry seized 17 million pounds of marijuana on the Southwest border between January 2005 and October 2011, according to records obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting.

If you stacked all that pot on a baseball diamond, not only would it make a certain San Francisco Giants pitcher very happy, it would be 100 feet tall and 100 feet wide.

There's a lot of other fun stuff you could do with it, according the news outlet, which actually did math and stuff to figure this out.

If you rolled up all that mary jane, you could invite everyone on Earth over, give them two joints apiece (14.2 billion joints) and still have 2 billion joints left over for late night.

Perhaps most fitting of all, you could take those same joints and build an 11-foot tall fence along the entire expanse of the U.S.-Mexico border. Actually you could span it 359 times if you lined it with one single marijuana cigarette after another, according to CIR.

Funny as it all might seem, this is actually important.

A deal made with some Republican senators yesterday on immigration reform would call for doubling the size of Border Patrol's staff.

Illegal immigration has dropped off substantially since the 1990s and early 2000s. But all the same, Border Patrol staffing levels have doubled since 2005, and so has the annual budget for their parent agency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (see these charts for more).

If immigration reform passes, one estimate says it will reduce illegal immigration by 25 percent overall. If border measures are successful, there will probably be more people overstaying visas than crossing illegally at the border.

So what will all those extra agents do with their time? If nothing else, they can always seize enormous amounts of marijuana.

Border Patrol actually goes after drugs of all types, but marijuana makes up the vast majority of seizures by weight. In the 2011 fiscal year, the 2.5 million pounds of pot the agency netted made up 99 percent of its total haul.

Of course, popular opinion tends to reject that war against marijuana.

More than half of Americans think marijuana should be completely legal, and two states -- Washington and Colorado -- have already legalized it. But the federal government still considers pot a "dangerous drug" on par with heroin.

So unless the "legalize it" movement figures out how to capitalize on that state-level momentum and counter the feds, don't expect the Border Patrol's marijuana seizures to stop any time soon.

Source -- http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/Politics/border-agency-seized-17-million-pounds-marijuana/story?id=19455771#.UcWpwztNFFs

Friday, 21 June 2013


Marijuana Not 

Linked To Lung 

Cancer When Use Is 

Light Or Moderate,

 Unknown With Heavy Use


As marijuana becomes more accepted -- and in some places, legal -- a UCLA researcher has reexamined the question: does smoking marijuana cause lung cancer?

In the June edition of Annals of the American Thoracic Society, Donald P. Tashkin, MD, emeritus professor of medicine at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine, says that light to moderate marijuana use does not cause increased lung cancer risk and that the verdict is not out on heavy use.

"Findings from a limited number of well-designed epidemiological studies do not suggest an increased risk for the development of either lung or upper airway cancer from light or moderate use, although evidence is mixed concerning possible carcinogenic risks of heavy, long-term use," Tashkin said in a summary of his article.

Marijuana does, however, "cause visible and microscopic injury to the large airways that is consistently associated with an increased likelihood of symptoms of chronic bronchitis that subside after cessation of use," according to Tashkin.

But even heavy marijuana use has "far lower risks for pulmonary complications" than the consequences of tobacco use, Tashkin said.

Tashkin authored a similar paper in 2006 that also found no link between marijuana use and risk of lung cancer.

He's among several researchers who have published recently on the topic of marijuana and cancer. Last year, a pair of scientists at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco found that a compound derived from marijuana could stop metastasis in many kinds of aggressive cancers, potentially altering the fatality of the disease forever.

Earlier this year, Kaiser Permanente researchers found that people who smoke marijuana may be less likely to get bladder cancer than those who smoke cigarettes.

Source -- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/20/marijuana-lung-cancer_n_3474960.html
Feds Move To Snuff Out Medical Marijuana



It must look like a funny lobbying group. Imagine the marijuana industry lobbying Congress on taxes? But more than most industries these days, marijuana needs a bailout. Remember the 2008 auto industry and financial services deals? Remember ‘too big to fail?’

How about too legal to fail? Unlike bailouts, there’s no preferential deal being sought here. The marijuana industry just wants to be treated fairly, to be put on the same footing as every other legal business. Now that we have legalized medical marijuana in 18 states and the District of Columbia can these businesses be run like businesses?

You might think the taxes to be collected would be significant at both state and federal levels. But the tax law discriminates so badly that the industry has had to virtually go underground. And when you add the banking law, banks are reluctant to allow even legal marijuana businesses to open accounts in their institutions.

In fact, some banks can face prosecution, and who wants that? Although more and more states have legalized medical marijuana, including the most recent entrant, Massachusetts, “legal” has become an ambiguous term. The state’s marijuana businesses, like those in all the other states, face legal and tax problems.

Colorado and Washington have even legalized recreational use. There are tax problems there too. Why? Because even legal dispensaries are drug traffickers to the feds. Section 280E of the tax code denies them tax deductions, even for legitimate business costs.

Of all the federal enforcement efforts, taxes hurt most. “The federal tax situation is the biggest threat to businesses and could push the entire industry underground,” the leading trade publication for the marijuana industry reports. One answer is for dispensaries to deduct other expenses distinct from dispensing marijuana.

If a dispensary sells marijuana and is in the separate business of care-giving, the care-giving expenses are deductible. If only 10% of the premises are used to dispense marijuana, most of the rent is deductible. Good record-keeping is essential. See Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Persist Despite Tax Obstacles.

Another idea was presented April 24 at Harvard by Professor Benjamin Leff of American University’s Law School. Professor Leff’s paper carried an unvarnished title: Tax Planning for Marijuana Dealers. It was part of Harvard’s Tax Policy Seminar hosted by Harvard Prof. Stephen Shay. Mr. Leff correctly pointed out the Section 280E Catch 22 and came up with another end run. Marijuana sellers could operate as nonprofit social welfare organizations, he suggested. See Growing the Business: How Legal Marijuana Sellers Can Beat a Draconian Tax.

That way Section 280E shouldn’t apply. A social welfare organization must promote the common good and general welfare of people in its neighborhood or community. Operating businesses in distressed neighborhoods to provide jobs and job-training for residents? That could fit a dispensary nicely.

Congressmen Jared Polis (D-CO) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) have introduced a bill to end the federal prohibition on marijuana and allow it to be taxed. This legislation would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act. That way growers, sellers and users could no longer fear violating federal law.

Their Marijuana Tax Equity Act would also impose an excise tax on cannabis sales and an annual occupational tax on workers dealing in the growing field of legal marijuana. Whatever happens, it’s good that someone is paying attention to this mess.

Source -- 
http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2013/06/21/medical-marijuana-feds-use-legal-snafu-to-snuff-it-out/

Thursday, 20 June 2013

EXPOCANNABIS MADRID 2013



Expocannabis 9th EDITION 2013
27 - 28 and 29 of September
THE BIGGEST HEMP FESTIVAL IN MADRID: Expocannabis 2013!!!!

Expocannabis will be an excellent show, dealing with a plant named cannabis, traditionally having medicinal values. The Spanish event will be held in its ninth edition, will educate the visitors about the applications of the medicinal plant. The visitors of the show will be able to buy the products and technologies related to the plant. The fair will be held over a period of three days. The show will be organized by Feria Del Canamo Sl, in a very efficient manner. The place, where the show will be held is Madrid. 
Expocannabis promises to be a leading show, where the products related to the sector will be efficiently marketed by the participants among the visitors. The participants will be able to network among the visitors effectively, which will develop their business.
Visitors' ProfileExpocannabis will be a comprehensively organized show, which will be visited by the ayurvedic and herbal medicine sellers, researchers, scientists, students etc. The common public and the key decision makers of the industry will also attend the show.
Exhibitors' ProfileBook a StallFind Suppliers in Spain Expocannabis will be a chief show, which will be participated by the growers, processors, manufacturers, dealers, companies etc, dealing with the cannabis plant products and technologies. The experts of the industry will participate in the show. The exhibits of the show will include new products, nutrient, seeds, growing product and paraphernalia product related to the industry.

http://expocannabis.com/

http://www.biztradeshows.com/trade-events/expo-cannabis-spain.html



Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Jamen Shively's Plan To Build Pot Brand Makes Weed Activists Nervous


SEATTLE — For the activists who led the effort to legalize recreational marijuana in Washington state last fall, Jamen Shively was one of their biggest fears: an aspiring pot profiteer whose unabashed dreams of building a cannabis empire might attract unwanted attention from the federal government or a backlash that could slow the marijuana reform movement across the country.

With visionary zeal, the 45-year-old former Microsoft manager described his plans to a conference room packed with reporters and supporters last month, saying he was tired of waiting for a green light from the Obama administration, which still hasn't said how it will respond to the legalization of recreational pot in Washington and Colorado. Shively vowed to quickly raise $10 million and eventually build his company, Diego Pellicer, into an international pot powerhouse.

Though he promised a "cautious and measured" expansion, Shively's approach nevertheless contrasted with that of state regulators who want to avoid repeating the national experience with Big Tobacco and Big Alcohol, industries that profited wildly on addiction and abuse. Mark Kleiman, who heads the team hired to be Washington's official marijuana consultant, responded on his blog: "It was inevitable that the legalization of cannabis would attract a certain number of insensate greedheads to the industry."

Shively's ambitions – "We are Big Marijuana," he proclaimed – don't merely raise questions about what marijuana legalization might look like in the long run and whether large corporations will come to dominate. He also risks getting himself indicted.

The Justice Department has said while it doesn't intend to prosecute sick people for using marijuana, it will go after those who try to get rich from commercial sales. It hasn't said yet whether it will sue to block Washington and Colorado from licensing pot growers, processors and stores.

The legalization votes in Washington and Colorado have created a fever for cannabis-related investing, to an extent. Conferences have focused on the parameters for legally investing in "ancillary businesses" – those that supply equipment needed by pot grows, for example – without financing the actual production or distribution of marijuana, which remains illegal under federal law.

Shively isn't skirting the edges of the nascent industry, but diving right in, in a way that few other entrepreneurs are. Some companies that make high-end marijuana-infused products, such as Colorado-based Dixie Elixirs, are planning to make their brands available in other states, but it's not clear anyone else is taking steps to create a pot empire.

"Developing a national brand in an industry in which it is illegal to move the core product across state lines presents some serious logistical challenges," said Betty Aldworth, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association.

Diego Pellicer's business plan estimates $120,000 of pure profit per month, per recreational pot store. Shively said he plans dozens of stores in Washington and Colorado, earning his company the "Starbucks of Pot" nickname.

At the May 30 news conference, Shively announced Diego's first corporate deal – an arrangement with a Seattle medical marijuana company called the Northwest Patient Resource Center. He said Diego would be starting in the medical marijuana market in Washington and Colorado, and then transitioning some dispensaries to recreational pot stores once the states begin issuing licenses.

Shively said the arrangement was "not in violation of either federal or state law," but it was troubling enough to one of the dispensary company owners that he's walking away from the deal – and the company he helped found – because he fears it puts everyone involved at risk of federal prosecution.

"I'm not an activist. I'm just a businessman," said the part-owner, Thomas Jun, a 42-year-old father of three. "I can't afford to do any federal time."

According to Shively, Diego Pellicer has acquired the option to buy Northwest Patient Resource Center, but does not actually own it. That's what gives Diego Pellicer some protection and allows it to position itself for the time when more states legalize pot and Congress changes federal laws, he said. No marijuana will be moved interstate.

"We don't touch cannabis. We don't have ownership of cannabis," he said. "It's not a perfect insulation or buffer, but it's the best possible mechanism that we can come up with."

Through his lawyer, Douglas Hiatt, Jun provided the AP with internal company documents, including a draft of the $1.6 million agreement dated May 30. The deal directs monthly payments of up to $50,000 from Diego be used to "to further develop and enhance NWPRC's customer locations and to otherwise grow its business as currently conducted." Former federal prosecutors say that could be seen as a conspiracy to violate federal law.

"It certainly would make me nervous to be involved in anything like this," said Laurie Levenson, a professor at Loyola Law School-Los Angeles and a former assistant U.S. attorney.

Shively called the draft provided to AP "an obsolete document," but declined to provide further details. He also declined to discuss a $10,000 check he wrote to the dispensary company May 27.

The deal highlights the tension between the varying degrees of acceptance of marijuana by the states and the outright prohibition by the federal government, which makes banking and other business functions problematic. For example, beyond the growing and sale of marijuana constituting federal crimes, the movement of money related to marijuana sales likely constitutes money laundering.

Dixie Elixirs won't be directly involved in the growing, processing or sale of pot in multiple states, said Tripp Keber, its managing director. Instead, it will license its technical know-how and recipes to people in Washington or elsewhere who want to produce products under the Dixie Elixirs brand – and try to avoid the attention of federal prosecutors by adhering to state laws.

"Big public federal indictments are going to do the industry a disservice," Keber said.

If Shively's model is endorsed by the regulators writing rules for Washington's pot industry, "then we would be increasing the risk of intervention by the federal government," said Alison Holcomb, the Seattle lawyer who drafted Washington's law.

Shively said investors are advised that the company and those involved could face federal prosecution. A copy of Diego's business plan includes 11 bullet points listing risks the company faces. None specifically suggests those involved could be prosecuted.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/17/jamen-shively-pot-brand-weed-activists_n_3455326.html?utm_hp_ref=business

Monday, 17 June 2013

2013-s Biggest Cannabis Law Reform Victories (So Far)





Nearly halfway through 2013 and it’s already been an incredible, unprecedented year for cannabis law reform. Things are moving at an incredibly fast pace all across the globe, and there’s not even the slightest indication that it’ll slow down until cannabis prohibition is put to an effective end.
Here’s a list, in no particular order, of some of the biggest and most impactful victories so far this year.
  • Colorado now has a regulated and taxed recreational cannabis market.
In 2012, Colorado voters approved Amendment 64, making legal cannabis a constitutional right. In addition to legalizing the possession and private cultivation of cannabis, the amendment legalized recreational retail outlets, with regulations handled by the state’s legislature.
In 2013, these regulations – from a governor-appointed task force to the governor’s recent signing of multiple cannabis regulation bills - have been ironed out in a surprisingly effective manner. Work is still left to be done, but enough of a framework has been established that cannabis retail outlets can open, operate and supply cannabis to the masses by next spring.
Even better, the regulations aren’t terrible. Not everything is ideal, but nothing incredibly strict was implemented, cannabis tourism is authorized, residents can grow up to 6 tax-free plants, penalties for minors were reduced to be analogous to a minor in possession of alcohol, etc..
Washington isn’t far behind, and they’re currently formulating their own regulations, but Colorado is clearly the example state that will lead the way for future reform. Everyone’s watching.
  • 2013 has been one of, if not the best, year ever in terms of positive cannabis research.
A plethora of cannabis-related scientific research has been released this year, with the majority of the studies being the most comprehensive ever released on the connection between cannabis and that particular condition.
For example; a group from Neuroscience Research Australiahas conducted promising early research indicating that cannabis may reverse the symptoms of dementia, multiple studies have been released – including one published in theAmerican Journal of Medicine - which have found that cannabis may combat diabetes, and numerous other studies have found that cannabis may reverse or effectively combat the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Crohn’s disease, bladder cancer, HIV and brain damage.
  • Legislative and political victories continue to mount.
This year alone, the state legislature for four states – Colorado, California, Vermont and Kentucky – have approved measures legalizing hemp cultivation. In Colorado, licensed hemp production could begin as soon as this year, as their law has been signed by the governor and isn’t contingent on a change in federal law.
Just weeks ago in Rhode Island, the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis became no longer a criminal offense thanks to recently approved legislation.
In Vermont, a measure was recently signed by the governor decriminalizing small amounts of cannabis.
In New York, their full Assembly has recently approved a measure decriminalizing the public display of cannabis. The Assembly also approved a measure legalizing medical cannabis, a measure that’s expected to pass the Senate, according to the bill’s prime sponsor.
In Nevada, the state’s governor has just signed a bill legalizing medical cannabis dispensaries throughout the state.
In Illinois, the state’s legislature has approved a medical cannabis legalization measure – it currently sits on the governor’s desk for consideration. The same is true for New Hampshire.
Although the law is far from perfect, Maryland became the 19th medical marijuana state by passing legislation to allow certain academic centers to distribute cannabis to qualified patients.
In France, a decree has just been approved which legalizes cannabis medicines such as teas, sprays and capsules.
In Israel, the number of doctors authorized to prescribe medical cannabis has more than doubled.
In the Czech Republic, it’s now legal for pharmacies to distribute medical cannabis to qualified patients.
Etc., etc.!
  • Politicians are beginning to take hemp and cannabis legalization seriously.
In April, Oregon’s House Judiciary Committee became one of the only legislative state committees in U.S. history to approve of the legalization of marijuana - they did so on a 6 to 3 vote: the measure would allow for the possession of up to 24 ounces and 6 plants, and would legalize state-licensed retail outlets. The proposal hasn’t moved forward since its vote in April, but it’s still alive, and advocates have filed legalization initiatives aimed at the 2014 ballot to push lawmakers to act.
Lawmakers in numerous other states – including Maine, New York and Ohio – have been working to pass legalization legislation as well. Multiple elected officials - such as California’s Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom - have come out in favor of legalization, urging other politicians to do the same.
On top of this, the two most legislatively powerful Republicans in the U.S. – Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell and House Majority Leader John Boehner – are now working towards hemp legalization. Boehner has only recently indicated that he’ll work towards its passage, but McConnell has been actively pushing for it, including being one of the prime sponsors on federal legislation to end hemp prohibition.
Although much work is left to be done, it’s clear that we’re at a breaking point. Cannabis legalization is nothing less than inevitable.
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There are many victories that have occurred in 2013 that we didn’t list – we know we missed a lot – but taking a glance at the ones mentioned-above, it’s absolutely clear that it’s been an excellent year for cannabis law reform.
We couldn’t be more excited to see the progress that will be made in the coming year.

Source: The Joint Blog

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Marijuana May Improve Stamina, Rejuvenate Brain Says Study



Contrary to the warnings about its ill effects, marijuana may actually have some benefits, including improving stamina and removing damaged brain cells.

This was suggested in a new study by Andras Biokei-Gorzo at the Institute of Molecular Psychiatry at the University of Bonn in Germany.
But lest people think of marijuana as a wonder drug, Biokei-Gorzo also cautioned that more studies about their therapeutic effects may be needed, saying clinical evidence of their efficacy is "either inconclusive or still missing."
"In preclinical models of neurodegenerative disorders, cannabinoids show beneficial effects, but the clinical evidence regarding their efficacy as therapeutic tools is either inconclusive or still missing," Biokey-Gorzo said.
An article on Collective Evolution said the study suggested the activation of the brain’s cannabinoid system triggers the release of antioxidants, which act as a cleansing mechanism.
Such a process may remove damaged cells and improve the efficiency of mitochondria, the energy source that powers cells, it added.


Read the entire article at http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/312937/scitech/science/marijuana-may-improve-stamina-rejuvenate-brain-study

Source : http://www.cannabisculture.com/