Tuesday, 28 January 2014

First Ever Marijuana Superstore


It will be the Menards of marijuana, the Wal-Mart of weed, or maybe the High Depot; whatever the illustrious industrialists choose to call it, Colorado may soon be the birthplace of the first ever marijuana superstore.

According to a report in Vail Daily, a Denver-based developer has submitted a proposal for a $5 million marijuana mega-complex to be built in Eagle. The facility, which will operate under the name Rocky Mountain Pure Retail Marijuana, would consist of a 6,000-square foot retail storefront that would operate self-sufficiently with the use of a 22,500-square-foot indoor cannabis farm. 

In addition, the super complex would also include a 45,000-square-foot green house facility, a 3,600-square-foot extraction lab, a 3,750-square-foot “prohibition museum,” and another 12,000-square-feet of “other commercial space.”

The Eagle Planning and Zoning Commission reviewed the proposal earlier this week, and while there was some skepticism, they voted to approve it under a number of stipulations. Now, it must go before the Eagle Town Board for final approval.

“There was a lot of discussion about the size of the proposal. Some members felt it is terribly large,” said Eagle Town Planner Tom Boni. “This whole project is something quite different for the Western Slope and the some of the commission members felt it is not in keeping with the character of the town.”

However, representatives for Colorado Cannabis Company, the developers requesting permission to build the facility, say they fully intend to work with the town of Eagle to ease their concerns and create “the nation’s premier retail marijuana destination.”

“Rocky Mountain Pure will be a destination that Coloradans and visitors alike will come to know as the location to not only purchase the best available products, but to learn about the wonders of cannabis and the last 90 years of prohibition, to enjoy the facilities and to even gather together for a cup of coffee in our world-class botanical gardens,” said Ethan Borg with the Colorado Cannabis Company.

A public hearing on this proposal is scheduled for February 11.

Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in High Times, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.


Monday, 20 January 2014

Obama: Marijuana No More Dangerous Than Alcohol

With a majority of Americans now in favor marijuana legalization, President Barack Obama is now saying weed is no more dangerous to individuals' health than alcohol.

In an interview with the New Yorker's David Remnick published Sunday, Obama said while he believes marijuana is "not very healthy," the drug isn't as harmful as some insist.

“As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol," Obama told Remnick.

When asked if he believes marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, Obama said it is less damaging "in terms of its impact on the individual consumer."

"It’s not something I encourage, and I’ve told my daughters I think it’s a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy," he added.

Marijuana is currently classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule 1 substance, which the DEA considers "the most dangerous class of drugs with a high potential for abuse and potentially severe psychological and/or physical dependence." Other Schedule 1 drugs include heroin, ecstasy and LSD.

Obama said his focus on reforming laws that punish drug users, noting the racial disparity in drug arrests.

"We should not be locking up kids or individual users for long stretches of jail time when some of the folks who are writing those laws have probably done the same thing," he said.

In August, the Obama administration announced it would not stop Washington and Colorado from legalizing recreational marijuana use, marking a major step away from the administration's war on drugs.

In the New Yorker interview, Obama said he believes these new laws are "important."

“It's important for it to go forward because it’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished," he said.


Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Financial news roundup: Banks don’t want marijuana money, even the legal kind

It’s T-minus 1 day until bank earnings start, and the big banks are expected to grease the skids of a season that is otherwise full of profit warnings. But that’s not all that’s happening in the world of banking. Here’s more:

Just saying no: It’s a heady time for marijuana supporters, as 20 states have relaxed laws pertaining to the drug’s medical or recreational use. But as the New York Times reports, banks are wary of opening accounts for the legal dispensers. Using a credit card to buy pot, on the other hand, is not out of the question, as the Wall Street Journal previously reported.

What I did on my (kinder, gentler) summer internship: Bank of America Corp.’s BAC +2.39%  Merrill Lynch unit is recommending that junior staffers take off at least four weekend days a month, making it the latest bank to wise up to the idea that new grads would rather skip off to Silicon Valley if they’re going to have to live at the office. For Bank of America, though, it’s a delicate subject after an intern died last year from a seizure that may or may not have been brought on by his long hours at the bank.

That other rate-rigging probe: The investigation into whether banks colluded to manipulate prices in the foreign-exchange market is still simmering. Bloomberg now reports that the Federal Reserve is investigating.

–Christina Rexrode


Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Italy: Turin says yes to marijuana legalization

Turin’s local city assembly has called for the legalization of sale and consumption of marijuana. The local legislative body asked the city council to put pressure on both the Parliament and the government for the current set of prohibitionist norms to be abolished, in favor of a new one allowing “the production and distribution of soft drugs”.

The motion, proposed by the leftist party SEL (Left, Ecology and Freedom) passed by a very narrow majority, 15 votes against 13, with 6 abstained. The therapeutic use of marijuana is allowed by some Italian regions like Liguria, Tuscany and Veneto – Turin’s La Stampa reports – but the recreational consumption is still a taboo.

In that, Turin’s vote is groundbreaking: many other big Italian cities are ready to follow the same path and have asked to receive the documentation from the Piedmont’s capital. But by the same token, it leaves the legal framework substantially unchanged. Any modification of the laws regulating soft drugs’ consumption will be decided in Rome.

Even if the anti-prohibitionist tide is rising, few believe change is possible any time soon. The issue is too sensitive, and the narrow majority with which the motion was passed is revealing. Even the center-left Democratic Party, leading the ruling coalition, yesterday split in two and its leader, the mayor Piero Fassino, abstained from voting. 


NFL might legalize medical marijuana for players

As more US states move to consider marijuana legalization, the country’s most popular sports league is indicating it may one day allow its players to light up.

Speaking to ESPN, National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell suggested the sport’s ban on medical marijuana could be lifted in the future if the practice has already been legalized in a player’s state.

"I don't know what's going to develop as far as the next opportunity for medicine to evolve and to help either deal with pain or help deal with injuries, but we will continue to support the evolution of medicine," he said.

Although multiple teams play in states where medical marijuana is legal – not to mention that Colorado and Washington have legalized the drug outright – use of the substance remains prohibited under the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement. The 10-year agreement isn’t set to expire until 2021, leaving no opportunity for players to renegotiate the policy in the short term.

As CBS News noted, Goodell’s words are the first time the NFL has commented on marijuana use since Colorado and Washington passed ballot initiatives legalizing the drug back in 2012.

"The NFL's policy is collectively bargained and will continue to apply in the same manner it has for decades," league spokesman Greg Aiello said at the time. "Marijuana remains prohibited under the NFL substance abuse program."

Still, the collective bargaining agreement’s content is not as black and white as the NFL may believe. According to Pro Football Talk, the CBA only bans the “illegal use” of marijuana, meaning a potential gray area exists concerning situations and states where legal/medical marijuana is permitted.

Complicating the situation is that many NFL players suffer from significant pain borne from concussions and brain trauma, the symptoms of which could be eased by marijuana.

“Medical marijuana is recommended by doctors for headaches, light-sensitivity, sleeplessness and loss of appetite—all of which happen to be symptoms associated with concussions,” the Nation noted on its blog in 2012. “The idea that the league would deny a player their legal pain relief of choice seems barbaric.”

Echoing this sentiment was ESPN’s Howard Bryant, who argued in December the time has come for the NFL to become the first major sports league to condone the drug’s use as a pain reliever.

“This is a league in which the locker room culture still demands that athletes play through [the pain],” Bryant wrote. “And given that marijuana is a legitimate pain reliever -- especially for the migraines that can be a byproduct of head trauma -- and is far less dangerous and potentially addictive than, say, OxyContin, it is almost immoral to deny players the right to use it.”


Friday, 10 January 2014

What Is SATIVEX & France OKs Sales of Medicine Derived From Cannabis

PARIS (AP) — The French drug safety agency has approved commercial sales of a medicine derived from cannabis for the first time in France.

France's Health Ministry said in a statement Wednesday that sales of Sativex, produced by Britain's GW Pharmaceuticals, will be allowed for the treatment of muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis.

Sativex contains marijuana's two best known components — delta 9-THC and cannabidiol. The company's website says the medicine has already been launched in 11 countries and approved in more than a dozen others.

A number of countries have been easing curbs on the sale of cannabis-based products for medical use in recent years, and the U.S. state of Colorado allowed the nation's first legal recreational marijuana shops to open starting this year.

What Is Sativex?

A 10ml vial of Sativex costs £125 in the UK.

TruthOnPot.com – Sativex is a patented mouth spray made from ingredients found in medical marijuana, specifically THC and CBD. Each dose of Sativex contains 2.7 mg of THC and 2.5 mg of CBD.

Oral delivery of cannabinoids has become an increasingly popular method of treatment. As it turns out, cannabinoids do not need to be inhaled, but can also be absorbed into the blood stream through the inner lining of the mouth.

While there are a number of cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals available on the market today, Sativex is the only one that contains cannabinoids derived from the marijuana plant itself – other medications such as Marinol and Cesamet contain synthetic forms of cannabinoids.

Sativex was developed by the UK-based company GW Pharmaceuticals in 1999, who have since established international distribution partnerships with major pharmaceutical companies such as Bayer and Novartis.

Currently, Sativex is approved for the treatment of multiple sclerosis in a number of countries, including the UK, Canada, Spain, Germany, Denmark, Czech Republic, Sweden and New Zealand. Sativex is also undergoing review by other countries – such as the United States – for the treatment of multiple sclerosis as well as neuropathic and cancer-related pain.

Medical Marijuana vs. Sativex
While the cannabinoids found in Sativex come from the cannabis plant itself, there is still a major difference between Sativex and medical marijuana. Although the majority of research has focused on THC and CBD, cannabis is known to contain over 60 different cannabinoids, which are believed to provide additional benefits to patients.

As a result, the use of Sativex does not appear to result in better treatment outcomes. However, what Sativex does provide is a standardized dosing mechanism which is backed by regulatory approval and numerous clinical trials. In that sense, the greatest advantage of using Sativex may be the legal aspect of this drug.

The Controversy
The development of Sativex has been met with significant controversy, mostly because of its similarity to medical marijuana, which remains a widely prohibited form of treatment in both the UK and worldwide. Much of the controversy stems from the fact that cannabis remains a Schedule 1 drug in the UK, meaning that it has been deemed too dangerous to be used as a form of medical treatment, despite the fact that Sativex is currently considered a Schedule 4 drug.

Additionally, GW Pharmaceuticals is the only company in the UK with a license to produce medical marijuana. The company harvests an estimated 300 tons (600,000 pounds) of cannabis every year for the manufacturing of Sativex and the R&D of other marijuana-derived medications.

Although this allows GW Pharmaceuticals to conduct extensive investigations into the safety and benefits of Sativex, it also restricts patients from considering medical cannabis as an alternative. Likewise, Sativex comes at a much higher price to patients in the UK, priced at £125 for a 10ml vial.

Clinical Trials
Sativex has undergone many clinical trials spanning a variety of medical conditions, which have provided strong evidence of its therapeutic benefits.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) remains the most common use for Sativex and the results of 14 GW Pharmaceutical-sponsored studies have conclusively shown how useful it can be for the treatment of various MS-related symptoms, including spasticity, pain, bladder dysfunction and sleep problems.

The most recent study conducted on Sativex and multiple sclerosis was published in 2013 and provides a comprehensive summary of its benefits as well as the overall safety associated with long-term Sativex treatment. According to the study’s results, side-effects were mild to moderate with the most common being dizziness and fatigue. Furthermore, there seemed to be no evidence of tolerance, even though the average patient had used Sativex for close to a year prior to the study.

Sativex has also been studied in cases of pain stemming from a variety of sources, including cancer and various neuropathic conditions. Once again, these studies provide overwhelming evidence of the role of cannabinoids in reducing pain, although this is not a novel finding to anyone familiar with cannabinoid research. However, the FDA is currently awaiting the results of advanced clinical trials regarding cancer-related pain and Sativex, which GW Pharmaceuticals hopes to have completed and approved by the FDA by the end of 2013.

Interestingly, Sativex has also been investigated as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and bladder dysfunction (in MS patients), both of which have revealed positive results. Studies show that Sativex can reduce pain on movement, pain at rest and quality of sleep in patients with arthritis as well as reduce urinary urgency, incontinence episodes, frequency and nocturia in patients suffering from MS-related bladder problems. Unfortunately, further studies on these specific conditions have yet to be conducted since 2006.

The Future of Sativex
While GW Pharmaceuticals continues to conduct research on Sativex, the company has also been involved with developing a number of other cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals, which are currently being trialed for the treatment of epilepsy, diabetes, ulcerative colitis, schizophrenia and glioma.

Furthermore, GW Pharmaceuticals has filed a number of patents related to the medical uses of cannabis over the past decade. Their most recent patent was published in March 2013, entitled “Phytocannabinoids in the treatment of cancer” (US20130059018). In the patent, GW Pharmaceuticals outlined claims to the use of various marijuana-derived cannabinoids for the treatment of practically all forms of cancers, including “cancer of the prostate, breast, skin, glioma, colon, lung or a bone or lymph metastasis.”

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Alaska could become the third state to legalize marijuana — as soon as August

A group of activists in favor of legalizing marijuana say they’ve turned in more than enough signatures to qualify for an August ballot vote.

The Alaska Campaign to Regulate Marijuana turned over 46,000 signatures on Wednesday—about 50 percent more than the roughly 30,000 needed. If the state Division of Elections reviews and approves the signatures ballot language will be prepared, according to a state description of the process. The sponsors of the initiative say the next step for them will be to spread the word and garner support.

“We’ll be taking our message to the voters in lots of different ways,” says Tim Hinterberger, one of the three sponsors and a professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage’s School of Medical Education. “It’s clear to everyone that prohibition is a failed policy.”

Alaskan voters approved marijuana for medical use in 1998 in a 59 percent to 41 percent vote. A similar initiative for recreational use of marijuana in 2000 failed by the exact same margin that the medical marijuana measure passed. Hinterberger said he was involved in the earlier effort and that shifting attitudes encouraged him and the other sponsors to try again this year.

“We were waiting to see what would be a good time to revisit it and the opportunity arose to have some outside support to help move things along,” Hinterberger said. He and the other advocates in Alaska got help from, among others, the Marijuana Policy Project which played a key role in ushering along a successful legalization effort in Colorado. In October, Gallup reported that a clear majority of Americans favor legalization — the first time it found such results since tracking began in 1969.

If voters approve the measure, Alaska would become the third state to legalize marijuana for recreational use, joining Colorado and Washington where voters approved similar measures in 2012. Sales of marijuana began in Colorado on Jan. 1 with sales in Washington set to begin in the next few months.

After Alaska, activists are setting their sights on Oregon where they hope to get the issue on the ballot later this year. If not, they say they will push to get it on the 2016 ballot, along with ballots in six other states: Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana and Nevada. Supporters are also hopeful that lawmakers will propose and approve legalization in Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

The initiative would offer lawmakers guidelines on how to set up the regulations governing the production and sale of marijuana, including a $50 per ounce tax on the drug. But legislators will be able to regulate however they please, Hinterberger said.

A high-quality ounce of pot costs about $290 in Alaska, based on more than 250 anonymous reports collected at priceofweed.com.


Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Addiction Doctor Wants Kyrgyzstan To Legalize Pot

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz cannabis is reputed to be among the most potent in the world, making it a lucrative cash crop for drug traffickers. 

It appears ironic, then, that a homegrown addiction specialist in Bishkek wants marijuana to be legalized to reduce the number of Kyrgyz drug addicts, fight organized crime, and increase tax revenues.

Jenishbek Nazaraliev, a former presidential candidate who opened Bishkek's first private narcology clinic in 1993, wants the Kyrgyz government to consider a pilot program for the legal production of cannabis near Lake Issyk-Kul.

Rivaling the potency of marijuana from Afghanistan, international experts say cannabis is already being harvested by about two-thirds of all the families in Kyrgyzstan's Issyk-Kul and Chui regions.

Pot plants grow wild on thousands of hectares of land there. During the first eight months of 2013, up through the annual August harvest, Kyrgyz authorities say they destroyed more than 154 tons of cannabis in the Issyk-Kul region alone.

Nazaraliev says more effective regulation over the production and sale of marijuana is an issue that eventually must be tackled by the government.

He says the illegal drug market in Kyrgyzstan is now "fully controlled by the black economy."

Nazaraliev also argues that the producers, sellers, and consumers of cannabis could be better controlled -- and that the government would bolster its tax revenues -- if pot were legalized.

But Kyrgyzstan's State Drug Control Service disagrees. Authorities there say winning the battle against drug traffickers is the key to social stability and development in Kyrgyzstan.

And they argue that legalization won't rein in organized criminal traffickers because Kyrgyz-grown cannabis is exported through a network that extends far beyond Kyrgyzstan's borders -- a smuggling route for illegal Afghan cannabis, opium, and heroin that passes through Kyrgyzstan on its way to Russia and the European Union.

Naked Harvest

RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service has spoken with villagers in the Tiup and Ak-Sui districts around Lake Issyk-Kul who are involved in the harvest and sale of Kyrgyz cannabis.

For centuries, cannabis has been harvested in Central Asia by horsemen who would ride naked through wild cannabis patches and then scrape the resin from their skin and the hair of their horses.

But most villagers around Lake Issyk-Kul now harvest the drug by rubbing cannabis plants between their palms to get a layer of black resin that they scrape off with a knife and package in matchboxes.

Local dealers buy the drugs from the harvesters and then sell them to bigger dealers who tour the area, forwarding their purchases abroad through international trafficking channels.

Kyrgyz villagers who harvest cannabis every August make no secret about paying bribes to police who turn a blind eye.

For their part, local police tell RFE/RL it would be impossible to eradicate a trade that is integral to the survival of so many people.

Former Kyrgyz Vice President and Prime Minister Feliks Kulov -- who also headed the National Security Service -- suggested during the 1990s that state-managed cannabis farms near Lake Issyk-Kul could help the authorities control drug production in the country.

But Kulov's proposal was derailed by critics who cited the negative experiences of opium growers in Afghanistan.

Nazaraliev, the narcologist who wants the authorities to reconsider legalization, ran in Kyrgyzstan's 2009 presidential election under the campaign slogan "Everything is Within your Reach."

He is now asking the authorities in Bishkek to consider whether "progressive European countries" and U.S. state governments that decriminalize marijuana care more about the health and welfare of their citizens than Kyrgyzstan.

Written by Ron Synovitz based on reporting by Merhat Sharipzanov and RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service


Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Denver’s Recreational Dispensaries Have Officially Run Out of “Legal Weed”

As predicted, the recreational demand for legal weed severely outweighed the supply, and Denver’s dispensaries have consequentially begun to run out of recreational weed. It’s not, however, a “drought” and it’s not as dire or drastic a situation as the mainstream media will and has portrayed it as.

It’s a simple case of Denver having had only 12 recreational facilities to serve tens of thousands of customers during the city’s most historic time ever–which coincidentally happened to be the city’s (and state’s) busiest tourism time of year. A lot of people were here to ski, to see music, and of course, to buy weed.

And while legalization has already been a successful experiment on all accounts, 12 dispensaries aren’t ever going to be able to placate a state and nation that now thirsts to experience legal weed.

The good news is, as mentioned, it’s not really a drought. There’s still a plethora of medical marijuana in Denver’s medicinal clinics, as many of these shops that went recreational (like The Clinic) still have and sell medicinal weed. Aside from The Clinic, both Pueblo collectives and 3D in Denver told Time they’re perilously close to running out of weed (and probably have by now). Expect this to be the case for the majority of these shops, thanks to last weeks Green Rush that saw five hour waits and 70 dollar 1/8s flying off shelves.

So now, and it just had to happen, most of these recreational clubs (especially the ones still doing medical) have to wait for their recreational reinforcements before they can welcome back in recreational customers. And based on all accounts, it’ll be more like a day or two opposed to a week or two until they have the supply back in stock.

Within the next few weeks and months, the situation will be remedied–because it just has to. More shops will be opening in Denver (12 just isn’t enough and expect at least 50 by the summer), more weed will be grown, and the Colorado legal weed mania will (slightly) plateau. The biggest hurdle is the grow aspect.

Real estate to grow weed in still isn’t particularly easy to find, and launching a 1,000 light grow isn’t a cheap endeavor, and it doesn’t happen overnight. But the state and its dispensaries will adjust, the process will improve, the weed will still be here, and eventually, even the prices will go down!

In the mean time, stay up to date with the recreational shops and menus right here, as Weedmaps will show you the way to whatever good stuff is left.


Medical Marijuana Research And Uruguay: A New Hub For Biotechnology?

Heads up pot haters and medical marijuana detractors alike — the labs and research facilities that support the fast growing science and tireless research behind marijuana’s cannabioids - might be getting a new stable home – thanks to Uruguay. Labs that have been prohibited from doing life saving research on cannabinoids in their own country, want to fire up new labs in the tiny South American country of Uruguay. Hopefully, unlocking many of the potential hidden secrets within the plants active compounds.

Now leading the world on the topic of marijuana legalization, Uruguay’s congress recently agreed with it’s president – and fired up the globe’s first government backed marketplace for legal pot. Maintaining a tight grip on their new revenue source, the Uruguayan government will keep a close eye on all growers, sellers, and smokers.

Per ABC news; “Uruguay’s presidential spokesperson, Diego Canepa, noted Monday that foreign labs have told the government they’d like to set up there. Canepa is quoted by the local daily El Observador as saying that “Uruguay will become a hub for biotechnology.“

As a side note: Canada’s leaders have initiated talks with Uruguay about importing cannabis from Uruguay for Canadian medicinal needs.

While Uruguay’s marijuana law was not set up with the idea of exporting their Gov. grown weed, it might very well be allowed once the country’s politicians meet this coming April.


Sunday, 5 January 2014

NY Set to Allow Limited Use of Medical Marijuana

ALBANY, N.Y. January 5, 2014 (AP)

New York would become the 21st state to allow medical use of marijuana under an initiative Gov. Andrew Cuomo will unveil this week.

Cuomo plans to use administrative powers rather than legislative action to allow a limited number of hospitals to dispense marijuana for certain ailments. He will formally announce his plans in his state of the state speech Wednesday.

The New York Times first reported Cuomo's plan Saturday. It represents an about-face by Cuomo, who had previously opposed medical marijuana. Administration officials told the newspaper the medical marijuana policy will be more restrictive than in states like Colorado and California and subject to New York Health Department standards.

In states that permit medical marijuana, it is commonly prescribed for chronic pain, nausea from cancer chemotherapy, glaucoma and some other conditions. Other controlled substances like narcotics are already authorized for medical use in New York.

Although marijuana remains illegal in New York, possession of small amounts has been reduced to a low-level violation subject to a fine.

NYC Diesel

The Drug Policy Alliance, which was briefed on the Cuomo plan Saturday, said it would be a huge change, but New York should still enact legislation authorizing a state medical marijuana program that has been blocked so far by the state Senate's Republicans.

"This is a good development as an interim step," said Gabriel Sayegh, state director of the Drug Policy Alliance. After the briefing, he said the timing was still unclear as well as precisely who will have access to the program.

The Cuomo administration did not respond to requests from The Associated Press for comment.

Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, a Manhattan Democrat, and Democratic Sen. Diane Savino of Staten Island have recently held hearings on a bill they are sponsoring called the "Compassionate Care Act," which would regulate and tax medical marijuana. It has previously passed in the Assembly, but failed to get through the Senate.

State Sen. Liz Krueger, another Manhattan Democrat, has been pushing legislation to legalize and tax recreational use of marijuana, arguing state policy outlawing the drug has been costly in terms of law enforcement resources and the futures of people convicted of crimes.