• Missouri Police Launch Campaign Against Driving High Ahead of 420
    The Missouri Department of Transportation announced on Monday the state’s law enforcement officers will be out in full force this weekend, patrolling for drivers who are high after celebrating the 420 holiday. The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDoT) noted in a press release that “while cannabis is now legalized for recreational and medicinal use in many states, it is still illegal in all states to drive under the influence of it” and that police would be especially on the lookout for stoned drivers on Friday and Saturday, April 19 and 20. The 420 drugged-driving enforcement campaign has been dubbed ‘Drive High, Get a DUI’ by the agency. Jon Nelson, MoDOT assistant to the state highway safety and traffic engineer, said that the agency wanted residents of the state to consider what is at stake when drivers are impaired. “Driving drug-impaired or riding with someone who is drug-impaired is not worth the risk,” said Nelson. “Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for driving while substance-impaired can be significant. The consequences are serious and real.” The Toll of Impaired Driving Last year in Missouri, 78 people were killed and 142 more were seriously injured in traffic collisions that involved at least one impaired driver, according to preliminary data from MoDoT. “The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety reminds motorists of the various options available to get everyone home safe. Designating a sober driver, calling a cab or using public transportation are just a few of those options. Remember, if you feel different, you drive different,” the release noted. Nelson also reminded drivers of other common sense tips to stay safe behind the wheel. “We encourage all drivers to take responsibility and make smart choices so that everyone gets home safe,” he said. “Drive sober, buckle up and phone down.” Besides driving completely sober from alcohol and drugs, motorists are also advised to put their cell phones down while driving and always buckle up – everyone, every trip, every time. The post Missouri Police Launch Campaign Against Driving High Ahead of 420 appeared first on High Times. ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-04-16
  • Montana House Backs Major Medical Marijuana Law Reform
    Montana continues to tweak its medical marijuana system, which was first written into law 15 years ago. On Monday, the state’s House passed Senate Bill 265, which makes important changes to the program including a temporary tax increase, the institution of doctor recommendations by phone, and the “untethering” of patients. The change that may well make the biggest difference in the lives of patients is the “untethering” clause, which means that those in the medical marijuana program would no longer need to choose a single cannabis provider, and instead be able to buy from the provider that is most convenient on a given day. The bill does levy other restrictions in return for this new freedom. Patients will have a monthly purchasing cap of five ounces of cannabis, and a daily limit of one ounce of purchases. “This is all brand-new to Montana; we’ve not really done things to this extent in the past,” the bill’s sponsor Senator Tom Jacobson told a local news site. “We knew there would be some changes that would have to come about.” Another change that could benefits cannabis patients is the legalization of medical marijuana certifications by phone. This proved to be a controversial proposal, and there was an effort to amend the bill to no longer include the “telemedicine” capacity for patients. But proponents of the proposal held firm — at an average of seven residents per square mile (it’s the third most sparsely populated state in the country), they saw allowances for patients living in remote areas as necessary. SB 265 also raises taxes on marijuana distributors from two to four percent. The bill passed in the Senate in early April by a 36-14 vote, and on Monday in the House by a decisive 68-32. A final House vote is needed to maintain the bill’s forward motion. This is not the first revamp of Montana’s medical marijuana program. 2017’s SB 333 instated a quarterly tax on marijuana businesses. As a result, the state reported last year that it had collected $1.8 million off of $45 million of medical marijuana taxes — nearly twice what experts had forecasted. That revenue was earmarked to finance tests, inspections of labs, dispensaries, growing operations, and edibles manufacturers — plus a tracking system that followed cannabis from the planting process to the cash register. “Ultimately, we see medical marijuana as medicine,” said Representative Zach Brown upon SB 265’s passage. “And so the state has an obligation to provide a regulatory framework that ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-04-16
  • New Study Suggests Cannabis May Be Used to Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis
    Cannabis may be an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, according to a new study published in the journal Current Opinion in Rheumatology. Researchers, who noted that “an increasing number of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are using cannabis to treat their symptoms,” wrote that “cannabinoids could be a suitable treatment for RA” and called for further study into the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD. Dr. Benjamin Caplan, a family physician and cannabis specialist, told Forbes that he has helped thousands of seniors use cannabinoid therapies to treat arthritis. “I have patients with mild joint pain that can be satisfactorily addressed with a topical cannabis treatment,” Caplan said. “Others are nearly incapacitated, taking multiple medications for incomplete relief, and welcome any additional option that will help them cope with the pain and anxiety associated with their condition, and improve their quality of life.” Caplan said that researchers were only beginning to learn how cannabis is able to relieve pain safely and effectively. “We don’t quite understand the all the details of how it works, but we do know that cannabis is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, and that it operates in a different way than other anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, steroids, or even the biological options available for treating RA and other autoimmune diseases,” he said. “These traditional drug treatments can cause severe side-effects, many of which we do not see with cannabis.” Cannabis Presents New Options in Health Care Caplan said that the variety of cannabis products, dosages, and methods of ingestion available make cannabis an attractive option for some patients, noting that “one of the nice things about cannabis is that the wide range of choices at reputable dispensaries creates a lot of opportunity for flexibility and success for many different types of people with a wide range of ailments.” “Fortunately, all of these options and opportunities for flexibility rest on cannabis’ high safety profile,” he added. “From this foundation of safety, armed with education, the potential benefits to patients often outweigh the risks.” The doctor said that he believes that many patients are longing for new alternatives to effectively treat their health care challenges naturally. “We are stuck in a paternalistic medical system that is dehumanizing people,” said Caplan. “We have a broken medical system that strips patients of autonomy and power over their own illness, and that in and of itself is unhealthy. We all know it, but it has been a very difficult thing to fix. Healing with cannabis does not follow a traditional model, where a physician authority decides what the right choice is for ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-04-16
  • Cook County State’s Attorney Aims to Start Cannabis Conviction Expungements
    Kim Foxx, the Illinois State’s Attorney for Cook County, said last week that her office will begin the expungement of misdemeanor cannabis convictions in the coming months. In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Foxx said that prosecutors were considering expungement of convictions for marijuana sales and are still working to determine the scope of the project. “The question is, how far back can we go? How far back does the data go — which will give us what our universe looks like? But we’re in the process of figuring that out,” said Foxx. In a speech to the City Club of Chicago in January, Foxx said that she supported the drive to legalize cannabis in Illinois and said that her office would  “pursue the expungement of all misdemeanor marijuana convictions.” Foxx said that she hopes to work with the nonprofit group Code for America to analyze conviction records and identify those cases that qualify for expungement. Earlier this year, Code for America worked with the San Francisco District Attorney to clear more than 8,000 cannabis convictions going back to 1975. This month, the group said that 54,000 more cannabis convictions would be expunged or reduced in Los Angeles and San Joaquin counties. Code for America “can help us find some infrastructure support of being able to look at the [Cook County] clerk’s office, Dorothy Brown’s office, to be able to identify batches of people who are found or convicted of the statutory code for possession of marijuana,” said Foxx. The State’s Attorney’s office is also beginning to explore the expungement of convictions for selling cannabis. “The next iteration of this is looking at those sales,” she said, especially “in light of the fact that legalization looks like it’s becoming apparent. We don’t want to be on the back end of trying to figure out what to do.” She said that police continue to make arrests for minor marijuana offenses despite a 2015 announcement that they would no longer be prosecuted. Foxx hopes that expunging past convictions would help get out the message that “we’re not doing this” anymore. “So hopefully, we’re seeing that fall off,” Foxx said. Cops Oppose Expungement Plan Kevin Graham is the president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, a union that represents more than 10,000 police officers in Chicago. He said in an email that his members do not support the expungement of past convictions. “Even if the law changes, that does not change the fact that these people knew they were breaking the law, were arrested and convicted once again ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-04-15
  • After Senate Tussle, Georgia Governor Set To Sign Marijuana Production Bill
    There was debate over whether Georgia Governor Brian Kemp would sign House Bill 324, which allows the production and distribution of medical marijuana in the state. But his office has stated that the legislation is a go for Kemp, who is set to give his blessing to the bill on Wednesday. Not all of his team is on board. “There is no part of me that wants any steps toward recreational marijuana,” said Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan after the bill passed the state’s Senate. Of course, Kemp hasn’t seemed like a staunch supporter himself at all times, telling the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “I respect the legislative process, and I understand why people are doing it, and I understand why people have grave concerns about this. I have all of those feelings. It’s a really tough spot.” “Kemp will fight any in-state cannabis cultivation in a state with boundless agricultural capability,” predicted a 2018 High Times article. But now — thanks to heartfelt testimony by Georgian parents with severe forms of epilepsy, among other factors — the bill’s fate has been sealed. This will no doubt elicit a few golf claps. A combative negotiation process left the bill’s future cloudy in the Senate, but members signed on after they vastly reduced the number of producers and distributors that the bill allows to service Georgia’s 8,400 registered medical marijuana patients, who have signed up for the program since it was signed into law back in 2015. “Some may argue that this is not medicine,” said Senator Matt Brass. “But we had testimony of children having 80 to 100 seizures a day, but after taking the oil are having just one a week.” Passage of the new legislation has been heralded as an “expansion” of the medical marijuana program, but did Georgia’s medical marijuana plan really qualify as a program at all if its participants had to violate federal law to get their medicine prior to this bill? What is worth a hearty round of applause is that HB 324 will finally institute a system for growing, processing, and distributing the low THC cannabis oil stipulated for patient use. Georgia will become the 31st state to authorize marijuana cultivation. Six companies will be authorized to cultivate Georgian cannabis. A board will have to give permission to dispensaries before any patient is able to legally access their medicine in the state. Currently, it is legal for pharmacies to dispense medical cannabis to Georgians, but in so doing the business could ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-04-15
  • Cannabis Company Aphria Sees Shares Plummet 15 Percent
    The seemingly unstoppable expansion of marijuana legalization is generating undeniable enthusiasm and economic optimism about the future of the industry. But upon closer inspection, the cannabis market isn’t as bullish as it may appear. Somewhat ironically, it’s the hype surrounding the legal market that’s setting up companies for major losses. And Canadian cannabis producer Aphria is a case in point. On Monday, the company’s third-quarter report sent its shares plummeting 15 percent. Market analysts didn’t have high hopes for Aphria to begin with, but the company performed much worse than expected. So what happened? Positive Feedback Loop of Hype Ends Up Hitting Aphria’s Stock Value Hard At the root of Canadian cannabis producer Aphria’s problems is simply that it needed to sell more weed. But a failed takeover bid and a $50 million over-valuation of its Latin American assets didn’t help. Neither did a high-profile analysis of Aphria’s earnings, which showed “negative margins, decreased production volume, regulatory scrutiny and a large write off for its Latin American acquisitions, which we think will be the first of many,” according to Quintessential Capital Management‘s Gabriel Grego. In fact, the report was so damning that Quintessential took up a short position on Aphria, saying that its research showed the company was over-hyping their actual performance. Aphria had itself over-hyped, or fallen for the hype of production facilities in Colombia, Argentina and Jamaica. Hindenburg Research said their analysis suggested those assets were worthless. Then, there’s how much Aphria tried to hype itself to Green Growth Brands, a U.S. cannabis company that initiated a hostile takeover attempt in December. Aphria wanted its shareholders to reject the takeover bid, claiming Green Growth’s offer low-balled the company’s value. Aphria’s Monday announcement of a quarterly loss in excess of $100 million prompted an agreement to end the takeover offer. “We are bringing our offer to an end on good terms with Aphria,” Green Growth Brand CEO Peter Horvath told Markets Insider. Despite Surging Revenue, Aphria’s Dip Drags Down Canada’s Cannabis Giants The fact that Aphria’s third-quarter losses overshadowed the company’s surging revenue, which climbed to C$73.6 million from C$10.3 million in the first quarter of full legalization in Canada, suggests mismanagement. No wonder, then, that Aphria came under scrutiny in February for the undisclosed conflicts of interest of some of its board members. Aphria is since under new management, who are working to correct course. But other companies are in the same boat as Aphria. Organigram Holdings, for example, fell 4.5 percent. While not as dire as Aphria’s ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-04-15
  • Small Study Finds Regular Cannabis Users Need More Sedation For Medical Procedures
    A small study by Colorado researchers has determined that regular cannabis users may need more sedation during medical procedures. A report on the two-year study, conducted by researchers at Community Hospital in Grand Junction, Colorado, was published on Monday in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. The authors of the study noted that the continuing legalization of cannabis “has created both challenges and opportunities in medicine. More patients are using cannabis, and more patients are now willing to admit cannabis use than in the past, which increases the likelihood that they will be forthcoming about use during medical questioning. Cannabis use may have implications during medical care, including procedural sedation.” To conduct the study, researchers reviewed the medical records of 250 patients who had undergone endoscopic procedures during 2016 and 2017 and reviewed the amount of three anesthesia drugs, fentanyl, midazola, and propofol, that were used. “Researchers found that compared with people who did not regularly use cannabis, people who regularly used cannabis required an amount of sedation for endoscopic procedures that was significantly higher,” according to the results of the study. Patients who reported that they used cannabis on a daily or weekly basis needed on average 14 percent more fentanyl, 20 percent more midazolam, and 220 percent more propofol to reach the optimum level of sedation. The difference was so significant that the researchers recommended that anesthesiologists discuss cannabis use with patients before sedation. “Determining cannabis use before procedural sedation can be an important tool for planning patient care and assessing both medication needs and possible risks related to increased dosage requirements during endoscopic procedures,” they wrote. Researchers also noted that the “continued increase in legalization and use of cannabis, the field of anesthesia and sedation needs further studies with greater depth.” More Study Needed Dr. Roderic Eckenhoff, a professor of anesthesia at the University of Pennsylvania who did not participate in the research, agreed that the subject needed further research. He characterized the results of the study as “really tenuous at best” for several reasons. He said that the amount of sedation surgeons determine to be enough is subjective and researchers should have instead studied the effects for specific quantities of medication. He also believes that the sample size of only 25 cannabis users is too small. “I would consider this a pilot study that maybe somebody should pick up on and do a more complete trial,” said Eckenhoff. He noted that some patients can be unreliable and may not inform their doctors about “everything else that they take,” which may have skewed the results ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-04-15
  • Dallas Will No Longer Prosecute Small Time Marijuana Offenders
    The Dallas County district attorney released a five page memo on Thursday stating that his office would no longer prosecute first-time marijuana misdemeanors. John Creuzot also announced that all in-process first-time misdemeanors that had been filed before his term in office will be thrown out, part of what he called “a step forward in ending mass incarceration in Dallas County.” The memo addressed a variety of changes in enforcement priorities that go beyond marijuana offenders. Creuzot’s office will not be prosecuting individuals with small possession charges involving other drugs, people who drove with a suspended license, or anyone caught stealing “necessary” items. “The criminal justice system has fallen disproportionately harshly on poor people and people of color, that’s just a fact,” Creuzot said to the Texas Observer. “The entire system is complicit in this dysfunction. We’re doing what we can within this office to address some of that.” Shifts in policy were expected from Creuzot. He arrived to last year’s DA race promising to work on cash bail reform and shrink Dallas’ massive prison population, which sees the booking of around 67,000 people a year. “Our current system is uncoupled from physical safety and fairness, as people sit in jail not because they pose an identifiable danger to the community, but because they cannot pay their fee to go home,” Creuzot wrote in the memo. “When low-income people are held in jail simply because they cannot afford a few hundred dollars, they lose their jobs, housing, stability, and cannot take care of their children: this makes our communities less safe.” The Texas Department of Public Safety has released numbers stating that around 379,000 residents have been arrested in the last five years for possession of less than two ounces of marijuana. Their detainment and prosecution costs the state $730 million each year, according to Representative Joe Moody from El Paso. Two weeks ago, Moody’s third attempt at a cannabis decriminalization bill made it out of committee. It would scale back the maximum punishment for small time possession from 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine to a $250 penalty. “We are very optimistic about the chances of HB 63 passing on the floor of the Texas House,” said the director of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy Heather Fazio at the time. Creuzot is far from the first public defender to free up their docket from low level marijuana offenses. In fact, across the United States — and even in places that have yet to see ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-04-12
  • Upper New York Police Issue Caution After Seizing Fentanyl-Laced Weed
    Police departments in upstate New York are issuing a warning about dangerous street drugs after seizing cannabis laced with fentanyl. The powerful drug has been a factor in a multitude of overdose deaths in the United States, which is still in the grips of an epidemic of opioid addiction. The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office said that marijuana that was confiscated by officers in the parking lot of a Walmart in the town of Thompson on Monday had tested positive for fentanyl. The sheriff’s office said that it was the first time the drug had been discovered in the area. In a separate incident in the town of Knox on Thursday, first responders had to revive three people who had overdosed in a car while still in the middle of the road, according to Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple. Another driver who had come upon the car on the road and discovered the stricken trio had called 911 for assistance. Although claims of pot laced with fentanyl have been made in the past, many maintain the reports are fake news. Dangerous Opioid Fentanyl is a strong synthetic analgesic opioid that is up to 100 times more potent than morphine. It is sold legally by prescription in lozenge and patch form under the brand names Actiq, Duragesic, and, Sublimaze. Other drugs including heroin have been found to be laced with illicit fentanyl on numerous occasions. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, street names for fentanyl or for fentanyl-laced heroin include Apache, China Girl, China White, Dance Fever, Friend, Goodfella, Jackpot, Murder 8, TNT, and Tango and Cash. Counterfeit oxycodone tablets have also been found to be manufactured from fentanyl. The USA Today has reported that in 2016, 29 percent of all overdose deaths were associated with fentanyl. Drugs can be tested for fentanyl contamination with strips that can be purchased at some drug stores or online, without a prescription and without special credentials, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. To use them, a small amount of a drug is placed in water, followed by the test strip, which will indicate the presence of fentanyl. The post Upper New York Police Issue Caution After Seizing Fentanyl-Laced Weed appeared first on High Times. ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-04-12
  • UK Mom Seeks Return of Cannabis Oil Seized at Border
    A UK mother is seeking the return of cannabis oil medicine for her severely epileptic daughter that was seized by border officials last week. Emma Appleby of Aylesham, England had traveled to the Netherlands to purchase cannabis oil for her nine-year-old daughter Teagan, who has a rare chromosomal disorder and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy that causes the girl to have up to 300 seizures per day. But when Appleby returned to her home country on Saturday, the medicine was seized by border officials because she did not have a prescription from a physician in the UK. Appleby had received a prescription from a doctor in the Netherlands and had paid approximately $6,000 for the medication, using savings and money that she had crowdfunded. She had been unsuccessful in her attempts to receive permission from the UK government to get a prescription at home, saying that “whilst the NHS and the medical professions are having arguments over what constitutes evidence, my child is suffering every day. I am at my wits’ end.” Appleby secured a prescription for the cannabis oil from a private specialist in the UK on Wednesday and says she hopes the medicine will now be returned by the Home Office, although she hasn’t been given any instructions on how to request that the government do so. “I’m devastated. I’ve always tried to do the right thing. I’ve jumped through all the hoops but ended up being passed from pillar to post and being met with a flat ‘no’,” Appleby said. “All I want is the best thing for my daughter. To have the medicine taken in this way is deeply upsetting. But I will fight to get it back and fight so that other parents in the same situation as me don’t have to go through this.” Mum Receives Support from Activist Medicinal cannabis activist Hannah Deacon, the mother of Alfie Dingley, is supporting Appleby in her effort to obtain cannabis oil for Teagan. Alfie was one of the first UK children to receive a prescription for medical cannabis last year after garnering the support of the public and celebrities including Patrick Stewart. Deacon said on Saturday that the government should change the rules governing the use of cannabis medications. “Vulnerable people are having to raise money to go abroad, and they need help from the government, rather than an insistence on randomized control trials to prove the efficacy of medical cannabis,” said Deacon. “These are not appropriate for cannabis, a plant with around 400 components. We need observational ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-04-12
  • Rite Aid to Start Selling Hemp CBD Topicals in Two States
    In March, Walgreens and CVS made headlines when they began offering certain cannabidiol products in select states. On Thursday, Rite Aid joined them, announcing plans to roll out CBD products in 200 stores across Oregon and Washington. Rite Aid’s initial move into the CBD market isn’t as bold as its two competitors’. But it’s part of a broader refresh of product offerings geared toward wellness, including an end to the sale of e-cigarettes. Rite Aid Joins CVS and Walgreens with CBD Product Offerings in Oregon and Washington Health and beauty aisles in 200 Rite Aid pharmacies across the Pacific Northwest will soon carry select CBD products, the company announced Thursday. Rite has so far remained tight-lipped about the specific brands and products stores will carry. But Rite Aid shoppers can expect to see hemp CBD-infused products like lip balm and other topicals. From creams and lotions to salves and roll-ons, Rite is following Walgreens and CVS in sticking strictly to topicals. Despite the federal legalization of hemp and hemp derivatives like cannabidiol earlier this year, FDA restrictions on CBD edibles and dietary supplements are preventing major retail chains from offering oils and other ingestible products. But companies are eyeing the evolving regulatory landscape closely, as well as the bourgeoning cannabidiol market. As FDA rules shift to cover the emerging hemp industry, retail pharmacies will look to introduce a wider range of products. Rite Aid is distinguishing itself from its competitors in one regard, however. The company says it will no longer cell e-cigarettes in any of its stores. Rite Aid Chief Operating Officer Bryan Everett cited concerns over a “teen vaping epidemic.” Unlike CVS, which halted the sale of all tobacco products half a decade ago, Rite Aid, like Walgreens, still sells cigarettes. Can Rite Aid Compete with the Northwest’s Cannabis Industry? The enthusiasm around CBD-infused health and beauty items only continues to grow. And in terms of hemp industry-friendly state regulations, Oregon and Washington are some of the most hospitable states for CBD. CVS and Walgreens have already introduced CBD topicals in both states. With offerings in 200 stores, Rite Aid joins the pack. Thanks to their well-established medical and retail cannabis industries, consumers in Washington and Oregon are well-versed in all the wellness alternatives cannabis has to offer. In states without legal weed, hemp-derived CBD is the next best thing. But unlike its competitors, Rite Aid isn’t offering CBD products in any prohibition states. So will CBD consumers in Oregon and Washington line up to buy their hemp skincare ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-04-12
  • Tennessee Medical Marijuana Bill Delayed Until Next Year
    History is repeating in Tennessee, where for the third consecutive year Republican state Sen. Steve Dickerson has tabled a bill to carve out medical cannabis protections for patients with debilitating conditions. On Wednesday, Dickerson told a senate committee that he would propose a new version of the bill in 2020. Lawmakers in Tennessee, one of the few remaining states where cannabis is fully illegal, are still considering a pair of decriminalization bills. But any progress on medical legalization or affirmative defense protections will have to wait until next year. Republican Medical Marijuana Bill Fails for Third Straight Year Republican Steve Dickerson, an anesthesiologist by trade who represents Nashville in the Tennessee Senate, is still struggling to put together enough votes to pass his medical cannabis bills. Over the past few years, Sen. Dickerson has proposed a few different versions of the legislation. In 2017, there was the Medical Cannabis Only Act. When that bill bit the dust, Dickerson vowed to continue the fight, saying he considered its rejection “the first day of the campaign to get medical cannabis passed in 2019.” Then, in 2018, Dickerson and Republican state Rep Bryan Terry announced the Tennessee Responsible Use of Medicinal Plants Act, or TRUMP Act. The TRUMP Act, so named to help garner support in beet red, pro-Trump Tennessee, was similar in many ways to Dickerson’s 2017 legislation, and it suffered the same fate. Dickerson couldn’t muster enough votes. And on Wednesday, Dickerson announced that 2019 would in fact not be the year for his medical cannabis bill, either. This comes despite the fact that the 2019 proposal was Dickerson’s most comprehensive bill yet. He says he’ll propose it again in 2020. Lawmakers Don’t Want Important Medical Cannabis Bill Marred by Defeat Unlike previous years, the Senate seemed prepared to begin discussion and debate on the bill. The Senate Health and Welfare Committee was set to take it up on Wednesday. But at the last minute, Dickerson decided to pull the bill from consideration. The last-minute withdrawal of the bill was primarily a question of optics, admitted Sen. Steve Dickerson. “You can run a bill and have it defeated, or you can keep it alive,” Dickerson told USA TODAY. “And practically speaking, we decided to keep it alive and not have a defeat for perception more than anything.” While the move may have kept the bill alive, it means it can’t advance this year. If it had, Tennessee patients would have been able to purchase authorized medical cannabis products by summer 2020. ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-04-11
  • Legislators Have Yet Another Option for Expanding Veteran Cannabis Access
    On Tuesday, a Republican U.S. legislator from Florida proposed another bill that looks to protect military veterans who use medical marijuana. Rep. Greg Steube’s proposal would sign into law existing VA policy that ensures vets can’t lose benefits over cannabis use — and go a step further by ensuring that future administrations could not penalize them either. “It’s important that we respect states’ rights as outlined in the 10th Amendment of the United States Constitution,” Steube was quoted in his office’s press release. The congressperson served in the Iraq War and is on the House’s veteran affairs committee. “While it is the current policy of the VA to not deny benefits to veterans based on participation in these state-based medical marijuana programs, this bill will ensure that no future policy or administration change could put these veterans at risk of losing their benefits when they are in compliance with state law.” A 2017 survey showed that one in five military veterans use marijuana for a medical condition. Many of the health conditions suffered by veterans are the ones most associated with medical cannabis treatment, from chronic pain to PTSD. Many see widening vets’ access to the drug as one strategy for combating the startlingly high rates of opioid addiction among their ranks. Veterans have also been among some of the more visible faces in marijuana advocacy — some have been first in line to buy marijuana in their state. In the face of such widespread usage, some cannabis businesses have even marketed their special attention to the needs of those who have served in the country’s armed forces. But currently, VA policy states that its physicians may not recommend medical marijuana to patients, although vets are encouraged to discuss any cannabis treatment with their physician. Vets in VA nursing homes are explicitly banned from using medical marijuana on premises — again, even in states with functioning medical marijuana programs. “As a veteran, I’m committed to ensuring that veterans receive the care they deserve, and I know that sometimes that care can include medical marijuana,” commented Steube after introducing the bill. Their high rates of usage has made vets’ cannabis rights the topic of much political concern, but few results as of yet, besides the 2017 change in House policy to allow doctors to talk about weed with their patients, in addition to being able to record such data in patient records without fear of those vets having their benefits revoked. Last year, a ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-04-11
  • Attorney General Barr Indicates Support For Federal Marijuana Legalization Bill
    William Barr, the new Attorney General for the Trump administration, indicated support for a pending federal marijuana legalization bill during an appearance before Congress on Wednesday. Responding to a question from Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska about the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act, Barr said that the contradiction of a federal ban on cannabis while it has been legalized in some form in a majority of the states should not continue. “The situation that I think is intolerable and which I’m opposed to is the current situation we’re in, and I would prefer one of two approaches rather than where we are,” Barr said, according to a press release from cannabis reform advocacy group the Marijuana Policy Project. “Personally I would still favor one uniform federal rule against marijuana, but if there is not sufficient consensus to obtain that, then I think the way to go is to permit a more federal approach so states can make their own decisions within the framework of the federal law, so we’re not just ignoring the enforcement of federal law.” If passed, the bill would amend the Controlled Substances Act so that it is no longer applicable to statutes “relating to the manufacture, production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of” cannabis for activities that comply with state law. The bill was originally submitted to Congress in 2016 and was reintroduced by a bipartisan coalition of legislators last week. DOJ Reviewing Bill Barr told the Senate Appropriations subcommittee at his appearance on Wednesday that while he had not yet examined the STATES Act personally, the legislation had been distributed in the Department of Justice for comment. “Once we get those comments, we’ll be able to work with you on any concerns about the STATES law,” Barr said. “But I would much rather that approach – the approach taken by the STATES Act – than where we currently are.” In contrast to his predecessor Jeff Sessions, Barr repeatedly said that he would not interfere with cannabis businesses operating in compliance with state law. Steve Hawkins, the executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, applauded Barr’s support for the bill. “We are pleased to hear the attorney general would prefer the approach taken by the STATES Act rather than maintaining the current status quo,” Hawkins said. “There is growing consensus that Congress needs to take action to ease the current tension between federal and state marijuana laws. As an organization, we have been working for years to change state marijuana laws, and we ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-04-11
  • Native American Reservation Becomes First in Michigan to Legalize Cannabis
    The Bay Mills Indian Community in Michigan legalized recreational cannabis on Monday, making it the first Native American reservation in the state to do so. Under the ordinance passed by the Bay Mills Executive Council, the possession, use, and cultivation of marijuana for personal use by adults 21 and older are now legal on the reservation located in Chippewa County on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Voters in Michigan legalized recreational marijuana in last November’s midterm elections with the approval of Proposal 1, with 55 percent of the electorate voting in favor of the measure. Bay Mills Indian Community (BMIC) Tribal Chairman Bryan Newland said that the new ordinance brings tribal regulations in line with state law. “Our tribal government does not necessarily promote the use of marijuana, but we believe that criminalizing it is bad policy,” said Newland. “Our new tribal law ensures that people on our lands are no longer at risk of prosecution for actions that are lawful everywhere else in Michigan.” Cultivation Also Allowed Personal possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana by adults will be allowed under the new ordinance, including up to 15 grams of cannabis concentrates. In one’s home, up to 10 ounces of marijuana may be possessed or processed. Up to 12 cannabis plants may be cultivated, with the possession of the cannabis produced through home cultivation also being legal. The ordinance also legalizes the use, possession, manufacture, and distribution of marijuana accessories. The use of marijuana in public, possession of cannabis in view of the public, and use of cannabis near parks, schools, and public housing facilities will remain illegal. Violations for possession in excess of legal amounts can be punished by up to three months in prison, a fine of up to $1,000, a community service requirement of up to 150 hours, up to 12 months probation, completion of an approved drug treatment program, or a combination of those penalties. The ordinance does not permit any commercial cannabis activity by individuals or businesses, but it does reserve the right for wholly owned enterprises of the Bay Mills Indian Community to engage in cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, and sales pending further legislation. The BMIC also said that those with convictions for past marijuana offenses that are now legal can petition the tribal court to have their records expunged. A statement from the National Congress of American Indians expressed the right of Native American tribes to create their own laws, including those for cannabis. “Indian tribes are sovereign governments with the inherent right to set local laws ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-04-10
 
  • Missouri Police Launch Campaign Against Driving High Ahead of 420
    The Missouri Department of Transportation announced on Monday the state’s law enforcement officers will be out in full force this weekend, patrolling for drivers who are high after celebrating the 420 holiday. The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDoT) noted in a press release that “while cannabis is now legalized for recreational and medicinal use in many states, it is still illegal in all states to drive under the influence of it” and that police would be especially on the lookout for stoned drivers on Friday and Saturday, April 19 and 20. The 420 drugged-driving enforcement campaign has been dubbed ‘Drive High, Get a DUI’ by the agency. Jon Nelson, MoDOT assistant to the state highway safety and traffic engineer, said that the agency wanted residents of the state to consider what is at stake when drivers are impaired. “Driving drug-impaired or riding with someone who is drug-impaired is not worth the risk,” said Nelson. “Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for driving while substance-impaired can be significant. The consequences are serious and real.” The Toll of Impaired Driving Last year in Missouri, 78 people were killed and 142 more were seriously injured in traffic collisions that involved at least one impaired driver, according to preliminary data from MoDoT. “The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety reminds motorists of the various options available to get everyone home safe. Designating a sober driver, calling a cab or using public transportation are just a few of those options. Remember, if you feel different, you drive different,” the release noted. Nelson also reminded drivers of other common sense tips to stay safe behind the wheel. “We encourage all drivers to take responsibility and make smart choices so that everyone gets home safe,” he said. “Drive sober, buckle up and phone down.” Besides driving completely sober from alcohol and drugs, motorists are also advised to put their cell phones down while driving and always buckle up – everyone, every trip, every time. The post Missouri Police Launch Campaign Against Driving High Ahead of 420 appeared first on High Times. ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-04-16
  • Montana House Backs Major Medical Marijuana Law Reform
    Montana continues to tweak its medical marijuana system, which was first written into law 15 years ago. On Monday, the state’s House passed Senate Bill 265, which makes important changes to the program including a temporary tax increase, the institution of doctor recommendations by phone, and the “untethering” of patients. The change that may well make the biggest difference in the lives of patients is the “untethering” clause, which means that those in the medical marijuana program would no longer need to choose a single cannabis provider, and instead be able to buy from the provider that is most convenient on a given day. The bill does levy other restrictions in return for this new freedom. Patients will have a monthly purchasing cap of five ounces of cannabis, and a daily limit of one ounce of purchases. “This is all brand-new to Montana; we’ve not really done things to this extent in the past,” the bill’s sponsor Senator Tom Jacobson told a local news site. “We knew there would be some changes that would have to come about.” Another change that could benefits cannabis patients is the legalization of medical marijuana certifications by phone. This proved to be a controversial proposal, and there was an effort to amend the bill to no longer include the “telemedicine” capacity for patients. But proponents of the proposal held firm — at an average of seven residents per square mile (it’s the third most sparsely populated state in the country), they saw allowances for patients living in remote areas as necessary. SB 265 also raises taxes on marijuana distributors from two to four percent. The bill passed in the Senate in early April by a 36-14 vote, and on Monday in the House by a decisive 68-32. A final House vote is needed to maintain the bill’s forward motion. This is not the first revamp of Montana’s medical marijuana program. 2017’s SB 333 instated a quarterly tax on marijuana businesses. As a result, the state reported last year that it had collected $1.8 million off of $45 million of medical marijuana taxes — nearly twice what experts had forecasted. That revenue was earmarked to finance tests, inspections of labs, dispensaries, growing operations, and edibles manufacturers — plus a tracking system that followed cannabis from the planting process to the cash register. “Ultimately, we see medical marijuana as medicine,” said Representative Zach Brown upon SB 265’s passage. “And so the state has an obligation to provide a regulatory framework that ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-04-16
  • New Study Suggests Cannabis May Be Used to Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis
    Cannabis may be an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, according to a new study published in the journal Current Opinion in Rheumatology. Researchers, who noted that “an increasing number of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are using cannabis to treat their symptoms,” wrote that “cannabinoids could be a suitable treatment for RA” and called for further study into the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD. Dr. Benjamin Caplan, a family physician and cannabis specialist, told Forbes that he has helped thousands of seniors use cannabinoid therapies to treat arthritis. “I have patients with mild joint pain that can be satisfactorily addressed with a topical cannabis treatment,” Caplan said. “Others are nearly incapacitated, taking multiple medications for incomplete relief, and welcome any additional option that will help them cope with the pain and anxiety associated with their condition, and improve their quality of life.” Caplan said that researchers were only beginning to learn how cannabis is able to relieve pain safely and effectively. “We don’t quite understand the all the details of how it works, but we do know that cannabis is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, and that it operates in a different way than other anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, steroids, or even the biological options available for treating RA and other autoimmune diseases,” he said. “These traditional drug treatments can cause severe side-effects, many of which we do not see with cannabis.” Cannabis Presents New Options in Health Care Caplan said that the variety of cannabis products, dosages, and methods of ingestion available make cannabis an attractive option for some patients, noting that “one of the nice things about cannabis is that the wide range of choices at reputable dispensaries creates a lot of opportunity for flexibility and success for many different types of people with a wide range of ailments.” “Fortunately, all of these options and opportunities for flexibility rest on cannabis’ high safety profile,” he added. “From this foundation of safety, armed with education, the potential benefits to patients often outweigh the risks.” The doctor said that he believes that many patients are longing for new alternatives to effectively treat their health care challenges naturally. “We are stuck in a paternalistic medical system that is dehumanizing people,” said Caplan. “We have a broken medical system that strips patients of autonomy and power over their own illness, and that in and of itself is unhealthy. We all know it, but it has been a very difficult thing to fix. Healing with cannabis does not follow a traditional model, where a physician authority decides what the right choice is for ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-04-16
  • Cook County State’s Attorney Aims to Start Cannabis Conviction Expungements
    Kim Foxx, the Illinois State’s Attorney for Cook County, said last week that her office will begin the expungement of misdemeanor cannabis convictions in the coming months. In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Foxx said that prosecutors were considering expungement of convictions for marijuana sales and are still working to determine the scope of the project. “The question is, how far back can we go? How far back does the data go — which will give us what our universe looks like? But we’re in the process of figuring that out,” said Foxx. In a speech to the City Club of Chicago in January, Foxx said that she supported the drive to legalize cannabis in Illinois and said that her office would  “pursue the expungement of all misdemeanor marijuana convictions.” Foxx said that she hopes to work with the nonprofit group Code for America to analyze conviction records and identify those cases that qualify for expungement. Earlier this year, Code for America worked with the San Francisco District Attorney to clear more than 8,000 cannabis convictions going back to 1975. This month, the group said that 54,000 more cannabis convictions would be expunged or reduced in Los Angeles and San Joaquin counties. Code for America “can help us find some infrastructure support of being able to look at the [Cook County] clerk’s office, Dorothy Brown’s office, to be able to identify batches of people who are found or convicted of the statutory code for possession of marijuana,” said Foxx. The State’s Attorney’s office is also beginning to explore the expungement of convictions for selling cannabis. “The next iteration of this is looking at those sales,” she said, especially “in light of the fact that legalization looks like it’s becoming apparent. We don’t want to be on the back end of trying to figure out what to do.” She said that police continue to make arrests for minor marijuana offenses despite a 2015 announcement that they would no longer be prosecuted. Foxx hopes that expunging past convictions would help get out the message that “we’re not doing this” anymore. “So hopefully, we’re seeing that fall off,” Foxx said. Cops Oppose Expungement Plan Kevin Graham is the president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, a union that represents more than 10,000 police officers in Chicago. He said in an email that his members do not support the expungement of past convictions. “Even if the law changes, that does not change the fact that these people knew they were breaking the law, were arrested and convicted once again ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-04-15
  • After Senate Tussle, Georgia Governor Set To Sign Marijuana Production Bill
    There was debate over whether Georgia Governor Brian Kemp would sign House Bill 324, which allows the production and distribution of medical marijuana in the state. But his office has stated that the legislation is a go for Kemp, who is set to give his blessing to the bill on Wednesday. Not all of his team is on board. “There is no part of me that wants any steps toward recreational marijuana,” said Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan after the bill passed the state’s Senate. Of course, Kemp hasn’t seemed like a staunch supporter himself at all times, telling the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “I respect the legislative process, and I understand why people are doing it, and I understand why people have grave concerns about this. I have all of those feelings. It’s a really tough spot.” “Kemp will fight any in-state cannabis cultivation in a state with boundless agricultural capability,” predicted a 2018 High Times article. But now — thanks to heartfelt testimony by Georgian parents with severe forms of epilepsy, among other factors — the bill’s fate has been sealed. This will no doubt elicit a few golf claps. A combative negotiation process left the bill’s future cloudy in the Senate, but members signed on after they vastly reduced the number of producers and distributors that the bill allows to service Georgia’s 8,400 registered medical marijuana patients, who have signed up for the program since it was signed into law back in 2015. “Some may argue that this is not medicine,” said Senator Matt Brass. “But we had testimony of children having 80 to 100 seizures a day, but after taking the oil are having just one a week.” Passage of the new legislation has been heralded as an “expansion” of the medical marijuana program, but did Georgia’s medical marijuana plan really qualify as a program at all if its participants had to violate federal law to get their medicine prior to this bill? What is worth a hearty round of applause is that HB 324 will finally institute a system for growing, processing, and distributing the low THC cannabis oil stipulated for patient use. Georgia will become the 31st state to authorize marijuana cultivation. Six companies will be authorized to cultivate Georgian cannabis. A board will have to give permission to dispensaries before any patient is able to legally access their medicine in the state. Currently, it is legal for pharmacies to dispense medical cannabis to Georgians, but in so doing the business could ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-04-15
  • Cannabis Company Aphria Sees Shares Plummet 15 Percent
    The seemingly unstoppable expansion of marijuana legalization is generating undeniable enthusiasm and economic optimism about the future of the industry. But upon closer inspection, the cannabis market isn’t as bullish as it may appear. Somewhat ironically, it’s the hype surrounding the legal market that’s setting up companies for major losses. And Canadian cannabis producer Aphria is a case in point. On Monday, the company’s third-quarter report sent its shares plummeting 15 percent. Market analysts didn’t have high hopes for Aphria to begin with, but the company performed much worse than expected. So what happened? Positive Feedback Loop of Hype Ends Up Hitting Aphria’s Stock Value Hard At the root of Canadian cannabis producer Aphria’s problems is simply that it needed to sell more weed. But a failed takeover bid and a $50 million over-valuation of its Latin American assets didn’t help. Neither did a high-profile analysis of Aphria’s earnings, which showed “negative margins, decreased production volume, regulatory scrutiny and a large write off for its Latin American acquisitions, which we think will be the first of many,” according to Quintessential Capital Management‘s Gabriel Grego. In fact, the report was so damning that Quintessential took up a short position on Aphria, saying that its research showed the company was over-hyping their actual performance. Aphria had itself over-hyped, or fallen for the hype of production facilities in Colombia, Argentina and Jamaica. Hindenburg Research said their analysis suggested those assets were worthless. Then, there’s how much Aphria tried to hype itself to Green Growth Brands, a U.S. cannabis company that initiated a hostile takeover attempt in December. Aphria wanted its shareholders to reject the takeover bid, claiming Green Growth’s offer low-balled the company’s value. Aphria’s Monday announcement of a quarterly loss in excess of $100 million prompted an agreement to end the takeover offer. “We are bringing our offer to an end on good terms with Aphria,” Green Growth Brand CEO Peter Horvath told Markets Insider. Despite Surging Revenue, Aphria’s Dip Drags Down Canada’s Cannabis Giants The fact that Aphria’s third-quarter losses overshadowed the company’s surging revenue, which climbed to C$73.6 million from C$10.3 million in the first quarter of full legalization in Canada, suggests mismanagement. No wonder, then, that Aphria came under scrutiny in February for the undisclosed conflicts of interest of some of its board members. Aphria is since under new management, who are working to correct course. But other companies are in the same boat as Aphria. Organigram Holdings, for example, fell 4.5 percent. While not as dire as Aphria’s ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-04-15
  • Small Study Finds Regular Cannabis Users Need More Sedation For Medical Procedures
    A small study by Colorado researchers has determined that regular cannabis users may need more sedation during medical procedures. A report on the two-year study, conducted by researchers at Community Hospital in Grand Junction, Colorado, was published on Monday in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. The authors of the study noted that the continuing legalization of cannabis “has created both challenges and opportunities in medicine. More patients are using cannabis, and more patients are now willing to admit cannabis use than in the past, which increases the likelihood that they will be forthcoming about use during medical questioning. Cannabis use may have implications during medical care, including procedural sedation.” To conduct the study, researchers reviewed the medical records of 250 patients who had undergone endoscopic procedures during 2016 and 2017 and reviewed the amount of three anesthesia drugs, fentanyl, midazola, and propofol, that were used. “Researchers found that compared with people who did not regularly use cannabis, people who regularly used cannabis required an amount of sedation for endoscopic procedures that was significantly higher,” according to the results of the study. Patients who reported that they used cannabis on a daily or weekly basis needed on average 14 percent more fentanyl, 20 percent more midazolam, and 220 percent more propofol to reach the optimum level of sedation. The difference was so significant that the researchers recommended that anesthesiologists discuss cannabis use with patients before sedation. “Determining cannabis use before procedural sedation can be an important tool for planning patient care and assessing both medication needs and possible risks related to increased dosage requirements during endoscopic procedures,” they wrote. Researchers also noted that the “continued increase in legalization and use of cannabis, the field of anesthesia and sedation needs further studies with greater depth.” More Study Needed Dr. Roderic Eckenhoff, a professor of anesthesia at the University of Pennsylvania who did not participate in the research, agreed that the subject needed further research. He characterized the results of the study as “really tenuous at best” for several reasons. He said that the amount of sedation surgeons determine to be enough is subjective and researchers should have instead studied the effects for specific quantities of medication. He also believes that the sample size of only 25 cannabis users is too small. “I would consider this a pilot study that maybe somebody should pick up on and do a more complete trial,” said Eckenhoff. He noted that some patients can be unreliable and may not inform their doctors about “everything else that they take,” which may have skewed the results ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-04-15
  • Dallas Will No Longer Prosecute Small Time Marijuana Offenders
    The Dallas County district attorney released a five page memo on Thursday stating that his office would no longer prosecute first-time marijuana misdemeanors. John Creuzot also announced that all in-process first-time misdemeanors that had been filed before his term in office will be thrown out, part of what he called “a step forward in ending mass incarceration in Dallas County.” The memo addressed a variety of changes in enforcement priorities that go beyond marijuana offenders. Creuzot’s office will not be prosecuting individuals with small possession charges involving other drugs, people who drove with a suspended license, or anyone caught stealing “necessary” items. “The criminal justice system has fallen disproportionately harshly on poor people and people of color, that’s just a fact,” Creuzot said to the Texas Observer. “The entire system is complicit in this dysfunction. We’re doing what we can within this office to address some of that.” Shifts in policy were expected from Creuzot. He arrived to last year’s DA race promising to work on cash bail reform and shrink Dallas’ massive prison population, which sees the booking of around 67,000 people a year. “Our current system is uncoupled from physical safety and fairness, as people sit in jail not because they pose an identifiable danger to the community, but because they cannot pay their fee to go home,” Creuzot wrote in the memo. “When low-income people are held in jail simply because they cannot afford a few hundred dollars, they lose their jobs, housing, stability, and cannot take care of their children: this makes our communities less safe.” The Texas Department of Public Safety has released numbers stating that around 379,000 residents have been arrested in the last five years for possession of less than two ounces of marijuana. Their detainment and prosecution costs the state $730 million each year, according to Representative Joe Moody from El Paso. Two weeks ago, Moody’s third attempt at a cannabis decriminalization bill made it out of committee. It would scale back the maximum punishment for small time possession from 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine to a $250 penalty. “We are very optimistic about the chances of HB 63 passing on the floor of the Texas House,” said the director of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy Heather Fazio at the time. Creuzot is far from the first public defender to free up their docket from low level marijuana offenses. In fact, across the United States — and even in places that have yet to see ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-04-12
  • Upper New York Police Issue Caution After Seizing Fentanyl-Laced Weed
    Police departments in upstate New York are issuing a warning about dangerous street drugs after seizing cannabis laced with fentanyl. The powerful drug has been a factor in a multitude of overdose deaths in the United States, which is still in the grips of an epidemic of opioid addiction. The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office said that marijuana that was confiscated by officers in the parking lot of a Walmart in the town of Thompson on Monday had tested positive for fentanyl. The sheriff’s office said that it was the first time the drug had been discovered in the area. In a separate incident in the town of Knox on Thursday, first responders had to revive three people who had overdosed in a car while still in the middle of the road, according to Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple. Another driver who had come upon the car on the road and discovered the stricken trio had called 911 for assistance. Although claims of pot laced with fentanyl have been made in the past, many maintain the reports are fake news. Dangerous Opioid Fentanyl is a strong synthetic analgesic opioid that is up to 100 times more potent than morphine. It is sold legally by prescription in lozenge and patch form under the brand names Actiq, Duragesic, and, Sublimaze. Other drugs including heroin have been found to be laced with illicit fentanyl on numerous occasions. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, street names for fentanyl or for fentanyl-laced heroin include Apache, China Girl, China White, Dance Fever, Friend, Goodfella, Jackpot, Murder 8, TNT, and Tango and Cash. Counterfeit oxycodone tablets have also been found to be manufactured from fentanyl. The USA Today has reported that in 2016, 29 percent of all overdose deaths were associated with fentanyl. Drugs can be tested for fentanyl contamination with strips that can be purchased at some drug stores or online, without a prescription and without special credentials, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. To use them, a small amount of a drug is placed in water, followed by the test strip, which will indicate the presence of fentanyl. The post Upper New York Police Issue Caution After Seizing Fentanyl-Laced Weed appeared first on High Times. ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-04-12
  • UK Mom Seeks Return of Cannabis Oil Seized at Border
    A UK mother is seeking the return of cannabis oil medicine for her severely epileptic daughter that was seized by border officials last week. Emma Appleby of Aylesham, England had traveled to the Netherlands to purchase cannabis oil for her nine-year-old daughter Teagan, who has a rare chromosomal disorder and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy that causes the girl to have up to 300 seizures per day. But when Appleby returned to her home country on Saturday, the medicine was seized by border officials because she did not have a prescription from a physician in the UK. Appleby had received a prescription from a doctor in the Netherlands and had paid approximately $6,000 for the medication, using savings and money that she had crowdfunded. She had been unsuccessful in her attempts to receive permission from the UK government to get a prescription at home, saying that “whilst the NHS and the medical professions are having arguments over what constitutes evidence, my child is suffering every day. I am at my wits’ end.” Appleby secured a prescription for the cannabis oil from a private specialist in the UK on Wednesday and says she hopes the medicine will now be returned by the Home Office, although she hasn’t been given any instructions on how to request that the government do so. “I’m devastated. I’ve always tried to do the right thing. I’ve jumped through all the hoops but ended up being passed from pillar to post and being met with a flat ‘no’,” Appleby said. “All I want is the best thing for my daughter. To have the medicine taken in this way is deeply upsetting. But I will fight to get it back and fight so that other parents in the same situation as me don’t have to go through this.” Mum Receives Support from Activist Medicinal cannabis activist Hannah Deacon, the mother of Alfie Dingley, is supporting Appleby in her effort to obtain cannabis oil for Teagan. Alfie was one of the first UK children to receive a prescription for medical cannabis last year after garnering the support of the public and celebrities including Patrick Stewart. Deacon said on Saturday that the government should change the rules governing the use of cannabis medications. “Vulnerable people are having to raise money to go abroad, and they need help from the government, rather than an insistence on randomized control trials to prove the efficacy of medical cannabis,” said Deacon. “These are not appropriate for cannabis, a plant with around 400 components. We need observational ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-04-12
  • Rite Aid to Start Selling Hemp CBD Topicals in Two States
    In March, Walgreens and CVS made headlines when they began offering certain cannabidiol products in select states. On Thursday, Rite Aid joined them, announcing plans to roll out CBD products in 200 stores across Oregon and Washington. Rite Aid’s initial move into the CBD market isn’t as bold as its two competitors’. But it’s part of a broader refresh of product offerings geared toward wellness, including an end to the sale of e-cigarettes. Rite Aid Joins CVS and Walgreens with CBD Product Offerings in Oregon and Washington Health and beauty aisles in 200 Rite Aid pharmacies across the Pacific Northwest will soon carry select CBD products, the company announced Thursday. Rite has so far remained tight-lipped about the specific brands and products stores will carry. But Rite Aid shoppers can expect to see hemp CBD-infused products like lip balm and other topicals. From creams and lotions to salves and roll-ons, Rite is following Walgreens and CVS in sticking strictly to topicals. Despite the federal legalization of hemp and hemp derivatives like cannabidiol earlier this year, FDA restrictions on CBD edibles and dietary supplements are preventing major retail chains from offering oils and other ingestible products. But companies are eyeing the evolving regulatory landscape closely, as well as the bourgeoning cannabidiol market. As FDA rules shift to cover the emerging hemp industry, retail pharmacies will look to introduce a wider range of products. Rite Aid is distinguishing itself from its competitors in one regard, however. The company says it will no longer cell e-cigarettes in any of its stores. Rite Aid Chief Operating Officer Bryan Everett cited concerns over a “teen vaping epidemic.” Unlike CVS, which halted the sale of all tobacco products half a decade ago, Rite Aid, like Walgreens, still sells cigarettes. Can Rite Aid Compete with the Northwest’s Cannabis Industry? The enthusiasm around CBD-infused health and beauty items only continues to grow. And in terms of hemp industry-friendly state regulations, Oregon and Washington are some of the most hospitable states for CBD. CVS and Walgreens have already introduced CBD topicals in both states. With offerings in 200 stores, Rite Aid joins the pack. Thanks to their well-established medical and retail cannabis industries, consumers in Washington and Oregon are well-versed in all the wellness alternatives cannabis has to offer. In states without legal weed, hemp-derived CBD is the next best thing. But unlike its competitors, Rite Aid isn’t offering CBD products in any prohibition states. So will CBD consumers in Oregon and Washington line up to buy their hemp skincare ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-04-12
  • Tennessee Medical Marijuana Bill Delayed Until Next Year
    History is repeating in Tennessee, where for the third consecutive year Republican state Sen. Steve Dickerson has tabled a bill to carve out medical cannabis protections for patients with debilitating conditions. On Wednesday, Dickerson told a senate committee that he would propose a new version of the bill in 2020. Lawmakers in Tennessee, one of the few remaining states where cannabis is fully illegal, are still considering a pair of decriminalization bills. But any progress on medical legalization or affirmative defense protections will have to wait until next year. Republican Medical Marijuana Bill Fails for Third Straight Year Republican Steve Dickerson, an anesthesiologist by trade who represents Nashville in the Tennessee Senate, is still struggling to put together enough votes to pass his medical cannabis bills. Over the past few years, Sen. Dickerson has proposed a few different versions of the legislation. In 2017, there was the Medical Cannabis Only Act. When that bill bit the dust, Dickerson vowed to continue the fight, saying he considered its rejection “the first day of the campaign to get medical cannabis passed in 2019.” Then, in 2018, Dickerson and Republican state Rep Bryan Terry announced the Tennessee Responsible Use of Medicinal Plants Act, or TRUMP Act. The TRUMP Act, so named to help garner support in beet red, pro-Trump Tennessee, was similar in many ways to Dickerson’s 2017 legislation, and it suffered the same fate. Dickerson couldn’t muster enough votes. And on Wednesday, Dickerson announced that 2019 would in fact not be the year for his medical cannabis bill, either. This comes despite the fact that the 2019 proposal was Dickerson’s most comprehensive bill yet. He says he’ll propose it again in 2020. Lawmakers Don’t Want Important Medical Cannabis Bill Marred by Defeat Unlike previous years, the Senate seemed prepared to begin discussion and debate on the bill. The Senate Health and Welfare Committee was set to take it up on Wednesday. But at the last minute, Dickerson decided to pull the bill from consideration. The last-minute withdrawal of the bill was primarily a question of optics, admitted Sen. Steve Dickerson. “You can run a bill and have it defeated, or you can keep it alive,” Dickerson told USA TODAY. “And practically speaking, we decided to keep it alive and not have a defeat for perception more than anything.” While the move may have kept the bill alive, it means it can’t advance this year. If it had, Tennessee patients would have been able to purchase authorized medical cannabis products by summer 2020. ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-04-11
  • Legislators Have Yet Another Option for Expanding Veteran Cannabis Access
    On Tuesday, a Republican U.S. legislator from Florida proposed another bill that looks to protect military veterans who use medical marijuana. Rep. Greg Steube’s proposal would sign into law existing VA policy that ensures vets can’t lose benefits over cannabis use — and go a step further by ensuring that future administrations could not penalize them either. “It’s important that we respect states’ rights as outlined in the 10th Amendment of the United States Constitution,” Steube was quoted in his office’s press release. The congressperson served in the Iraq War and is on the House’s veteran affairs committee. “While it is the current policy of the VA to not deny benefits to veterans based on participation in these state-based medical marijuana programs, this bill will ensure that no future policy or administration change could put these veterans at risk of losing their benefits when they are in compliance with state law.” A 2017 survey showed that one in five military veterans use marijuana for a medical condition. Many of the health conditions suffered by veterans are the ones most associated with medical cannabis treatment, from chronic pain to PTSD. Many see widening vets’ access to the drug as one strategy for combating the startlingly high rates of opioid addiction among their ranks. Veterans have also been among some of the more visible faces in marijuana advocacy — some have been first in line to buy marijuana in their state. In the face of such widespread usage, some cannabis businesses have even marketed their special attention to the needs of those who have served in the country’s armed forces. But currently, VA policy states that its physicians may not recommend medical marijuana to patients, although vets are encouraged to discuss any cannabis treatment with their physician. Vets in VA nursing homes are explicitly banned from using medical marijuana on premises — again, even in states with functioning medical marijuana programs. “As a veteran, I’m committed to ensuring that veterans receive the care they deserve, and I know that sometimes that care can include medical marijuana,” commented Steube after introducing the bill. Their high rates of usage has made vets’ cannabis rights the topic of much political concern, but few results as of yet, besides the 2017 change in House policy to allow doctors to talk about weed with their patients, in addition to being able to record such data in patient records without fear of those vets having their benefits revoked. Last year, a ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-04-11
  • Attorney General Barr Indicates Support For Federal Marijuana Legalization Bill
    William Barr, the new Attorney General for the Trump administration, indicated support for a pending federal marijuana legalization bill during an appearance before Congress on Wednesday. Responding to a question from Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska about the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act, Barr said that the contradiction of a federal ban on cannabis while it has been legalized in some form in a majority of the states should not continue. “The situation that I think is intolerable and which I’m opposed to is the current situation we’re in, and I would prefer one of two approaches rather than where we are,” Barr said, according to a press release from cannabis reform advocacy group the Marijuana Policy Project. “Personally I would still favor one uniform federal rule against marijuana, but if there is not sufficient consensus to obtain that, then I think the way to go is to permit a more federal approach so states can make their own decisions within the framework of the federal law, so we’re not just ignoring the enforcement of federal law.” If passed, the bill would amend the Controlled Substances Act so that it is no longer applicable to statutes “relating to the manufacture, production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of” cannabis for activities that comply with state law. The bill was originally submitted to Congress in 2016 and was reintroduced by a bipartisan coalition of legislators last week. DOJ Reviewing Bill Barr told the Senate Appropriations subcommittee at his appearance on Wednesday that while he had not yet examined the STATES Act personally, the legislation had been distributed in the Department of Justice for comment. “Once we get those comments, we’ll be able to work with you on any concerns about the STATES law,” Barr said. “But I would much rather that approach – the approach taken by the STATES Act – than where we currently are.” In contrast to his predecessor Jeff Sessions, Barr repeatedly said that he would not interfere with cannabis businesses operating in compliance with state law. Steve Hawkins, the executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, applauded Barr’s support for the bill. “We are pleased to hear the attorney general would prefer the approach taken by the STATES Act rather than maintaining the current status quo,” Hawkins said. “There is growing consensus that Congress needs to take action to ease the current tension between federal and state marijuana laws. As an organization, we have been working for years to change state marijuana laws, and we ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-04-11
  • Native American Reservation Becomes First in Michigan to Legalize Cannabis
    The Bay Mills Indian Community in Michigan legalized recreational cannabis on Monday, making it the first Native American reservation in the state to do so. Under the ordinance passed by the Bay Mills Executive Council, the possession, use, and cultivation of marijuana for personal use by adults 21 and older are now legal on the reservation located in Chippewa County on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Voters in Michigan legalized recreational marijuana in last November’s midterm elections with the approval of Proposal 1, with 55 percent of the electorate voting in favor of the measure. Bay Mills Indian Community (BMIC) Tribal Chairman Bryan Newland said that the new ordinance brings tribal regulations in line with state law. “Our tribal government does not necessarily promote the use of marijuana, but we believe that criminalizing it is bad policy,” said Newland. “Our new tribal law ensures that people on our lands are no longer at risk of prosecution for actions that are lawful everywhere else in Michigan.” Cultivation Also Allowed Personal possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana by adults will be allowed under the new ordinance, including up to 15 grams of cannabis concentrates. In one’s home, up to 10 ounces of marijuana may be possessed or processed. Up to 12 cannabis plants may be cultivated, with the possession of the cannabis produced through home cultivation also being legal. The ordinance also legalizes the use, possession, manufacture, and distribution of marijuana accessories. The use of marijuana in public, possession of cannabis in view of the public, and use of cannabis near parks, schools, and public housing facilities will remain illegal. Violations for possession in excess of legal amounts can be punished by up to three months in prison, a fine of up to $1,000, a community service requirement of up to 150 hours, up to 12 months probation, completion of an approved drug treatment program, or a combination of those penalties. The ordinance does not permit any commercial cannabis activity by individuals or businesses, but it does reserve the right for wholly owned enterprises of the Bay Mills Indian Community to engage in cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, and sales pending further legislation. The BMIC also said that those with convictions for past marijuana offenses that are now legal can petition the tribal court to have their records expunged. A statement from the National Congress of American Indians expressed the right of Native American tribes to create their own laws, including those for cannabis. “Indian tribes are sovereign governments with the inherent right to set local laws ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-04-10