• People Who Live In States Where Cannabis Is Legal Have More Sex, Study Finds
    If cannabis gets you in the mood, you’re not alone — science says so. A study whose findings were recently released by the University of Connecticut and Georgia State University found that in states where medical marijuana was legalized, the rate of sexual activity went up. The study’s co-author, University of Connecticut assistant professor David Simon, told Yahoo News that he wasn’t ready to comment on whether this finding was a good or bad thing but, “Regardless, we believe it should be something society/policy makers consider as part of the conversation on legalization.” But wait, there’s more! In those same states with medical cannabis regulation, there was an uptick in birth rates by a mean of two percent, and a drop in the use of contraceptives while having sex.  Also — attention, please! — medical marijuana legalization may be associated with a year one uptick in a state’s gonorrhea rates.  Does Legal Bud Lead to Babies? The states that were studied had regulated medicinal cannabis between 2005 and 2014, and the study specifically analyzed the sexual and reproductive behavior of people in their 20s and 30s.  The increase in babies being born was enough to counteract what has sometimes been identified as a negative correlation between cannabis usage and the ability for couples to get pregnant and have a healthy neonatal period.  The study’s co-author, University of Connecticut assistant professor David Simon, told Yahoo News that the surge in baby-making could be due to weed’s positive effects on people’s lives. The academic said that cannabis “treats chronic pain, improves life satisfaction, and decreases opioid abuse, it could result in heightened libidos/improved sex life.” These findings would point to cannabis influencing birth rates positively through behavioral effects. But the jury is still out on whether biologically, marijuana has a positive or negative impact on fertility. Some studies have suggested that using marijuana causes a drop in sperm count (though some have indicated the reverse) and can be a hurdle for couples that are already experiencing challenges with being able to have a baby. Some investigations have concluded that cannabis can make it difficult for people with uteruses to produce certain hormones that aid in the baby-making process. Others have found that CBD can be helpful to pregnant people.  Lack of scientific consensus aside, the US government has decided where it stands, at least when it comes to pregnant people. Last August, Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams cautioned those with a bun in the oven to avoid using cannabis at a press conference. Joining him ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-10
  • People Who Live In States Where Cannabis Is Legal Have More Sex, Study Finds
    If cannabis gets you in the mood, you’re not alone — science says so. A study whose findings were recently released by the University of Connecticut and Georgia State University found that in states where medical marijuana was legalized, the rate of sexual activity went up. The study’s co-author, University of Connecticut assistant professor David Simon, told Yahoo News that he wasn’t ready to comment on whether this finding was a good or bad thing but, “Regardless, we believe it should be something society/policy makers consider as part of the conversation on legalization.” But wait, there’s more! In those same states with medical cannabis regulation, there was an uptick in birth rates by a mean of two percent, and a drop in the use of contraceptives while having sex.  Also — attention, please! — medical marijuana legalization may be associated with a year one uptick in a state’s gonorrhea rates.  Does Legal Bud Lead to Babies? The states that were studied had regulated medicinal cannabis between 2005 and 2014, and the study specifically analyzed the sexual and reproductive behavior of people in their 20s and 30s.  The increase in babies being born was enough to counteract what has sometimes been identified as a negative correlation between cannabis usage and the ability for couples to get pregnant and have a healthy neonatal period.  The study’s co-author, University of Connecticut assistant professor David Simon, told Yahoo News that the surge in baby-making could be due to weed’s positive effects on people’s lives. The academic said that cannabis “treats chronic pain, improves life satisfaction, and decreases opioid abuse, it could result in heightened libidos/improved sex life.” These findings would point to cannabis influencing birth rates positively through behavioral effects. But the jury is still out on whether biologically, marijuana has a positive or negative impact on fertility. Some studies have suggested that using marijuana causes a drop in sperm count (though some have indicated the reverse) and can be a hurdle for couples that are already experiencing challenges with being able to have a baby. Some investigations have concluded that cannabis can make it difficult for people with uteruses to produce certain hormones that aid in the baby-making process. Others have found that CBD can be helpful to pregnant people.  Lack of scientific consensus aside, the US government has decided where it stands, at least when it comes to pregnant people. Last August, Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams cautioned those with a bun in the oven to avoid using cannabis at a press conference. Joining him ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-10
  • New Hampshire House Approves Bills To Expand Medical Marijuana Program
    The New Hampshire House of Representatives passed two bills on Wednesday to expand access to medical marijuana for patients. However, a broader bill that would have gone further to expand access died in the state Senate. The House voted to add insomnia and opioid use disorder to the state’s list of serious medical conditions that qualify a patient to use medicinal cannabis. The addition of opioid use disorder includes several restrictive provisions, such as one that requires certifying providers to have specialized training in the treatment of addiction. Earlier versions of the legislation passed by lawmakers on Wednesday included provisions that also would have added Lyme disease and anxiety to the state’s list of qualifying conditions, but they did not make it to the final draft of the bill. Also on Wednesday, the New Hampshire Senate voted down legislation that would have broadly expanded the state’s medical marijuana program. Under that bill, patients would have been able to receive a recommendation to use medical marijuana for any condition for which such treatment is deemed necessary by a health care provider. The Senate also voted to call for more study of a bill that would legalize cannabis for use by adults 21 and older. That bill would have legalized the recreational use of marijuana and established a framework for the regulation and taxation of commercial cannabis production and sales. Current Cannabis Laws In New Hampshire Under current New Hampshire law, the possession of cannabis has been decriminalized for adults. Those 18 and older found in possession of less than three quarters of an ounce of marijuana can be cited for a violation and fined up to $100. The fine is increased on the third and fourth offense. The medicinal use of cannabis was legalized in New Hampshire in 2013. Under current law, patients with one or more specified serious medical conditions are permitted to use medical marijuana with a physician’s recommendation. Qualified patients are permitted to possess up to two ounces of medical marijuana. Home cultivation of cannabis by patients is currently not permitted. Last year, a bill that would have permitted qualified medical marijuana patients to grow their own cannabis at home was approved by the New Hampshire legislature but vetoed by Gov. Chris Sununu in August. The House voted to override the veto but that effort failed in the Senate, falling short by only three votes. The list of qualifying conditions to use medical marijuana in New Hampshire is currently limited to ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, cachexia, cancer, chemotherapy-induced anorexia, ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-10
  • New Hampshire House Approves Bills To Expand Medical Marijuana Program
    The New Hampshire House of Representatives passed two bills on Wednesday to expand access to medical marijuana for patients. However, a broader bill that would have gone further to expand access died in the state Senate. The House voted to add insomnia and opioid use disorder to the state’s list of serious medical conditions that qualify a patient to use medicinal cannabis. The addition of opioid use disorder includes several restrictive provisions, such as one that requires certifying providers to have specialized training in the treatment of addiction. Earlier versions of the legislation passed by lawmakers on Wednesday included provisions that also would have added Lyme disease and anxiety to the state’s list of qualifying conditions, but they did not make it to the final draft of the bill. Also on Wednesday, the New Hampshire Senate voted down legislation that would have broadly expanded the state’s medical marijuana program. Under that bill, patients would have been able to receive a recommendation to use medical marijuana for any condition for which such treatment is deemed necessary by a health care provider. The Senate also voted to call for more study of a bill that would legalize cannabis for use by adults 21 and older. That bill would have legalized the recreational use of marijuana and established a framework for the regulation and taxation of commercial cannabis production and sales. Current Cannabis Laws In New Hampshire Under current New Hampshire law, the possession of cannabis has been decriminalized for adults. Those 18 and older found in possession of less than three quarters of an ounce of marijuana can be cited for a violation and fined up to $100. The fine is increased on the third and fourth offense. The medicinal use of cannabis was legalized in New Hampshire in 2013. Under current law, patients with one or more specified serious medical conditions are permitted to use medical marijuana with a physician’s recommendation. Qualified patients are permitted to possess up to two ounces of medical marijuana. Home cultivation of cannabis by patients is currently not permitted. Last year, a bill that would have permitted qualified medical marijuana patients to grow their own cannabis at home was approved by the New Hampshire legislature but vetoed by Gov. Chris Sununu in August. The House voted to override the veto but that effort failed in the Senate, falling short by only three votes. The list of qualifying conditions to use medical marijuana in New Hampshire is currently limited to ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, cachexia, cancer, chemotherapy-induced anorexia, ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-10
  • Governor Of Virginia Wants To Decriminalize Simple Cannabis Possession
    Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is heading into the third year of his term in office. And during his annual State of the Commonwealth speech on Wednesday, Gov. Northam called on lawmakers to decriminalize simple cannabis possession. While hesitant to embrace the more progressive marijuana policy reforms Democratic lawmakers in Virginia’s Assembly have proposed, like recreational legalization, Northam has remained committed to his campaign pledge to decriminalize marijuana and expunge possession convictions. Still, the governor’s remarks Wednesday mark the first time Northam has directly called on the General Assembly to pass a decriminalization measure. Gov. Northam to Virginia Lawmakers: Decriminalize Possession Now Despite recent and significant changes to its medical cannabis program, Virginia has struggled to make any progress reforming its strict, punitive laws against marijuana. In Virginia, simply possessing any amount of cannabis is a Class I misdemeanor carrying a maximum 30 day jail sentence. Beyond that, any subsequent possession offense ratchets up the penalty to a year behind bars and a $2,500 fine. And that’s all for possession of less than half an ounce of cannabis. Anything above half an ounce counts as sale, manufacture or trafficking—a felony charge carrying a one to 10 year prison sentence. With laws like that on the books, no wonder Virginia’s jails and prisons are overcrowded with non-violent drug offenders. And that was exactly Gov. Northam’s point when he called on Virginia lawmakers to decriminalize simple cannabis possession. “We want to keep people safe,” Northam said in his Wednesday State of the Commonwealth speech before the General Assembly. “But we shouldn’t use valuable law enforcement time, or costly prison space, on laws that don’t enhance public safety.” Virginia Governor Centers Cannabis in 2020 Push for Criminal Justice Reforms In a separate policy address last week, Gov. Northam made cannabis policy a centerpiece of his 2020 criminal justice reform agenda. At the heart of that agenda are initiatives aimed at decriminalizing misdemeanor possession, expunging the criminal records of people with prior marijuana possession convictions and ending the policy of suspending driver’s licenses as a punishment for drug offenses or failure to pay fines and court fees. Instead, Gov. Northam called for treating simple marijuana possession as a civil infraction with a $50 fine. The governor cited racial disparities in marijuana arrests and convictions as another significant reason for pursuing decriminalization and expungement. “We need to take an honest look at our criminal justice system to make sure we’re treating people fairly and using taxpayer dollars wisely,” Northam said. Northam’s ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-10
  • Governor Of Virginia Wants To Decriminalize Simple Cannabis Possession
    Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is heading into the third year of his term in office. And during his annual State of the Commonwealth speech on Wednesday, Gov. Northam called on lawmakers to decriminalize simple cannabis possession. While hesitant to embrace the more progressive marijuana policy reforms Democratic lawmakers in Virginia’s Assembly have proposed, like recreational legalization, Northam has remained committed to his campaign pledge to decriminalize marijuana and expunge possession convictions. Still, the governor’s remarks Wednesday mark the first time Northam has directly called on the General Assembly to pass a decriminalization measure. Gov. Northam to Virginia Lawmakers: Decriminalize Possession Now Despite recent and significant changes to its medical cannabis program, Virginia has struggled to make any progress reforming its strict, punitive laws against marijuana. In Virginia, simply possessing any amount of cannabis is a Class I misdemeanor carrying a maximum 30 day jail sentence. Beyond that, any subsequent possession offense ratchets up the penalty to a year behind bars and a $2,500 fine. And that’s all for possession of less than half an ounce of cannabis. Anything above half an ounce counts as sale, manufacture or trafficking—a felony charge carrying a one to 10 year prison sentence. With laws like that on the books, no wonder Virginia’s jails and prisons are overcrowded with non-violent drug offenders. And that was exactly Gov. Northam’s point when he called on Virginia lawmakers to decriminalize simple cannabis possession. “We want to keep people safe,” Northam said in his Wednesday State of the Commonwealth speech before the General Assembly. “But we shouldn’t use valuable law enforcement time, or costly prison space, on laws that don’t enhance public safety.” Virginia Governor Centers Cannabis in 2020 Push for Criminal Justice Reforms In a separate policy address last week, Gov. Northam made cannabis policy a centerpiece of his 2020 criminal justice reform agenda. At the heart of that agenda are initiatives aimed at decriminalizing misdemeanor possession, expunging the criminal records of people with prior marijuana possession convictions and ending the policy of suspending driver’s licenses as a punishment for drug offenses or failure to pay fines and court fees. Instead, Gov. Northam called for treating simple marijuana possession as a civil infraction with a $50 fine. The governor cited racial disparities in marijuana arrests and convictions as another significant reason for pursuing decriminalization and expungement. “We need to take an honest look at our criminal justice system to make sure we’re treating people fairly and using taxpayer dollars wisely,” Northam said. Northam’s ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-10
  • Maine Governor Grants Posthumous Pardon To Tribal Lawyer Convicted Of Possession
    PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A tribal attorney arrested for possessing marijuana while fighting for Passamaquoddy tribe land rights in 1968 was granted a posthumous pardon on Tuesday. Democratic Gov. Janet Mills had tears in her eyes after signing the pardon for the late Don Gellers on Tuesday, telling a group including tribal leaders that justice “was a long time coming.” Mills’ office said it is believed to be the first posthumous pardon issued in the state. Supporters of Gellers, who died five years ago, contend law enforcement officers arrested him in 1968 to quash his tribal land claims and advocacy for the tribe. Gellers’ early work laid the groundwork for Maine’s tribal land claims settlement act, which happened in 1980. “There’s merit to the idea that he was singled out and basically targeted,” the governor told reporters. The facts of the case were unusual. The attorney general prosecuted Gellers under a felony statute that derailed his legal career after police found six marijuana cigarettes in his home. The felony conviction stood even though lawmakers had made minor possession a misdemeanor by the time of his appeal and his disbarment from the legal profession in Maine, Mills said. The Portland Press Herald called attention to the circumstances surrounding Gellers’ fall from grace in a 2014 series, “Unsettled: Triumph and tragedy in Maine’s Indian country.” Gellers was denied a new trial even after a prominent Boston attorney said a state prosecutor, John Kelly, told him Gellers had been set up, the newspaper reported. Kelly told the newspaper that he didn’t remember the events that way but agreed that law enforcement officers were out to get Gellers. After his legal appeals were exhausted, Gellers informed the state attorney general that he was emigrating to Israel, where he adopted his Hebrew birth name, Tuvia Ben-Shmuel-Yosef. He fought and was wounded in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. Later, he studied to become a rabbi and moved to New York City. He died in 2014 at age 78. “While this pardon cannot undo the many adverse consequences that this conviction had upon Mr. Gellers’ life, it can bestow formal forgiveness for his violation of law and remove the stigma of that conviction,” the governor said Tuesday. Joining the governor at the ceremony were Donna Loring, a Penobscot Indian who serves as her senior adviser on trial affairs, Passamaquoddy Vice Chief Darrell Newell from Indian Township, and Rena Newell, Passamaquoddy representative in the Legislature. “People even today are respectful for him being an advocate for native folks,” ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-10
  • Maine Governor Grants Posthumous Pardon To Tribal Lawyer Convicted Of Possession
    PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A tribal attorney arrested for possessing marijuana while fighting for Passamaquoddy tribe land rights in 1968 was granted a posthumous pardon on Tuesday. Democratic Gov. Janet Mills had tears in her eyes after signing the pardon for the late Don Gellers on Tuesday, telling a group including tribal leaders that justice “was a long time coming.” Mills’ office said it is believed to be the first posthumous pardon issued in the state. Supporters of Gellers, who died five years ago, contend law enforcement officers arrested him in 1968 to quash his tribal land claims and advocacy for the tribe. Gellers’ early work laid the groundwork for Maine’s tribal land claims settlement act, which happened in 1980. “There’s merit to the idea that he was singled out and basically targeted,” the governor told reporters. The facts of the case were unusual. The attorney general prosecuted Gellers under a felony statute that derailed his legal career after police found six marijuana cigarettes in his home. The felony conviction stood even though lawmakers had made minor possession a misdemeanor by the time of his appeal and his disbarment from the legal profession in Maine, Mills said. The Portland Press Herald called attention to the circumstances surrounding Gellers’ fall from grace in a 2014 series, “Unsettled: Triumph and tragedy in Maine’s Indian country.” Gellers was denied a new trial even after a prominent Boston attorney said a state prosecutor, John Kelly, told him Gellers had been set up, the newspaper reported. Kelly told the newspaper that he didn’t remember the events that way but agreed that law enforcement officers were out to get Gellers. After his legal appeals were exhausted, Gellers informed the state attorney general that he was emigrating to Israel, where he adopted his Hebrew birth name, Tuvia Ben-Shmuel-Yosef. He fought and was wounded in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. Later, he studied to become a rabbi and moved to New York City. He died in 2014 at age 78. “While this pardon cannot undo the many adverse consequences that this conviction had upon Mr. Gellers’ life, it can bestow formal forgiveness for his violation of law and remove the stigma of that conviction,” the governor said Tuesday. Joining the governor at the ceremony were Donna Loring, a Penobscot Indian who serves as her senior adviser on trial affairs, Passamaquoddy Vice Chief Darrell Newell from Indian Township, and Rena Newell, Passamaquoddy representative in the Legislature. “People even today are respectful for him being an advocate for native folks,” ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-10
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Calls For Legalization Of Recreational Cannabis
    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo used his annual State of the State address Wednesday to advocate for a mix of “practical” progressive goals and urgent responsibilities, including waging war on hate crimes, spending $3 billion on environmental protection and legalizing recreational marijuana. The third-term Democrat touted past achievements and trumpeted a long list of policy initiatives, many of which he previewed in a series of announcements over the past month. Cuomo also stressed the need for fiscal restraint, with the state staring at a $6 billion budget gap, caused largely by soaring Medicaid spending. The agenda Cuomo outlined in the speech includes plans for expanding anti-discrimination protections in the state constitution, an overhaul for New York City’s Penn Station and a proposed ban on foam food containers. Cuomo also outlined another ban that would cover marketing flavored e-cigarettes to children, initiatives intended to lower the cost of prescription drugs, guaranteed paid sick leave time for more New York workers and expanded universal pre-kindergarten. “New York at her best is the progressive capitol of the nation, and we must fulfill that destiny again this year,” Cuomo said. Cuomo delivered his address at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in downtown Albany to an audience of members of the Legislature and top politicians from around the state. The speech kicked off a legislative session running through June 2. The governor’s address comes after several episodes of violence targeting Jewish people, including an attack by a man who stormed inside the home of a Monsey rabbi, Chaim Rottenberg, and stabbed five people at a Hanukkah celebration. Rottenberg delivered a blessing before Cuomo’s address and called for tolerance. “I will never forget the horror of that night,” Rottenberg said. “But I will also never forget how we continue to celebrate after that day, how we continue to rejoice in the miracle of Hanukkah. I will never forget the resilience on display that night and in the following days, the resilience of Jewish people and the resilience of New York.” Cuomo is proposing a new law targeted at domestic terrorism and said New York would be the first state in the U.S. to enact such legislation. The new law would apply to crimes in which at least one person died and victims were targeted by their race, religion and gender, among other topics. Cuomo called the attack “intolerable” and pledged the state won’t stand for it. “They attacked me, and they attacked you,” Cuomo said. “These are the times, my friends, ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-10
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Calls For Legalization Of Recreational Cannabis
    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo used his annual State of the State address Wednesday to advocate for a mix of “practical” progressive goals and urgent responsibilities, including waging war on hate crimes, spending $3 billion on environmental protection and legalizing recreational marijuana. The third-term Democrat touted past achievements and trumpeted a long list of policy initiatives, many of which he previewed in a series of announcements over the past month. Cuomo also stressed the need for fiscal restraint, with the state staring at a $6 billion budget gap, caused largely by soaring Medicaid spending. The agenda Cuomo outlined in the speech includes plans for expanding anti-discrimination protections in the state constitution, an overhaul for New York City’s Penn Station and a proposed ban on foam food containers. Cuomo also outlined another ban that would cover marketing flavored e-cigarettes to children, initiatives intended to lower the cost of prescription drugs, guaranteed paid sick leave time for more New York workers and expanded universal pre-kindergarten. “New York at her best is the progressive capitol of the nation, and we must fulfill that destiny again this year,” Cuomo said. Cuomo delivered his address at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in downtown Albany to an audience of members of the Legislature and top politicians from around the state. The speech kicked off a legislative session running through June 2. The governor’s address comes after several episodes of violence targeting Jewish people, including an attack by a man who stormed inside the home of a Monsey rabbi, Chaim Rottenberg, and stabbed five people at a Hanukkah celebration. Rottenberg delivered a blessing before Cuomo’s address and called for tolerance. “I will never forget the horror of that night,” Rottenberg said. “But I will also never forget how we continue to celebrate after that day, how we continue to rejoice in the miracle of Hanukkah. I will never forget the resilience on display that night and in the following days, the resilience of Jewish people and the resilience of New York.” Cuomo is proposing a new law targeted at domestic terrorism and said New York would be the first state in the U.S. to enact such legislation. The new law would apply to crimes in which at least one person died and victims were targeted by their race, religion and gender, among other topics. Cuomo called the attack “intolerable” and pledged the state won’t stand for it. “They attacked me, and they attacked you,” Cuomo said. “These are the times, my friends, ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-10
  • High Times Greats: Interview With Albert Hofmann, The Man Who First Synthesized LSD
    Swiss scientist Albert Hofmann was born January 11, 1906 and died April 29, 2008. In an exclusive interview published in the July, 1976 edition of High Times, Hofmann looked back at his illustrious career. At the height of World War II, four months after the first artificially created nuclear reaction was released in a pile of uranium ore in Chicago, an accidentally absorbed trace of a seminatural rye fungus product quietly exploded in the brain of a 37-year-old Swiss chemist working at the Sandoz research laboratories in Basel. He reported to his supervisor: “I was forced to stop my work in the laboratory in the middle of the afternoon and to go home, as I was seized by a peculiar restlessness associated with a sensation of mild dizziness … a kind of drunkenness which was not unpleasant and which was characterized by extreme activity of imagination … there surged upon me an uninterrupted stream of fantastic images of extraordinary plasticity and vividness and accompanied by an intense, kaleidoscopelike play of colors….” Three days later, on April 19, 1943, Dr. Albert Hofmann undertook a self-experiment that both confirmed the results of his earlier psychoactive experience and revealed a fascinating new discovery: Here was the first known substance that produced psychic effects from dosages so tiny they were measurable only in micrograms! Dr. Hofmann had discovered LSD-25. Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) was enthusiastically investigated by the European psychiatric profession as a possible key to the chemical nature of mental illness. Its effects were believed to mimic the psychotic state. As soon as LSD was introduced to American psychiatry in 1950, interest spread rapidly among the United States military and domestic security interests. By the middle 1950s, LSD was being researched as a creativity enhancer and learning stimulant; rumors of its ecstatic, mystic and psychic qualities began to leak out through the writings of Aldous Huxley, Robert Graves and other literary luminaries. A large-scale, non-medical experiment involving LSD and other psychedelic drugs at Harvard in the early Sixties precipitated a fierce controversy over the limits of academic freedom and focused national attention on the drug now known as “acid.” Midway through the turbulent decade, one million people had tried black-market LSD, engendering a neurological revolution the fallout of which has not yet been assessed. In 1966, Congress outlawed LSD. Dr. Hofmann now lives in comfortable retirement on a hill overlooking the Swiss-French border. He granted High Times this exclusive interview to discuss not only the implications of his discovery of LSD, but ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-10
  • Black South African Farmers Struggle To Enter Burgeoning Cannabis Market
    HENNOPS, South Africa (AP) — Stacks of bright green cannabis plants, freshly harvested from nearby hothouses, are expertly sorted on a lab table by workers wearing hygienic gloves and caps who snip the leaves and buds and put them in bins for further processing. Druid’s Garden in Hennops, about 20 miles north of Johannesburg, is a licensed farm which conducts research, legally produces cannabis and other traditional medicinal products for sale in South Africa and international markets. The farm’s founder, Cian McClelland, said one of his aims is to help smaller-scale, black farmers enter South Africa’s potentially lucrative marijuana market. “One of the most important aspects of this industry is for us to find ways to uplift small farmers, particularly black rural farmers,” said McClelland. “We would like to play an active role around the country, in partnership with the Heritage Trust, to help … provide access to these markets.” McClelland knows that rural black farmers, who have grown marijuana traditionally but illegally, are now fighting to benefit from the country’s relaxation of cannabis laws. Following the Constitutional Court’s decision in 2018 to decriminalize the personal use and cultivation of cannabis, South Africa’s cannabis industry could be worth more than $23 billion by 2023, according to a recent report by data collection agency Prohibition Partners. However, there are concerns on the ground that black farmers who have been working for decades in what has been an illegal industry may miss out on the potential boom. Many smaller growers cannot afford to get the licenses needed to grow marijuana for medicinal and research purposes. The stringent requirements include getting police clearances, registering a specified plot size, erecting high-tech security fencing, getting irrigation systems and setting up agreements with overseas buyers, among others. The cost of establishing a legal marijuana farm is estimated to be $200,000 to $350,000, according to a South African agricultural publication, Landbouweekblad. The new marijuana industry could soon be controlled by big pharmaceutical companies, cutting out long-time growers, say agricultural experts. Some successful black farmers like Itumeleng Tau are working to train emerging farmers to grow and process cannabis up to the standards required to obtain medicinal permits. “If an ordinary farmer in the homelands (rural areas) is being required to have two hectares (5 acres) of land or one hectare (2.5 acres), fully fenced, while they have been farming when it was un-fenced and nobody was stealing it, it is quite impractical,” said Tau. Moleboheng Semela, a cannabis activist and general secretary of the Cannabis Development Council, ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-09
  • Black South African Farmers Struggle To Enter Burgeoning Cannabis Market
    HENNOPS, South Africa (AP) — Stacks of bright green cannabis plants, freshly harvested from nearby hothouses, are expertly sorted on a lab table by workers wearing hygienic gloves and caps who snip the leaves and buds and put them in bins for further processing. Druid’s Garden in Hennops, about 20 miles north of Johannesburg, is a licensed farm which conducts research, legally produces cannabis and other traditional medicinal products for sale in South Africa and international markets. The farm’s founder, Cian McClelland, said one of his aims is to help smaller-scale, black farmers enter South Africa’s potentially lucrative marijuana market. “One of the most important aspects of this industry is for us to find ways to uplift small farmers, particularly black rural farmers,” said McClelland. “We would like to play an active role around the country, in partnership with the Heritage Trust, to help … provide access to these markets.” McClelland knows that rural black farmers, who have grown marijuana traditionally but illegally, are now fighting to benefit from the country’s relaxation of cannabis laws. Following the Constitutional Court’s decision in 2018 to decriminalize the personal use and cultivation of cannabis, South Africa’s cannabis industry could be worth more than $23 billion by 2023, according to a recent report by data collection agency Prohibition Partners. However, there are concerns on the ground that black farmers who have been working for decades in what has been an illegal industry may miss out on the potential boom. Many smaller growers cannot afford to get the licenses needed to grow marijuana for medicinal and research purposes. The stringent requirements include getting police clearances, registering a specified plot size, erecting high-tech security fencing, getting irrigation systems and setting up agreements with overseas buyers, among others. The cost of establishing a legal marijuana farm is estimated to be $200,000 to $350,000, according to a South African agricultural publication, Landbouweekblad. The new marijuana industry could soon be controlled by big pharmaceutical companies, cutting out long-time growers, say agricultural experts. Some successful black farmers like Itumeleng Tau are working to train emerging farmers to grow and process cannabis up to the standards required to obtain medicinal permits. “If an ordinary farmer in the homelands (rural areas) is being required to have two hectares (5 acres) of land or one hectare (2.5 acres), fully fenced, while they have been farming when it was un-fenced and nobody was stealing it, it is quite impractical,” said Tau. Moleboheng Semela, a cannabis activist and general secretary of the Cannabis Development Council, ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-09
  • Tennessee Lawmaker Pushing—Again—For Legal Medical Marijuana
    A Tennessee state senator has reintroduced a bill that would legalize the medicinal use of cannabis in the state. The bill, which will be reintroduced in the Tennessee legislature by Republican Sen. Janice Bowling, failed to gain enough support last year. “There are tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans that could benefit from medical cannabis,” said Bowling. Bowling said that constituents in her district have made it clear that they want safer alternatives to dangerous and addictive painkillers. “This is desperately needed in Tennessee, it is desperately needed by the patients, and doctors need an alternative from opioids,” she said. If the bill is passed, it would allow patients with one or more qualifying serious medical conditions and the recommendation of a physician to have access to medical marijuana on a regular basis. The measure would also establish a regulatory framework for the cultivation, processing, distribution, and sale of medical cannabis. Bill Opposed by Law Enforcement While a poll conducted by Middle Tennessee State University in 2018 showed that 81% of the state’s residents favor the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, the idea is opposed by leaders of law enforcement, including David Rausch, the director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. “There is no need in Tennessee to create a new form of medicine overseen and regulated by agriculture,” said Rausch. “I think all of us in Tennessee want farmers farming, we want doctors practicing medicine, and we want lawmakers making people safe and this would negatively impact that.” Two weeks ago, Rausch testified at a legislative budget hearing that cannabis should gain approval at the federal level before it is legalized in the state. “If it is truly for medical purposes then go through the proper way of getting a drug approved to be medicine and that is through the FDA,” said Rausch. “And if they go through that process and the FDA approves it as medicine we are out of the way.” Bowling, who was once against the legalization of medical marijuana herself, hopes to convince those opposed to medical marijuana that legalization would benefit Tennessee. On Thursday, she plans to host a special meeting with the leaders of law enforcement to discuss the measure. “I was totally against it myself when it was brought up in Tennessee two years ago,” said Bowling. “This is desperately needed in Tennessee, It is desperately needed by patients, and doctors need an alternative from opioids, opioids, opioids.” Although Bowling’s bill wasn’t approved by Tennessee legislators last ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-09
  • Seattle-Based Marijuana Delivery Service Could Be Using Drones Soon
    In an effort to save money on logistical costs, a cannabis company has announced its plans to deliver product to Seattle businesses with drones. The high-flying partnership was publicized last month by GRN Holding Corporation, which is carrying out the plan by purchasing the aggressively-named Bellevue, Washington company Squad Drone. The drones could be hoisting marijuana above your head for test deliveries as quickly as February or March. “We anticipate the entire industry will adopt this where applicable,” said GRN Holding Corporation CEO Justin Costello in a December press statement, which estimates that the drones will dramatically cut down on the costs associated with getting cannabis to where it needs to go. “All the flights will be monitored by a command center in Seattle and operated by a licensed pilot,” Costello continued. “We expect hiring about 20 employees in the various cities to hook the drones into charge ports, calibrate them, and ensure the safety totes and computer systems pass flight requirements.” The company is not the first to announce that it will be dabbling in drones to deliver products. Drones have already been delivering snacks and healthcare products in Christianburg, Virginia, as well as in countries such as Australia and Finalnd. Amazon has been forecasting drone deliveries for years via its so-called Prime Air program. The mega corporation says that the air system will shave time off its deliveries to customers. Are Drones More Environmentally Friendly? Drones have been hyped as an environmentally friendly alternative to ground deliveries, but the reality is that the veracity of the statement depends on certain factors. For one, where the energy comes from that is required to charge their batteries. They also may be more environmentally effective in certain types of delivery networks. Studies have shown that trucks, for example, may consume less energy when serving product to densely located destinations. MarketWatch reports that GRN Holding has been in the process of testing and customizing six drones over the past year. The machines will be able to manage 40 kilograms of product, and are equipped to operate over a range of 10 kilometers, courtesy of a “GPS navigation system and digital signature interface.” Currently, the drones are slated to distribute to other businesses, not individual customers. And yes, they’ll be able to take businesses’ money, thanks to the installation of an iPad with CannaTrac’s cashless payment system. “Basically the cost to run and operate a drone is 1/10th of a van or sprinter,” said CannaTrac CEO Tom Gavin. “So this is not some ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-09
 
  • People Who Live In States Where Cannabis Is Legal Have More Sex, Study Finds
    If cannabis gets you in the mood, you’re not alone — science says so. A study whose findings were recently released by the University of Connecticut and Georgia State University found that in states where medical marijuana was legalized, the rate of sexual activity went up. The study’s co-author, University of Connecticut assistant professor David Simon, told Yahoo News that he wasn’t ready to comment on whether this finding was a good or bad thing but, “Regardless, we believe it should be something society/policy makers consider as part of the conversation on legalization.” But wait, there’s more! In those same states with medical cannabis regulation, there was an uptick in birth rates by a mean of two percent, and a drop in the use of contraceptives while having sex.  Also — attention, please! — medical marijuana legalization may be associated with a year one uptick in a state’s gonorrhea rates.  Does Legal Bud Lead to Babies? The states that were studied had regulated medicinal cannabis between 2005 and 2014, and the study specifically analyzed the sexual and reproductive behavior of people in their 20s and 30s.  The increase in babies being born was enough to counteract what has sometimes been identified as a negative correlation between cannabis usage and the ability for couples to get pregnant and have a healthy neonatal period.  The study’s co-author, University of Connecticut assistant professor David Simon, told Yahoo News that the surge in baby-making could be due to weed’s positive effects on people’s lives. The academic said that cannabis “treats chronic pain, improves life satisfaction, and decreases opioid abuse, it could result in heightened libidos/improved sex life.” These findings would point to cannabis influencing birth rates positively through behavioral effects. But the jury is still out on whether biologically, marijuana has a positive or negative impact on fertility. Some studies have suggested that using marijuana causes a drop in sperm count (though some have indicated the reverse) and can be a hurdle for couples that are already experiencing challenges with being able to have a baby. Some investigations have concluded that cannabis can make it difficult for people with uteruses to produce certain hormones that aid in the baby-making process. Others have found that CBD can be helpful to pregnant people.  Lack of scientific consensus aside, the US government has decided where it stands, at least when it comes to pregnant people. Last August, Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams cautioned those with a bun in the oven to avoid using cannabis at a press conference. Joining him ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-10
  • People Who Live In States Where Cannabis Is Legal Have More Sex, Study Finds
    If cannabis gets you in the mood, you’re not alone — science says so. A study whose findings were recently released by the University of Connecticut and Georgia State University found that in states where medical marijuana was legalized, the rate of sexual activity went up. The study’s co-author, University of Connecticut assistant professor David Simon, told Yahoo News that he wasn’t ready to comment on whether this finding was a good or bad thing but, “Regardless, we believe it should be something society/policy makers consider as part of the conversation on legalization.” But wait, there’s more! In those same states with medical cannabis regulation, there was an uptick in birth rates by a mean of two percent, and a drop in the use of contraceptives while having sex.  Also — attention, please! — medical marijuana legalization may be associated with a year one uptick in a state’s gonorrhea rates.  Does Legal Bud Lead to Babies? The states that were studied had regulated medicinal cannabis between 2005 and 2014, and the study specifically analyzed the sexual and reproductive behavior of people in their 20s and 30s.  The increase in babies being born was enough to counteract what has sometimes been identified as a negative correlation between cannabis usage and the ability for couples to get pregnant and have a healthy neonatal period.  The study’s co-author, University of Connecticut assistant professor David Simon, told Yahoo News that the surge in baby-making could be due to weed’s positive effects on people’s lives. The academic said that cannabis “treats chronic pain, improves life satisfaction, and decreases opioid abuse, it could result in heightened libidos/improved sex life.” These findings would point to cannabis influencing birth rates positively through behavioral effects. But the jury is still out on whether biologically, marijuana has a positive or negative impact on fertility. Some studies have suggested that using marijuana causes a drop in sperm count (though some have indicated the reverse) and can be a hurdle for couples that are already experiencing challenges with being able to have a baby. Some investigations have concluded that cannabis can make it difficult for people with uteruses to produce certain hormones that aid in the baby-making process. Others have found that CBD can be helpful to pregnant people.  Lack of scientific consensus aside, the US government has decided where it stands, at least when it comes to pregnant people. Last August, Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams cautioned those with a bun in the oven to avoid using cannabis at a press conference. Joining him ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-10
  • New Hampshire House Approves Bills To Expand Medical Marijuana Program
    The New Hampshire House of Representatives passed two bills on Wednesday to expand access to medical marijuana for patients. However, a broader bill that would have gone further to expand access died in the state Senate. The House voted to add insomnia and opioid use disorder to the state’s list of serious medical conditions that qualify a patient to use medicinal cannabis. The addition of opioid use disorder includes several restrictive provisions, such as one that requires certifying providers to have specialized training in the treatment of addiction. Earlier versions of the legislation passed by lawmakers on Wednesday included provisions that also would have added Lyme disease and anxiety to the state’s list of qualifying conditions, but they did not make it to the final draft of the bill. Also on Wednesday, the New Hampshire Senate voted down legislation that would have broadly expanded the state’s medical marijuana program. Under that bill, patients would have been able to receive a recommendation to use medical marijuana for any condition for which such treatment is deemed necessary by a health care provider. The Senate also voted to call for more study of a bill that would legalize cannabis for use by adults 21 and older. That bill would have legalized the recreational use of marijuana and established a framework for the regulation and taxation of commercial cannabis production and sales. Current Cannabis Laws In New Hampshire Under current New Hampshire law, the possession of cannabis has been decriminalized for adults. Those 18 and older found in possession of less than three quarters of an ounce of marijuana can be cited for a violation and fined up to $100. The fine is increased on the third and fourth offense. The medicinal use of cannabis was legalized in New Hampshire in 2013. Under current law, patients with one or more specified serious medical conditions are permitted to use medical marijuana with a physician’s recommendation. Qualified patients are permitted to possess up to two ounces of medical marijuana. Home cultivation of cannabis by patients is currently not permitted. Last year, a bill that would have permitted qualified medical marijuana patients to grow their own cannabis at home was approved by the New Hampshire legislature but vetoed by Gov. Chris Sununu in August. The House voted to override the veto but that effort failed in the Senate, falling short by only three votes. The list of qualifying conditions to use medical marijuana in New Hampshire is currently limited to ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, cachexia, cancer, chemotherapy-induced anorexia, ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-10
  • New Hampshire House Approves Bills To Expand Medical Marijuana Program
    The New Hampshire House of Representatives passed two bills on Wednesday to expand access to medical marijuana for patients. However, a broader bill that would have gone further to expand access died in the state Senate. The House voted to add insomnia and opioid use disorder to the state’s list of serious medical conditions that qualify a patient to use medicinal cannabis. The addition of opioid use disorder includes several restrictive provisions, such as one that requires certifying providers to have specialized training in the treatment of addiction. Earlier versions of the legislation passed by lawmakers on Wednesday included provisions that also would have added Lyme disease and anxiety to the state’s list of qualifying conditions, but they did not make it to the final draft of the bill. Also on Wednesday, the New Hampshire Senate voted down legislation that would have broadly expanded the state’s medical marijuana program. Under that bill, patients would have been able to receive a recommendation to use medical marijuana for any condition for which such treatment is deemed necessary by a health care provider. The Senate also voted to call for more study of a bill that would legalize cannabis for use by adults 21 and older. That bill would have legalized the recreational use of marijuana and established a framework for the regulation and taxation of commercial cannabis production and sales. Current Cannabis Laws In New Hampshire Under current New Hampshire law, the possession of cannabis has been decriminalized for adults. Those 18 and older found in possession of less than three quarters of an ounce of marijuana can be cited for a violation and fined up to $100. The fine is increased on the third and fourth offense. The medicinal use of cannabis was legalized in New Hampshire in 2013. Under current law, patients with one or more specified serious medical conditions are permitted to use medical marijuana with a physician’s recommendation. Qualified patients are permitted to possess up to two ounces of medical marijuana. Home cultivation of cannabis by patients is currently not permitted. Last year, a bill that would have permitted qualified medical marijuana patients to grow their own cannabis at home was approved by the New Hampshire legislature but vetoed by Gov. Chris Sununu in August. The House voted to override the veto but that effort failed in the Senate, falling short by only three votes. The list of qualifying conditions to use medical marijuana in New Hampshire is currently limited to ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, cachexia, cancer, chemotherapy-induced anorexia, ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-10
  • Governor Of Virginia Wants To Decriminalize Simple Cannabis Possession
    Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is heading into the third year of his term in office. And during his annual State of the Commonwealth speech on Wednesday, Gov. Northam called on lawmakers to decriminalize simple cannabis possession. While hesitant to embrace the more progressive marijuana policy reforms Democratic lawmakers in Virginia’s Assembly have proposed, like recreational legalization, Northam has remained committed to his campaign pledge to decriminalize marijuana and expunge possession convictions. Still, the governor’s remarks Wednesday mark the first time Northam has directly called on the General Assembly to pass a decriminalization measure. Gov. Northam to Virginia Lawmakers: Decriminalize Possession Now Despite recent and significant changes to its medical cannabis program, Virginia has struggled to make any progress reforming its strict, punitive laws against marijuana. In Virginia, simply possessing any amount of cannabis is a Class I misdemeanor carrying a maximum 30 day jail sentence. Beyond that, any subsequent possession offense ratchets up the penalty to a year behind bars and a $2,500 fine. And that’s all for possession of less than half an ounce of cannabis. Anything above half an ounce counts as sale, manufacture or trafficking—a felony charge carrying a one to 10 year prison sentence. With laws like that on the books, no wonder Virginia’s jails and prisons are overcrowded with non-violent drug offenders. And that was exactly Gov. Northam’s point when he called on Virginia lawmakers to decriminalize simple cannabis possession. “We want to keep people safe,” Northam said in his Wednesday State of the Commonwealth speech before the General Assembly. “But we shouldn’t use valuable law enforcement time, or costly prison space, on laws that don’t enhance public safety.” Virginia Governor Centers Cannabis in 2020 Push for Criminal Justice Reforms In a separate policy address last week, Gov. Northam made cannabis policy a centerpiece of his 2020 criminal justice reform agenda. At the heart of that agenda are initiatives aimed at decriminalizing misdemeanor possession, expunging the criminal records of people with prior marijuana possession convictions and ending the policy of suspending driver’s licenses as a punishment for drug offenses or failure to pay fines and court fees. Instead, Gov. Northam called for treating simple marijuana possession as a civil infraction with a $50 fine. The governor cited racial disparities in marijuana arrests and convictions as another significant reason for pursuing decriminalization and expungement. “We need to take an honest look at our criminal justice system to make sure we’re treating people fairly and using taxpayer dollars wisely,” Northam said. Northam’s ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-10
  • Governor Of Virginia Wants To Decriminalize Simple Cannabis Possession
    Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is heading into the third year of his term in office. And during his annual State of the Commonwealth speech on Wednesday, Gov. Northam called on lawmakers to decriminalize simple cannabis possession. While hesitant to embrace the more progressive marijuana policy reforms Democratic lawmakers in Virginia’s Assembly have proposed, like recreational legalization, Northam has remained committed to his campaign pledge to decriminalize marijuana and expunge possession convictions. Still, the governor’s remarks Wednesday mark the first time Northam has directly called on the General Assembly to pass a decriminalization measure. Gov. Northam to Virginia Lawmakers: Decriminalize Possession Now Despite recent and significant changes to its medical cannabis program, Virginia has struggled to make any progress reforming its strict, punitive laws against marijuana. In Virginia, simply possessing any amount of cannabis is a Class I misdemeanor carrying a maximum 30 day jail sentence. Beyond that, any subsequent possession offense ratchets up the penalty to a year behind bars and a $2,500 fine. And that’s all for possession of less than half an ounce of cannabis. Anything above half an ounce counts as sale, manufacture or trafficking—a felony charge carrying a one to 10 year prison sentence. With laws like that on the books, no wonder Virginia’s jails and prisons are overcrowded with non-violent drug offenders. And that was exactly Gov. Northam’s point when he called on Virginia lawmakers to decriminalize simple cannabis possession. “We want to keep people safe,” Northam said in his Wednesday State of the Commonwealth speech before the General Assembly. “But we shouldn’t use valuable law enforcement time, or costly prison space, on laws that don’t enhance public safety.” Virginia Governor Centers Cannabis in 2020 Push for Criminal Justice Reforms In a separate policy address last week, Gov. Northam made cannabis policy a centerpiece of his 2020 criminal justice reform agenda. At the heart of that agenda are initiatives aimed at decriminalizing misdemeanor possession, expunging the criminal records of people with prior marijuana possession convictions and ending the policy of suspending driver’s licenses as a punishment for drug offenses or failure to pay fines and court fees. Instead, Gov. Northam called for treating simple marijuana possession as a civil infraction with a $50 fine. The governor cited racial disparities in marijuana arrests and convictions as another significant reason for pursuing decriminalization and expungement. “We need to take an honest look at our criminal justice system to make sure we’re treating people fairly and using taxpayer dollars wisely,” Northam said. Northam’s ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-10
  • Maine Governor Grants Posthumous Pardon To Tribal Lawyer Convicted Of Possession
    PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A tribal attorney arrested for possessing marijuana while fighting for Passamaquoddy tribe land rights in 1968 was granted a posthumous pardon on Tuesday. Democratic Gov. Janet Mills had tears in her eyes after signing the pardon for the late Don Gellers on Tuesday, telling a group including tribal leaders that justice “was a long time coming.” Mills’ office said it is believed to be the first posthumous pardon issued in the state. Supporters of Gellers, who died five years ago, contend law enforcement officers arrested him in 1968 to quash his tribal land claims and advocacy for the tribe. Gellers’ early work laid the groundwork for Maine’s tribal land claims settlement act, which happened in 1980. “There’s merit to the idea that he was singled out and basically targeted,” the governor told reporters. The facts of the case were unusual. The attorney general prosecuted Gellers under a felony statute that derailed his legal career after police found six marijuana cigarettes in his home. The felony conviction stood even though lawmakers had made minor possession a misdemeanor by the time of his appeal and his disbarment from the legal profession in Maine, Mills said. The Portland Press Herald called attention to the circumstances surrounding Gellers’ fall from grace in a 2014 series, “Unsettled: Triumph and tragedy in Maine’s Indian country.” Gellers was denied a new trial even after a prominent Boston attorney said a state prosecutor, John Kelly, told him Gellers had been set up, the newspaper reported. Kelly told the newspaper that he didn’t remember the events that way but agreed that law enforcement officers were out to get Gellers. After his legal appeals were exhausted, Gellers informed the state attorney general that he was emigrating to Israel, where he adopted his Hebrew birth name, Tuvia Ben-Shmuel-Yosef. He fought and was wounded in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. Later, he studied to become a rabbi and moved to New York City. He died in 2014 at age 78. “While this pardon cannot undo the many adverse consequences that this conviction had upon Mr. Gellers’ life, it can bestow formal forgiveness for his violation of law and remove the stigma of that conviction,” the governor said Tuesday. Joining the governor at the ceremony were Donna Loring, a Penobscot Indian who serves as her senior adviser on trial affairs, Passamaquoddy Vice Chief Darrell Newell from Indian Township, and Rena Newell, Passamaquoddy representative in the Legislature. “People even today are respectful for him being an advocate for native folks,” ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-10
  • Maine Governor Grants Posthumous Pardon To Tribal Lawyer Convicted Of Possession
    PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A tribal attorney arrested for possessing marijuana while fighting for Passamaquoddy tribe land rights in 1968 was granted a posthumous pardon on Tuesday. Democratic Gov. Janet Mills had tears in her eyes after signing the pardon for the late Don Gellers on Tuesday, telling a group including tribal leaders that justice “was a long time coming.” Mills’ office said it is believed to be the first posthumous pardon issued in the state. Supporters of Gellers, who died five years ago, contend law enforcement officers arrested him in 1968 to quash his tribal land claims and advocacy for the tribe. Gellers’ early work laid the groundwork for Maine’s tribal land claims settlement act, which happened in 1980. “There’s merit to the idea that he was singled out and basically targeted,” the governor told reporters. The facts of the case were unusual. The attorney general prosecuted Gellers under a felony statute that derailed his legal career after police found six marijuana cigarettes in his home. The felony conviction stood even though lawmakers had made minor possession a misdemeanor by the time of his appeal and his disbarment from the legal profession in Maine, Mills said. The Portland Press Herald called attention to the circumstances surrounding Gellers’ fall from grace in a 2014 series, “Unsettled: Triumph and tragedy in Maine’s Indian country.” Gellers was denied a new trial even after a prominent Boston attorney said a state prosecutor, John Kelly, told him Gellers had been set up, the newspaper reported. Kelly told the newspaper that he didn’t remember the events that way but agreed that law enforcement officers were out to get Gellers. After his legal appeals were exhausted, Gellers informed the state attorney general that he was emigrating to Israel, where he adopted his Hebrew birth name, Tuvia Ben-Shmuel-Yosef. He fought and was wounded in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. Later, he studied to become a rabbi and moved to New York City. He died in 2014 at age 78. “While this pardon cannot undo the many adverse consequences that this conviction had upon Mr. Gellers’ life, it can bestow formal forgiveness for his violation of law and remove the stigma of that conviction,” the governor said Tuesday. Joining the governor at the ceremony were Donna Loring, a Penobscot Indian who serves as her senior adviser on trial affairs, Passamaquoddy Vice Chief Darrell Newell from Indian Township, and Rena Newell, Passamaquoddy representative in the Legislature. “People even today are respectful for him being an advocate for native folks,” ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-10
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Calls For Legalization Of Recreational Cannabis
    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo used his annual State of the State address Wednesday to advocate for a mix of “practical” progressive goals and urgent responsibilities, including waging war on hate crimes, spending $3 billion on environmental protection and legalizing recreational marijuana. The third-term Democrat touted past achievements and trumpeted a long list of policy initiatives, many of which he previewed in a series of announcements over the past month. Cuomo also stressed the need for fiscal restraint, with the state staring at a $6 billion budget gap, caused largely by soaring Medicaid spending. The agenda Cuomo outlined in the speech includes plans for expanding anti-discrimination protections in the state constitution, an overhaul for New York City’s Penn Station and a proposed ban on foam food containers. Cuomo also outlined another ban that would cover marketing flavored e-cigarettes to children, initiatives intended to lower the cost of prescription drugs, guaranteed paid sick leave time for more New York workers and expanded universal pre-kindergarten. “New York at her best is the progressive capitol of the nation, and we must fulfill that destiny again this year,” Cuomo said. Cuomo delivered his address at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in downtown Albany to an audience of members of the Legislature and top politicians from around the state. The speech kicked off a legislative session running through June 2. The governor’s address comes after several episodes of violence targeting Jewish people, including an attack by a man who stormed inside the home of a Monsey rabbi, Chaim Rottenberg, and stabbed five people at a Hanukkah celebration. Rottenberg delivered a blessing before Cuomo’s address and called for tolerance. “I will never forget the horror of that night,” Rottenberg said. “But I will also never forget how we continue to celebrate after that day, how we continue to rejoice in the miracle of Hanukkah. I will never forget the resilience on display that night and in the following days, the resilience of Jewish people and the resilience of New York.” Cuomo is proposing a new law targeted at domestic terrorism and said New York would be the first state in the U.S. to enact such legislation. The new law would apply to crimes in which at least one person died and victims were targeted by their race, religion and gender, among other topics. Cuomo called the attack “intolerable” and pledged the state won’t stand for it. “They attacked me, and they attacked you,” Cuomo said. “These are the times, my friends, ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-10
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Calls For Legalization Of Recreational Cannabis
    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo used his annual State of the State address Wednesday to advocate for a mix of “practical” progressive goals and urgent responsibilities, including waging war on hate crimes, spending $3 billion on environmental protection and legalizing recreational marijuana. The third-term Democrat touted past achievements and trumpeted a long list of policy initiatives, many of which he previewed in a series of announcements over the past month. Cuomo also stressed the need for fiscal restraint, with the state staring at a $6 billion budget gap, caused largely by soaring Medicaid spending. The agenda Cuomo outlined in the speech includes plans for expanding anti-discrimination protections in the state constitution, an overhaul for New York City’s Penn Station and a proposed ban on foam food containers. Cuomo also outlined another ban that would cover marketing flavored e-cigarettes to children, initiatives intended to lower the cost of prescription drugs, guaranteed paid sick leave time for more New York workers and expanded universal pre-kindergarten. “New York at her best is the progressive capitol of the nation, and we must fulfill that destiny again this year,” Cuomo said. Cuomo delivered his address at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in downtown Albany to an audience of members of the Legislature and top politicians from around the state. The speech kicked off a legislative session running through June 2. The governor’s address comes after several episodes of violence targeting Jewish people, including an attack by a man who stormed inside the home of a Monsey rabbi, Chaim Rottenberg, and stabbed five people at a Hanukkah celebration. Rottenberg delivered a blessing before Cuomo’s address and called for tolerance. “I will never forget the horror of that night,” Rottenberg said. “But I will also never forget how we continue to celebrate after that day, how we continue to rejoice in the miracle of Hanukkah. I will never forget the resilience on display that night and in the following days, the resilience of Jewish people and the resilience of New York.” Cuomo is proposing a new law targeted at domestic terrorism and said New York would be the first state in the U.S. to enact such legislation. The new law would apply to crimes in which at least one person died and victims were targeted by their race, religion and gender, among other topics. Cuomo called the attack “intolerable” and pledged the state won’t stand for it. “They attacked me, and they attacked you,” Cuomo said. “These are the times, my friends, ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-10
  • High Times Greats: Interview With Albert Hofmann, The Man Who First Synthesized LSD
    Swiss scientist Albert Hofmann was born January 11, 1906 and died April 29, 2008. In an exclusive interview published in the July, 1976 edition of High Times, Hofmann looked back at his illustrious career. At the height of World War II, four months after the first artificially created nuclear reaction was released in a pile of uranium ore in Chicago, an accidentally absorbed trace of a seminatural rye fungus product quietly exploded in the brain of a 37-year-old Swiss chemist working at the Sandoz research laboratories in Basel. He reported to his supervisor: “I was forced to stop my work in the laboratory in the middle of the afternoon and to go home, as I was seized by a peculiar restlessness associated with a sensation of mild dizziness … a kind of drunkenness which was not unpleasant and which was characterized by extreme activity of imagination … there surged upon me an uninterrupted stream of fantastic images of extraordinary plasticity and vividness and accompanied by an intense, kaleidoscopelike play of colors….” Three days later, on April 19, 1943, Dr. Albert Hofmann undertook a self-experiment that both confirmed the results of his earlier psychoactive experience and revealed a fascinating new discovery: Here was the first known substance that produced psychic effects from dosages so tiny they were measurable only in micrograms! Dr. Hofmann had discovered LSD-25. Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) was enthusiastically investigated by the European psychiatric profession as a possible key to the chemical nature of mental illness. Its effects were believed to mimic the psychotic state. As soon as LSD was introduced to American psychiatry in 1950, interest spread rapidly among the United States military and domestic security interests. By the middle 1950s, LSD was being researched as a creativity enhancer and learning stimulant; rumors of its ecstatic, mystic and psychic qualities began to leak out through the writings of Aldous Huxley, Robert Graves and other literary luminaries. A large-scale, non-medical experiment involving LSD and other psychedelic drugs at Harvard in the early Sixties precipitated a fierce controversy over the limits of academic freedom and focused national attention on the drug now known as “acid.” Midway through the turbulent decade, one million people had tried black-market LSD, engendering a neurological revolution the fallout of which has not yet been assessed. In 1966, Congress outlawed LSD. Dr. Hofmann now lives in comfortable retirement on a hill overlooking the Swiss-French border. He granted High Times this exclusive interview to discuss not only the implications of his discovery of LSD, but ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-10
  • Black South African Farmers Struggle To Enter Burgeoning Cannabis Market
    HENNOPS, South Africa (AP) — Stacks of bright green cannabis plants, freshly harvested from nearby hothouses, are expertly sorted on a lab table by workers wearing hygienic gloves and caps who snip the leaves and buds and put them in bins for further processing. Druid’s Garden in Hennops, about 20 miles north of Johannesburg, is a licensed farm which conducts research, legally produces cannabis and other traditional medicinal products for sale in South Africa and international markets. The farm’s founder, Cian McClelland, said one of his aims is to help smaller-scale, black farmers enter South Africa’s potentially lucrative marijuana market. “One of the most important aspects of this industry is for us to find ways to uplift small farmers, particularly black rural farmers,” said McClelland. “We would like to play an active role around the country, in partnership with the Heritage Trust, to help … provide access to these markets.” McClelland knows that rural black farmers, who have grown marijuana traditionally but illegally, are now fighting to benefit from the country’s relaxation of cannabis laws. Following the Constitutional Court’s decision in 2018 to decriminalize the personal use and cultivation of cannabis, South Africa’s cannabis industry could be worth more than $23 billion by 2023, according to a recent report by data collection agency Prohibition Partners. However, there are concerns on the ground that black farmers who have been working for decades in what has been an illegal industry may miss out on the potential boom. Many smaller growers cannot afford to get the licenses needed to grow marijuana for medicinal and research purposes. The stringent requirements include getting police clearances, registering a specified plot size, erecting high-tech security fencing, getting irrigation systems and setting up agreements with overseas buyers, among others. The cost of establishing a legal marijuana farm is estimated to be $200,000 to $350,000, according to a South African agricultural publication, Landbouweekblad. The new marijuana industry could soon be controlled by big pharmaceutical companies, cutting out long-time growers, say agricultural experts. Some successful black farmers like Itumeleng Tau are working to train emerging farmers to grow and process cannabis up to the standards required to obtain medicinal permits. “If an ordinary farmer in the homelands (rural areas) is being required to have two hectares (5 acres) of land or one hectare (2.5 acres), fully fenced, while they have been farming when it was un-fenced and nobody was stealing it, it is quite impractical,” said Tau. Moleboheng Semela, a cannabis activist and general secretary of the Cannabis Development Council, ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-09
  • Black South African Farmers Struggle To Enter Burgeoning Cannabis Market
    HENNOPS, South Africa (AP) — Stacks of bright green cannabis plants, freshly harvested from nearby hothouses, are expertly sorted on a lab table by workers wearing hygienic gloves and caps who snip the leaves and buds and put them in bins for further processing. Druid’s Garden in Hennops, about 20 miles north of Johannesburg, is a licensed farm which conducts research, legally produces cannabis and other traditional medicinal products for sale in South Africa and international markets. The farm’s founder, Cian McClelland, said one of his aims is to help smaller-scale, black farmers enter South Africa’s potentially lucrative marijuana market. “One of the most important aspects of this industry is for us to find ways to uplift small farmers, particularly black rural farmers,” said McClelland. “We would like to play an active role around the country, in partnership with the Heritage Trust, to help … provide access to these markets.” McClelland knows that rural black farmers, who have grown marijuana traditionally but illegally, are now fighting to benefit from the country’s relaxation of cannabis laws. Following the Constitutional Court’s decision in 2018 to decriminalize the personal use and cultivation of cannabis, South Africa’s cannabis industry could be worth more than $23 billion by 2023, according to a recent report by data collection agency Prohibition Partners. However, there are concerns on the ground that black farmers who have been working for decades in what has been an illegal industry may miss out on the potential boom. Many smaller growers cannot afford to get the licenses needed to grow marijuana for medicinal and research purposes. The stringent requirements include getting police clearances, registering a specified plot size, erecting high-tech security fencing, getting irrigation systems and setting up agreements with overseas buyers, among others. The cost of establishing a legal marijuana farm is estimated to be $200,000 to $350,000, according to a South African agricultural publication, Landbouweekblad. The new marijuana industry could soon be controlled by big pharmaceutical companies, cutting out long-time growers, say agricultural experts. Some successful black farmers like Itumeleng Tau are working to train emerging farmers to grow and process cannabis up to the standards required to obtain medicinal permits. “If an ordinary farmer in the homelands (rural areas) is being required to have two hectares (5 acres) of land or one hectare (2.5 acres), fully fenced, while they have been farming when it was un-fenced and nobody was stealing it, it is quite impractical,” said Tau. Moleboheng Semela, a cannabis activist and general secretary of the Cannabis Development Council, ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-09
  • Tennessee Lawmaker Pushing—Again—For Legal Medical Marijuana
    A Tennessee state senator has reintroduced a bill that would legalize the medicinal use of cannabis in the state. The bill, which will be reintroduced in the Tennessee legislature by Republican Sen. Janice Bowling, failed to gain enough support last year. “There are tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans that could benefit from medical cannabis,” said Bowling. Bowling said that constituents in her district have made it clear that they want safer alternatives to dangerous and addictive painkillers. “This is desperately needed in Tennessee, it is desperately needed by the patients, and doctors need an alternative from opioids,” she said. If the bill is passed, it would allow patients with one or more qualifying serious medical conditions and the recommendation of a physician to have access to medical marijuana on a regular basis. The measure would also establish a regulatory framework for the cultivation, processing, distribution, and sale of medical cannabis. Bill Opposed by Law Enforcement While a poll conducted by Middle Tennessee State University in 2018 showed that 81% of the state’s residents favor the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, the idea is opposed by leaders of law enforcement, including David Rausch, the director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. “There is no need in Tennessee to create a new form of medicine overseen and regulated by agriculture,” said Rausch. “I think all of us in Tennessee want farmers farming, we want doctors practicing medicine, and we want lawmakers making people safe and this would negatively impact that.” Two weeks ago, Rausch testified at a legislative budget hearing that cannabis should gain approval at the federal level before it is legalized in the state. “If it is truly for medical purposes then go through the proper way of getting a drug approved to be medicine and that is through the FDA,” said Rausch. “And if they go through that process and the FDA approves it as medicine we are out of the way.” Bowling, who was once against the legalization of medical marijuana herself, hopes to convince those opposed to medical marijuana that legalization would benefit Tennessee. On Thursday, she plans to host a special meeting with the leaders of law enforcement to discuss the measure. “I was totally against it myself when it was brought up in Tennessee two years ago,” said Bowling. “This is desperately needed in Tennessee, It is desperately needed by patients, and doctors need an alternative from opioids, opioids, opioids.” Although Bowling’s bill wasn’t approved by Tennessee legislators last ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-09
  • Seattle-Based Marijuana Delivery Service Could Be Using Drones Soon
    In an effort to save money on logistical costs, a cannabis company has announced its plans to deliver product to Seattle businesses with drones. The high-flying partnership was publicized last month by GRN Holding Corporation, which is carrying out the plan by purchasing the aggressively-named Bellevue, Washington company Squad Drone. The drones could be hoisting marijuana above your head for test deliveries as quickly as February or March. “We anticipate the entire industry will adopt this where applicable,” said GRN Holding Corporation CEO Justin Costello in a December press statement, which estimates that the drones will dramatically cut down on the costs associated with getting cannabis to where it needs to go. “All the flights will be monitored by a command center in Seattle and operated by a licensed pilot,” Costello continued. “We expect hiring about 20 employees in the various cities to hook the drones into charge ports, calibrate them, and ensure the safety totes and computer systems pass flight requirements.” The company is not the first to announce that it will be dabbling in drones to deliver products. Drones have already been delivering snacks and healthcare products in Christianburg, Virginia, as well as in countries such as Australia and Finalnd. Amazon has been forecasting drone deliveries for years via its so-called Prime Air program. The mega corporation says that the air system will shave time off its deliveries to customers. Are Drones More Environmentally Friendly? Drones have been hyped as an environmentally friendly alternative to ground deliveries, but the reality is that the veracity of the statement depends on certain factors. For one, where the energy comes from that is required to charge their batteries. They also may be more environmentally effective in certain types of delivery networks. Studies have shown that trucks, for example, may consume less energy when serving product to densely located destinations. MarketWatch reports that GRN Holding has been in the process of testing and customizing six drones over the past year. The machines will be able to manage 40 kilograms of product, and are equipped to operate over a range of 10 kilometers, courtesy of a “GPS navigation system and digital signature interface.” Currently, the drones are slated to distribute to other businesses, not individual customers. And yes, they’ll be able to take businesses’ money, thanks to the installation of an iPad with CannaTrac’s cashless payment system. “Basically the cost to run and operate a drone is 1/10th of a van or sprinter,” said CannaTrac CEO Tom Gavin. “So this is not some ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-09