• Surgeon General Issues Cannabis Warning To Teens And Pregnant People
    The United States surgeon general issued an advisory on Thursday to warn pregnant people and teens about the risks of cannabis use. In the notice, Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams warns that the THC potency of marijuana has increased over the years, especially with the advent of powerful cannabis concentrates. “The scary truth is that the actual potential for harm has increased,” Adams said at a press conference with health officials from the Trump administration on Thursday. “This ain’t your mother’s marijuana.” Adams said that the potency of cannabis available in the United States has increased from about 4 percent THC 20 years ago to levels of 12 percent to 25 percent THC today. Cannabis concentrates can contain more than 75 percent THC, according to the advisory. Cannabis, he said, is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. Dangers Of Cannabis Use By Teens Adams said that with the legalization of cannabis in one form or another in 33 states, the perceived level of risk posed by marijuana use, especially by young people, has gone down. Research has shown, however, that there could be some negative health effects from cannabis use by adolescents. Young people who regularly use marijuana are “more likely to show a decline in IQ and school performance [and] are more apt to miss classes,” Adams told NPR. The surgeon general also noted that cannabis use by young people poses a risk of addiction. “Nearly 1 in 5 people who begin marijuana use during adolescence become addicted,” Adams said. “That’s scary to me as the dad of a 15-, a 13- and a 9-year-old.” Dr. Elinore F. McCance-Katz, assistant secretary for mental health and substance use for the Department of Health and Human Services, said that a potential connection between cannabis use and an increased rate of major depression in adolescents is a cause for concern. “While we cannot say that marijuana is causal of those things, when you look at the increased trend, it is quite concerning,” said McCance-Katz. Use During Pregnancy May Also Be Risky Adams also warned about the potential dangers of cannabis use during pregnancy, which include low birth weight, an increased chance of preterm birth, and developmental disabilities in children. Between 2002 and 2017 in a national survey, the use of marijuana in the past month by pregnant people doubled from 3.4 percent to 7 percent. And in a survey by a large national health system, cannabis use by pregnant people rose from 4.2 percent ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-08-30
  • Illinois Gives First ‘Same-Site’ Cannabis Dispensary Licenses to 5 Dispensaries
    The first five recreational cannabis dispensary licenses have been announced in Illinois. The same publicly-traded corporation snapped them all up: Green Thumb Industries, which has licenses to sell adult-use marijuana at five of its seven locations that are currently focused on selling medical cannabis in Mundelein, Joliet, Naperville, Canton, and Effingham. Green Thumb Industries is headquartered in Chicago and operates 95 retail locations and 13 manufacturing industries across Illinois. Earlier this week it reported that its revenue during the last business quarter was up 228 percent from the same time period last year. “GTI is thrilled that our five stores received the state of Illinois’ first approvals for ‘same-site’ adult use cannabis licenses,” Linda Marsicano, spokesperson for the company, told a local news site. “We look forward to continuing the excellent partnerships we have in the communities we serve across the state.” Illinois’ first recreational licensing announcement sets an early tone for an industry that is largely centered on larger corporations, though that might be disproved depending on the next businesses to which the state grants licenses to sell cannabis. Perhaps to counteract this impression, Green Thumb has announced plans to form what it calls the Illinois Social Equity License Application Assistance Program, a consultation program geared toward cannabis entrepreneurs of color and others who have been unfairly targeted by law enforcement’s war on drugs. The five Green Thumb Industries locations in question may now sell recreational cannabis at the same site, as well as open another location that is dedicated to sales of such adult-use cannabis. Of course, that’s if the towns in which they are located give them the go-ahead. The country’s first successful piece of cannabis legalization legislation, which passed in Illinois earlier this year (other states have legalized weed through voter referendum), ensured that local municipalities not only had the power to establish their own cannabis tax (up to three percent) but also to veto recreational marijuana in their jurisdiction — even if they are currently the site of businesses that sell medicinal weed. At least one of the towns where Green Thumb has been licensed to sell recreational pot has expressed serious concern. In Naperville, a group of citizens have formed the Opt Out Naperville campaign to block recreational marijuana from coming to their town. While city council members declined to pass a resolution that would have banned such sales last week, Opt Out Naperville appears unfazed and has called for an anti-weed rally to take place on Saturday, prior to another meeting on Tuesday ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-08-30
  • Legislators Push To Centralize Opioid Lawsuits In Ohio Attorney General’s Office
    Many people around the country are suing opioid companies for their role in the ongoing opioid crisis. And in some places, it’s creating a flurry of legal activity. This is certainly true in Ohio. And now, in the midst of all this, some Ohio lawmakers are trying to restructure the process through which people sue opioid companies. Specifically, Ohio is considering a proposal to consolidate all lawsuits into a single, state-wide suit. Proponents say it would streamline the process. Additionally, they say the bill would allow the state to allocate funds from the lawsuits more efficiently. But opponents are worried the bill could turn into a power grab by the state, potentially taking settlement funds away from those who need it and sending it to the state instead. Ohio Lawmakers Considering New Bill for Opioid Lawsuits As reported by The Center Square, the new proposal is largely in response to the growing number of lawsuits pending in Ohio. Specifically, there are now more than 100 opioid-related lawsuits in the state. If the bill passes, it would give the Ohio attorney general a couple key new powers. First, it would authorize the state attorney general to dismiss all individual cases. Then from there, the attorney general would have the ability to consolidate all individual cases into a single suit filed by the state of Ohio. Further downstream, the state would also handle any settlement money. This means that money from the consolidated lawsuit would go directly to the state, which would then disburse funds from there. The proposed piece of legislation was drafted and presented by three Republican lawmakers. So far, the proposal has been endorsed by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. Despite this support, Governor Mike DeWine has already said he would veto the bill if it passes. Divided Opinions So far, it seems unclear whether or not the legislation will advance. And opinions on the proposal remain split. On one hand, advocates for the idea claim it will make it easier to go after opioid companies. Additionally, Attorney General Yost told The Center Square that the proposal would formalize the ways that local and state governments work together to address problems related to opioids. “Cities and counties that individually race to the courthouse, hoping for the luck of the draw and attempting to get any money that they can, are grasping for power,” Yost said. “This is a state claim with statewide impact and should not be divided amongst political subdivisions.” He added: “A consolidated claim allows for broad ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-08-29
  • Milwaukee Issues Urgent Warning Against Vaping After Recent String Of Hospitalizations
    Health officials in Milwaukee, Wisconsin issued an alert on Wednesday that urged residents of the city to stop vaping due to a rash of recent hospitalizations. In a health alert released by the City of Milwaukee Health Department, cannabis consumers were warned not to vape. “Residents are again strongly encouraged to not utilize any THC products containing e-liquid,” the health alert reads. The health department reported that as of Wednesday, 16 individuals in 10 Wisconsin counties have been hospitalized with chemical pneumonia, an inflammation of the lungs that is caused by the inhalation of irritants. All of the patients had dabbed or vaped marijuana products in the weeks or months prior to being hospitalized, although no specifics on the cannabis vapes involved in the illnesses were given. Commissioner of Health Dr. Jeanette Kowalik said that the risks associated with vaping cannabis or nicotine are not yet fully understood. “We continue to learn more about the health effects associated with e-cigarettes,” Kowalik said. “As the public health authority for the city, the MHD is committed to protecting the public from the dangers of secondhand exposure.” Milwaukee Alderman Michael J. Murphy, the co-chair of the Milwaukee City-County Heroin, Opioid, Cocaine Task Force said that despite commonly held beliefs, vaping is not a safe alternative to smoking. “As someone who has worked diligently to eliminate access to tobacco and e-cigarettes among youth, I urge residents pay close attention to the poor health effects from using these products,” said Murphy. CDC Investigating Nearly 200 Cases Of ‘Vape Lung’ Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that at least 193 cases of severe lung illness possibly associated with vaping had been reported in 22 states in the past two months. The first death associated to the rash of illnesses related to vaping was reported in Illinois last week. The CDC reported that although a cause had not yet been identified, the available evidence suggests that an infectious disease is not responsible for the illnesses. All of the affected people had reported using e-cigarette or THC vaping devices, but specific products have not been identified as a potential cause of the sickness. Thomas Haupt, a respiratory epidemiologist with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, said earlier this month that the cause of the illnesses is being investigated. “The only thing [we know] at this point is [they were] vaping, but we don’t know what they vaped, where they got their vaping liquids,” Haupt said. “All this needs to be determined ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-08-29
  • Illinois Lawmakers Partner With Tech Nonprofit To Expunge Cannabis Convictions
    At a news conference on Tuesday, law enforcement officials from Illinois’ Cook County announced that they would be collaborating with Code For America to initiate expungement proceedings for possession charges of up to 30 grams of cannabis. Here’s a quote from the announcement courtesy Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx, which we hope is heard ‘round the world: “It is prosecutors who were part of the war on drugs, we were part of a larger ecosystem that believed that in the interest of public safety, that these were convictions that were necessary to gain. In the benefit of hindsight and looking at the impact of the war on drugs, it is also prosecutors who have to be at the table to ensure that we are righting the wrongs of the past.” Illinois legalized recreational marijuana two months ago, making it the first state in the US to regulate adult-use cannabis via the legislative process rather than voter referendum. The law will take effect on January 1, and officials are working to make sure that the legal system is in order for that date. When he signed the bill into effect, Governor J.B. Pritzker said it would automatically expunge and pardon the records of 800,000 state residents. That part was particularly important as police in Illinois and particularly Chicago (which is located in Cook County) have come under fire for their demonstrably racist cannabis policing tactics. Low level cannabis convictions can prevent individuals from landing employment and qualifying for public housing. Code For America has also played a role in expediting cannabis expungements in San Francisco, whose DA announced that it would collaborate with the organization in the identification of over 9,000 cases. The group has developed a program that can gather cases relating to cannabis charges that are no longer crimes under recent legalization laws. The program is a big help to county governments that have struggled over the task of sifting through criminal records. Notably, though, the Code For America program is of little use when it comes to charges that took place before digitization. As the Chicago Tribune notes, in the 1960s, a person found with a single joint on their person could get a felony and mandatory prison sentence. (In the ‘70s, that was reduced to misdemeanor charge, a year in jail, and a $1,000 fine.) Months after the beginning of the San Francisco project, California’s Los Angeles and San Joaquin counties decided to follow suit with Code For America, saying the collaboration had the potential to ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-08-29
  • Purdue Pharma Negotiating $12B Settlement To OxyContin Lawsuits
    A drug manufacturer at the heart of the nation’s opioid crisis is reportedly in negotiations to settle approximately 2,000 lawsuits over the marketing of the painkiller OxyContin. The proposed settlement of lawsuits brought by state and local governments could be worth up to $12 billion and would take ownership of Purdue Pharma away from the Sackler family, the company’s current owners. Under the proposal, Purdue Pharma, which is based in Stamford, Connecticut, would enter into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and the Sackler family would give up ownership of the company. The family would also be required to contribute $3 billion in personal funds to the settlement award, according to three people familiar with the deal who spoke to reporters anonymously. Another $1.5 billion would be contributed to the settlement amount by the sale of Mundipharma, another pharmaceutical company owned by the Sackler family. In 2016, Forbes ranked the Sacklers as the 19th-richest family in the U.S., with an estimated net worth of $13 billion. After emerging from bankruptcy, the pharmaceutical maker would be transformed into a “public beneficiary trust,” with all profits being surrendered to the plaintiffs in the case. Purdue Pharma would also be required to provide its anti-addiction medication to the public free of charge under terms of the settlement deal. Although Purdue Pharma failed to confirm any details of the negotiations, a statement from the company said it saw “little good coming from years of wasteful litigation and appeals.” “Purdue believes a constructive global resolution is the best path forward, and the company is actively working with the state attorneys general and other plaintiffs to achieve this outcome,” the statements reads. Settlement Covers Thousands Of Lawsuits The negotiations taking place in Cleveland, Ohio involve more than 2,000 lawsuits brought against Purdue Pharma and other drug companies for their role in the ongoing opioid epidemic, which has claimed more than 2,000 lives in the United States since 2000. Purdue Pharma is seen by many as particularly responsible for the crisis due to its aggressive marketing of the opioid OxyContin while minimizing the drug’s risk of addiction. New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement that the Sackler family had “started a national fire” and “made billions profiting from death and destruction.” Jacklin Rhoads, a spokeswoman for Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, confirmed that the pace of the negotiations has increased. “Our mission here has always been clear—make Purdue Pharma and the other manufacturers and distributors pay for what they did to Pennsylvania and its ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-08-28
  • Michigan May Require Warning Labels For Cannabis Health Risks During Pregnancy
    A Michigan legislative committee approved a bill on Tuesday that would require labels on cannabis products to warn consumers about the risks of marijuana use during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. The Michigan House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee voted 11-2 in favor of the measure, which will head next to the House floor for a vote by the full body. Under the proposed legislation, all cannabis products would be required to be packaged with a label reading: “Warning: Use by pregnant or breastfeeding women, or by women planning to become pregnant, may result in fetal injury, preterm birth, low birth weight, or developmental problems for the child.” Republican Rep. Daire Rendon, one of the bill’s sponsors, said that Michigan’s regulations should help inform and protect consumers who may be new to cannabis. “This is a brand new product that’s going out … and a lot of people automatically think ‘Wow it’s legal, it’s going to be safe,’” said Rendon. “So we felt it was very important that people understand there are health implications for using products like this.” Citing research that shows that smoke from both cigarettes and marijuana can increase the chance of developmental problems in infants and difficulties with learning and paying attention in older children, Reardon said that legislators decided to address marijuana’s impact on fetal development after hearing testimony from pediatricians. Too Many Warnings? But fellow Republican Rep. Beau LaFave said that while he doesn’t condone cannabis use by pregnant women, he voted against the bill to preserve the impact of consumer warning labels. “Just because something’s unhealthy doesn’t mean the government needs to tell everybody about it or require that label be on it,” LaFave said. “If you warn everyone about everything, the warnings themselves become less helpful.” Josh Hovey, a spokesman for the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association, said the trade group has decided to not take a position on the bill. Hovey said in an email that the cannabis industry “supports warning labels when they are backed by thorough scientific data and we don’t believe there is enough research available at this point. Since some degree of caution is reasonable, we are neutral on the bill.” Michigan’s House Judiciary Committee also approved another bill on Tuesday that would require both medical marijuana dispensaries and recreational cannabis retailers to offer pamphlets on safety, including the potential risks of use by minors. Before becoming law, both bills must be approved by the full House of Representatives as well as the Michigan state ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-08-28
  • Former NFL Superstar Rob Gronkowski Gets Into The CBD Industry
    Former New England Patriots great Rob Gronkowski left the door open—just a little—to potentially returning to the National Football League someday. But for now, the man known simply as “Gronk” to legions of fans says he’s ready to be the new face of a CBD company. Gronkowski, who retired from the Patriots earlier this year at the age of 29, announced Tuesday at a news conference in New York that he is partnering with Abacus Health Products, a company that makes a line of CBD-derived topicals and ointments. CBD is banned by the NFL, as well as other major professional sports leagues—a point that Gronkowski addressed. “I’m advocating for CBD to be acceptable for all players for recovery,” he said. “You can just call me Mr. Recovery. You know you like that name. Mr. Recovery, baby.” In his nine-year playing career, all with the Patriots, Gronkowski was a four-time all-pro and won three Super Bowls, all while carving out a legacy as one of the most dominant to ever play the tight end position. But his career was also marked by significant injuries, which slowed him down on the field and ultimately led to his early retirement. At the event announcing his partnership with Abacus, Gronkowski grew emotional when reflecting on the physical toll that football took on him. “I needed to recover,” Gronkowski said while fighting back tears. “I was not in a good place. Football was bringing me down, and I didn’t like it.” “During that time, I had countless injuries and nine surgeries, which took an absolute beating on my body and my soul,” he added. “I was hurt both mentally and physically, day in and day out. I decided to walk away from the game for one main reason: I had to recover.” Gronkowski said that Abacus’ line of CBD products helped treat his pain, telling the members of the press gathered on Tuesday that he was “blown away with how well it worked.” “I am pain free, and that is a big deal,” he said. But does that mean he may return to the gridiron? Gronkowski didn’t entirely rule it out. “Physically, I can do it. Mentally, desire-wise, I can’t,” he said, adding that he’d consider a return should that change. “That’ll be the time. It may be never,” Gronkowski said. “But you know me.” After it was founded in 2014, Abacus began distributing its line of CBD products under the brand name “CBD Clinic” in 2016. The company later changed the brand’s name to ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-08-28
  • Minnesota Governor Directs State Agencies to Prepare for Cannabis Legalization
    The governor of Minnesota has ordered state agencies to ready themselves for the advent of cannabis legalization — but many lawmakers think such a marijuana bill is unlikely to pass this year. “My agencies have been tasked to put all of the building blocks in place, from Revenue to the Department of Public Safety to the Department of Health,” said Governor Tim Walz. “We will have everything ready to go, and we will be able to implement it in Minnesota the minute the Legislature moves this.” But he faces a Republican-controlled state senate that seems dead-set on keeping recreational marijuana nice and illegal. “It’s my position that it’s not good for Minnesota. It’s dead as far as I’m concerned in the Senate for next year,” Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka told Minnesota Public Radio. He cited concerns over dangerous driving, children getting their hands on the drug, and addiction issues. Two legalization bills were presented at the beginning of the year by Senators Melisa Franzen and Scott Jensen and Representative Mike Freiberg. The similar plans would legalize use for adults 21 years old and up, and set up a licensing to taxing system, as well as one for regulating health and safety within the industry. Those proposals also include plans for social equity programs to address both the biased fall-out of the war on drugs, and services to take on driving under the influence of marijuana. Last year, a legalization bill received a single hearing in the state senate before it stagnated. But marijuana advocates are already gearing up for 2020 legislative proposals, which many say could be more realistic should the Republicans lose seats in the mid-term elections. House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler has already announced plans to be the main sponsor on such a bill. “It’s a big issue that needs a lot of attention to be done well,” he said about his decision to leap into the fray. He added that he would embark on a series of “listening sessions” around the state to see what Minnesotans’ primary concerns and hopes were in regards to legalizing cannabis. “I think most of us who have looked at the issue think that legalization is the path we have to take,” Winkler said. “But I don’t want to prejudge that until we’ve had that conversation with Minnesotans.” Few states have gone the legislation route when it comes to successfully regulating adult-use marijuana. In fact, Illinois has been the only place in the United States when such a policy change ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-08-28
  • Oregon Marijuana Smuggler Charged in Contract Murder Plot
    Federal prosecutors in Portland have charged an alleged marijuana smuggler in a plot to hire a hitman to murder a business associate. According to a criminal complaint unsealed on Monday, 68-year-old John Tobe Larson attempted to hire a hitman to kill a business associate who owed him approximately $75,000 from marijuana trafficking deals. Larson allegedly paid the supposed contract killer, who was actually an undercover agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, and Explosives, $10,000 that had been raised from a pot smuggling run to St. Louis. Larson had been introduced to the undercover agent in May through a confidential police informant who had become aware of Larson’s wish to kill the associate. Another $10,000 was promised once Larson received photographic evidence that the body of the victim had been dumped at sea. Cellmates Conspire to Smuggle Weed Larson and the potential victim had been cellmates in federal prison in Sheridan, Oregon while Larson was serving a sentence there for a marijuana distribution conviction. During that time, the pair hatched a plan to smuggle cannabis to other areas of the country in Larson’s private airplane and return to Oregon with the cash. At a meeting with the undercover agent at a hotel in Grants Pass, Oregon in June that was recorded by law enforcement, Larson said that he needed the associate “to disappear” because he had “moved a bunch of loads for him and he never paid me,’’ according to court documents. Larson told the undercover agent that once the murder had been committed, he wanted the body to be dumped in the ocean so that “lice and crabs” would eat the body and “the teeth are in sediments at the bottom of the ocean,” according to the criminal complaint. “I have been in this business for over fifty years, this is not my first rodeo,” Larson reportedly told the federal agent posing as a hitman. Larson offered to provide the name of the intended victim, a “burner” cell phone, and a $10,000 down payment. The remaining $10,000 would be paid after the contract had been executed. Defendant is Convicted Pot Smuggler Larson was sentenced to five years in federal prison after being convicted of running a $2 million per year marijuana cultivation operation in the Fairbanks, Alaska area. According to court papers filed in that case, Larson had been growing cannabis for 20 years, smuggling approximately ten pounds of marijuana per week in duffel bags to other areas via his Cessna 170B, bringing in $4,000 per pound ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-08-27
  • EU Inspectors Reportedly Approve Uganda’s Medical Marijuana for Export
    Uganda has reportedly moved one step closer to exporting its medical cannabis, with the European Union signing off the country’s products. That’s according to the Daily Monitor, which reported Monday that a team of EU inspectors deployed from the Netherlands to the Ugandan capital of Kampala issued a certificate of compliance to Industrial Globus Uganda Ltd. The certificate, which is valid from August 6, 2019-August 5, 2020, opens the door for the company to begin exporting its cannabis-based products. Benjamin Cadet, a director for Industrial Globus Uganda, confirmed the approval. “Control Union Certifications is the EU-mandated body for certification of the medical cannabis,” Cadet said, as quoted by the Monitor. “Now that [the] EU has approved our products—the medical marijuana exports and the entire manufacturing chain—from planting to harvest, we are going to export medical marijuana products made in Uganda to European markets.” The Ugandan government has been re-evaluating its policies on the production and exportation of cannabis as it looks to join other countries in capitalizing on the burgeoning marijuana industry. According to the Daily Monitor, “at least 50 companies” have applied to join Industrial Globus Uganda Ltd. in the cultivation of medical cannabis. The government is reportedly reviewing these applications as it studies the economic benefits of cannabis. But the EU’s approval this week signals that it may be a matter of when, not if, the Ugandan government fully embraces medical cannabis. In April, the country secured contracts to export medical marijuana to Germany and Canada. Cadet said at the time that his company, which is working jointly with a company based in Israel, had received at least 20,000 orders for Ugandan cannabis from pharmacies throughout Germany and Canada. But even as Uganda wades into the cannabis market, Ugandan laws prohibiting marijuana use—both recreationally and medicinally—may be slower to change. Ugandan First Lady Janet Museveni has lamented the permitting of marijuana cultivation there and has said that cannabis use is “satanic and will kill the future of our children.” While countries throughout Europe—as well as cities and states across the United States—continue to open the doors for recreational and medical marijuana use, African governments have been more resistant to change. Zimbabwe, which last year became just the second African country to legalize medical marijuana, announced earlier this month that it is repealing laws prohibiting the production of cannabis as the economically troubled country looks to hemp to replace tobacco as its leading crop export. The post EU Inspectors Reportedly Approve Uganda’s Medical Marijuana for Export appeared first on ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-08-27
  • California Assembly Passes Bill Allowing Medical Cannabis on School Campuses
    On Monday, the California House of Representatives approved a bill that will let school boards decide whether parents will be allowed to give their kids medical marijuana on campus. Currently, students must leave campus to consume their meds, which critics say is a risky policy. The state assembly’s decision does not apply to smokeable cannabis. The legislation will now go to the state senate for approval. Last year, ex-Governor Jerry Brown vetoed Jojo’s Act, a similar bill named after a San Francisco High School student and medical marijuana patient, after it had passed both the state House and Senate. In September of 2018, a California judge ruled that five-year-old Brooke Adams could attend public school and bring her cannabis-based medication with her to take on campus. She had previously been banned from attending by Rincon Valley Union School District, which had taken the stance that Adams’ presence would violate state laws regarding medical cannabis on school campuses. “I was so overwhelmed with emotion and joy that we don’t have to fight anymore after a battle of over two years,” her mother Jana Adams told a local newspaper at the time. “I’m grateful that we had this ruling so she can just go to school like any other child and we don’t have to keep pushing to get what she needs.” California is certainly not the only state that has grappled with issues of how child and adolescent medical marijuana patients are to access their cannabis meds at school. In June, Florida’s Palm Beach County School Board decided to give access to parents to administer their kids’ low THC cannabis medications at a designated location on school campuses. Still other states have given the OK to students’ consumption of medical cannabis at school when the medication is administered by a school nurse. That setup has the additional benefit of being more accessible to parents who have to work during the day, and cannot take time off to make it to their kid’s school every time they need to take their medicine. One of the most recent states to institute such a plan was Virginia, which passed Senate Bill 1632 to that effect in February. Other states have opted to authorize both legal guardians and school personnel to administer medical cannabis, like New Mexico, which saw SB 204 signed into effect by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham in April. The debate over medical marijuana in schools has also focused on whether teachers and school staff should be allowed to take their ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-08-27
  • Pete Buttigieg’s Plan Would Decriminalize Possession of All Drugs
    Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg released a plan on Friday that would decriminalize the possession of all drugs as a way to address the nation’s opioid crisis and improve mental health care. Under his plan, titled “Healing and Belonging in America: A Plan to Improve Mental Health Care and Combat Addiction,” a Buttigieg administration would seek in its first term to treat addiction and the opioid epidemic as public health problems instead of criminal justice issues. “To ensure that people with a mental illness or substance use disorder can heal, we will decriminalize these conditions,” the plan reads. “When someone is undergoing a crisis or is caught using a drug, they should be treated by a health professional rather than punished in a jail cell.” Buttigieg’s plan also includes criminal justice reforms such as reducing prison sentences for other drug offenses, expunging convictions for past drug possession offenses, and retroactively reducing the sentences for offenders currently in prison. By taking these and other measures, Buttigieg hopes to reduce the number of people incarcerated due to mental illness and drug addiction by 75 percent in his first term. Addressing the Opioid Crisis The proposal notes the devastating effects caused by the nation’s ongoing opioid crisis. “In the past two decades alone, almost 450,000 people have died due to opioid overdose. By the end of this year, almost nine times as many will have died as the total number of U.S. military deaths during the Vietnam War,” reads the introduction to Buttigieg’s plan. “This crisis leaves a harrowing impact far beyond rising death rates. For every person that dies from opioid overdose, countless others are living with opioid use disorder. Family members, friends, and neighbors are deeply affected. Families are being torn apart; since 2000, the number of children placed in foster care due to their parent’s opioid use has doubled to nearly 100,000.” Buttigieg’s plan would address the opioid crisis by improving access to the overdose emergency treatment drug naloxone and supporting needle exchange programs to help save lives. “Harm reduction programs are a critical part of any effective response to the opioid and injection drug use crisis,” the proposal asserts. “They minimize the negative impact of drug use without encouraging it, while reducing other side effects of drug use. In particular, this means access to syringe service programs for people who inject drugs, that link them to treatment, and provides access to sterile syringes. These programs help prevent transmission of HIV, viral hepatitis, and other ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-08-27
  • Judge Rules Johnson & Johnson Must Pay $572 Million for Fueling Opioid Crisis
    The state of Oklahoma has been going after the drug companies at the center of the opioid epidemic, and on Monday, state attorneys won their first case: a civil suit against Johnson & Johnson. Bringing an end to a seven-week civil trial, Judge Thad Balkman ruled in favor of Oklahoma, finding that Johnson & Johnson’s marketing practices fueled a statewide opioid crisis that claimed the lives of more than 6,000 people. As part of Judge Balkman’s decision, Johnson & Johnson must pay $572 million to the state of Oklahoma. Immediately after the ruling, the drug company issued a statement vowing to appeal the decision. How Johnson & Johnson Ignited a Lethal Public Health Crisis in Oklahoma “The opioid crisis is an imminent danger and menace to Oklahomans,” Judge Thad Balkman said in his Monday ruling against Johnson & Johnson. Throughout the case, state attorneys brought forward evidence outlining exactly how dangerous and how menacing opioids are. They showed how Oklahomans are suffering from worsening rates of addiction, increasing overdose deaths and rising rates of neonatal abstinence syndrome. And they linked that data to Johnson & Johnson’s marketing of the opioid painkillers Duragesic and Nucynta. “The state met its burden [of proof],” Balkman said, and proved that Johnson and Johnson was engaged in the “misleading marketing and promotion of opioids.” As a result of the judge’s decision, Johnson & Johnson must pay $572 million to the state. In fact, Balkman’s ruling is the first in the United States to hold a pharmaceutical company responsible for the ongoing opioid epidemic. That means the ruling could set an important precedent for thousands of other cases pending against drug companies across the United States. Johnson & Johnson Will Appeal Oklahoma Judge’s Ruling In its civil suit against Johnson & Johnson, Oklahoma attorneys sought damages of $17 billion. The $572 million the company was ordered to pay is just a fraction of that (3 percent). Still, Johnson & Johnson denies any wrongdoing. In a statement issued immediately after the federal court’s ruling, the company announced “plans to appeal the opioid judgement in Oklahoma.” It’s the same approach being taken by another drug company, Teva Pharmaceuticals of Jerusalem, which announced an $85 million settlement with Oklahoma two days ahead of the trial against Johnson & Johnson. Teva also denies any wrongdoing. The lawyer behind the opioid cases, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter, has also filed suit against Allergan and Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin. In March 2019, Purdue Pharma settled with the ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-08-27
  • The Winners of the 2019 Oklahoma Cannabis Cup
    For the first time ever, High Times brought the Cannabis Cup all the way to Oklahoma! Here are all the winners of the 2019 Oklahoma Cannabis Cup: Indica Flower Jesse Faatz 1st Place: The Pound – Orange Cheddar2nd Place: Emerald Wholesale – Orange Apricot 3rd Place: Stability Grows – Forbidden Fruit Sativa Flower Jesse Faatz 1st Place: Full Moon Pharm – GG42nd Place: New Leaf Medicinals – Tropicana Cookies3rd Place: Exotic Genetix – Truffle Butter Hybrid Flower Jesse Faatz 1st Place: Emerald Wholesale – Chem D x I-95 2nd Place: Green Rush Gardens – Gelato Cake3rd Place: Korova / Sublime Brands Products / Connoisseur Cannabis – G.A.S. Sun-Grown Flower Jesse Faatz 1st Place: Helix Extract – Snowland2nd Place: Green N’ Pink – Starmalade CBD Flower Jesse Faatz 1st Place: Craft Cannabis – HGDP CBD2nd Place: Sticky Tree Farms – Bronx Goo 3rd Place: Cloudi Mornings – CBDutch Treat  Preroll Jesse Faatz 1st Place: Gorilla Gardens – Kief Infused Funk Indica Pre-Roll2nd Place: Tb4u Farms & Rt. 66 Xtracts – Holy Roller3rd Place: Fire Leaf – Jeffrey Infused Pre-Roll Edible Jesse Faatz 1st Place: OK Nice Cream – Strawberry Fruit Bar2nd Place: Fire Leaf x Outlaw  Edibles – Maple Bacon Krispi Barz 3rd Place: Mr. Mack’s – Caramel Pot Pops CBD Edible Jesse Faatz 1st Place: Too Sticky – Honey Almond Protein Bar2nd Place: Simple Cure – Helpful Mango Sativa Tincture3rd Place: EdiPure – Raspberry Lemonade Gummies Vape Pen and Cartridge Jesse Faatz 1st Place: Korova / Sublime Brands Products / Connoisseur Cannabis – Grandaddy Purp Cart2nd Place: Electraleaf – Wedding Cake Cart3rd Place: Fire Leaf x Oklahoma Dab Lab – White Pineapple  Indica Concentrate Jesse Faatz 1st Place: White Mousse Oklahoma x Red River Pharms – Grape Ape Full Spectrum 2nd Place: Tb4u Farms & Rt. 66 Xtracts – Wright White Live Sugar3rd Place: Head of Honey x Diamond Labs – Member Berry Live Diamonds  Sativa Concentrate Jesse Faatz 1st Place: Fire Leaf x Oklahoma Dab Lab – Lemon Cheese Quake2nd Place: White Mousse x Rock Top Wellness – Oklahoma Mimosa Full Spectrum 3rd Place: Terpenetics – Blue Cookies Live Resin Sugar Hybrid Concentrate Jesse Faatz 1st Place: Fire Leaf x Oklahoma Dab Lab – Fruity Pebbles OG 2nd Place: SoloS Extracts – Canuck Cookies Diamonds3rd Place: White Mousse x Rock Top Wellness – Kief Chief Full Spectrum  Non-Solvent Concentrate Jesse Faatz 1st Place: Helix Extract – Purple Punch Live Rosin2nd Place: Kiamichi Skies – KS Blend Live Rosin3rd Place: Stability Grows X Country Hash – Forbidden Fruit Live Rosin Topical Jesse Faatz 1st Place: Lotus ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-08-26
 
  • Surgeon General Issues Cannabis Warning To Teens And Pregnant People
    The United States surgeon general issued an advisory on Thursday to warn pregnant people and teens about the risks of cannabis use. In the notice, Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams warns that the THC potency of marijuana has increased over the years, especially with the advent of powerful cannabis concentrates. “The scary truth is that the actual potential for harm has increased,” Adams said at a press conference with health officials from the Trump administration on Thursday. “This ain’t your mother’s marijuana.” Adams said that the potency of cannabis available in the United States has increased from about 4 percent THC 20 years ago to levels of 12 percent to 25 percent THC today. Cannabis concentrates can contain more than 75 percent THC, according to the advisory. Cannabis, he said, is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. Dangers Of Cannabis Use By Teens Adams said that with the legalization of cannabis in one form or another in 33 states, the perceived level of risk posed by marijuana use, especially by young people, has gone down. Research has shown, however, that there could be some negative health effects from cannabis use by adolescents. Young people who regularly use marijuana are “more likely to show a decline in IQ and school performance [and] are more apt to miss classes,” Adams told NPR. The surgeon general also noted that cannabis use by young people poses a risk of addiction. “Nearly 1 in 5 people who begin marijuana use during adolescence become addicted,” Adams said. “That’s scary to me as the dad of a 15-, a 13- and a 9-year-old.” Dr. Elinore F. McCance-Katz, assistant secretary for mental health and substance use for the Department of Health and Human Services, said that a potential connection between cannabis use and an increased rate of major depression in adolescents is a cause for concern. “While we cannot say that marijuana is causal of those things, when you look at the increased trend, it is quite concerning,” said McCance-Katz. Use During Pregnancy May Also Be Risky Adams also warned about the potential dangers of cannabis use during pregnancy, which include low birth weight, an increased chance of preterm birth, and developmental disabilities in children. Between 2002 and 2017 in a national survey, the use of marijuana in the past month by pregnant people doubled from 3.4 percent to 7 percent. And in a survey by a large national health system, cannabis use by pregnant people rose from 4.2 percent ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-08-30
  • Illinois Gives First ‘Same-Site’ Cannabis Dispensary Licenses to 5 Dispensaries
    The first five recreational cannabis dispensary licenses have been announced in Illinois. The same publicly-traded corporation snapped them all up: Green Thumb Industries, which has licenses to sell adult-use marijuana at five of its seven locations that are currently focused on selling medical cannabis in Mundelein, Joliet, Naperville, Canton, and Effingham. Green Thumb Industries is headquartered in Chicago and operates 95 retail locations and 13 manufacturing industries across Illinois. Earlier this week it reported that its revenue during the last business quarter was up 228 percent from the same time period last year. “GTI is thrilled that our five stores received the state of Illinois’ first approvals for ‘same-site’ adult use cannabis licenses,” Linda Marsicano, spokesperson for the company, told a local news site. “We look forward to continuing the excellent partnerships we have in the communities we serve across the state.” Illinois’ first recreational licensing announcement sets an early tone for an industry that is largely centered on larger corporations, though that might be disproved depending on the next businesses to which the state grants licenses to sell cannabis. Perhaps to counteract this impression, Green Thumb has announced plans to form what it calls the Illinois Social Equity License Application Assistance Program, a consultation program geared toward cannabis entrepreneurs of color and others who have been unfairly targeted by law enforcement’s war on drugs. The five Green Thumb Industries locations in question may now sell recreational cannabis at the same site, as well as open another location that is dedicated to sales of such adult-use cannabis. Of course, that’s if the towns in which they are located give them the go-ahead. The country’s first successful piece of cannabis legalization legislation, which passed in Illinois earlier this year (other states have legalized weed through voter referendum), ensured that local municipalities not only had the power to establish their own cannabis tax (up to three percent) but also to veto recreational marijuana in their jurisdiction — even if they are currently the site of businesses that sell medicinal weed. At least one of the towns where Green Thumb has been licensed to sell recreational pot has expressed serious concern. In Naperville, a group of citizens have formed the Opt Out Naperville campaign to block recreational marijuana from coming to their town. While city council members declined to pass a resolution that would have banned such sales last week, Opt Out Naperville appears unfazed and has called for an anti-weed rally to take place on Saturday, prior to another meeting on Tuesday ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-08-30
  • Legislators Push To Centralize Opioid Lawsuits In Ohio Attorney General’s Office
    Many people around the country are suing opioid companies for their role in the ongoing opioid crisis. And in some places, it’s creating a flurry of legal activity. This is certainly true in Ohio. And now, in the midst of all this, some Ohio lawmakers are trying to restructure the process through which people sue opioid companies. Specifically, Ohio is considering a proposal to consolidate all lawsuits into a single, state-wide suit. Proponents say it would streamline the process. Additionally, they say the bill would allow the state to allocate funds from the lawsuits more efficiently. But opponents are worried the bill could turn into a power grab by the state, potentially taking settlement funds away from those who need it and sending it to the state instead. Ohio Lawmakers Considering New Bill for Opioid Lawsuits As reported by The Center Square, the new proposal is largely in response to the growing number of lawsuits pending in Ohio. Specifically, there are now more than 100 opioid-related lawsuits in the state. If the bill passes, it would give the Ohio attorney general a couple key new powers. First, it would authorize the state attorney general to dismiss all individual cases. Then from there, the attorney general would have the ability to consolidate all individual cases into a single suit filed by the state of Ohio. Further downstream, the state would also handle any settlement money. This means that money from the consolidated lawsuit would go directly to the state, which would then disburse funds from there. The proposed piece of legislation was drafted and presented by three Republican lawmakers. So far, the proposal has been endorsed by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. Despite this support, Governor Mike DeWine has already said he would veto the bill if it passes. Divided Opinions So far, it seems unclear whether or not the legislation will advance. And opinions on the proposal remain split. On one hand, advocates for the idea claim it will make it easier to go after opioid companies. Additionally, Attorney General Yost told The Center Square that the proposal would formalize the ways that local and state governments work together to address problems related to opioids. “Cities and counties that individually race to the courthouse, hoping for the luck of the draw and attempting to get any money that they can, are grasping for power,” Yost said. “This is a state claim with statewide impact and should not be divided amongst political subdivisions.” He added: “A consolidated claim allows for broad ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-08-29
  • Milwaukee Issues Urgent Warning Against Vaping After Recent String Of Hospitalizations
    Health officials in Milwaukee, Wisconsin issued an alert on Wednesday that urged residents of the city to stop vaping due to a rash of recent hospitalizations. In a health alert released by the City of Milwaukee Health Department, cannabis consumers were warned not to vape. “Residents are again strongly encouraged to not utilize any THC products containing e-liquid,” the health alert reads. The health department reported that as of Wednesday, 16 individuals in 10 Wisconsin counties have been hospitalized with chemical pneumonia, an inflammation of the lungs that is caused by the inhalation of irritants. All of the patients had dabbed or vaped marijuana products in the weeks or months prior to being hospitalized, although no specifics on the cannabis vapes involved in the illnesses were given. Commissioner of Health Dr. Jeanette Kowalik said that the risks associated with vaping cannabis or nicotine are not yet fully understood. “We continue to learn more about the health effects associated with e-cigarettes,” Kowalik said. “As the public health authority for the city, the MHD is committed to protecting the public from the dangers of secondhand exposure.” Milwaukee Alderman Michael J. Murphy, the co-chair of the Milwaukee City-County Heroin, Opioid, Cocaine Task Force said that despite commonly held beliefs, vaping is not a safe alternative to smoking. “As someone who has worked diligently to eliminate access to tobacco and e-cigarettes among youth, I urge residents pay close attention to the poor health effects from using these products,” said Murphy. CDC Investigating Nearly 200 Cases Of ‘Vape Lung’ Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that at least 193 cases of severe lung illness possibly associated with vaping had been reported in 22 states in the past two months. The first death associated to the rash of illnesses related to vaping was reported in Illinois last week. The CDC reported that although a cause had not yet been identified, the available evidence suggests that an infectious disease is not responsible for the illnesses. All of the affected people had reported using e-cigarette or THC vaping devices, but specific products have not been identified as a potential cause of the sickness. Thomas Haupt, a respiratory epidemiologist with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, said earlier this month that the cause of the illnesses is being investigated. “The only thing [we know] at this point is [they were] vaping, but we don’t know what they vaped, where they got their vaping liquids,” Haupt said. “All this needs to be determined ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-08-29
  • Illinois Lawmakers Partner With Tech Nonprofit To Expunge Cannabis Convictions
    At a news conference on Tuesday, law enforcement officials from Illinois’ Cook County announced that they would be collaborating with Code For America to initiate expungement proceedings for possession charges of up to 30 grams of cannabis. Here’s a quote from the announcement courtesy Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx, which we hope is heard ‘round the world: “It is prosecutors who were part of the war on drugs, we were part of a larger ecosystem that believed that in the interest of public safety, that these were convictions that were necessary to gain. In the benefit of hindsight and looking at the impact of the war on drugs, it is also prosecutors who have to be at the table to ensure that we are righting the wrongs of the past.” Illinois legalized recreational marijuana two months ago, making it the first state in the US to regulate adult-use cannabis via the legislative process rather than voter referendum. The law will take effect on January 1, and officials are working to make sure that the legal system is in order for that date. When he signed the bill into effect, Governor J.B. Pritzker said it would automatically expunge and pardon the records of 800,000 state residents. That part was particularly important as police in Illinois and particularly Chicago (which is located in Cook County) have come under fire for their demonstrably racist cannabis policing tactics. Low level cannabis convictions can prevent individuals from landing employment and qualifying for public housing. Code For America has also played a role in expediting cannabis expungements in San Francisco, whose DA announced that it would collaborate with the organization in the identification of over 9,000 cases. The group has developed a program that can gather cases relating to cannabis charges that are no longer crimes under recent legalization laws. The program is a big help to county governments that have struggled over the task of sifting through criminal records. Notably, though, the Code For America program is of little use when it comes to charges that took place before digitization. As the Chicago Tribune notes, in the 1960s, a person found with a single joint on their person could get a felony and mandatory prison sentence. (In the ‘70s, that was reduced to misdemeanor charge, a year in jail, and a $1,000 fine.) Months after the beginning of the San Francisco project, California’s Los Angeles and San Joaquin counties decided to follow suit with Code For America, saying the collaboration had the potential to ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-08-29
  • Purdue Pharma Negotiating $12B Settlement To OxyContin Lawsuits
    A drug manufacturer at the heart of the nation’s opioid crisis is reportedly in negotiations to settle approximately 2,000 lawsuits over the marketing of the painkiller OxyContin. The proposed settlement of lawsuits brought by state and local governments could be worth up to $12 billion and would take ownership of Purdue Pharma away from the Sackler family, the company’s current owners. Under the proposal, Purdue Pharma, which is based in Stamford, Connecticut, would enter into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and the Sackler family would give up ownership of the company. The family would also be required to contribute $3 billion in personal funds to the settlement award, according to three people familiar with the deal who spoke to reporters anonymously. Another $1.5 billion would be contributed to the settlement amount by the sale of Mundipharma, another pharmaceutical company owned by the Sackler family. In 2016, Forbes ranked the Sacklers as the 19th-richest family in the U.S., with an estimated net worth of $13 billion. After emerging from bankruptcy, the pharmaceutical maker would be transformed into a “public beneficiary trust,” with all profits being surrendered to the plaintiffs in the case. Purdue Pharma would also be required to provide its anti-addiction medication to the public free of charge under terms of the settlement deal. Although Purdue Pharma failed to confirm any details of the negotiations, a statement from the company said it saw “little good coming from years of wasteful litigation and appeals.” “Purdue believes a constructive global resolution is the best path forward, and the company is actively working with the state attorneys general and other plaintiffs to achieve this outcome,” the statements reads. Settlement Covers Thousands Of Lawsuits The negotiations taking place in Cleveland, Ohio involve more than 2,000 lawsuits brought against Purdue Pharma and other drug companies for their role in the ongoing opioid epidemic, which has claimed more than 2,000 lives in the United States since 2000. Purdue Pharma is seen by many as particularly responsible for the crisis due to its aggressive marketing of the opioid OxyContin while minimizing the drug’s risk of addiction. New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement that the Sackler family had “started a national fire” and “made billions profiting from death and destruction.” Jacklin Rhoads, a spokeswoman for Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, confirmed that the pace of the negotiations has increased. “Our mission here has always been clear—make Purdue Pharma and the other manufacturers and distributors pay for what they did to Pennsylvania and its ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-08-28
  • Michigan May Require Warning Labels For Cannabis Health Risks During Pregnancy
    A Michigan legislative committee approved a bill on Tuesday that would require labels on cannabis products to warn consumers about the risks of marijuana use during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. The Michigan House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee voted 11-2 in favor of the measure, which will head next to the House floor for a vote by the full body. Under the proposed legislation, all cannabis products would be required to be packaged with a label reading: “Warning: Use by pregnant or breastfeeding women, or by women planning to become pregnant, may result in fetal injury, preterm birth, low birth weight, or developmental problems for the child.” Republican Rep. Daire Rendon, one of the bill’s sponsors, said that Michigan’s regulations should help inform and protect consumers who may be new to cannabis. “This is a brand new product that’s going out … and a lot of people automatically think ‘Wow it’s legal, it’s going to be safe,’” said Rendon. “So we felt it was very important that people understand there are health implications for using products like this.” Citing research that shows that smoke from both cigarettes and marijuana can increase the chance of developmental problems in infants and difficulties with learning and paying attention in older children, Reardon said that legislators decided to address marijuana’s impact on fetal development after hearing testimony from pediatricians. Too Many Warnings? But fellow Republican Rep. Beau LaFave said that while he doesn’t condone cannabis use by pregnant women, he voted against the bill to preserve the impact of consumer warning labels. “Just because something’s unhealthy doesn’t mean the government needs to tell everybody about it or require that label be on it,” LaFave said. “If you warn everyone about everything, the warnings themselves become less helpful.” Josh Hovey, a spokesman for the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association, said the trade group has decided to not take a position on the bill. Hovey said in an email that the cannabis industry “supports warning labels when they are backed by thorough scientific data and we don’t believe there is enough research available at this point. Since some degree of caution is reasonable, we are neutral on the bill.” Michigan’s House Judiciary Committee also approved another bill on Tuesday that would require both medical marijuana dispensaries and recreational cannabis retailers to offer pamphlets on safety, including the potential risks of use by minors. Before becoming law, both bills must be approved by the full House of Representatives as well as the Michigan state ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-08-28
  • Former NFL Superstar Rob Gronkowski Gets Into The CBD Industry
    Former New England Patriots great Rob Gronkowski left the door open—just a little—to potentially returning to the National Football League someday. But for now, the man known simply as “Gronk” to legions of fans says he’s ready to be the new face of a CBD company. Gronkowski, who retired from the Patriots earlier this year at the age of 29, announced Tuesday at a news conference in New York that he is partnering with Abacus Health Products, a company that makes a line of CBD-derived topicals and ointments. CBD is banned by the NFL, as well as other major professional sports leagues—a point that Gronkowski addressed. “I’m advocating for CBD to be acceptable for all players for recovery,” he said. “You can just call me Mr. Recovery. You know you like that name. Mr. Recovery, baby.” In his nine-year playing career, all with the Patriots, Gronkowski was a four-time all-pro and won three Super Bowls, all while carving out a legacy as one of the most dominant to ever play the tight end position. But his career was also marked by significant injuries, which slowed him down on the field and ultimately led to his early retirement. At the event announcing his partnership with Abacus, Gronkowski grew emotional when reflecting on the physical toll that football took on him. “I needed to recover,” Gronkowski said while fighting back tears. “I was not in a good place. Football was bringing me down, and I didn’t like it.” “During that time, I had countless injuries and nine surgeries, which took an absolute beating on my body and my soul,” he added. “I was hurt both mentally and physically, day in and day out. I decided to walk away from the game for one main reason: I had to recover.” Gronkowski said that Abacus’ line of CBD products helped treat his pain, telling the members of the press gathered on Tuesday that he was “blown away with how well it worked.” “I am pain free, and that is a big deal,” he said. But does that mean he may return to the gridiron? Gronkowski didn’t entirely rule it out. “Physically, I can do it. Mentally, desire-wise, I can’t,” he said, adding that he’d consider a return should that change. “That’ll be the time. It may be never,” Gronkowski said. “But you know me.” After it was founded in 2014, Abacus began distributing its line of CBD products under the brand name “CBD Clinic” in 2016. The company later changed the brand’s name to ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-08-28
  • Minnesota Governor Directs State Agencies to Prepare for Cannabis Legalization
    The governor of Minnesota has ordered state agencies to ready themselves for the advent of cannabis legalization — but many lawmakers think such a marijuana bill is unlikely to pass this year. “My agencies have been tasked to put all of the building blocks in place, from Revenue to the Department of Public Safety to the Department of Health,” said Governor Tim Walz. “We will have everything ready to go, and we will be able to implement it in Minnesota the minute the Legislature moves this.” But he faces a Republican-controlled state senate that seems dead-set on keeping recreational marijuana nice and illegal. “It’s my position that it’s not good for Minnesota. It’s dead as far as I’m concerned in the Senate for next year,” Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka told Minnesota Public Radio. He cited concerns over dangerous driving, children getting their hands on the drug, and addiction issues. Two legalization bills were presented at the beginning of the year by Senators Melisa Franzen and Scott Jensen and Representative Mike Freiberg. The similar plans would legalize use for adults 21 years old and up, and set up a licensing to taxing system, as well as one for regulating health and safety within the industry. Those proposals also include plans for social equity programs to address both the biased fall-out of the war on drugs, and services to take on driving under the influence of marijuana. Last year, a legalization bill received a single hearing in the state senate before it stagnated. But marijuana advocates are already gearing up for 2020 legislative proposals, which many say could be more realistic should the Republicans lose seats in the mid-term elections. House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler has already announced plans to be the main sponsor on such a bill. “It’s a big issue that needs a lot of attention to be done well,” he said about his decision to leap into the fray. He added that he would embark on a series of “listening sessions” around the state to see what Minnesotans’ primary concerns and hopes were in regards to legalizing cannabis. “I think most of us who have looked at the issue think that legalization is the path we have to take,” Winkler said. “But I don’t want to prejudge that until we’ve had that conversation with Minnesotans.” Few states have gone the legislation route when it comes to successfully regulating adult-use marijuana. In fact, Illinois has been the only place in the United States when such a policy change ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-08-28
  • Oregon Marijuana Smuggler Charged in Contract Murder Plot
    Federal prosecutors in Portland have charged an alleged marijuana smuggler in a plot to hire a hitman to murder a business associate. According to a criminal complaint unsealed on Monday, 68-year-old John Tobe Larson attempted to hire a hitman to kill a business associate who owed him approximately $75,000 from marijuana trafficking deals. Larson allegedly paid the supposed contract killer, who was actually an undercover agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, and Explosives, $10,000 that had been raised from a pot smuggling run to St. Louis. Larson had been introduced to the undercover agent in May through a confidential police informant who had become aware of Larson’s wish to kill the associate. Another $10,000 was promised once Larson received photographic evidence that the body of the victim had been dumped at sea. Cellmates Conspire to Smuggle Weed Larson and the potential victim had been cellmates in federal prison in Sheridan, Oregon while Larson was serving a sentence there for a marijuana distribution conviction. During that time, the pair hatched a plan to smuggle cannabis to other areas of the country in Larson’s private airplane and return to Oregon with the cash. At a meeting with the undercover agent at a hotel in Grants Pass, Oregon in June that was recorded by law enforcement, Larson said that he needed the associate “to disappear” because he had “moved a bunch of loads for him and he never paid me,’’ according to court documents. Larson told the undercover agent that once the murder had been committed, he wanted the body to be dumped in the ocean so that “lice and crabs” would eat the body and “the teeth are in sediments at the bottom of the ocean,” according to the criminal complaint. “I have been in this business for over fifty years, this is not my first rodeo,” Larson reportedly told the federal agent posing as a hitman. Larson offered to provide the name of the intended victim, a “burner” cell phone, and a $10,000 down payment. The remaining $10,000 would be paid after the contract had been executed. Defendant is Convicted Pot Smuggler Larson was sentenced to five years in federal prison after being convicted of running a $2 million per year marijuana cultivation operation in the Fairbanks, Alaska area. According to court papers filed in that case, Larson had been growing cannabis for 20 years, smuggling approximately ten pounds of marijuana per week in duffel bags to other areas via his Cessna 170B, bringing in $4,000 per pound ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-08-27
  • EU Inspectors Reportedly Approve Uganda’s Medical Marijuana for Export
    Uganda has reportedly moved one step closer to exporting its medical cannabis, with the European Union signing off the country’s products. That’s according to the Daily Monitor, which reported Monday that a team of EU inspectors deployed from the Netherlands to the Ugandan capital of Kampala issued a certificate of compliance to Industrial Globus Uganda Ltd. The certificate, which is valid from August 6, 2019-August 5, 2020, opens the door for the company to begin exporting its cannabis-based products. Benjamin Cadet, a director for Industrial Globus Uganda, confirmed the approval. “Control Union Certifications is the EU-mandated body for certification of the medical cannabis,” Cadet said, as quoted by the Monitor. “Now that [the] EU has approved our products—the medical marijuana exports and the entire manufacturing chain—from planting to harvest, we are going to export medical marijuana products made in Uganda to European markets.” The Ugandan government has been re-evaluating its policies on the production and exportation of cannabis as it looks to join other countries in capitalizing on the burgeoning marijuana industry. According to the Daily Monitor, “at least 50 companies” have applied to join Industrial Globus Uganda Ltd. in the cultivation of medical cannabis. The government is reportedly reviewing these applications as it studies the economic benefits of cannabis. But the EU’s approval this week signals that it may be a matter of when, not if, the Ugandan government fully embraces medical cannabis. In April, the country secured contracts to export medical marijuana to Germany and Canada. Cadet said at the time that his company, which is working jointly with a company based in Israel, had received at least 20,000 orders for Ugandan cannabis from pharmacies throughout Germany and Canada. But even as Uganda wades into the cannabis market, Ugandan laws prohibiting marijuana use—both recreationally and medicinally—may be slower to change. Ugandan First Lady Janet Museveni has lamented the permitting of marijuana cultivation there and has said that cannabis use is “satanic and will kill the future of our children.” While countries throughout Europe—as well as cities and states across the United States—continue to open the doors for recreational and medical marijuana use, African governments have been more resistant to change. Zimbabwe, which last year became just the second African country to legalize medical marijuana, announced earlier this month that it is repealing laws prohibiting the production of cannabis as the economically troubled country looks to hemp to replace tobacco as its leading crop export. The post EU Inspectors Reportedly Approve Uganda’s Medical Marijuana for Export appeared first on ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-08-27
  • California Assembly Passes Bill Allowing Medical Cannabis on School Campuses
    On Monday, the California House of Representatives approved a bill that will let school boards decide whether parents will be allowed to give their kids medical marijuana on campus. Currently, students must leave campus to consume their meds, which critics say is a risky policy. The state assembly’s decision does not apply to smokeable cannabis. The legislation will now go to the state senate for approval. Last year, ex-Governor Jerry Brown vetoed Jojo’s Act, a similar bill named after a San Francisco High School student and medical marijuana patient, after it had passed both the state House and Senate. In September of 2018, a California judge ruled that five-year-old Brooke Adams could attend public school and bring her cannabis-based medication with her to take on campus. She had previously been banned from attending by Rincon Valley Union School District, which had taken the stance that Adams’ presence would violate state laws regarding medical cannabis on school campuses. “I was so overwhelmed with emotion and joy that we don’t have to fight anymore after a battle of over two years,” her mother Jana Adams told a local newspaper at the time. “I’m grateful that we had this ruling so she can just go to school like any other child and we don’t have to keep pushing to get what she needs.” California is certainly not the only state that has grappled with issues of how child and adolescent medical marijuana patients are to access their cannabis meds at school. In June, Florida’s Palm Beach County School Board decided to give access to parents to administer their kids’ low THC cannabis medications at a designated location on school campuses. Still other states have given the OK to students’ consumption of medical cannabis at school when the medication is administered by a school nurse. That setup has the additional benefit of being more accessible to parents who have to work during the day, and cannot take time off to make it to their kid’s school every time they need to take their medicine. One of the most recent states to institute such a plan was Virginia, which passed Senate Bill 1632 to that effect in February. Other states have opted to authorize both legal guardians and school personnel to administer medical cannabis, like New Mexico, which saw SB 204 signed into effect by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham in April. The debate over medical marijuana in schools has also focused on whether teachers and school staff should be allowed to take their ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-08-27
  • Pete Buttigieg’s Plan Would Decriminalize Possession of All Drugs
    Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg released a plan on Friday that would decriminalize the possession of all drugs as a way to address the nation’s opioid crisis and improve mental health care. Under his plan, titled “Healing and Belonging in America: A Plan to Improve Mental Health Care and Combat Addiction,” a Buttigieg administration would seek in its first term to treat addiction and the opioid epidemic as public health problems instead of criminal justice issues. “To ensure that people with a mental illness or substance use disorder can heal, we will decriminalize these conditions,” the plan reads. “When someone is undergoing a crisis or is caught using a drug, they should be treated by a health professional rather than punished in a jail cell.” Buttigieg’s plan also includes criminal justice reforms such as reducing prison sentences for other drug offenses, expunging convictions for past drug possession offenses, and retroactively reducing the sentences for offenders currently in prison. By taking these and other measures, Buttigieg hopes to reduce the number of people incarcerated due to mental illness and drug addiction by 75 percent in his first term. Addressing the Opioid Crisis The proposal notes the devastating effects caused by the nation’s ongoing opioid crisis. “In the past two decades alone, almost 450,000 people have died due to opioid overdose. By the end of this year, almost nine times as many will have died as the total number of U.S. military deaths during the Vietnam War,” reads the introduction to Buttigieg’s plan. “This crisis leaves a harrowing impact far beyond rising death rates. For every person that dies from opioid overdose, countless others are living with opioid use disorder. Family members, friends, and neighbors are deeply affected. Families are being torn apart; since 2000, the number of children placed in foster care due to their parent’s opioid use has doubled to nearly 100,000.” Buttigieg’s plan would address the opioid crisis by improving access to the overdose emergency treatment drug naloxone and supporting needle exchange programs to help save lives. “Harm reduction programs are a critical part of any effective response to the opioid and injection drug use crisis,” the proposal asserts. “They minimize the negative impact of drug use without encouraging it, while reducing other side effects of drug use. In particular, this means access to syringe service programs for people who inject drugs, that link them to treatment, and provides access to sterile syringes. These programs help prevent transmission of HIV, viral hepatitis, and other ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-08-27
  • Judge Rules Johnson & Johnson Must Pay $572 Million for Fueling Opioid Crisis
    The state of Oklahoma has been going after the drug companies at the center of the opioid epidemic, and on Monday, state attorneys won their first case: a civil suit against Johnson & Johnson. Bringing an end to a seven-week civil trial, Judge Thad Balkman ruled in favor of Oklahoma, finding that Johnson & Johnson’s marketing practices fueled a statewide opioid crisis that claimed the lives of more than 6,000 people. As part of Judge Balkman’s decision, Johnson & Johnson must pay $572 million to the state of Oklahoma. Immediately after the ruling, the drug company issued a statement vowing to appeal the decision. How Johnson & Johnson Ignited a Lethal Public Health Crisis in Oklahoma “The opioid crisis is an imminent danger and menace to Oklahomans,” Judge Thad Balkman said in his Monday ruling against Johnson & Johnson. Throughout the case, state attorneys brought forward evidence outlining exactly how dangerous and how menacing opioids are. They showed how Oklahomans are suffering from worsening rates of addiction, increasing overdose deaths and rising rates of neonatal abstinence syndrome. And they linked that data to Johnson & Johnson’s marketing of the opioid painkillers Duragesic and Nucynta. “The state met its burden [of proof],” Balkman said, and proved that Johnson and Johnson was engaged in the “misleading marketing and promotion of opioids.” As a result of the judge’s decision, Johnson & Johnson must pay $572 million to the state. In fact, Balkman’s ruling is the first in the United States to hold a pharmaceutical company responsible for the ongoing opioid epidemic. That means the ruling could set an important precedent for thousands of other cases pending against drug companies across the United States. Johnson & Johnson Will Appeal Oklahoma Judge’s Ruling In its civil suit against Johnson & Johnson, Oklahoma attorneys sought damages of $17 billion. The $572 million the company was ordered to pay is just a fraction of that (3 percent). Still, Johnson & Johnson denies any wrongdoing. In a statement issued immediately after the federal court’s ruling, the company announced “plans to appeal the opioid judgement in Oklahoma.” It’s the same approach being taken by another drug company, Teva Pharmaceuticals of Jerusalem, which announced an $85 million settlement with Oklahoma two days ahead of the trial against Johnson & Johnson. Teva also denies any wrongdoing. The lawyer behind the opioid cases, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter, has also filed suit against Allergan and Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin. In March 2019, Purdue Pharma settled with the ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-08-27
  • The Winners of the 2019 Oklahoma Cannabis Cup
    For the first time ever, High Times brought the Cannabis Cup all the way to Oklahoma! Here are all the winners of the 2019 Oklahoma Cannabis Cup: Indica Flower Jesse Faatz 1st Place: The Pound – Orange Cheddar2nd Place: Emerald Wholesale – Orange Apricot 3rd Place: Stability Grows – Forbidden Fruit Sativa Flower Jesse Faatz 1st Place: Full Moon Pharm – GG42nd Place: New Leaf Medicinals – Tropicana Cookies3rd Place: Exotic Genetix – Truffle Butter Hybrid Flower Jesse Faatz 1st Place: Emerald Wholesale – Chem D x I-95 2nd Place: Green Rush Gardens – Gelato Cake3rd Place: Korova / Sublime Brands Products / Connoisseur Cannabis – G.A.S. Sun-Grown Flower Jesse Faatz 1st Place: Helix Extract – Snowland2nd Place: Green N’ Pink – Starmalade CBD Flower Jesse Faatz 1st Place: Craft Cannabis – HGDP CBD2nd Place: Sticky Tree Farms – Bronx Goo 3rd Place: Cloudi Mornings – CBDutch Treat  Preroll Jesse Faatz 1st Place: Gorilla Gardens – Kief Infused Funk Indica Pre-Roll2nd Place: Tb4u Farms & Rt. 66 Xtracts – Holy Roller3rd Place: Fire Leaf – Jeffrey Infused Pre-Roll Edible Jesse Faatz 1st Place: OK Nice Cream – Strawberry Fruit Bar2nd Place: Fire Leaf x Outlaw  Edibles – Maple Bacon Krispi Barz 3rd Place: Mr. Mack’s – Caramel Pot Pops CBD Edible Jesse Faatz 1st Place: Too Sticky – Honey Almond Protein Bar2nd Place: Simple Cure – Helpful Mango Sativa Tincture3rd Place: EdiPure – Raspberry Lemonade Gummies Vape Pen and Cartridge Jesse Faatz 1st Place: Korova / Sublime Brands Products / Connoisseur Cannabis – Grandaddy Purp Cart2nd Place: Electraleaf – Wedding Cake Cart3rd Place: Fire Leaf x Oklahoma Dab Lab – White Pineapple  Indica Concentrate Jesse Faatz 1st Place: White Mousse Oklahoma x Red River Pharms – Grape Ape Full Spectrum 2nd Place: Tb4u Farms & Rt. 66 Xtracts – Wright White Live Sugar3rd Place: Head of Honey x Diamond Labs – Member Berry Live Diamonds  Sativa Concentrate Jesse Faatz 1st Place: Fire Leaf x Oklahoma Dab Lab – Lemon Cheese Quake2nd Place: White Mousse x Rock Top Wellness – Oklahoma Mimosa Full Spectrum 3rd Place: Terpenetics – Blue Cookies Live Resin Sugar Hybrid Concentrate Jesse Faatz 1st Place: Fire Leaf x Oklahoma Dab Lab – Fruity Pebbles OG 2nd Place: SoloS Extracts – Canuck Cookies Diamonds3rd Place: White Mousse x Rock Top Wellness – Kief Chief Full Spectrum  Non-Solvent Concentrate Jesse Faatz 1st Place: Helix Extract – Purple Punch Live Rosin2nd Place: Kiamichi Skies – KS Blend Live Rosin3rd Place: Stability Grows X Country Hash – Forbidden Fruit Live Rosin Topical Jesse Faatz 1st Place: Lotus ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-08-26