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Medical Marijuana Update

Marijuana (STDW) - Thu, 08/11/2016 - 21:31

The DEA again rejects marijuana rescheduling, a North Dakota initiative makes the ballot, a South Dakota one doesn't, a Missouri one hangs on by a thread, and more.

[image:1 align:right]National

On Thursday, DEA again refused to reschedule marijuana. The DEA today again refused to reschedule marijuana, arguing that its therapeutic value has not been scientifically proven. The move rejecting a rescheduling petition from two governors comes despite medical marijuana being legal in half the states and in the face of an ever-increasing mountain of evidence of marijuana's medicinal utility. Today's action marks at least the fourth time the DEA has rejected petitions seeking to reschedule marijuana. The effort to get the DEA to move marijuana off the same schedule as heroin has been going on since 1972, and once again has garnered the same result. The agency did announce one policy change that could make it easier to conduct marijuana research. It said it would end the University of Mississippi's monopoly on the production of marijuana for research purposes by granting growing licenses to a limited number of other universities.

Missouri

On Monday, a medical marijuana initiative campaign vowed to go to court to try to overturn invalidated signatures. New Approach Missouri announced that it will go to court this month to overturn invalidated signatures so that its medical marijuana initiative can appear on the November ballot. The campaign has enough valid signatures to qualify in every congressional district except the state's second, where local election officials invalidated more than 10,000 signatures, leaving the campaign roughly 2,200 short of the 32,337 required in that district.

Ohio

On Tuesday, Ohio took the first step toward getting medical marijuana up and running. The state Medical Marijuana Control Program has unveiled a website with the first information on how it plans to implement the state's new medical marijuana law. Medical marijuana will not be available before September 2018, as the state works to develop rules and regulations.

North Dakota

On Tuesday, a medical marijuana initiative qualified for the November ballot. The secretary of state's office has confirmed that Compassionate Care Act initiative has submitted enough valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot. The initiative would allow patients suffering from a list of specified medical conditions to possess up to three ounces of marijuana and grow their own if they are more than 40 miles away from a licensed dispensary. Dispensaries would be nonprofits.

South Dakota

On Tuesday, a state court judge rejected a medical marijuana initiative campaign's appeal. The state will not be voting on the issue this November after a state court judge denied a request from the campaign to overturn Secretary of State Shantel Krebs' finding that the group did not hand in enough valid voter signatures to qualify for the ballot. South Dakota has twice previously rejected medical marijuana at the polls -- the only state to do so.

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]

Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM: DEA Rejects MJ Rescheduling, AZ Legalization Init Makes Ballot, More... (8/11/16)

Marijuana (STDW) - Thu, 08/11/2016 - 21:04

The DEA is up to the same old same old, Arizona joins the list of states voting on marijuana legalization this fall, heroin overdoses jump in recent years in New York, and more.

[image:1 align:left]Marijuana Policy

DEA Again Refuses to Reschedule Marijuana. The DEA today again refused to reschedule marijuana, arguing that its therapeutic value has not been scientifically proven. The move rejecting a rescheduling petition from two governors comes despite medical marijuana being legal in half the states and in the face of an ever-increasing mountain of evidence of marijuana's medicinal utility. Today's action marks at least the fourth time the DEA has rejected petitions seeking to reschedule marijuana. The effort to get the DEA to move marijuana off the same schedule as heroin has been going on since 1972, and once again has garnered the same result. The agency did announce one policy change that could make it easier to conduct marijuana research. It said it would end the University of Mississippi's monopoly on the production of marijuana for research purposes by granting growing licenses to a limited number of other universities.

Arizona Legalization Initiative Qualifies for November Ballot. It's official: State officials have confirmed that the initiative from the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has gathered enough valid voter signatures to qualify for the November ballot. The initiative will appear on the ballot as Proposition 205.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

Fatal Overdoses Have Jumped in New York City in Recent Years. Fatal drug overdoses have jumped 66% in the city between 2010 and 2015, the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Reported Tuesday. Last year, 937 New Yorkers died of overdoses, compared to 541 in 2010. Heroin was involved in 59% of the deaths.

International

Vietnam Sentences Nine to Death for Smuggling Heroin to China. A court in Lang Son has handed out death sentences to nine men for smuggling about 500 pounds of heroin to China. Two others were sentenced to life in prison. Under Vietnamese law, possession or sale of more than 100 grams of heroin is punishable by death.

Categories: Marijuana

DEA Once Again Refuses to Reschedule Marijuana, But Does Offer One Sop [FEATURE]

Marijuana (STDW) - Thu, 08/11/2016 - 19:14

The DEA today again refused to reschedule marijuana, arguing that its therapeutic value has not been scientifically proven. The move rejecting a rescheduling petition from two governors comes despite medical marijuana being legal in half the states and in the face of an ever-increasing mountain of evidence of marijuana's medicinal utility.

[image:1 align:left]"DEA has denied two petitions to reschedule marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA)," the agency said in a press release. "In response to the petitions, DEA requested a scientific and medical evaluation and scheduling recommendation from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which was conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in consultation with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Based on the legal standards in the CSA, marijuana remains a schedule I controlled substance because it does not meet the criteria for currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, there is a lack of accepted safety for its use under medical supervision, and it has a high potential for abuse."

Today's action marks at least the fourth time the DEA has rejected petitions seeking to reschedule marijuana. The effort to get the DEA to move marijuana off the same schedule as heroin has been going on since 1972, and once again has garnered the same result.

The move comes despite the expansion of state medical marijuana laws at least three more states will vote on it this year -- and a growing clamor for change, including from members of Congress. Just yesterday, the National Conference of State Legislatures adopted a resolution calling on the federal government to move marijuana off Schedule I.

The agency did announce one policy change that could make it easier to conduct marijuana research. It said it would end the University of Mississippi's monopoly on the production of marijuana for research purposes by granting growing licenses to a limited number of other universities.

But that was not nearly enough for marijuana reform advocates, who scorched the agency for its continuing refusal to move the drug off of Schedule I, if not outside the purview of the Controlled Substances Act altogether.

"This decision is further evidence that the DEA doesn't get it. Keeping marijuana at Schedule I continues an outdated, failed approach -- leaving patients and marijuana businesses trapped between state and federal laws," said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).

[image:2 align:right caption:true]"The DEA's refusal to remove marijuana from Schedule I is, quite frankly, mind-boggling. It is intellectually dishonest and completely indefensible. Not everyone agrees marijuana should be legal, but few will deny that it is less harmful than alcohol and many prescription drugs. It is less toxic, less addictive, and less damaging to the body," said Mason Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project.

"We are pleased the DEA is finally going to end NIDA's monopoly on the cultivation of marijuana for research purposes. For decades it has been preventing researchers from exploring the medical benefits of marijuana. It has also stood in the way of any scientific inquiries that might contradict the DEA's exaggerated claims about the potential harms of marijuana or raise questions about its classification under Schedule I," Tvert continued.

"The DEA's announcement is a little sweet but mostly bitter. Praising them for it would be like rewarding a student who failed an exam and agreed to cheat less on the next one. Removing barriers to research is a step forward, but the decision does not go nearly far enough. Marijuana should be completely removed from the CSA drug schedules and regulated similarly to alcohol," he concluded.

"For far too long, federal regulations have made clinical investigations involving cannabis needlessly onerous and have placed unnecessary and arbitrary restrictions on marijuana that do not exist for other controlled substances, including some other schedule I controlled substances," said Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML.

"While this announcement is a significant step toward better facilitating and expanding clinical investigations into cannabis' therapeutic efficacy, ample scientific evidence already exists to remove cannabis from its schedule I classification and to acknowledge its relative safety compared to other scheduled substances, like opioids, and unscheduled substances, such as alcohol," he continued. "Ultimately, the federal government ought to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act altogether in a manner similar to alcohol and tobacco, thus providing states the power to establish their own marijuana regulatory policies free from federal intrusion.

It is time for Congress to step up, Armentano said.

[image:3 align:left caption:true]"Since the DEA has failed to take such action, then it is incumbent that members of Congress act swiftly to amend cannabis' criminal status in a way that comports with both public and scientific opinion. Failure to do so continues the federal government's 'Flat Earth' position; it willfully ignores the well-established therapeutic properties associated with the plant and it ignores the laws in 26 states recognizing marijuana's therapeutic efficacy," he said.

He wasn't the only one.

"It's really sad that DEA has chosen to continue decades of ignoring the voices of patients who benefit from medical marijuana," said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority. "President Obama always said he would let science -- and not ideology -- dictate policy, but in this case his administration is upholding a failed drug war approach instead of looking at real, existing evidence that marijuana has medical value. This unfortunate decision only further highlights the need for Congress to pass legislation curtailing the ability of DEA and other federal agencies to interfere with the effective implementation of state marijuana laws. A clear and growing majority of American voters support legalizing marijuana outright and the very least our representatives should do is let states implement their own policies, unencumbered by an outdated 'Reefer Madness' mentality that some in law enforcement still choose to cling to."

Given that the DEA and the executive branch have proven -- once again! -- unwilling to remove the ideological blinders from their eyes, it is now indeed up to Congress. Perhaps after this coming election cycle, in which we are likely to see more states vote to approve medical marijuana and even more vote to just legalize it, Congress will see the writing on the wall.

Categories: Marijuana

US NV: Column: Pot Tale Of The Week

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 08/11/2016 - 07:00
Reno News & Review, 11 Aug 2016 - After we reported that federal and Colorado state figures conflict with a claim that Colorado teen use of marijuana has "gone up since legalization" ("Pot tale of the week," RN&R, July 28), prohibitionist Genoa lawyer Jim Hartman sent us a link to a report issued by the "Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area" (RMHIDTA). We were aware of the report. It does indeed indicate that teen marijuana use in Colorado is higher than the national average. What it neglects to include in that statistic is the fact that its numbers nevertheless still show a level of teen use in the state that is lower than it was before legalization. In other words, teen use has gone down since marijuana became legal.
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US CA: Column: Overscheduled

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 08/11/2016 - 07:00
Sacramento News & Review, 11 Aug 2016 - Wasn't the DEA supposed to have released its decision on rescheduling cannabis by now? - -John E. Law Of course it was, and of course it hasn't. Word was that the Drug Enforcement Administration was in talks to bump cannabis to Schedule 2 within the first half of 2016. Do you know how hard it is for government agencies to admit they've made a mistake? Currently, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug, meaning it supposedly has no medicinal value and has a high risk for abuse. You know, like other Schedule I drugs such as heroin or LSD.
Categories: Marijuana

US: Is the Pro-Pot Movement's Quest for Marijuana Legalization

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 08/11/2016 - 07:00
The Mail Tribune, 11 Aug 2016 - Four in 10 Americans now hold mixed views on illegal substances, believing hard drugs should stay illegal, but recreational drugs, like marijuana, should be allowed, according to a newly released Barna Group study. Despite changes in public perception, an additional 32 percent still believe all drugs should be illegal, but it doesn't end there. Beyond those paradigms, 13 percent believe all drugs should be legal but regulated, with only 3 percent saying that all drugs should be legal with no regulation.
Categories: Marijuana

US: Obama Administration Will Lift a Barrier to Marijuana

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 08/11/2016 - 07:00
New York Times, 11 Aug 2016 - The Obama administration is planning to remove a major roadblock to marijuana research, officials said Wednesday, potentially spurring broad scientific study of a drug that is being used to treat dozens of diseases in states across the nation despite little rigorous evidence of its effectiveness. The new policy is expected to sharply increase the supply of marijuana available to researchers.
Categories: Marijuana

US: U.S. Will Affirm Its Prohibition Against Medical

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 08/11/2016 - 07:00
Washington Post, 11 Aug 2016 - The government on Thursday will refuse again to allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, reaffirming its conclusion that the drug's therapeutic value has not been proved scientifically, according to government officials, and defying a growing clamor to legalize it for the treatment of a variety of conditions. In an announcement scheduled to be in the Federal Register, the Drug Enforcement Administration will turn down requests to remove marijuana from "Schedule I," which classifies it as a drug with "no currently accepted medical use" in the United States and bars doctors from prescribing it.
Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM: CA Pot Foes Sue Over Prop 64 Language, ND MedMJ Init Qualifies, More... (8/10/16)

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 08/10/2016 - 20:37

It grows quiet in the dog days of summer, but there is still some news: North Dakotans will vote on medical marijuana in November, California pot legalization foes sue over ballot argument language, and more.

[image:1 align:right caption:true]Marijuana Policy

California Legalization Foes Sue Over Prop 64 Ballot Language. Opponents of the Prop 64 legalization initiative organized as No on 64 have sued the California secretary of state, alleging that Prop 64 ballot arguments could deceive voters. The group claims the ballot arguments are false and misleading in regard to TV advertising and marijuana delivery services. Last week, Prop 64 supporters also sued, alleging opposition arguments were false and misleading.

Medical Marijuana

North Dakota Initiative Qualifies for November Ballot. The secretary of state's office has confirmed that Compassionate Care Act initiative has submitted enough valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot. The initiative would allow patients suffering from a list of specified medical conditions to possess up to three ounces of marijuana and grow their own if they are more than 40 miles away from a licensed dispensary. Dispensaries would be nonprofits.

International

Philippines' Deadly Anti-Drug Policies Spark Protests. With the death toll from police an vigilante killings of alleged drug users and sellers already climbing into the hundreds just weeks after President Rodrigo "Death Squad" Duterte took office, the public backlash is beginning. On Wednesday, protestors gathered at the Redemptorist Church in Paranaque City to demand an end to the killings.

Categories: Marijuana

CN ON: Growing Like A Weed

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 08/10/2016 - 07:00
Ottawa Sun, 10 Aug 2016 - Business is booming for local marijuana dispensaries Jordan Chambers dropped in to the Weeds marijuana dispensary on Montreal Road recently and bought a package of cannabis-infused chocolate turtles and two coconut dreamy bars.
Categories: Marijuana

CN ON: Police Raid 3 Marijuana Dispensaries

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 08/10/2016 - 07:00
Toronto Star, 10 Aug 2016 - Danforth shop already plans to reopen in the future As governments lay groundwork for legal recreational pot next spring, Toronto police keep raiding medicinal marijuana dispensaries and want the public to help them continue.
Categories: Marijuana

Canada: Pot Growers Push For Oil Coverage

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 08/10/2016 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 10 Aug 2016 - Despite a Top Court Decision Giving Canadians the Right to Use Extracts, Ottawa Only Reimburses Veterans for Dried Products Despite a Supreme Court of Canada decision that gives sick Canadians the right to use medical cannabis oils, Ottawa is reimbursing the country's veterans for dried pot only, potentially pushing them to less healthy options of smoking or vaporizing the drug.
Categories: Marijuana

CN BC: Sooke Mom Urges Regulations On Local Marijuana

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 08/10/2016 - 07:00
Sooke News Mirror, 10 Aug 2016 - Kate Karassev Began an Online Poll Last Week, and Will Present It to Council A Sooke mom is afraid of a mass arrival of medical marijuana dispensaries in town and wants tougher action by district officials.
Categories: Marijuana

US CA: Marijuana Dispensary Raided by Police Sues Costa Mesa

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 08/10/2016 - 07:00
Daily Pilot, 10 Aug 2016 - Operators of a Costa Mesa medical marijuana dispensary that was raided by police in January sued the city and its Police Department on Tuesday, alleging that officers had no right to force their way into the Harbor Boulevard storefront. The lawsuit, filed in Orange County Superior Court, claims that Costa Mesa police never presented a warrant during or after the search, in which they arrested employees and confiscated marijuana products.
Categories: Marijuana

US CA: Inclusive Weed Entrepreneurs: Supernova Women

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 08/10/2016 - 07:00
East Bay Express, 10 Aug 2016 - The War on Drugs fueled the modern-day prison industrial complex for decades, and many politicians now agree that it was a misguided federal policy that resulted in the needless incarceration of millions of Americans - particularly Black and Latino folks. From 1990 to 2010, the amount of people in state prisons for drug offenses increased by 52 percent according to the American Civil Liberties Union. These arrests for non-violent crimes tore apart communities of color nationwide, separating families and saddling the loved ones of incarcerated individuals with financial burdens - from legal costs to drastic reductions to their household incomes.
Categories: Marijuana

US CO: Column: Former Employees Speak Out Against Accused 'Pot

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 08/10/2016 - 07:00
Colorado Springs Independent, 10 Aug 2016 - Allegations without due process are nothing but allegations. And at this point, that's all there is in the case of the four medical marijuana doctors whose licenses hang in legal limbo since the state medical board suspended them last month. But as those doctors wait for their day in court, former employees of MedEval in Colorado Springs - where one of them, Dr. William Stone, practices - are speaking out against their former boss. Assistant operations manager Lisa Moss who was hired in December and quit June 30, says "it was a clinic for profit, not for patients." She describes a get-them-in-get-them-out kind of attitude toward consultations, with little regard for verification or follow-ups. "Half the time [patients] would only fill out half their intake form, then doc would just sign off on it and that's that," she tells the Indy. "And sometimes, they'd come just straight from the DMV with temporary licenses [to prove residency] and no medical history whatsoever."
Categories: Marijuana

US PA: Will Pot Activist's A.G. Candidacy Go Up in Smoke?

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 08/10/2016 - 07:00
The Philadelphia Inquirer, 10 Aug 2016 - The Libertarian Party's N.A. Poe Was Keeping a Sense of Humor Amid Challenges From Both Major Parties. The State Requires the Attorney General to Hold a License to Practice Law. Poe Doesn't. For N.A. Poe, a marijuana-legalization activist from Philadelphia, running for state attorney general was a lark to draw attention to the issue.
Categories: Marijuana

US NJ: Indicted NJ Weedman Hopes Prosecutor Takes 'Ass

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 08/10/2016 - 07:00
The Trentonian, 10 Aug 2016 - TRENTON - Facing an 11-count indictment on drug charges, Ed Forchion, aka NJ Weedman, is not breaking a sweat. In fact, the pro-marijuana activist has challenged acting Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri to take the lead on the case.
Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM: NYC MJ Arrests Rising Again, Dark Web Drug Sales Up Dramatically, More... (8/9/16)

Marijuana (STDW) - Tue, 08/09/2016 - 20:47

Marijuana arrest numbers are headed in the wrong direction in New York City, Ohio makes a first move toward implementing medical marijuana, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer declares war on new psychoactive substances, and more.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Marijuana Policy

New York City Marijuana Arrests on the Rise Again. After declining during the first two years of Mayor Bill de Blasio's (D) administration, pot arrests are on the rise again in the Big Apple. The 9,331 people arrested on possession charges in the first half of this year is a 30% increase over the same period last year. That's not good news, but it's still nowhere near as bad as it was under Michael Bloomberg. In 2010, more than 50,000 were arrested for pot; this year, if current trends keep up, it will still be under 20,000.

Medical Marijuana

Ohio Takes First Step Toward Getting Medical Marijuana Up and Running. The state Medical Marijuana Control Program has unveiled a website with the first information on how it plans to implement the state's new medical marijuana law. Medical marijuana will not be available before September 2018, as the state works to develop rules and regulations.

South Dakota Judge Rejects Medical Marijuana Initiative Campaign's Appeal. The state will not be voting on the issue this November after a state court judge denied a request from the campaign to overturn Secretary of State Shantel Krebs' finding that the group did not hand in enough valid voter signatures to qualify for the ballot. South Dakota has twice previously rejected medical marijuana at the polls -- the only state to do so.

New Psychoactive Substances

Sen. Schumer Responds to New Drugs With Old Prohibitionist "Whack-A-Mole" Strategy. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) announced today that he is filing a new bill that would criminalize the chemicals used to make new psychoactive substances such as synthetic cannabinoids ("Spice," "K2"), synthetic stimulants ("bath salts"), and synthetic opioids. "We need a federal hammer to nail these toxic concoctions of synthetic drugs to reverse this troubling trend… This federal legislation will ban 22 synthetic drugs, including powerful forms of fentanyl, crippling the unlawful chemists cooking up these drugs and the cartels that push them to our local stores and streets. Banning these drugs quickly will help the feds step up their game of whack-a-mole so that we can help stem the tide of synthetic drug use here in New York State and across the country."

International

Dark Web Drug Sales Triple Since End of Silk Road. It's been three years since federal authorities shut down the Silk Road dark web drug sales website, but online illicit drug sales have never been higher. Drug sales have tripled since then to somewhere between $12 million and $20 million a month, while revenues have doubled, according to a study published by Rand Corporation Europe. While dark web drugs sales make up only a small fraction of all illicit drug sales, many of the transactions are for more than $1,000, suggesting that drugs are being purchased online for resale on the streets.

Categories: Marijuana

Canada: Most Growers Aren't Gangsters: Advocates

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 08/09/2016 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 09 Aug 2016 - Group Warns That Overestimating the Role of Organized Crime in the Illegal Pot Industry Will Simply Perpetuate the Black Market Contrary to common RCMP wisdom, organized crime groups play a relatively small role in Canada's underground cannabis trade, and the majority of people behind the country's illegal grow operations and dispensaries are otherwise law-abiding, a group of academics and small-scale marijuana businesses have told the federal legalization task force.
Categories: Marijuana
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