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The Youngest Victims of the Drug War at Home and Abroad
on 25 July 2014. Posted in World Wide Cannabis News
Cannabis N.I.

Perhaps the terrible truth of drug war violence will finally be addressed as all of America bore witness this summer to the horror of some 52,000 unaccompanied children who were fleeing devastating violence that had erupted in Central America. Alone, they had braved the treacherous crossing of the border that divides America from Mexico and most of us first encountered them when we saw the smallest of children, terrified, and being held in cages. Those images put before our national consciousness the most heart-wrenching cost of the American taxpayer funded drug war: how it displaces and disassembles the lives of defenseless children. But the truth children have always been casualties of this failed war, both in Central and Latin America, and here in the U.S.

In Latin America, the core of this crisis faced by children in vulnerable communities is directly linked to the longstanding drug prohibition policies, which are as failed and dangerous today as they were in Chicago during alcohol’s prohibition during the 1920s. Yet, the United States employs tactics as wrongheaded and deadly now as they were then. As we did then, we are engaged in a hyperbolically militarized law and order campaign to combat drug trafficking. Now, like then, it’s an utter failure. Most people did not stop drinking if they were inclined to drink then, and today, those inclined to get high, do. But more lives than we may ever be able to count have been destroyed. Murder rates and the numbers of those disappeared have left a terrible haunting that hangs like a heavy tarp across the future of mothers and fathers, sons and daughters who want only to something other than despair. And major regions of Central America are destabilized now, along with the opportunities for creating viable livelihoods. This is what leaves parents so desperate that they send their children on the perilous journey to the U.S. in search of refuge and safety. They only want their babies to live, to have a chance.

Just like us.

Here in America, where drug war monies have disrupted primarily African American communities, Black parents clamor and pray for opportunities not afforded their precious young ones. Instead of African American communities being provided with jobs, resourced schools, sports and arts programs and other stabilizing institutions, they’ve gotten excessive and biased policing. Despite roughly equal drug use across the races. African Americans are subjected far out of proportion to incarceration and criminalization. Theirs has been the experience of a criminal justice system on steroids; indeed the U.S. incarcerates more people for drug law offenses than Western Europe incarcerates for all offenses combined, and African Americans represent over 40 percent of those numbers despite being 13 percent of the population. And here, among the forgotten many who bear the burden of these policies, are the children, who are often displaced from their homes and separated from a beloved parent who perhaps—and only perhaps—needed a public health intervention, not a criminal one. Every night in America, 2.7 million children are growing up in a home in which one or more parents are incarcerated, two-thirds of which are for nonviolent offenses – including a substantial proportion who are behind bars for a drug law violation.

We hope that this terrible moment before us – with children sleeping on floors in cages at the border, and children going to bed without their mothers and fathers in what is widely acknowledged now a new system of Jim Crow – that we can finally stand together as one nation, setting aside the disingenuous politics of fear and stigma and demonstrate a real commitment to family values by putting the most vulnerable among us – our beloved children – at the center of our policies on drugs, incarceration and immigration.

Asha Bandele is the director of the advocacy grants program at the Drug Policy Alliance and the best-selling author of the Prisoner’s Wife Jerónimo Saldaña is coordinator with the Drug Policy Alliance’s movement building team.




World Health Organization Calls for Drug Decriminalization and Broad Drug Policy Reforms
on 25 July 2014. Posted in World Wide Cannabis News
Cannabis N.I.

In a report published earlier this month, the World Health Organization (WHO) made a clear call for broad drug policy reforms, including decriminalization of drug use, harm reduction practices such as syringe exchange and opioid substitution therapy, and a ban on compulsory treatment for people who use drugs. This report by the United Nations’ leading health agency focuses on best practices to prevent, diagnose and treat HIV among key populations.

“It’s good to see the WHO come out so strongly for decriminalizing drugs and rejecting compulsory treatment for people who use drugs,’ said Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “Its recommendations, grounded as they are in science and public health, drive home the need for fundamental reforms in U.S. drug policies, in particular the growing reliance on drug courts to ‘treat’ people arrested for drug possession.”

In a section titled “Good practice recommendations concerning decriminalization”, the WHO report makes the following recommendations:

Countries should work toward developing policies and laws that decriminalize injection and other use of drugs and, thereby, reduce incarceration.
Countries should work toward developing policies and laws that decriminalize the use of clean needles and syringes (and that permit NSPs [needle and syringe programmes]) and that legalize OST [opioid substitution therapy] for people who are opioid-dependent.
Countries should ban compulsory treatment for people who use and/or inject drugs.

This follows on the heels of a report released in March by a key working group of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) discouraging criminal sanctions for drug use. The recommendations of the working group – which included Nora Volkow, head of the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) – highlight that “criminal sanctions are not beneficial” in addressing the spectrum of drug use and misuse.

In 2016, the United Nations General Assembly will hold a special session on drugs (UNGASS) – an initiative proposed in 2012 by the then-president of Mexico, Felipe Calderon – in order to conduct a comprehensive review of the successes and failures of international drug control policy. Whereas the previous UNGASS in 1998 was dominated by rhetorical calls for a “drug-free world” and concluded with unrealistic goals regarding illicit drug production, the forthcoming UNGASS will undoubtedly be shaped by recommendations such as those in the WHO report.

Last year, Uruguay followed on the heels of Colorado and Washington State and became the first country to legally regulate marijuana for recreational purposes. In June, the West Africa Commission on Drugs, initiated by former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and chaired by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasango, called for drug decriminalization and for treating drug use as a health issue. This was followed by an announcement by the Jamaican Minister of Justice that the Jamaican Cabinet had approved a proposal to decriminalize the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana and the decriminalization of marijuana use for religious, scientific and medical purposes. And earlier this month, the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), agreed to establish a commission to review marijuana policy in the region in order to assess the need for reforms to marijuana laws.

The WHO recommendations are consistent with the long-standing policy objectives and mission of the Drug Policy Alliance, as well as with a surprisingly broad and rapidly-emerging coalition of stakeholders who are calling for drug decriminalization, including the American Public Health Association, International Red Cross, Organization of American States, NAACP, Human Rights Watch, National Latino Congreso, and the Global Commission on Drug Policy.




Chronicle AM -- July 24, 2014
by Phillip Smith, July 24, 2014
StopTheDrugWar

There's dollar signs coming with marijuana legalization laws, Rand Paul moves to protect medical marijuana, medical marijuana comes too late for one New York girl, there's a new opiate pain reliever out there (with a twist), and more. Let's get to it:

Marijuana Policy

Oregon Marijuana Legalization Could Generate $38.5 Million in Taxes in First Year, Report Says. An economic study commissioned by New Approach Oregon, the people behind the marijuana legalization initiative just approved for the November ballot, finds that legalization would produce $38.5 million in tax revenues in its first year.

Medical Marijuana

Rand Paul Files Medical Marijuana Amendment. US Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) today filed an amendment to Senate Bill 2569, the "Bring Jobs Home Act," that would explicitly allow states to pass medical marijuana laws despite the provisions of the federal Controlled Substances Act. The amendment would also bar prosecutions of patients and doctors for engaging in medical marijuana activities in states where it is legal.

New York Poster Child for Medical Marijuana Dies Without Her Medicine. Nine-year-old Anna Conte, whose family has been at the center of the Empire State medical marijuana debate, has died without ever gaining access to marijuana medicines that may have alleviated her condition. Conte suffered from Dravet Syndrome, which caused her to suffer hundreds of crippling seizures every day. The state passed a medical marijuana law last month, but it won't go into effect for another year and a half.

Minnesota Names Medical Marijuana Director. The state Department of Health has named department employee Michelle Larson the first-ever director of the Office of Medical Cannabis. She is charged with managing the office's staff and creating and implementing administrative policies for things like an application process for a manufacturer and a patient registry. The state's law limits medical marijuana to eight specified diseases or conditions and does not allow for the use of smoked marijuana.

Prescription Opiates

FDA Approves Oxycodone/Naloxone Combo Pain Reliever. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new opioid pain reliever that combines oxycodone and naloxone. Targiniq ER, produced by Purdue Pharma, the maker of Oxycontin, included naloxone to block the euphoric effects of oxycodone, making it less likely to be misused.

International

Poll Finds Strong Australian Majority for Medical Marijuana. A new ReachTel survey finds that nearly two-thirds of respondents support legalizing medical marijuana. Support was highest among people between 51 and 65. The poll comes as New South Wales inches toward approving medical marijuana.

Chilean Senators Propose Legalizing Marijuana Possession, Cultivation. Four Chilean senators have introduced a bill that would legalize the possession and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana for personal use, as well as for "therapeutic and spiritual reasons." The legislators include Sen. Isabel Allende Bussi, daughter of Salvador Allende, who died in the midst of a rightist military coup to overthrow him in 1973, and Juan Pablo Letelier, the son of Orlando Letelier, a Chilean politician assassinated by the Pinochet government in Washington, DC, in 1976.




Enough Signatures Submitted to Put Cannabis Decriminalization to a Vote in Wichita, Kansas
by TheJointBlog, 24/07/2014
TheJointBlog

At 4:20PM today, the group Kansas for Change submitted over twice the required amount of signatures needed to put their cannabis decriminalization initiative to a vote of the people this November. The group was required to collect 3,000 signatures from registered Wichita voters. The city now has 6 days to verify the signatures.

Here’s the full text of the petition:

BE IT ORDAINED that in Wichita, Kansas, the municipal code shall be amended to remove all criminal penalties for possession of one ounce or less of cannabis/marijuana for adult personal or medical use and possession of paraphernalia; and that a maximum civil fine of $25.00 shall be implemented for possession of cannabis/marijuana and possession of paraphernalia for adults

Under current Kansas law, the possession of any amount of cannabis is a misdemeanor with a potential year-long prison sentence. Subsequent charges are a mandatory 10 months, with the potential sentence of up to 3.5 years.

Wichita is the largest city in Kansas, and the 49th largest city in the United States.

- TheJointBlog




Rand Paul Files Medical Marijuana Amendment
by Phillip Smith, July 24, 2014
StopTheDrugWar

US Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) today filed an amendment to Senate Bill 2569, the "Bring Jobs Home Act," that would explicitly allow states to pass medical marijuana laws despite the provisions of the federal Controlled Substances Act. The amendment would also bar prosecutions of patients and doctors for engaging in medical marijuana activities in states where it is legal.

The amendment, No. 3630, is not yet available on the congressional web site, but a copy has been made available to the Chronicle.

"Notwithstanding section 708 of the Controlled Substances Act or any provisions of law (including regulations), a State may enact and implement a law that authorizes the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of marijuana for medical use," the amendment says.

"No prosecution may be commenced or maintained against any physician or patient for a violation of Federal law (including regulations) that prohibits the conduct described in subsection (b) [Ed.: The paragraph above.] if the State in which the violation occurred has in effect a law described in subsection (b) before, on, or after the date on which the violation occurred."

The amendment then lists the 32 states and the District of Columbia that have laws allowing for the use of medical marijuana, including some that only allow for the use of low-THC, high-CBD cannabis oils.

Senate Bill 2569 was introduced in the Senate earlier this month.




Arizona Superior Court Judge: Patients Can Legally Sell Cannabis to Other Patients
July 24, 2014, by TheJointBlog
TheJointBlog

A Pima County Superior Court judge has thrown out charges against a man who sold cannabis plants to undercover cops posing as patients, ruling that the distribution of cannabis from one patient to the next isn’t illegal based on the wording of a 2010 voter-approved initiative. The ruling, though expected to be challenged and brought to the state’s Supreme Court, paves the way for patients to legally sell cannabis to other patients.

The case came as Jeremy Matlock, a qualified medical cannabis patient in Arizona, challenged cannabis distribution charges placed against him, arguing that the initiative which legalized medical cannabis doesn’t necessarily make it illegal for a patient to sell cannabis to another patient. Matlock drew the attention of law enforcement when he made a Craiglist post offering cannabis plants to qualified patients for a $25 fee.

Judge Richard Fields agreed with Matlock’s interpretation of the law – that his actions weren’t illegal – saying that the law is poorly written and subject to interpretation; “The fact of the matter is that the statute is very poorly drafted and needs a lot of work,’ said Judge Fields. “This court finds that the statute is ambiguous, does not give a person of ordinary intelligence notice as to how it can be violated, and therefore the indictment is insufficient as a matter of law.”

Kellie Johnson, chief criminal deputy for the Pima County Attorney’s Office, says they plan to appeal the ruling, which should lead it quickly to the Arizona Supreme Court.

- TheJointBlog




Senate Amendment Introduced to Protect Medical Cannabis States
by TheJointBlog, 24/07/2014
TheJointBlog

Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, filed an amendment in the Senate today that would protect states that have or are implementing medical cannabis programs from federal intrusion. The amendment would also protect patients and physicians in medical cannabis states from federal prosecution.

The amendment, Amendment 3630, was added to a federal jobs bill currently being discussed on the Senate floor. It would allow states to enact and implement laws that “authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of marijuana for medical use”, without fear of prosecution.

“What we’re trying to do is look at the law and allow states that have changed their laws and have allowed medical marijuana to do so, for doctors to be able to prescribe and for people to be able to get those prescriptions without being worried about the federal government coming in and arresting them,” Brian Darling, Rand Paul’s Communications Director, told the Huffington Post today.

A similar amendment which would defund medical cannabis raids passed the House of Representatives in May.

- TheJointBlog




Study: Oregonians to Purchase 1.3 Million Ounces of Cannabis in First Year of Legalization
By TheJointBlog, July 24, 2014
TheJointBlog

A new study conducted by ECONorthwest has found that the market for legalized cannabis in Oregon is quite large, and would garner tens of millions of dollars in taxes for the state in the first year.

The study, which was commissioned by New Approach Oregon, the group behind an initiative to legalize cannabis which was recently placed on the November ballot, found that in the first year of legal cannabis sales, Oregonians are likely to purchase over 1.3 million ounces (or 81,250 pounds) of cannabis. This, according to the tax rate put in place by the initiative, would equal over $38 million in taxes for the state; this isn’t counting the money saved from reduced enforcement costs.

The study concludes that if voters approve New Approach Oregon’s initiative this November, legal cannabis could be as low as $140 an ounce, far less than the cost of legal cannabis in Colorado and Washington, where an ounce is averaging anywhere from $350 to $700.

If voters do approve the initiative, the possession, use and purchase of up to 8 ounces of cannabis will be legal for anyone 21 and older, as will the private cultivation of up to 4 plants. State-licensed cannabis retail outlets will be allowed and regulated by the Oregon Liquor Commission.

The study can be found by clicking here.

- TheJointBlog




Chronicle AM -- July 23, 2014
by Phillip Smith, July 23, 2014
StopTheDrugWar

South Portland, Maine, will vote on marijuana legalization in November, medical marijuana researcher Dr. Sue Sisley's campaign to be reinstated is picking up steam, Mississippi officials get an earful at a public forum on a welfare drug testing law, and more. Let's get to it:

Marijuana Policy

South Portland, Maine, Marijuana Possession Legalization Initiative Qualifies for November Ballot. Officials in South Portland confirmed today that a citizen initiative to make marijuana possession legal for adults within city limits has qualified for the November 2014 ballot. Citizens for a Safer Maine, a Marijuana Policy Project affiliate, submitted more than 1,500 signatures, and just 959 valid signatures of registered city voters were required. The South Portland City Council will consider whether to enact the measure or refer it to city voters at its meeting scheduled for August 4.

Delaware House Hearing on Marijuana Decriminalization Today. The House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee is holding a hearing on a decriminalization bill today. The amended version of House Bill 371 would make possession of up to an ounce a civil offense, punishable only by a fine. Under current law, small time possession is a misdemeanor that can garner up to six months in jail.

Medical Marijuana

National Herbal Medicine Industry Group Issues Guidelines for Medical Marijuana Manufacture. The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) today released medical marijuana manufacturing guidelines, completing its compendium of industry standards. The guidelines complement those set by American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP) for the plant's identity, purity, quality and botanical properties.

Arizona Judge Rules Patients Can Sell to Other Cardholders. A Pima County Superior Court judge has thrown out charges against a medical marijuana patient who offered plants to sale to other cardholders for a $25 "donation," holding that the state's medical marijuana law is vague and can be interpreted as allowing for such activities. So far the ruling only applies to the case at hand, but local prosecutors have vowed to appeal, and a favorable higher court ruling would set precedent statewide.

Campaign to Reinstate Arizona Medical Marijuana Researcher Picks Up Steam. Veterans rallied yesterday at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix in support of medical marijuana researcher Dr. Sue Sisley, who says she was fired because of political opposition to her research on the use of medical marijuana for PTSD in veterans. A Change.org petition seeking her reinstatement now has 66,000 signatures (30,000 of them from yesterday alone) and a there is also a Facebook page supporting her.

Drug Testing

Mississippi Public Forum on Welfare Drug Test Law Leads for Calls to Amend It. A welfare recipient, civil liberties advocates, and Democratic politicians strong criticized the state's new law mandating drug testing for some welfare recipients at a public hearing yesterday. They called for it not to be implemented until it can be amended by the legislature. No one spoke in support of the law.

Law Enforcement

Orange County, Florida, Women Sue SWAT Team Over Violent Drug Raid. A mother and daughter are suing the Orange County Sheriff's Office after a SWAT team drug raid left a family dog dead and the daughter wounded by police gunfire inside their own home. The raid was aimed at a relative who didn't even live at the residence. Police found marijuana seeds and "drug paraphernalia" in the room where the relative had stayed, but charges against him were later dropped.

International

Bolivian President Wins Reelection as Head of Country's Largest Coca Growers Union; Vows to Expand Crop if Re-Elected as President. Evo Morales was a coca grower union leader before he was elected president of the country, and he's still a coca grower union leader. He was just reelected as head of the union, and he told union members that Bolivia needs a new law for coca production that would allow for expanded cultivation.




New Poll: Only 14% in Australia Oppose Medical Cannabis Legalization
by TheJointBlog, 23/07/2014
TheJointBlog

A newaustralia 7-News / ReachTEL poll has found that a strong majority of those in Australia favor the legalization of medical cannabis.

According to the poll, roughly 65% of Australia residents support allowing the use of cannabis for medical purposes. Only 14.4% are opposed to the move, with the remainder being undecided.

The poll comes as political support for medical cannabis continues to grow, and as lawmakers begin to open up to the idea of legalizing the medicine.

- TheJointBlog




Initiative to Legalize Cannabis in South Portland, Maine, to be on November Ballot
23/07/2014, by TheJointBlog
TheJointBlog

South Portland has certified an initiative to legalize recreational cannabis in the city after verifying that at least 959 of the over 1,500 signatures submitted were valid (from registered South Portland voters). The proposal will now be discussed by the City Council (on August 4th), who can either approve the bill directly into law, or send it to voters by placing it on the November ballot. The Council has already expressed its opposition to the measure, indicating that city voters will get an opportunity to voice their opinion on the issue.

If the initiative is approved by the Council, or by voters, it would legalize the possession, use and transfer of up to an ounce of cannabis for those 21 and older. A similar initiative was overwhelmingly approved by voters last year in Portland, with just 30% voting in opposition.

Citizens for a Safer Maine, the group behind the effort, is also running initiative campaigns in the Maine cities of York and Lewiston.

- TheJointBlog




Oregon Marijuana Legalization Initiative Qualifies for November Ballot
by Phillip Smith, July 22, 2014
StopTheDrugWar

The New Approach Oregon marijuana legalization initiative has qualified for the November ballot, the secretary of state's office reported today.

It won't get a measure number until next month.

First word came in an email from New Approach Oregon's Anthony Johnson. When the Chronicle contacted Johnson to confirm the email, he said "I got the call from the secretary of state's office today."

The initiative had needed some 87,000 valid voter signatures to qualify; it handed in about 145,000 a couple of weeks ago.

That means Oregon will join Alaska in voting on marijuana legalization this year. The District of Columbia is also likely to join that list; the cultivation and possession legalization initiative there is awaiting certification after handing in more than twice the number of signatures required to make the ballot.

Colorado and Washington led the way in 2012. Now, at least two more states, and probably DC, have the chance to legalize it this year. And then comes 2016.




United States Sentencing Commission Votes to Retroactively Apply Drug Sentencing Reductions
on 22 July 2014. Posted in World Wide Cannabis News
Cannabis N.I.

Washington, D.C. - Today the U.S. Sentencing Commission voted to retroactively apply an amendment approved earlier this year by the U.S. Sentencing Commission that lowers Federal Guidelines for sentencing persons convicted of drug trafficking offenses. Today’s vote could shorten sentences for tens of thousands of people who are already incarcerated and serving sentences for drug offenses by granting eligible individuals a hearing before a federal judge to evaluate whether their sentence can be reduced to match the reduced guidelines. The underlying drug guidelines amendment was approved by the U.S. Sentencing Commission and submitted to Congress for review in April. Provided Congress takes no action to disapprove of the drug guidelines amendment before November 1, 2014, it will take effect on that date and courts may then begin considering petitions from incarcerated individuals for sentence reductions. Today’s vote allows the drug guidelines amendment to apply retroactively. The U.S. Sentencing Commission ruled that no one who benefits from this reform may be released from prison before November 1, 2015.

Today’s decision reflects efforts underway in Congress and by the Obama Administration to reform federal drug sentencing laws, as well as a broader effort to adapt federal policy to overwhelming public support for reforming drug laws, ending marijuana prohibition, and reducing collateral consequences of a drug conviction. In 2010 Congress unanimously passed legislation reducing the crack/powder cocaine sentencing disparity. Bipartisan legislation reforming mandatory minimum sentencing, the Smarter Sentencing Act, has already passed out of committee this year and is awaiting a floor vote in the Senate. Attorney General Eric Holder has made numerous changes this year, including directing U.S. Attorneys to charge certain drug offenders in a way that makes ensures they won’t be subject to punitive mandatory minimum sentencing.

In just the past two months, the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to block the Drug Enforcement Administration from spending federal funds to undermine state medical marijuana laws and state hemp cultivation laws, and voted on Wednesday to allow banking institutions to accept deposits from marijuana stores and dispensaries in states that regulate marijuana. On Monday, the White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy that expressed strong opposition to a House Republican amendment by Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) directed at blocking implementation of a recent law the District of Columbia passed replacing jail time for possessing small amounts of marijuana for personal use with a small fine. The statement calls marijuana reform a “states’ rights” issue, a groundbreaking policy position for the White House to take.

Statement from Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance:

“It makes little sense, of course, to reform harsh sentencing laws proactively but not retroactively,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “But that’s what politicians do when they’re scared of allowing people out of prison early. The Sentencing Commission really had no choice but to rectify the moral absurdity of keeping people locked up based on sentences that are no longer the law. What they did today was right and just.”

According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission and a recent report by the Congressional Research Service, mandatory minimums have significantly contributed to overcrowding and racial disparities in the Bureau of Prisons (BOP). The BOP operates at nearly 140% capacity – and is on track to use one-third of the Justice Department’s budget. More than half of the prisoners in the BOP are serving time for a drug law violation. Even though African-Americans are no more likely than Whites to use or sell drugs, evidence shows they are far more likely to be prosecuted for drug law offenses and far more likely to receive longer sentences than Whites. With less than 5% of the world’s population – but nearly 25% of the world’s prison population – the U.S. leads the world in the incarceration of its own citizens.

Anthony Papa, manager of media relations for the Drug Policy Alliance who served 12 years in prison on a non-violent drug offense says that the retro-application of the guidelines would balance the scales of justice in reforming bad laws that dished out unfair sentences to individuals and allow them to be reunited with their families.




Study Finds THC Use Safe For Adults Over 65
By TheJointBlog, 22/07/2014
TheJointBlog

A new study out of the Netherlands has determined THC use to be safe for older adults, specifically those over 65.

Researchers from the Department of Geriatric Medicine and Radboud Alzheimer Centre, the Department of Pharmacy, the Department for Health Evidence and the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology out of Radboud University Medical Center reviewed the effects of pure THC when administered to adults over the age of 65. The results, while unsurprising to some, offer new evidence that THC can provide treatment for a myriad of ailments for people of all ages.

The abstract of the study begins as such:

There is a great concern about the safety of THC-based drugs in older people (≥65 years), as most of THC-trials did not include such group. In this phase 1, randomized, double-blind, double-dummy, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial, we evaluated the safety and pharmacokinetics of three oral doses of Namisol, a novel THC in tablet form, in older subjects. Twelve healthy older subjects (6 male; mean age 72±5 years) randomly received a single oral dose of 3mg, 5mg, or 6.5mg of THC or matching placebo, in a crossover manner, on each intervention day.”

The study goes on to state that, “THC was safe and well tolerated”, and that the most frequently reported adverse side-effects were drowsiness (reported by 27% of participants), and dry mouth (reported by 11% of participants). Subjects who had taken 6.5 mg of THC reported these side-effects more than those who had only taken 3 mg or 5 mg of THC, or the placebo group. Researchers also determined that plasma concentrations of THC in the subjects widely varied, with measurements at peak concentration ranging from 1.42 ng/ml up to 4.57 ng/ml, with a peak concentration time ranging from 67 minutes to 92 minutes.

Regardless of the variables, however, the researchers determined THC to be safe for use, and considered it to be a valuable medical asset:

“In conclusion, THC appeared to be safe and well tolerated by healthy older individuals. Data on safety and effectiveness of THC in frail older persons are urgently required, as this population could benefit from the therapeutic applications of THC.”

This study was e-published ahead of print in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology, and has been published by the U.S. National Institute of Health.

- TheJointBlog




Drug Policy Alliance Details What Public Needs to Know About New D.C. Marijuana Decriminalization Law
on 22 July 2014. Posted in World Wide Cannabis News
Cannabis N.I.

Washington, D.C. – A far-reaching marijuana decriminalization law took effect in the District of Columbia today (07/17/2014) that replaces jail time with a $25 fine for the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana. However, advocates emphasize that there is still more work to be done in the nation’s capital to reduce severe racial disparities in marijuana law enforcement by D.C. police officers.

The Drug Policy Alliance has published an online resource that explains what the public needs to know about D.C.’s new marijuana decriminalization law.

Here are a few highlighted facts from our new overview of D.C.’s new decriminalization law:

  • Under the new law, a person found in possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is issued a notice of violation that imposes a $25 fine for marijuana possession as well as forfeiture of any visible marijuana and any paraphernalia.
  • Police officers are prohibited from using the smell of marijuana as rationale for conducting criminal searches. D.C.’s decriminalization law is the first in the country to provide this protection in statute.
  • The possession of marijuana remains unlawful in D.C., and possession of marijuana weighing more than one ounce is still a crime in the District.
  • Smoking or otherwise consuming marijuana in a public space is still a crime.
  • While D.C.’s local police force, the Metropolitan Police Department, will enforce D.C.’s marijuana decriminalization law, a person caught by a federal law enforcement officer in D.C. may still be arrested and prosecuted under federal marijuana laws. In addition to patrolling federal lands and monuments in the District, numerous federal law enforcement agencies patrol D.C.’s neighborhoods and parks.

“We are hopeful that marijuana decriminalization will reduce excessive racial disparities in the enforcement of D.C.’s marijuana laws,” said Grant Smith, deputy director of national affairs with the Drug Policy Alliance. “D.C. residents should get to know their new marijuana decriminalization law and learn about the extent it will still leave citizens vulnerable to arrest for a small amount of marijuana, even as the law represents a major shift away from criminalization.”

Adopted by the D.C. Council in April, the “Marijuana Possession Decriminalization Amendment Act of 2014” replaces criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana with a $25 civil fine for possession as well as forfeiture of the marijuana and any paraphernalia used to consume or carry it.

By setting a $25 fine, which is the lowest civil fine for possession among eighteen states that have decriminalized small amounts of marijuana, D.C. lawmakers cited the need to be responsive to social factors such as homelessness in the District and high rates of poverty in Wards that have seen the greatest number of marijuana arrests. In order to reduce racially-biased stop-and-frisks, this new law contains a provision that prohibits a police officer from using the smell of marijuana as a pretext for conducting criminal searches -- the first decriminalization legislation in the country to do so. The new law also shields people caught with a small amount of marijuana from collateral consequences like being denied public assistance or having their D.C. issued drivers’ license suspended or revoked. This decriminalization law is viewed by both D.C. council members and advocates as a model for other jurisdictions looking to reduce racial disparities in the criminal justice system.

“While marijuana decriminalization is undeniable progress, the real solution is to join states like Colorado and Washington and legalize marijuana,” said Grant Smith, deputy director of national affairs with the Drug Policy Alliance. “D.C. voters may have an opportunity to legalize both the possession and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana in November, and D.C. Councilmembers are eyeing legislation that would license and regulate adult marijuana sales in the District.”

Recent polls show broad support among District residents for following in the steps of Colorado and Washington and legalizing marijuana. D.C. voters will likely have the opportunity to decide Initiative 71 on the ballot this fall. If passed by D.C. voters, Initiative 71 would allow adults over the age of 21 to possess up to two ounces of marijuana on their person at any time, and allow for the cultivation of up to six marijuana plants at home.

The District of Columbia currently has the highest per capita marijuana arrest rates in the U.S. In 2010 African Americans in the District accounted for 91 percent of all marijuana arrests – even though African American and white residents use marijuana at roughly similar rates.




Montana Man Faces Life in Prison After Officers Find 'Actively Growing Marijuana Plants’
on 22 July 2014. Posted in World Wide Cannabis News
Cannabis N.I.

A Montana man could spend the rest of his life in prison if he is found guilty of growing marijuana plants.

According to an affidavit obtained by the Independent Record, the Missouri River Drug Task Force obtained a search warrant for 22-year-old Chance McKenzie Bowen’s home in Helena after receiving multiple tips that he was running a marijuana growing operation.

Officers executing the warrant on Friday found 178 “actively growing marijuana plants,” grow lights, ballasts, and other equipment “used in the manufacture of marijuana.”

The affidavit said that Bowen admitted to being the owner of the growing operation. He was charged with one count of felony criminal production or manufacturing of dangerous drugs.

KXLH reported that Bowen faces fines of up to $50,000, and a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Montana is nearby Washington state, which recently legalized the sale of marijuana for recreational use.




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