Is Your Weed Buying History Safe from the Feds?

Copyright © 2017 All Rights Reserved
by Erik Muenker D.C. |  Exclusive CBDbusinessBlog.com

Federal Marijuana Crackdown Coming?

Is a federal crackdown on marijuana coming in 2017? After all, the Feds locked up over 3,500 people for marijuana related drug offenses, in 2016 alone. No one knows for sure what the new administration will do.

Should you be worried that your marijuana buying history could end up in the wrong hands?

Just think about all of the potential conflicts:

– You could be denied purchase of a firearm!
– It could jeopardize your health insurance coverage?!
– You could be denied employment!
– You might even be denied citizenship!
– Involved in a child custody proceeding?

Well Oregon legislators aren’t waiting around to find out. Oregon legalized recreational cannabis in July of 2015, and a new Oregon Bill that just passed the legislature (53-5) will prohibit marijuana retailers from keeping information collected from their customers for more than 48 hours.

Perhaps it’s time to start asking some questions.

Continue reading “Is Your Weed Buying History Safe from the Feds?”

Marijuana News: Feds Locked Up 3,500 for Weed | Cost: $28 Billion

Copyright © 2017 All Rights Reserved
by Erik Muenker D.C. |  Exclusive CBDbusinessBlog.com
3,500 Sentenced to Marijuana Related Offenses in 2016

According to report release by the U.S. Sentencing Commission, over 3,500 people were sentenced to marijuana related federal offenses in 2016 – more than either Crack Cocaine (1,582) or Heroin (2,830). View the entire  breakdown here.

The good news is that these numbers have dropped in half since 2012, and continue to fall year after year.

The vast majority of those sentenced went to prison, with the average prison term of 28 months.

When the statistics for marijuana offenses are broken out by race, it’s clear that Hispanics loose big.

77% of all marijuana offenders sentenced were Hispanic.

12% White

8% Black

The trend is promising, but the numbers are still highly disturbing. How long will we continue to jail people for selling a flower?

$28 Billion: Annual Cost
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f Federal Prohibition on Marijuana

The Tax Foundation is a leading Washington D.C. -based nonpartisan, non-profit think tank whose mission since 1937 has been to change the world through tax policy.

Continue reading “Marijuana News: Feds Locked Up 3,500 for Weed | Cost: $28 Billion”

Meet CA Weed Czar Lori Ajax

CBD News Pick – The Mercury News

California’s Wild West of medical marijuana is about to be tamed, on the eve of a historic vote that could greatly expand recreational use of the weed.

Just as labeling allows consumers to trust the difference in potency between a strawberry-rosé spritzer and 190-proof grain alcohol, new state regulations will demand testing, labeling, certification and licensing medical marijuana — every step along the way, from seed to sale.

The new rules, starting in 2018, could also boost pot prices, as businesses face more paperwork, permits, licenses and other new requirements, driving up their costs — and likely driving some mom-and-pop growers and dispensaries out of business.

While the changes may complicate doing business, the goal is simple, said Lori Ajax, the state’s first weed czar.

“We are looking to protect patients, the public and the environment,” Ajax said during a “pre-regulatory” meeting in Oakland last week for the commercial cannabis industry by her fledgling Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation.

“If you are engaged in commercial medical cannabis, you need a license,” said Ajax, who has never used cannabis but has decades of experience administering the state’s notoriously complex alcohol laws with the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Two decades after the Golden State pioneered the legal use of medical marijuana through Proposition 215, its vast cannabis industry has been operating under a patchwork of local regulations — or outside the law altogether.

This local control is very different than the approach taken by other states, such as Colorado, Washington and Oregon, which put the state in charge from the very beginning.

“California has always done things its own way,” said attorney Amanda Ostrowitz of CannaRegs, which tracks marijuana laws and regulations around the nation.

But while local control has worked well in some places, like San Jose and Oakland, other communities have struggled to keep tabs on businesses that operate on the margins of legitimacy.

For instance, San Mateo County has about 40 pot delivery services that are illegal under county codes, said Ryan P. Mullane, a Santa Clara-based criminal defense and cannabis licensing attorney. In Los Angeles, overwhelmed police say that public safety deserves far more attention than unlicensed dispensaries.

In the remote farms of Humboldt County, where young women make thousands of dollars trimming marijuana buds, there are stories of sexual abuse and exploitation. Others report frightening encounters with outlaws on the lam.

“Cities don’t have the capacity to enforce the same robust regulations that the state can,” said Ostrowitz, who is based in Denver. “The state has more money to run these programs and enforce them.”

The sweeping new California rules create an extensive, heavily regulated system for growing, testing and selling medical marijuana — and would become the template if voters pass Proposition 64, which would legalize recreational pot.

The change was signed into law last October by Gov. Jerry Brown. Local governments are still free to pass more restrictive laws. San Jose and Oakland, which already tax dispensaries and limit where they are located, will both keep their regulations in place. A dual-licensing system requires the industry to obtain both state and local permits.

The federal government — which still considers cannabis as a Schedule I illegal drug, alongside heroin and LSD — won’t crack down on pot dispensaries that follow the local and state rules, as long as those businesses stay within California’s borders.

Two other state agencies also will be responsible for the new marijuana oversight, including the Department of Food and Agriculture, which will license growers, and the Department of Public Health, which will license manufacturers.

The state held workshops in seven cities with members of the industry to guide how its final regulations are written. It will also offer a written comment period and public hearings.

The new regulations come as 60 percent of California voters tell pollsters that they favor passage of Proposition 64. The measure would boost sales in an industry already valued at $2.7 billion a year, according to The ArcView Group, a marijuana market research firm. If legalized for recreational use, sales are projected to jump to $6.6 billion by 2020.

“If you have state regulations, hopefully you can control the bad things while emphasizing the good things,” said Mullane, the cannabis licensing attorney.

However, the looming rules have put the cannabis industry into a tailspin, forcing a free-thinking and entrepreneurial community to wade through 300 pages of regulations.

At the recent Oakland event, where Ajax and her officers solicited feedback, swarms of people circled her with questions.

One major concern is a rule that requires growers to hire an independent distributor to take a product to a testing lab and certify the results. Only then growers can sell the certified marijuana to dispensaries. 

“Everything has to be tested,” Ostrowitz said.

Click here to continue reading the published article.


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JAMA Study – Cannabis May Relieve Many Ailments

CBD News Pick – The Guardian

Queen Victoria was prescribed cannabis for period pains, and 19th-century American doctors used it for everything from anorexia to sexual problems.

And now the US is embracing medicinal cannabis again – it’s legally available in 25 states for conditions such as Aids, anorexia, arthritis, cachexia, cancer, chronic pain, glaucoma, migraine, muscle spasms from multiple sclerosis, seizures and severe nausea.

The list is for comparison: in the UK, the only indication for medical cannabis is for painful, tightening muscle spasms (spasticity) in multiple sclerosis. Sativex, an oral spray that uses two chemical extracts from the cannabis plant – delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) – was the first medicinal cannabis licensed in the UK. Medicinal cannabis, you see, does not mean treating yourself by smoking weed. Cannabis comes as a proper drug – Sativex costs too much for the health watchdog Nice to recommend and only a handful of specialist doctors will prescribe it.

The solution

Last week’s report from the all-party parliamentary group for drug policy reformrecommended medicinal cannabis for chronic pain, spasticity, nausea and vomiting after chemotherapy and for anxiety. There is good evidence to use cannabis products or “natural” cannabis, they said, for all these conditions – and moderate evidence for use in sleep disorders, fibromyalgia and post-traumatic stress disorder. The evidence came from a review based on 20,000 references – although, in places, they were quite generous in their rating of the evidence.

A systematic review of the same question – the benefits and adverse effects of medicinal marijuana – was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) last year with similar conclusions – but found the evidence overall to be weaker, and not there at all for anxiety.

Click here to continue reading the published article.


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NJ Cannabis News x2: PTSD Added + Who is Eligible in NJ for Pot?

CBD News Pick – NJ.com

Christie to let PTSD sufferers get medical marijuana in NJ

TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill into law Wednesday that would add post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of conditions that would qualify people for medical marijuana, a move actively sought by combat veterans.

veteran-smoking-weed
Wounded Veterans the Next Wave of “Marijuana Refugees”

Christie said he supported the bill because an estimated 20 percent of veterans returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from this “debilitating” illness.

Other means of treatment would have be tried first before a doctor could recommend cannabis, to prevent “misuse,” according to the governor’s bill-signing statement.

“The mere potential of abuse by some should not deter the state from taking action that may ease the daily struggles of veterans and others who legitimately suffer from PTSD,” Christie wrote.

Christie has been reluctant in the past to broaden admissions to the medical marijuana program. The law creating the program gives the state health commissioner the authority to decide whether new medical conditions should be added to the list. The governor has resisted many attempts to deviate from the law, which he has complained is too lax and a gateway to legalization.

Lawmakers praised his decision.

“I am pleased that Gov. Christie agreed with our legislation that finally empowers doctors to treat veterans and other PTSD patients with this indisputably effective medicine,” Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex), a lead sponsor of the bill.

“Veterans – especially post-9/11 veterans – are the group most affected by PTSD,” Assemblyman Vincent Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “The VA has stated that it wants each veteran to find the medication with the least amount of side effects that allows them the optimum level of independence. For many, medical marijuana is the drug that best fits that criteria and the only one to provide veterans with significant relief from the anxiety associated with PTSD.”

State law recognizes six diseases that qualify patients for medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease; multiple sclerosis; terminal cancer; muscular dystrophy; inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease; and any terminal illness with a prognosis less than a year.

People with seizure disorders, including epilepsy, intractable skeletal muscular spasticity and glaucoma also qualify if conventional medicine has failed. People with HIV and AIDS and cancer qualify, too, if they suffer from severe and chronic pain, vomiting and nausea and wasting syndrome.

Ken Wolski, a nurse and the executive director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana of New Jersey, expressed his gratitude to the governor and lawmakers who listened to the veterans’ pleas for help.

“As many veterans testified during the hearings in Trenton, marijuana can help control the destructive symptoms of PTSD better than any drug,” Wolski said.

american-flag-leaf-294x300The Joint Blog, which bills itself as a “cannabis news and information website,” created an online petition last month to push Christie to sign the legislation advocates say will help New Jersey’s veterans.
Click here to continue reading the published article.


CBD News Pick – NJ.com

Who is Eligible to Get Pot Legally in N.J.?

TRENTON — There are 9,000 people in New Jersey who are registered to receive medical marijuana, a number that is likely to grow with Gov. Chris Christie’s decision Wednesday to add post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of qualifying illnesses for the program.

ptsdandcannabisVeterans and patient advocacy groups created petitions and offered emotional pleas at public hearings to encourage the governor to sign the PTSD bill. They’ve argued marijuana helps relieve pain, muscle spasms and anxiety associated with their emotional and physical injuries.

People diagnosed with one of six diseases qualify for medical marijuana with their physician’s recommendation:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease;
  • Multiple sclerosis;
  • Terminal cancer;
  • Muscular dystrophy;
  • Inflammatory bowel disease including Crohn’s disease;
  • Any terminal illness with a prognosis less than a year

Other patients with these illnesses qualify if a doctor verifies that traditional medical treatment has failed:

    • People with seizure disorders including epilepsy,
    • Intractable skeletal muscular spasticity;
    • Glaucoma;
    • PTSD;
    • HIV, AIDS and cancer if people suffer from severe and chronic pain, vomiting and nausea and wasting syndrome.

The program is also likely to draw more participants because the first cannabis-infused topical products went on sale at a dispensary in Camden County last Friday. Patients have long said they want an alternative to smoking or making their own cannabis oil.

Compassionate Sciences in Bellmawr offers two lotions, and “sales are brisk and promising,” according to George Schidlovsky, the executive director. The nonprofit dispensary will begin selling lozenges later this month.

The list of diseases and conditions could expand. A newly-appointed medical review panel will consider other suggestions and make recommendations to Health Commissioner Cathleen Bennett, who has the final say whether any illnesses are added.
Click here to continue reading the published article.

 


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FDA Trial of Marijuana Drug Epidiolex – On Track for Approval?

GW Pharmaceuticals Announces Impressive Clinical Results

by Erik Muenker DC  |  CBDbusinessBlog.com

GW Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: GWPH), a UK based biopharmaceutical company, has announced impressive new FDA clinical trial results for its cannabis (marijuana) based drug, Epidiolex. Epidiolex is being studied as a potential treatment for rare forms of childhood epilepsy, namely Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS). The drug could represent a life-line to children suffering from this intractable form of epilepsy. It may also represent a milestone in cannabis medical research, and a sign of things to come in the burgeoning legal cannabis industry.

Cannabis contains over 100 known pharmacologically active substances called cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are known to influence the Endocannabinoid system in the human body and have been shown to produce a multitude of beneficial health effects (pain suppression, anti-tremor, anti-nausea, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, neuroprotective, etc.). THC and CBD are the two most widely studied cannabinoids. Both are known to have anticonvulsant and neuroprotective properties (Devinsky et. al, Journal Epilepsy – June, 2014) and are now being considered as potential adjunct therapies for a variety of neurological disorders, including (PTSD Alzheimers, multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and many others). For more details, see my blog post entitled

Your Brain on Cannabis
Your Brain on Cannabis

Cannabidiol: Good for You and Your Brain?“.

Epidiolex contains a highly purified, plant derived form of CBD. It is not a synthetic cannabinoid, like Marinol (anti-nausea Rx). It is a highly purified derivative of cannabis plant extracts. Since Epidiolex contains no THC (not that there is anything wrong with THC), the drug has few noticeable side-effects. And unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive and will not produce the intoxicating high that marijuana is known for. The lack of a psychoactive effect is a big reason why medical researchers are so excited about the potential for CBD based medicine.

GW Pharmaceuticals received orphan drug designation by the FDA in 2014, enabling it to start clinical trials to determine the efficacy for treatment of Dravet, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC). Now in late stage trials, the results are coming in and they are very impressive. After 12 weeks of treatment, almost half (47%) of all patients treated with Epidiolex saw a better than 50% reduction in the frequency of their seizures! That’s huge! Plus the drug was very well tolerated. Less than 5% dropped out of the study due to perceived side-effects from the drug.

Sativex from GW Pharmaceuticals
Sativex from GW Pharmaceuticals

GW is not a new entrant into cannabis based pharmaceuticals. Quite the opposite actually. The GW lead product is a cannabis based medicinal called Sativex, perhaps you have heard of it. Sativex contains both principal cannabinoids THC and CBD, along with other cannabinoids and non-cannabinoid plant ingredients. Sativex is approved for treatment of multiple sclerosis in 27 countries. In the US, GW is pursuing FDA Phase 3 trials for the use of Sativex as a treatment for multiple sclerosis, as well as for the relief of cancer pain.

Although I’m impressed with what GW has been able to accomplish with such a complex biological extract, I’m dismayed at GWs social/political stance with respect to medical marijuana in the US.

From GW Pharmaceuticals:

“Is GW supportive of state medical marijuana programs and the use of herbal cannabis – smoked or otherwise – as medicine?

No. GW supports the evidence-based approach to developing new medications according to the FDA approval process.”

In my opinion, the healing properties of cannabis exist independently of their being co-opted by big pharma and validated by the FDA. To withhold this natural pain-suppressant, while endorsing dangerous alternatives, is unconscionable and not aligned with the public good that the DEA and FDA are sworn to protect. For GW to stand in support of the FDA processes and federal bureaucracy that has marginalized medical cannabis use and research, while profiting from marijuana’s effectiveness and safety profile – is more than disappointing.

The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) was enacted in part due to international concerns over heroin and opioid abuse. Unfortunately, the remedy proposed at the time – the War on Drugs, did little to stem opioid drug abuse or deaths from prescription drug overdoses. Cannabis was included as a controlled substance in the CSA, in large part at the behest of President Nixon, for largely ideological and political reasons. It’s time to end the ban on open research permanently, and reschedule cannabis to a Schedule III.

For more details on how cannabis ended up as a Schedule I controlled substance, plus a chance to see hear President Nixon speak from the Oval Office on Marijuana, consider reading my blog post entitled "DEA to Reschedule Weed - What You Need to Know - Part I".

About the Author
Erik Muenker D.C. – Portland, OR
Founder and Editor of CBD Business Blog |  Twitter: @CBDbusinessBlog

CBD-BB Logo and URLDr. Erik Muenker D.C. is the Publisher and Editor of the CBD Business Blog, an online blog and journal – your source for exclusive business, scientific, health and political news impacting the recreational and medical marijuana industries.

Our focus is on cannabidiol (CBD), a non-addictivenon-psychotropic and medically powerful cannabinoid found in marijuana and hemp.                 Disclaimer