Silver Leaf Investment: An upstart marijuana investment company to watch in 2017

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

Marijuana is Growing Fast

The legal cannabis (marijuana) industry is booming. According to Forbes.com, it was worth an estimated $7.2 billion in 2016. With double digit annual growth, adult recreational sales alone are expected to jump from $2.6 billion in 2016 to $11.2 billion by 2020.

In addition to recreational sale, medical marijuana sales are expected to more than double to $13.3 billion by 2020. That’s a combined annual market of over $24 billionanticipated in just the next 3 years.

Does AG Sessions worry you?

Jobs, state’s rights, and taxes. That’s right. Jobs, state’s rights and tax revenue are the cannabis industry’s secret weapons against marijuana detractors in the Trump administration and elsewhere.

According to a survey conducted by Marijuana Business Daily, the marijuana industry already employs over 100,000 people in the U.S. alone.

Along with billions in sales, comes millions in tax revenue. Motley Fool estimated that in 2016, Colorado’s marijuana tax haul likely exceeded $200 million. That’s a lot of green. And it’s only going to continue to grow each year.

Continue reading “Silver Leaf Investment: An upstart marijuana investment company to watch in 2017”

New Studies Show: CBD from Cannabis Reduces Schizophrenic Behaviors

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

Five Separate Medical Studies Indicate: CBD from Cannabis Reduces Schizophrenic Behaviors

− Schizophrenia effects more than 1 in 100
− 1.5 million new cases each year
− 10% commit suicide within 10 years

− cannabidiol (CBD) is the principle non-psychoactive ingredient in marijuana

Online Resources: NIMH | MHA | NAMI | MedlinePlus | APA

In study after study…
It takes as little as four weeks of treatment with CBD (a cannabidiol phytochemical obtained from cannabis), for researchers to begin to observe a reduction in the signs and symptoms of schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is a serious brain disorder – the majority are diagnosed during late adulthood; although that is up for dispute, as late-onset schizophrenia is now believed to be a real schizophrenic disorder surfacing much later in life – often after the age of 45.

No one knows what causes schizophrenia. Symptoms range from moderate to severe and effects the way one thinks, talks and even moves. Some effected are helped through available anti-psychotics such as Risperidal, Abilify, Zyprexa, Compazine, Clozapine and others. But a large segment of patients experience severe and unpleasant side-effects from these pharmaceuticals and often refuse taking their medication.

schizophrenia-infograph1v3

New treatment options with fewer side-effects are needed and researchers are looking to CBD as a possible new treatment modality, one that appears to come with little or no adverse side-effects.

Cannabis to the rescue?

Cannabis contains two principle phyto-chemicalsTHC and CBD. THC is highly psychoactive and evidence suggests that alone and in high doses, THC might actually increase psychotic behavior and thoughts, this worsening schizophrenic or psychotic episodes.

Click here for more exclusive articles from the CBD Business Blog.

As luck would have it, nature has a built-in mitigator for the negative effects that can be brought on by THC. As it turns out, CBD (cannabidiol), is an excellent counter-weight to the potential adverse effects of THC. CBD acts as a modulator, a traffic cop of sorts, to limit many of the potentially adverse effects of THC.

Even in the absence of THC, CBD is a powerful neuro-protectant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant agent. All important factors in modulating a complex neurobiological disorder such as schizophrenia.

Learn more: Cannabidiol: Good for You and Your Brain

Medical studies referenced for this article:
  • GW Pharmaceuticals Announce Positive Proof of Concept Data in Schizophrenia
    GW Pharma Press Release 2015 | Link: http://bit.ly/2dOIGM6 
  • Cannabidiol, among other Cannabinoid Drugs, Modulates Prepulse Inhibition of Startle in the SHR Animal Model: Implications for Schizophrenia Pharmacotherapy
    Peres et al. 2016 | Link: http://bit.ly/2dOKp40


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. 

 

UK Gov Concedes CBD (cannabidiol) from Cannabis is Medicine

CBD News Pick – Independent.co.uk

Exclusive: The MHRA’s assessment could ‘provide ground-breaking results’ in leading to reform over cannabis’ medicinal use in the UK

The government’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has found that Cannabidiol (CBD) has a “restoring, correcting or modifying” effect on “physiological functions” when administered to humans, in a potential milestone in the campaign to legalise cannabis and bring about evidence-based laws regarding drugs.

The review of CBD, a cannabinoid accounting for up to 40% of the marijuana plant’s extract that doesn’t contain its psychoactive THC but is purported to retain the health benefits, came about following discussions with CBD vaporiser company MediPen.

uk-gov-admits-cbd-a-medicine

The MHRA’s findings are not directly applicable to the government’s response to last year’s petition to legalise cannabis, but stand in stark contrast, with the petition having been batted away by the Home Office with the assessment that cannabis “can unquestionably cause harm to individuals and society”.

GW Pharmaceuticals has also just concluded a positive phase 3 clinical trial demonstrating the safety and efficacy of CBD.

“Since our inception we’ve worked hard to obtain our goal of breaking down the negative connotations surrounding Cannabis to lead to a reform in the law for medicinal use,” Jordan Owen, Managing Director of MediPen, told The Independent, “now this is finally becoming a reality, which will provide ground-breaking results,”

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Pennsylvania’s First Marijuana Farm?

CBD News Pick – Pittsburg Post Gazette

Laurel Green Medical aims to get state approval to supply medical marijuana

Denise Gargasz-Mueller and David Knepshield were checking out a 6.5-acre dirt lot at an Armstrong County industrial park last week, all the while envisioning a future in the cannabis growing industry.

In a matter of months, this bare flat could be the site of one of Pennsylvania’s first legal cannabis growing facilities, the home base of a company that’s already lining up medical marijuana dispensary locations in Sewickley, Cranberry and possibly Mt. Lebanon and the Strip District.

Just a few years ago, these two entrepreneurs would have made an unlikely pairing:

Mr. Knepshield is the former CEO of Ford City-based Klingensmith Healthcare, a home medical equipment supply company, while Ms. Gargasz-Mueller, who comes from a farming family, has spent the last four years lobbying to get medical marijuana legalized in Pennsylvania.

With legalization now on the books and the first dispensaries due to open in 2018, their partnership “brings all the right ingredients together,” she said.

Their fledgling company, Laurel Green Medical, has already done a lot of things right — meeting with local officials to line up community support, bringing legal and scientific specialists onboard, and setting out a detailed business plan for attracting investors.

The company is applying for one of the five state-allowed “seed-to-sell” licenses that would allow the partners to grow, process and dispense. They expect to find out if their application is approved around March of next year.

Their goal is simple, said Ms. Gargasz-Mueller: To provide high-quality medical cannabis in a safe, compassionate and discreet environment.

But they also know that while the medical marijuana industry has seen explosive growth the past five years, lurking in the background is a federal law that still considers their product illegal.

So far, Mr. Knepshield said, no major banks here want to touch the medical marijuana business, even though federal officials have indicated they will leave it to state and local agencies to enforce their own narcotics laws.

“Any bank that is federally regulated will not have anything to do with this. It’s not illegal for them to do it. They just don’t feel comfortable with it yet.”

Diane Czarkowski, who with husband Jay started one of the first cannabis dispensaries and cultivation operations in Colorado in 2009, said that’s not uncommon.

“We went through eight banks, but we did finally find one that realized they could get some new business by addressing this industry,” said Mrs. Czarkowski, who has since left the dispensary business and now offers consulting services for cannabis startup businesses through the couple’s company, Canna Advisors.

Laurel Green hopes to work with smaller, state-chartered banks and credit unions to the extent they can; to the extent they can’t, this will be a cash business handling millions of dollars. So, yes, security will be a priority.

“This place will be Fort Knox,” promised Mr. Knepshield.

Like other states that have recently legalized medical marijuana such as New York, New Jersey and Maryland, Pennsylvania is going to require applicants to show they have the financial wherewithal to make a go of it.

Just to apply for the license to grow, process and dispense medical marijuana, Laurel Green Medical has to produce a non-refundable $10,000 payment. The company has to put down another $200,000, which is refundable if the application is denied, for the license. And the partners must demonstrate they have the capital backing to pull the whole thing off, including documentation they have another $500,000 in the bank and another $2 million in assets.

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Cannabis Chocolatier Readying for California Legalization Boom

CBD News Pick – Los Angeles Times

The smell inside the production rooms of Kiva Confections, one of California’s premier  manufacturers of edible cannabis, is, in a word, intoxicating

You won’t just catch whiffs of the powdery hash that goes into Kiva’s high-quality chocolate bars. You’ll also inhale the scent of dried blueberries and the heavenly aroma of espresso beans, which are slowly being covered with cannabis-infused chocolate as they tumble in big metal machines that look like open cement mixers.

Right now, co-owners Kristi Knoblich and Scott Palmer, who founded the company six years ago when they were 24 years old, are making medicine for patients whose conditions are improved by cannabis — people with cancer pain or nausea from chemotherapy, people with neuropathy or anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder.

But if California voters approve Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, next month, Kiva products will be available to anyone 21 and older. Based on what happened in Colorado after voters in that state approved recreational marijuana in 2012, Knoblich said, the couple anticipates a big — possibly huge — growth in sales.

This worries Proposition 64 opponents, who fear that potent edibles, readily available, could fall into the hands of children. They hope that raising these kinds of fears will nudge voters to reject the measure. Given the polling, I think that is going to be an uphill battle.

Proposition 64 includes safeguards aimed at keeping kids safe: Marijuana products and labels cannot be designed to appeal to children, nor be “easily confused” with commercially sold candy. They must be in childproof packages. Items must be scored into standardized serving sizes, and each serving can contain no more than 10 mgs of THC, the primary active ingredient in marijuana. Products must also carry serious warnings urging caution.

Will this be enough to prevent accidental intoxication by children?

“There have been maybe a couple of hundred cases in Colorado, called into the Denver Poison Control Center,” said Larry Bedard, a retired Marin County emergency room doctor, former president of the American College of Emergency Physicians and strong advocate of legalization.

“At the same time, there’s like 2,500 calls for kids getting into detergent under the kitchen sink,” he said. “I have seen kids in the ICU from aspirin overdoses. I have seen someone die of Tylenol overdose…. If you are a responsible parent, you don’t have Tylenol or aspirin sitting at the bedside. Same thing with edibles. Like other toxic drugs, they need to be kept under lock and key.”

So yes, accidents will happen if Proposition 64 passes, just as they do now.

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New Pot Study Says CBD Inhibits and Kills Cervical Cancer Cells

 

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

A new cannabis study says cannabidiol, CBD, INHIBITS and KILLS cervical cancer cells

Over a quarter of a million women die each year of cervical cancer. Half a million new cases are diagnosed annually.

That’s almost one new case of cervical cancer diagnosed every minute!

A new study published last month suggests that extracts containing the non-psychoactive substance in marijuana, cannabidiol (CBD), INHIBITS and KILLS cervical cancer cells.

RelatedLandmark Study: Half of Cancer Patients Killed By CHEMO not Cancer!

Conventional treatment for cervical cancer includes chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy. None have proven overwhelming effective and they all have serious side-effects.

In a recent study published in the open access, peer-reviewed journal – BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine (Lukhele and Motadi, 2016 16:335), researchers conclude that cannabidiol (CBD) extract, not THC, is effective in preventing cancer growth and killing certain types of cancer cells – namely cervical cancer.

RelatedMedical Marijuana: A Role in Cancer | Oncology Treatment

The mechanism for this effect remains a mystery and more research is needed to determine the mechanism by which CBD might regulate the lifecycle of certain cancer cells.

Renewed Push in New Jersey for Legal Marijuana

CBD News Pick – Philly.com The Inquirer Daily News

The newest marijuana legislation proposal in New Jersey, introduced last month by Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R., Morris), would allow cannabis to be sold the same way as tobacco, to anyone over 19.

Carroll, a Libertarian, admits the measure is bold and more “far-reaching” than other marijuana bills.

With Gov. Christie’s surprising reversal on expanding the medical marijuana program comes a new batch of very different bills that would allow recreational cannabis in New Jersey.

Christie is not likely to change his strong opposition to legalization, even though he signed a bill last month allowing patients with post-traumatic stress syndrome to obtain cannabis. It was the first time a mental-health condition was added to the list of qualifying ailments.

But lawmakers say three legalization bills introduced this year would get discussions started, in anticipation of Christie’s term ending in 2018.

The newest proposal, introduced last month by Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R., Morris), would allow cannabis to be sold the same way as tobacco, to anyone over 19. Carroll, a Libertarian, admits the measure is bold and more “far-reaching” than other marijuana bills.

Though some media reports have said the bill would allow cannabis to be purchased in convenience stores, Carroll said his bill “simply legalizes the product, and doesn’t specify where it can be sold.” It also does not limit the amount. A companion bill has not been introduced in the state Senate.

Despite Christie’s promise to veto such bills and his pledge last year as a presidential candidate to eliminate legalization in other states, Carroll wryly said that he has “high hopes that [Christie] can be persuaded on this; common sense might be contagious.”

When pressed on whether an override might be possible, Carroll said: “We’d have to get it posted and passed first. One hypothetical at a time.” Carroll was one of the original sponsors of the bill that legalized medical marijuana in 2010. His new bill also would expunge past criminal records for minor marijuana offenses.

“I think this is a way to get the debate going,” said Bill Caruso, a founding member of New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform, a coalition of civil rights and legal organizations.

In 2015, a Rutgers University-Eagleton Institute poll found 58 percent of New Jersey residents favor legalization.

Currently, four states and Washington have legalized marijuana. Colorado was the first, two years ago, and was followed by Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and the nation’s capital. Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada will ask voters to decide the issue in next month’s elections.

In November, state Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D., Union), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee and a municipal prosecutor, introduced the state’s first legalization bill. His proposal called for cannabis to be regulated the same way as alcohol, sold by stores with a state license, and restricted to those 21 and over. Under his bill, the product would be taxed and the revenues used for education and other public purposes.

Earlier this year, Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D., Mercer), who is considered to be one of the Legislature’s most liberal members, introduced a similar bill. His bill also would allow residents to grow three mature marijuana plants at home and would restrict sales to 1 ounce of cannabis. Gusciora also is sponsoring a bill to legalize cannabis in Atlantic City only, to help spur its ailing economy.

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Oregon Bans Marijuana Strain Names

CBD News Pick – Cannabis Business Times

New testing and packaging requirements barring strain names passed just before starting recreational sales Oct. 1.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission approved 26 licenses for 26 recreational marijuana retailers Sept. 30, as well as modified rules regarding state licensee testing requirements and labeling and packaging restrictions.

Approved retailers were able to open for business selling recreational marijuana Oct. 1, the goal date promised by the OLCC to Oregonians, according to a press release. The OLCC enacted temporary changes to lab testing rules to lessen the strain on labs able to test recreational cannabis products. Out of the 26 licensed retailers, 12 were able to open Saturday, according to Steve Marks, executive director of the OLCC, in a conference call with reporters Sept. 30.

Under the new rules, an amount (still to be determined by Oct. 3) of randomly chosen samples from batches of usable cannabis will be tested. If any part of those samples fails pesticide testing, every 10-pound lot is required to be tested, according to an Oregon Live article.

Originally, every batch would have to be tested by an accredited lab. The stringent testing strained the few approved labs in the state, and Gary Ward, the administrator for Oregon’s Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ORELAP) wrote in an email Aug. 26 that the program was “on the precipice of collapse,” as Cannabis Business Times reported last month.

Currently, the state is caught up with testing, and four of the 10 licensed laboratories are able to manage the required pesticide testing under the new rules, and more labs will be accredited, according to Marks.

In order to remain on store shelves, existing products must be clearly labeled as tested under the previous rules, and be in childproof containers before leaving the store, according to a Fox News article. All products made after the Oct. 1 deadline must be tested under the new, temporary rules. The modified rules will revert back to the original requirements as of Mar. 1, 2017.

Medical marijuana dispensaries have been able to sell recreational marijuana under a different set of rules since October 2015 (which CBT covered here). Those dispensaries will be unable to sell recreational marijuana after Dec. 31.

Rules regarding packaging and labeling of recreational marijuana products were left unchanged in the special session Sept. 30, according to the OLCC press release. If packages and labels have not been pre-approved, licensees should use generic packaging according to guidelines set by the OLCC, found here.

The OLCC also passed a temporary rule regarding marijuana strain and product names in connection to “product wording commonly associated with products marketed by or for children,” according to the bulletin, found here. The list includes at least 14 strain names determined to be suspect that cannot be used on compliant packaging or labeling in Oregon dispensaries.

The strains currently listed include:

-Girl Scout Cookies

-Grape Ape

-Candyland

-Charlotte’s Web

-Cinderella

-Dr. Who

-Bubblelicious

-Smurf

-Bruce Banner

-Death Star

-Skywalker

-Jedi Kush

-LSD

-Blow

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Sexist Pot | New Study Shows Marijuana Less Effective for Pain in Women

CBD News Pick – Pain Medicine News

Cannabis showed lower efficacy as an analgesic in women than in men, in a new controlled study of its effects on response to a pain stimulus among people using the substance recreationally.

The study by Ziva Cooper, PhD, assistant professor, and Margaret Haney, PhD, professor of clinical neurobiology in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center, in New York City, demonstrated this sex-dependent analgesic effect in men and women who reported similar responses to the psychotropic effects of cannabis.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study that’s looked at the therapeutic effects of cannabis and cannabinoids in human volunteers under well-controlled conditions,” Dr. Cooper told Pain Medicine News.

The study was posted Aug. 5 online in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

The comparison of cannabis-induced analgesia by sex was made by retrospective analysis of two double-blind, within-subject controlled studies examining dose-dependent analgesic effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol (THC). Study participants consisted of 21 men and 21 women, recruited from non–treatment-seeking recreational (nonmedical) cannabis smokers, and matched for baseline pain response and level of cannabis use.

The level of cannabis use was quantified to help determine whether tolerance may have developed to the analgesic effect, Dr. Cooper explained. “This was also an element of this study that is unique, that we matched participants based on how much they were smoking outside of the laboratory.”

The participants received oral THC as dronabinol (Marinol, AbbVie) in 10- and 20-mg doses or oral placebo, and standardized cannabis cigarettes from the National Institute on Drug Abuse containing 1.98% or 3.56% THC or placebo cannabis cigarettes without THC.

Pain response was assessed using the cold pressor test (CPT) that, the investigators noted, has had predictive validity for clinical efficacy of opioid analgesics in nonpain populations as well as demonstrated analgesic effects of smoked cannabis and oral THC. In addition to assessing analgesia through pain scale ratings including the McGill Pain Questionnaire, the investigators examined subjective effects of cannabis using visual analog scales.

Drs. Cooper and Haney reported that the active cannabis was associated with significantly decreased pain sensitivity (latency to report pain) in men but not women. Both men and women experienced some increased pain tolerance (latency to withdraw hand from cold water) immediately after smoking active THC, but the reduced sensitivity in women later decreased to less than that with inactive cannabis, suggesting a hyperalgesic effect, according to the investigators.

The subjective ratings of cannabis associated with abuse liability (e.g., “take again,” “liking,” “good drug effect”) and as a high increasing with percentage of THC were similar in both sexes, and separated from placebo to a similar degree for both.

Unexpected Findings

The investigators described the greater analgesic response to cannabis in men, with similar psychoactive effects to those in women, as “the reverse” of observations in preclinical studies of laboratory rats.

“Female laboratory animals are consistently more sensitive to both reward-related and antinociceptive effects of cannabinoids relative to males,” Drs. Cooper and Haney noted. The different findings, they suggest, “may in fact reflect important differences in cannabis exposure in rodent and human studies.”

The similarity of the subjective experiences with cannabis also contrasts with findings in previous clinical trials, Drs. Cooper and Haney pointed out. Women with similar levels of intoxication as men have tended to report higher ratings associated with abuse liability.

Could the pain stimulus in this study have served as more of a “buzz kill” for women than men? Drs. Cooper and Haney suggest this may have been a factor in the women not reporting greater subjective effects than men. “A possibility for the lack of sex-dependent effects for positive subjective drug effect ratings in the current analysis is the potential sex-dependent interaction of the CPT on subjective drug responses,” they wrote.

Gregory Carter, MD, MS, medical director of St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute, in Spokane, Wash., was not surprised that this study concurred with other clinical investigations of pain treatment in finding sex differences in pain expression and response to pain treatment intervention. He questioned in his comments to Pain Medicine News, however, whether these results are applicable to pain management practice.

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Epidolex Cannabis Drug Could Help Thousands with Epilepsy | Hospital Trial Promising

CBD News Pick – Mirror.co.uk

As many as a third of the UK’s 600,000 epilepsy sufferers are drug resistant with some suffering as many as several dozen seizures a day.

Experts believe the drug derived from cannabis, with the addictive element removed, may help. 

Medics are trialling a drug derived from cannabis that could revolutionise the treatment of epilepsy .

Doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital are trialing the revolutionary ‘cannabis’ drug that could transform the lives of thousands of people with epilepsy.


Related News – GW Pharma & Cannabis Stock News

At present as many as a third of the UK’s 600,000 epilepsy sufferers are drug resistant with some suffering as many as several dozen seizures a day. Now experts believe a drug derived from cannabis, with the addictive element removed, may help.

The medics are part of an international trial of more than 200 children adults of the drug for a rare form of epilepsy called Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome where sufferers can experience up to 80 seizures a day.

The phase three trial results have been dramatic with the drug working for 42 per cent of patients compared to 17 per cent on placebo. Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome starts in pre-school years and one of the children in the UK trial was just two years old.

Professor Helen Cross, the Great Ormond Street neurologist, heading the UK arm of the trial involving 15 patients, said: “The results have been encouragingly good with patients having many seizures a day having their fits reduced to a handful.

“If this drug works on one of the most extreme forms of epilepsy then we believe it should work for patients whose epilepsy is not controlled but who have fewer seizures”

Earlier stage three trials for another rare form of epilepsy – Dravet Syndrome -produced similarly good results. Cambridge based GW Pharmaceuticals which makes Epidiolex has seen its share value rise by 123 per cent as a result of the success of the trials into epilepsy.

Experts expect regulatory authorities in Europe and the USA to give the drug approval next year. It contains 99 per cent pure cannabis with the psycho-addictive element removed.

Dr Cross, who is one of the UK’s leading paediatric neurologists, said: “It is devastating for families and patients when a child or adult with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome has so many seizures in one day.”

She add: “If the drug helps this small group of patients it is sure to help thousands of others who are drug resistant and still have daily seizures.”

No one knows exactly how Epidiolex works to stop seizures, but it is believed to dampen the excessive electrical activity in the nervous system that is the trigger for many attacks.

GW is also conducting trials of various strains of cannabis chemicals- there are more than 100- to treat cancer and it has a licensed mouth spray Savitex to control the painful muscle spasms in Multiple Sclerosis. It is also being trialled to treat the side effects of chemotherapy in cancer and as a cancer treatment itself in brain tumours.

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Congress Just Says No to Vets: No Medical Marijuana Access After All

CBD News Pick – Huffington Post

The legislation would have allowed Veterans Administration doctors to recommend medical cannabis to their patients.

An effort to allow veterans to access medical marijuana in states where it’s legal died Wednesday night when Congress passed a spending bill without the provision included.

The Veterans Equal Access Amendment would have nullified a Department of Veterans Affairs standard that keeps its doctors from recommending medical cannabis as treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, pain and other conditions experienced by veterans. Veterans currently seeking medical pot must obtain a doctor’s recommendation outside of the VA system and pay the expense out of pocket.

The amendment, authored by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), passed both chambers of Congressearlier this year as part of a spending package funding the Veterans Affairs department.

But in June, the provision was stripped from the final version of the bill during conference committee. Blumenauer, Daines, Merkley and other supporters of the provision lobbied their colleagues to get the amendment added to the bill again.

“We feel the failure of the Conferees to include either provision is a drastic misfortune for veterans and is contrary to the will of both chambers as demonstrated by the strong bipartisan support for these provisions,” read a letter sent to congressional leadership.

The amendment was never readded, and the Veterans Affairs spending package passed Wednesday as part of the continuing resolution to fund the government.

“It’s incredibly frustrating and disappointing that despite broad bipartisan, bicameral support, a handful of out-of-touch lawmakers put politics over the well-being of America’s wounded warriors. Our veterans deserve better,” Blumenauer said in a statement on Thursday. “We will continue to seek every opportunity to make sure they have fair and equal treatment and the ability to consult with, and seek a recommendation from, their personal VA physician about medical marijuana.”

Medical marijuana is currently legal in 25 states and the District of Columbia, and several other states will vote in November on whether to legalize cannabis for medical use.

The VA doesn’t condone medical marijuana as a treatment for PTSD or other conditions due to the lack of studies on the effectiveness of the substance in easing post-traumatic stress. Still, many veterans have turned to the substance as an alternative to prescription antidepressants or painkillers, and some states specifically list PTSD as a condition for which doctors can recommend cannabis.

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Hanford Mulls $14M Cannabis Offer

CBD News Pick – The Fresno Bee

Keith Stephenson, owner of a Bay Area medical marijuana distribution company, is currently in escrow on an industrial park in Hanford, the former site of Pirelli Tire, that he wants to turn into one of the state’s largest medical marijuana cultivation and distribution operations.

It was a big week for pot in the Valley. As the state counts down to the likely approval of recreational marijuana use in the November election, three city governments examined their current guidelines.

The Hanford City Council dealt with a bomb dropped in its lap at its Tuesday meeting. Keith Stephenson, owner of a Bay Area medical marijuana distribution company, is in escrow on an industrial park – formerly a Pirelli tire plant – in south Hanford. He wants to turn it into one of the state’s largest medical marijuana cultivation and distribution operations, which he said would provide $14 million per year to a city whose annual general fund totals $24 million. He will need Hanford to adjust its city laws – and fast – to make that happen.

In Clovis and Lemoore, city councils opted for a more cautious approach. Both decided to extend their current ordinances governing medical marijuana – legal in California since 1996 – to include recreational use should Proposition 64 pass. However, both closed the door for commercial operations – at least, for now.

Hanford doing its homework

Hanford Mayor Justin Mendes was blown away by the proposal from Stephenson’s company, Purple Heart Patient Center.

“The $14 million a year grabs your attention. That’s for sure,” Mendes said. “But (the council) had some questions as to how to make it work.”

Among those questions, Mendes said, were things such as how do the licensing and legal stipulations work? What are the levels of taxation, and how would Hanford put them in place? What are the difficulties coming from Washington, D.C., given that marijuana remains federally illegal? Would other businesses leave town if pot moved in?

Stephenson is also promising the council around 1,100 new jobs with wages ranging from $15 per hour to six-figure salaries. Attempts to reach Stephenson through Purple Heart’s Oakland office were not successful.

$14 million
The annual revenue to the city of Hanford in a proposal from a medical marijuana business

The tire plant closed in 2001. It was bought and rebranded as a business center in 2006, but most of the building has remained vacant. The Kings County Economic Development Corp. lists the price of the entire plant as $12 million.

Law enforcement weighed in on the issue. Kings County Sheriff David Robinson offered fierce opposition to the proposal, noting the federal laws. Hanford police Chief Parker Sever suggested the council take its time, as a marijuana operation this big is something very few people in the country have experience with. He added that the city’s staff may want to visit Colorado or Washington state, where recreational use is legal, to gather more information.

Taking all of this in, the council directed city staff members to start working on finding some answers to these questions and concerns. The council members must also reach out to their constituents to get a feel for public sentiment.

Hanford must do all of this in an extremely tight window. The offer from Purple Heart – not to be confused with a Reedley company looking to bring medical cannabis to Huron – could expire in late October if sufficient progress isn’t made before the Nov. 8 election. That’s a tall order given that Coalinga – a small Fresno County city about 50 miles west of Hanford – took about seven months to formalize ordinances allowing commercial cultivation.

Here are the specifics of the Purple Heart proposal, according to Mendes: The 1 million-square-foot facility would produce 180,000 pounds of marijuana per year once it gets going. For perspective, the Manchester Mall in central Fresno offers about 1 million square feet in retail space. A football field, counting end zones, is about 57,600 square feet, so the operation would likely hold dozens of football-field-sized plots of marijuana plants.

The new facility would be a sort of one-stop shop for marijuana operations – with cultivation, lab testing and sale to customers happening all under one roof.

The $14 million figure seems a stretch, but it’s possible. The going rate for property taxes in cities to embrace cultivation like Coalinga and Desert Hot Springs in Southern California is $25 per square foot for the first 3,000 square feet and $10 per square foot for anything beyond that. At 1 million square feet, the annual property taxes could be as high as $10 million.

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