Feb 11, 2015 Online Issue
The Huffington Post | By Carolyn Gregoire
Research has suggested that cannabis may be a promising treatment option for a number of different physical and mental health conditions, from post-traumatic stress disorder to chronic pain. A study released this week suggests that depression can be added to that list.
Neuroscientists from the University of Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions found that endocannabinoids — chemical compounds in the brain that activate the same receptors as THC, an active compound in marijuana — may be helpful in treating depression that results from chronic stress.
In studies on rats, the researchers found that chronic stress reduced the production of endocannabinoids, which affect our cognition, emotion and behavior, and have been linked to reduced feelings of pain and anxiety, increases in appetite and overall feelings of well-being. The body naturally produces these compounds, which are similar to the chemicals in cannabis. Reduction of endocannabinoid production may be one reason that chronic stress is a major risk factor in the development of depression.
Feb 9, 2015 Online Issue
The Huffington Post | By Paige Lavender
Reggae superstar Bob Marley would have turned 70 years old on Friday.
People around the world are celebrating the impact Marley made in his 36 years on earth by honoring his music and his beliefs. According to Reuters, Jamaicans are remembering the musician with a jam session, and Marley’s family is launching a “feel good social video movement” to honor Marley’s vision of a better world.
Many are remembering Marley for his public embrace of marijuana and his belief in its healing powers. Marley’s website describes the musician as “a staunch supporter of the plant’s meditational, spiritual and healing abilities, and a fierce opponent to those (“political forces”) who tried using marijuana as a vehicle for oppression, and to keep certain groups of people out of the societal mainstream.”
One quote from Marley sums up the problem the musician had with political opposition to marijuana.
Jan 26, 2015 Online Issue
Source: Huffington Post
Washington, D.C. — President Barack Obama said during a YouTube interview Thursday that he believes more states will consider legalizing recreational marijuana, citing his administration’s hands-off approach to prohibition-ending cannabis laws in Colorado and Washington state.
“What you’re seeing now is Colorado, Washington, through state referenda, they’re experimenting with legal marijuana,” Obama said in response to host Hank Green. “The position of my administration has been that we still have federal laws that classify marijuana as an illegal substance, but we’re not going to spend a lot of resources trying to turn back decisions that have been made at the state level on this issue. My suspicion is that you’re gonna see other states start looking at this.”
Obama went on to say that he has asked his Department of Justice to examine how nonviolent drug offenders are being treated by the justice system.
“What we have done is instead of focusing on treatment — the same way we focused, say, with tobacco or drunk driving or other problems where we treat it as public health problem — we’ve treated this exclusively as a criminal problem,” Obama said. “I think that it’s been counterproductive, and it’s been devastating in a lot of minority communities. It presents the possibility at least of unequal application of the law, and that has to be changed.”
Recreational use of marijuana is legal in Colorado and Washington, and will soon be allowed in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C. Federal law, however, continues to declare all uses of marijuana illegal. Department of Justice guidance urges federal prosecutors to refrain from targeting state-legal marijuana operations.
The United States, home to 5 percent of the world’s population, has 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. Harsh sentences for nonviolent drug crimes have bolstered that figure. A 2013 American Civil Liberties Union report found that blacks were nearly four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites.
Marijuana Majority’s Tom Angell told The Huffington Post that Obama’s prediction affirms what legalization in Colorado and Washington has demonstrated “about generating tax revenue, reducing crime and freeing up limited police resources.” Read More..
Jan 26, 2015 Online Issue
Source: Washington Post
Washington, D.C. — President Obama on Thursday said he expects more states to experiment with marijuana legalization. In a 5 p.m. interview conducted by a handful of YouTube stars, Obama discussed the fragmented policy surrounding the plant, which is legal in Colorado and Washington and regulated differently state by state.
“What you’re seeing now is Colorado, Washington through state referenda, they’re experimenting with legal marijuana,” Obama said in response to a question posed by Hank Green, who with his brother runs a YouTube channel with nearly 2.5 million subscribers.
“The position of my administration has been that we still have federal laws that classify marijuana as an illegal substance, but we’re not going to spend a lot of resources trying to turn back decisions that have been made at the state level on this issue,” Obama said, about 11 minutes into the video embedded above. “My suspicion is that you’re gonna see other states start looking at this.”
The president went on to discuss a number of issues related to federal application of drug policy. He said that he will continue to have his administration review treatment of nonviolent drug offenders, and said drug policy with regard to marijuana should be treated more as a public health issue than a criminal one. He also voiced concern with the racially unequal application of marijuana laws and noted bipartisan support on the issue.
Here is the rest of what he had to say on the issue: Read More..
Jan 26, 2015 Online Issue
Legal marijuana is the fastest-growing industry in the United States and if the trend toward legalization spreads to all 50 states, marijuana could become larger than the organic food industry, according to a new report obtained by The Huffington Post.
Researchers from The ArcView Group, a cannabis industry investment and research firm based in Oakland, California, found that the U.S. market for legal cannabis grew 74 percent in 2014 to $2.7 billion, up from $1.5 billion in 2013.
The group surveyed hundreds of medical and recreational marijuana retailers in states where sales are legal, as well as ancillary business operators and independent cultivators of the plant, over the course of seven months during 2013 and 2014. ArcView also compiled data from state agencies, nonprofit organizations and private companies in the marijuana industry for a more complete look at the marketplace.
Jan 20, 2015 Online Issue
Source: Associated Press
Denver — Colorado lawmakers are taking another look at the state’s medical marijuana market this week. That’s because the state’s medical marijuana regulations were passed in 2010 with a five-year sunset provision, so they expire this year if legislators don’t renew them.
Everything is on the table, and a Senate committee takes a first look at the rules Tuesday. Here are some things to know about what’s at stake:
THE BIG FIGHT
It will be about caregivers. These are people designated by medical marijuana patients to grow their pot for them. Officials say caregivers need more oversight to make sure they’re not growing more pot than authorized and have suggested that caregivers’ plant production amounts to a gray market because that marijuana isn’t taxed or regulated the way commercial marijuana is.
Lawmakers already have a bill focused just on caregivers. It would require them to register with the state, instead of the optional registration system in place now. Officials say the lack of a statewide registry makes it too hard for law enforcement to check a pot-grower’s claims that they are producing marijuana for patients.
“We want to make there aren’t any bad actors sending their marijuana out into the black market,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont.
The bill also requires the Colorado medical board to step up oversight of doctors who recommend pot for patients’ severe pain — the most common condition authorized under the state’s medical pot registry but one that critics complain is overused by unscrupulous physicians.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA WILL LOOK MORE LIKE RECREATIONAL POT Read More..
Jan 20, 2015 Online Issue
Source: Washington Times
Washington, D.C. — The D.C. Council is pursuing a regulatory scheme for the sale and taxation of marijuana, scheduling hearings on proposed legislation that flies in the face of congressional attempts to prevent the District from loosening its drug laws.
City officials say council committees expect to begin hearings on the bill in early February — a move that will gauge how far D.C. lawmakers are willing to challenge Congress on the issue.
D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said the council should be in the clear to hold public meetings on the proposed legislation, which would codify regulations regarding marijuana that were not included in a voter-approved ballot initiative.
“All we’re talking about is a hearing,” Mr. Mendelson said. “I don’t think that’s inappropriate. And I think trying to muffle public discussion would implicate constitutional issues. It would be bad public policy.”
The District is still wrangling with Republican members of Congress over the fate the city’s marijuana legalization initiative, which seven out of 10 voters supported at the ballot box in November. Congress passed a spending bill in December that blocks the District from spending money to “enact any law, rule, or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce penalties associated with the possession” of any schedule 1 drugs. City lawmakers have taken the legal stance that Initiative 71 was self-executing and took effect when voters approved it — well ahead of the adoption of the spending bill by Congress.
Enacting new laws regarding marijuana in the time since the spending bill was passed is different territory, leaving in question at what point city lawmakers would run afoul of the restrictions approved in the congressional budget package.
The federal lawmaker who included the language blocking marijuana legalization in the federal spending bill doesn’t have a firm stance on how far through the legislative process D.C. lawmakers would legally be allowed to go. Read More..