Showing posts with label Pot. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pot. Show all posts

February 25, 2015

In Alaska(red state) Legalization of marijuana took Place Today

In First ‘Red’ State to Legalize Marijuana, Possession and Cultivation Become Legal;  Commercial Retail Sales to Begin in 2016
Bipartisan Consensus Accelerates Momentum to Legalize Marijuana and End Drug War
Today marks a major step forward in the implementation of Alaska’s marijuana legalization law, as personal cultivation, possession, and consumption become legal. Last November, Alaskans voted 53-47% in favor of marijuana legalization, making it the first “red” state to pass such a law.
“First Colorado and Washington, now Alaska and Oregon – and all with levels of support higher than the winning candidates for governor and U.S. Senate achieved in those states,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.  “Legalizing marijuana just makes sense now to voters across the political spectrum and – as we’ll likely see in 2016 – across the country.”
Starting tomorrow, it will be legal for someone 21 years of age or over to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, grow up to six marijuana plants in their homes (provided that only three of them are mature at any time), and to share up to 1 ounce of marijuana with someone 21 or over and give them up to six immature marijuana plants. Private consumption will be completely legal for those 21 and over, though public consumption remains illegal.
Commercial marijuana businesses that grow, process, bake, or sell marijuana products won’t be able to legally operate until spring or summer of 2016. In January, the Alaska legislature began working to bring existing criminal statutes into line with the voter initiative. Tuesday marks the beginning of a nine-month rulemaking process during which the regulations for marijuana businesses will be developed and refined. Under the provisions of the voter initiative, the state is expected to begin accepting applications for operating permits by February 2016, a full year from now. This timeline was clearly defined in the voter initiative and, so far, the process is on schedule.
Alaska’s new law is expected to increase law enforcement resources available to focus on dangerous and violent crime.  Once retail sales begin next year, the law is also expected to bolster the state’s economy by creating jobs and generating new revenue, as marijuana sales will be conducted by legitimate, tax-paying businesses that test their products and require proof of age.
November’s election solidified drug policy reform’s place as a mainstream political issue, as voters across the country accelerated the unprecedented momentum to legalize marijuana and end the wider drug war. Marijuana legalization measures passed in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, D.C., while groundbreaking criminal justice reforms passed in California and New Jersey.  These successes are boosting efforts already underway in California, Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, Maine, Nevada, Arizona and elsewhere to end marijuana prohibition.
Contact:  Tony Newman: 646-335-5384 or Tamar Todd:  510-593-2395

April 26, 2014

The Real Truth About Headlines on Refer Madness

Correlation does not equal causation, and a single exam cannot show a trend over time. Basic stuff, right?
But judging by coverage of a study just out in the Journal of Neuroscience, these are apparently foreign concepts for many folks in the media.
In the study, researchers at Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital and Northwestern University in Chicago performed MRI brain scans on 20 young adult "casual" marijuana users and 20 age- and sex-matched nonusers. They found that, in the users, gray matter densities in the nucleus accumbens were higher than in controls, and the right amygdala and left nucleus accumbens were shaped differently.
Interesting, but remember that these findings only reflected differences between the marijuana users and controls at a single point in time. The researchers did not, could not, demonstrate that the differences resulted from marijuana smoking or even that the "abnormalities" relative to controls reflected changes from some earlier state.
You wouldn't know that from the media coverage. Here's a sampling of headlines:
  • Marijuana News: Casual Pot Use Impacts Brains of Young Adults, Researchers Find (The Oregonian)
  • Study Finds Brain Changes in Young Marijuana Users (Boston Globe)
  • Casual Marijuana Use Linked to Brain Changes (USA Today)
  • Even Casually Smoking Marijuana Can Change Your Brain, Study Says (Washington Post)
  • Study Finds Changes in Pot Smokers' Brains (Denver Post)
  • Recreational Pot Use Harmful to Young People's Brains (TIME)
Sad to say, the Society for Neuroscience (SfN), which publishes the Journal of Neuroscience, may have driven these dramatic overinterpretations by promoting the study in a press release headlined "Brain changes are associated with casual marijuana use in young adults."
Also note that the study did not identify any cognitive or behavioral abnormalities in the cannabis users versus controls -- it was strictly an MRI study.
That, however, didn't stop senior author Hans Breiter, MD, of Northwestern from opining in the SfN press release that the study "raises a strong challenge to the idea that casual marijuana use isn't associated with bad consequences."
Um, no, it doesn't -- not without before-and-after MRI scans showing brain structure changes in users that differ from nonusers and documentation of functional impairments associated with those changes.
To their credit, the study team's actual paper stuck fairly close to their data, concluding that the users showed "structural abnormalities." They only strayed into overinterpretation when they wrote that "the left nucleus accumbens was consistently affected by cannabis use." Nope, it was still just an association, no cause-and-effect shown -- as Breiter and colleagues acknowledged later in their paper.
It might also have been a stretch to call their subjects "casual users." The mean intakes were 3.83 days of use and 11.2 joints per week, and 1.8 smoking occasions per day of use. To me -- and I lived in Ann Arbor in the 1970s -- this sounds more like the profile of a just-short-of-heavy regular user.
I don't want to minimize the paper's genuine importance. The differences in brain structure from controls could well have functional consequences, and could well reflect the effects of marijuana use. Certainly these findings deserve follow-up.
But until we get it, everyone, please dial back the Reefer Madness hype.
Striking a Nerve is a blog by John Gever for readers interested in neurology and psychiatry.

April 12, 2014

The Why Puerto Rico Rico is Legalizing Pot and Prostitution


Slash the number of public holidays by two-thirds. Eliminate dozens of government agencies. Legalize marijuana and prostitution.
From the intriguing to the impossible, there is no shortage of ideas for fixing Puerto Rico's ailing economy as the government tries to dig out from a whopping $70 billion in public debt and bring back economic growth.
The ideas have come from legislators, entrepreneurs and even members of the public, who have submitted ideas via a government-sponsored website. Of the 369 ideas sent in by the public, 156 have been accepted by a government committee for consideration, including the suggestions to legalize marijuana and prostitution, and to limit how long people can live in subsidized housing.
But all the ideas require further government approval, either with a legislative vote, or an administrative nod from the governor, agency or department. More dramatic ideas, such as legalization of marijuana or prostitution, would require public hearings, legislative approval and the governor's signature.
And prospects for approval of the various suggestions are decidedly mixed.
The governor, for example, is expected to sign a bill approved by lawmakers to release certain elderly prisoners, but not a suggestion floated by a member of the public to charge inmates for their room and board.
Puerto Rico, in dire straits following eight years of recession, has remained receptive as it debates hundreds of ideas: "We are studying all alternatives and all possibilities," said Sen. Maria Teresa Gonzalez, a member of the governor's party who has come under fire for submitting a bill that would reduce the number of holidays for public employees to six.
The island currently celebrates 20 holidays a year, double those observed in the U.S. Many people have bristled at the proposal to scrap some of the additional extra days off, some of which commemorate various historic Puerto Rican leaders. But Gonzalez said the excessive number of holidays costs the government about $500 million a year in lost productivity and interruptions in service, among other things.
"Change always brings about inconveniences," she said. "I'm convinced that before we talk about something as dramatic and disastrous as layoffs, we have to consider other ideas."
Many suggestions have come as Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla prepares to submit the first balanced budget in decades, having promised U.S. investors and credit agencies that he will eliminate an $820 million deficit. The governor has not detailed his cutbacks, prompting fears of layoffs, tax increases and cuts to public service.
Opposition legislator Rep. Ricardo Llerandi Cruz has proposed eliminating 41 government agencies, saying it would save $160 million alone in administrative costs. He said the government has many agencies performing the same functions, noting that there's a Department of Natural Resources, which protects, develops and manages the island's environmental resources, and an Administration of Natural Resources, a division within the department with responsibilities that include overseeing projects such as cleanup efforts.
"Puerto Rico is facing the worst fiscal crisis in all of its history," Cruz said. "We need to refocus or revisit governmental priorities to face these problems."
A bill in the legislature also would cap the salaries of mayors, but legislators have been debating the issue for a year as mayors continue to give themselves raises. The full-time mayor of the western town of Maricao, for example, oversees the island's second-least populated municipality with some 6,200 people and currently earns $78,000 a year, nearly double of what he earned the previous year. If the bill is approved, the mayor would earn a base salary of roughly $54,000 a year.
Manuel Lugo, an attorney who lives in the coastal town of Aguadilla, is among those who submitted the highest number of ideas on the government's website. But despite having nine of 17 ideas approved, he doesn't believe the government will take action on any of them.
"It is very difficult to change the inertia of this island," said Lugo, 43, who recently closed his office because of economic problems and is contemplating a move to Texas. "There has been no economic plan for decades. What they do here is repair and patch holes. That's not how you run a country."
Yanira Hernandez, a governor spokeswoman, said Garcia will detail how he plans to balance the budget in a special televised address in late April. The budget must be approved before June 30.
While many are concerned about what cuts will be made to balance the budget, economist Gustavo Velez said extreme measures won't be necessary if the government increases revenues and consolidates state agencies. Puerto Rico could generate $300 million more a year if it increases its capture rate on tax revenues from 56 to 75 percent, he said. The government also could suspend salary increases, Velez added.
"Puerto Rico cannot keep operating on recurring deficits," he said, noting it is unconstitutional. "We have to return to balanced budgets as the norm. Politicians have to embrace that reality."
The government also has considered tapping into the island's underground economy, estimated by some experts at $20 billion a year, representing roughly 40 percent of overall consumption.
Puerto Ricans are increasingly seeking new ways to generate money, with some opening food trucks or hunting caimans to sell the meat as shish kebabs or fried snacks.
But an estimated 450,000 people have moved to the U.S. mainland in search of new jobs and a more affordable cost of living in the past decade.
Brunilda Cintron, 56, left the island in 2001 and now lives in Kissimmee, Florida. But her daughter and mother still live in Puerto Rico, and she worries about their future.
"The government has to make some drastic decisions that will adversely affect people," Cintron said, adding that she thinks her family will soon join her in the U.S. mainland. “I don't think they're going to have a choice."
The Associated Press

October 22, 2013

Uruguay’s Government Will Be Selling Pot at $1 per Gram

Uruguay To Sell Legal Marijuana For $1 Per Gram Says Official

More Sharing Servic
Uruguay’s drug czar announced his country’s plans to sell legal marijuana for $1 per gram.
A law that would make Uruguay the first country in the world to license and enforce rules for the production, distribution and sale of marijuana for adult consumers has already passed in the lower house of Congress and is expected to pass in the Senate later this year.
According to the Huff Post:
The El Pais newspaper reported Sunday that drug chief Julio Calzada says marijuana sales should start in the second half of 2014 at a price of $1.
He says the idea isn’t to make money, but to wrench the market away from illegal dealers. Calzada said in August that the price would be around $2.5 per gram.
Sales are for locals only.   

May 2, 2013

Do You Like Pot? HIV+}Derivatives on Pot Might Be Weakening HIV

Stock photo of a cannabis plant (© Getty Images)

Synthetic derivatives of THC may weaken HIV-1 infection to enhance antiviral therapies

New research published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology suggests compounds that stimulate the cannabinoid type 2 receptor in white blood cells, specifically macrophages, can weaken HIV-1 infection

A new use for compounds related in composition to the active ingredient in marijuana may be on the horizon: a new research report published in theJournal of Leukocyte Biology shows that compounds that stimulate the cannabinoid type 2 (CB2) receptor in white blood cells, specifically macrophages, appear to weaken HIV-1 infection. The CB2 receptor is the molecular link through which the pharmaceutical properties of cannabis are manifested. Diminishing HIV-1 infection in this manner might make current anti-viral therapies more effective and provide some protection against certain HIV-1 complications.
"The synthetic compounds we used in our study may show promise in helping the body fight HIV-1 infection,'" said Yuri Persidsky, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, PA. "As compounds like these are improved further and made widely available, we will continue to explore their potential to fight other viral diseases that are notoriously difficult to treat."
To make this discovery, scientists used a cell culture model to infect human macrophages with HIV-1 and added synthetic compounds similar to the active ingredient in marijuana to activate the CB2 receptor. At different times during the infection, samples from the culture were taken to see if the replication of the HIV virus was decreased. The researchers observed diminished HIV growth and a possible protective effect from some HIV-1 complications.
"HIV/AIDS has posed one of the most significant health challenges in modern medicine," said John Wherry, Ph.D., Deputy Editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology. "Recent high profile vaccine failures mean that all options need to be on the table to prevent or treat this devastating infection. Research on the role of cannabinoid type 2 receptors and viral infection may one day allow targeting these receptors to be part of combination therapies that use exploit multiple weaknesses of the virus simultaneously."
The Journal of Leukocyte Biology publishes peer-reviewed manuscripts on original investigations focusing on the cellular and molecular biology of leukocytes and on the origins, the developmental biology, biochemistry and functions of granulocytes, lymphocytes, mononuclear phagocytes and other cells involved in host defense and inflammation. The Journal of Leukocyte Biology is published by the Society for Leukocyte Biology.
Details: Servio H. Ramirez, Nancy L. Reichenbach, Shongshan Fan, Slava Rom, Steven F. Merkel, Xu Wang, Wen-zhe Ho, and Yuri Persidsky. Attenuation of HIV-1 replication in macrophages by cannabinoid receptor 2 agonists. J. Leukoc. Biol. May 2013 93:801-810; doi:10.1189/jlb.1012523 ;

April 21, 2013

The GOP Trying to End The War on Pot? Are They High? Why Not Back Gay Marriage Too?

Few ideas have more support from voters and less from national politicians than legalizing marijuana. While major polls now show that most Americans back the concept, the president and leaders in Congress won't touch the issue except to laugh it off.
Like pothead soccer dads in the sitcomWeeds, however, some of the biggest backers of legalization are turning up where you'd least expect them. Take, for example, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who last week introduced a bill designed to prevent the feds from arresting pot growers and tokers in states where the drug is legal. "This approach is consistent with responsible, constitutional, and conservative governance," the 13-term Congressman from California's ultraconservative Orange County told me.
 Until recently, Republicans who supported ending pot prohibition were about as common as unicorns. There were US Rep. Ron Paul, and, well, some prominent formerRepublicans such as New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson and Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo. After ditching her Alaska Governor job for a Fox News gig a few years ago, Sarah Palin finally stuck her neck out: "If somebody's gonna smoke a joint in their house and not do anybody else any harm," she said on Fox's Freedom Watch in 2010, "then perhaps there are other things our cops should be looking at to engage in, and try to clean up some of the other problems that we have in society."
Back then that was crazy talk. Now it's mainstream enough that Rohrabacher's new marijuana bill has already attracted two other Republican co-sponsors: Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan and Don Young of Alaska.
Rohrabacher got turned on to marijuana activism about 10 years ago, when he had to spoon feed his dying mother because she'd lost her appetite. He learned that medical marijuana might help her eat. "My interest has evolved from there," he says 
Today, he sees no reason why the GOP shouldn't want to legalize cannabis for everyone. "Among other things, Republicans believe in effective and efficient policies, small government, liberty, and strong national security," he said in an email. "The federal government's total prohibition of marijuana has been neither effective nor efficient, has violated the liberty of millions, and jeopardizes our national security. Republicans—both voters and members of Congress—are beginning to understand this."
 To be sure, Rohrabacher's Respect State Marijuana Laws Act (H.R. 1253) is far from the only bill in Congress that would wind down the federal war on weed.  But unlike the efforts of liberal Democrats who want to remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, the bill or something like it may have a decent shot at passing in the not-too-distant future. As Rohrabacher puts it: "It's a pragmatic approach that can appeal to individuals who, regardless of their view as to whether marijuana should be legalized, believe states should be allowed to determine their own marijuana policies."
In addition to striking a note with pro-states-rights Republican Congressmen, the bill should appeal the American people, 60 percent of whom believe that states ought be able to set their own marijuana policies, and even more so, young people, who support pot legalization at the rate of nearly 2 in 3.
So is legal pot still a liberal pipe dream? Maybe. But now it's also a Republican pipe dream. Dude, I think my head just exploded.

April 13, 2013

A Food Chain Will Be Offering Cannabis-Fravored Mayonnaise

French fries and mayonnaise
A chain of Dutch fast-food restaurants is about to roll out a new condiment that is certain to appeal to stoned college students everywhere: Cannabis-flavored mayonnaise.
As Americans know from that famous scene in Pulp Fiction, mayonnaise is the condiment of choice to accompany french fries in parts of Europe, and Manneken Pis — a chain of eateries named after a famous resident of Belgium — is one of Amsterdam’s most popular spots for friet. But before eager backpackers hear “Amsterdam” and “marijuana” together in the same sentence and jump to conclusions, be warned that the recipe does not contain the active ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known as THC.
“It’s just about the taste,” says Albert van Beek, owner of Manneken Pis,  reports Sky News. “We specialize in sauces and we constantly want to diversify. I had the idea because I smell the cannabis coming from the coffee shop opposite my chip shop in Amsterdam every day.”
The Netherlands has long had some of the world’s most liberal laws regarding recreational drug use, and plans to stop tourists from frequenting Amsterdam’s famous marijuana-selling “coffee shops” were scrapped less than six months ago.  Still, to make sure nobody gets the wrong impression, Sky News reports that the menus at Manneken Pis will clearly state that the mayo won’t get you high.

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