Is Big Pharma set to corner the American market on medical marijuana?
Category: Culture | Posted on Tue, April, 19th 2011 by THCFinder
The American Independent has previously reported on the growing corporatization of the incipient medical marijuana industry at a time when medical marijuana dispensaries scrabble to hold on to their businesses in the face of a multi-pronged federal crackdown. But there are signs afoot that it just may become ever more corporate if a Big Pharma push to get the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to recognize a cannabis-derived drug is successful.
Last week, British prescription drug manufacturer GW Pharmaceuticals announced a licensing agreement with drug giant Novartis, maker of Ritalin and Excedrin, to begin selling GW’s drug Sativex in markets across Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Middle East. The medication is already available in Britain, where it’s produced and marketed by Bayer, and in Canada and Spain. It’s on the market in those countries as a liquid that patients spray under the tongue and is prescribed primarily for sufferers of multiple sclerosis and cancer.
Sativex: Liquefied marijuana
If the name “Sativex” rings a distant bell, that’s because it’s derived from Cannabis sativa, the scientific name for the plant from which both hemp and marijuana are harvested. It’s an appropriate name because, unlike other cannabinoids produced for recreational and medicinal use (and plagued by side effects not present in natural cannabinoids), Sativex is not a synthetic concoction, but essentially liquefied marijuana. It’s an extract of whole-plant cannabis that includes the psychoactive agent THC as well as cannabidiol (CBD), the chemical thought to be responsible for some of the anti-nausea and cancer-cell-killing effects of medical marijuana.
While the official word from GW is that the THC and CBD balance each other out to provide marijuana’s medicinal effects without an accompanying high, cannabis expert and professor emeritus of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School Dr. Lester Grinspoon has said just upping the dosage would provide the same effects as recreational marijuana.
Early in Sativex’s development, GW hired Dr. Andrea Barthwell as a consultant to sing the drug’s praises, although she’s no longer in the employ of GM. Barthwell was a deputy drug czar under George W. Bush and is the former president of the American Society for Addiction Medicine (ASAM). In a recent ASAM press release, Barthwell denounced medical marijuana but — significantly — only because it was unregulated by the federal government.
No Weed-Out Classes: Marijuana State University Opens
Category: Culture | Posted on Tue, April, 12th 2011 by THCFinder
Look no further, cannabis lovers. We've found your institution of higher learning.
Ray Logan, 56, a native of Portland, Maine who has grown his own weed for 30 years, held the first class at Marijuana State University earlier this month. He's registered under his state's medical marijuana law, which allows him to turn his formerly illegal hobby into an educational service.
Fifteen men attended Logan's first class in Portland, a three-hour workshop that teaches students how to cultivate the plant properly for medicinal purposes. He told the Portland Press Herald that he was happy with his first session's turnout but would like to double the class size at future workshops. Most of the men who attended were patients registered to use medicinal marijuana who wanted a cost-effective alternative to the expensive treatment.
The class, which according to Logan is not profitable or even self-supporting, costs $79, or $59 for students, senior citizens and veterans. There's still no verdict on who's eligible for in-state tuition.
Marijuana State University Unveiled in Maine
Category: Culture | Posted on Thu, April, 7th 2011 by THCFinder
Calling all "green" thumbs: A Maine man wants to teach you how to grow pot at Marijuana State University.
Ray Logan, 56, said he launched an instructional three-hour course to help friends and acquaintances who, like himself, use marijuana to cope with illness. Logan suffered a spinal injury during a skydiving accident in 1996 and later acquired a medical marijuana card in 2010.
"A lot of people just want to learn how to grow and it's not an easy plant to grow," Logan told FoxNews.com. "It's not just sticking a seed in soil and that's it."
Logan, of Wells, Maine, held his first class on marijuana cultivation at a hotel in Portland on April 2. Roughly 15 people attended the session, which included germination tips and instructions on correct levels for humidity, temperature and lighting.
"I get right into every technical aspect of it that's possible," Logan said. "I'm still studying it. I love the biology of the plant."
The classes also include information on the history of marijuana, details on various strains and instructions on how to grow marijuana using hydroponics, a method of growing plants using mineral solutions without water.
Smoking Hot Women Featured in Medical Marijuana Benefit Competition
Category: Culture | Posted on Fri, April, 1st 2011 by THCFinder
Less than two months after the competition was initially announced, online interest for the Miss Medical Marijuana competition has surpassed what anyone at the popular Marijuana news magazine even thought was possible. The contest is taking place as part of ongoing efforts by the Marijuana Legalization movement to gain mainstream support for the cause.
Web site visitors will be given the chance to select who they think should be crowned Miss Medical Marijuana, starting the first of April and ending on the 20th, also known as 4/20 or International Weed Day. Anyone can log on to the web site at PencilMethod.com and vote for whoever they feel is the best candidate.
"It is our belief that through fun, innovative and interactive campaigns such as this one, we'll be able to more effectively spread vital knowledge to young adults, many of whom already support our struggle without truly understanding why it's important," a representative of the PencilMethod.com staff said.
Where are all the marijuana millionaires?
Category: Culture | Posted on Tue, March, 29th 2011 by THCFinder
FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- When Drew Brown first opened Abundant Healing, a medical marijuana dispensary that serves nearly 300 patients, he dreamed of early retirement to Costa Rica, where he would spend his days as a beach bum renting surfboards to tourists.
Then came a regulatory crackdown. Fifteen months later, Brown's business -- mired in red tape and compliance costs -- isn't the moneyspinner he imagined it would be.
"I made more money doing concrete," says Brown. A former construction worker and oil rig roughneck, he and his business partner Dave Schwaab are among the thousands of Coloradans who jumped into the legal pot business in late 2009.
That's when the U.S. Department of Justice ordered federal prosecutors to lay off busting such businesses where they're legal under state laws -- sparking a Renaissance/gold rush.
Marijuana's use by qualifying patients had been quasi-legal in Colorado for almost a decade, since voters amended the state constitution in 2000 to allow it. But there were no statewide regulations governing its sale and distribution. The federal ban still trumps Colorado's state law, but enforcement was light. The rapidly expanding market seemed to promise piles of easy money.
Then in 2010 Colorado tightened the screws. New laws imposed tough and often expensive standards on how business could run. Suddenly owning a pot dispensary -- officially called a Medical Marijuana Center, or MMC -- became no more profitable than owning a liquor store.
Medical Marijuana dispensary selling 'Joints for Japan'
Category: Culture | Posted on Mon, March, 28th 2011 by THCFinder
LAKEWOOD - A medical marijuana business is donating 100 percent of the profit from marijuana joints to earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan.
Compassionate Pain Management's owner Shaun Gindi says he saw the devastation in Japan on the news, and floated the idea of donating some of his profits to help on Facebook.
After he got tons of positive feedback, he started brainstorming ideas for the campaign. After rejecting names like "Bake for the Quake" and "Joint Relief," he settled for what he thought was a more appropriate name of "Joints for Japan."
At Compassionate Pain Management's two locations in Lakewood and Louisville, joints sell for $5 a piece for those with a medical marijuana card and prescription. Gindi has promised 100 percent of the profits from those sales for at least the next two to three weeks to go to the Red Cross for recovery efforts in Japan.
Because marijuana remains illegal in the eyes of the federal government, charitable giving is not recognized as a write-off. Gindi says his donations are completely from the heart.
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