New Report Blasts DEA For Spending 4 Decades Obstructing Marijuana Science
Category: News | Posted on Thu, June, 12th 2014 by THCFinder
The Drug Enforcement Administration has been impeding and ignoring the science on marijuana and other drugs for more than four decades, according to a report released this week by the Drug Policy Alliance, a drug policy reform group, and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, a marijuana research organization.
“The DEA is a police and propaganda agency," Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said Wednesday. “It makes no sense for it to be in charge of federal decisions involving scientific research and medical practice."
The report alleges that the DEA has repeatedly failed to act in a timely fashion when faced with petitions to reschedule marijuana. The drug is currently classified as Schedule I, which the DEA reserves for the "most dangerous" drugs with "no currently accepted medical use." Schedule I drugs, which include substances like heroin and LSD, cannot receive federal funding for research. On three separate occasions -- in 1973, 1995 and again in 2002 -- the DEA took years to make a final decision about a rescheduling petition, and in two of the cases the DEA was sued multiple times to force a decision.
The report criticizes the DEA for overruling its own officials charged with determining how illicit substances should be scheduled. It also criticizes the agency for creating a "regulatory Catch-22" by arguing there is not enough scientific evidence to support rescheduling marijuana while simultaneously impeding the research that would produce such evidence.
A spokesperson at the DEA declined to comment on the report.
The feds have long been accused of only funding marijuana research that focuses on the potential negative effects of the substance, but that trend appears to be changing.
According to The Hill, the National Institute on Drug Abuse has conducted about 30 studies to date on the potential benefits of marijuana. NIDA oversees the cultivation, production and distribution of marijuana grown for research purposes at the University of Mississippi in the only federally legal marijuana garden in the U.S. -- a process through which the only federally sanctioned marijuana studies are approved.
The joint report comes less than two weeks after the House approved three amendments taking aim at the DEA and its ability to enforce federal marijuana and hemp laws in states which have legal marijuana operations and industrial hemp programs. The medical marijuana amendment was sponsored by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.).
"Nobody should be afraid of the truth," Rohrabacher said Wednesday. "There's a lot of other drugs that have harmful side effects. Is the downside of marijuana a harmful side effect? Or is there a positive side that actually does help? That needs to be proven."
Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com
Copycat? Hershey's says marijuana edibles violate trademark
Category: News | Posted on Thu, June, 12th 2014 by THCFinder
Reese's cup or Reefer's cup? Almond Joy or Ganja Joy?
Hershey's has filed two trademark infringement complaints over marijuana edibles the candy company says look like their products.
The Pennsylvania-based chocolate maker is suing Tincturebelle, a pot-infused candy manufacturer in Colorado, and Conscious Care Cooperative, a medical marijuana dispensary in Washington state.
The lawsuits, both filed June 3, claim the pot-infused candy violates Hershey's trademarks, dilutes its brand and is "unfair competition" to the company.
Hershey's said the similarities between its ordinary candy and the pot candy could cause someone to "inadvertently ingest" the pot candy, according to the complaints.
Seattle-based CCC sells a peanut butter Reefer's cup and Kush cup that Hershey's says resemble its Reese's cups, as well as a Mr. Dankbar that is "in mimicry" of Hershey's Mr. Goodbar packaging and design, according to Hershey's complaint.
CCC does not manufacture the pot-infused candy it sells, said Nathan Paine, a lawyer for CCC, in an interview with USA TODAY Network.
In Denver, Tincturebelle makes a Ganja Joy candy bar that Hershey's says infringes on its Almond Joy product, Hasheath, that Hershey's says looks like a Heath bar, and a Dabby Patty it says copies its York peppermint patty. The products are sold in Colorado's medical dispensaries and pot shops.
USA TODAY has requested comment from Tincturebelle.
Medical marijuana is legal in 22 states and the District of Columbia. Colorado and Washington are the only two states with legal recreational marijuana, and Washington's retail stores are expected to open as early as next month.
Hershey's is not seeking a specific dollar amount in damages, but a company spokesman said "significant damages" are in order, in addition to stopping the use of the trademarks, according to Jeff Beckman, spokesman for Hershey's, in an e-mail to USA TODAY Network.
At CCC, the only people who can purchase items at the dispensary are medical marijuana patients, Paine said. The dispensary is not open to the public and does not sell any regular candy that's not infused with pot.
"Even if they're similar, is a patient really going to go to their own collective and purchase a Kush cup thinking they're getting a Reese's cup? No reasonable juror would ever buy that argument," Paine said.
Read more: http://www.usatoday.com
Gun owner denied License for legally using marijuana
Category: News | Posted on Wed, June, 11th 2014 by THCFinder
SEATTLE -- With recreational marijuana sales about to begin in Washington State, legal gun owners are facing a "don't ask, don't tell" dilemma. The gun owners are grappling with the idea of admitting they use marijuana, which goes up against federal firearm laws.
I-502 made possession of marijuana for adults legal in the state of Washington. The Second Amendment gives every law abiding American the right to bear firearms, but the two don't coexist very well when it comes to marijuana. The conflict between federal and state law is putting police and gun-owning marijuana users in the middle.
It's a conflict Bobbi Jo Floyd of Richland knows all too well.
"People know who I am, a lot of people do," said Floyd, who is an officiant and has presided over 2,000 weddings in the tri-cities area.
Floyd is also an outspoken proponent of medical marijuana and an authorized patient.
"I'm also a Republican and I believe in my guns," she said.
In January she went to apply for a concealed pistol license at the Richland Police Station. Skinner says in Washington, a CPL is not a right, but considered a privilege granted at the discretion of the issuing agency, which tends to be the applicant's home town police agency. Most people are granted a CPL after passing a criminal background check.
Floyd had no problems with any question on the application, except when it came to question number five, which asks, "Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana?"
"I answered it 'no' because how I read it is, are you an 'illegal user' or addicted to marijuana, and I don't feel I'm either," Floyd said.
That's when something unusual happened. Floyd was asked to provide her medical marijuana authorization card.
"An employee recognized me and she asked me to attach my medical license on my application," she said.
With nothing to hide, Floyd says she obliged. A couple of weeks later, she got her application back in the mail. It was denied.
With the denial came a letter for Richland Police Chief Chris Skinner who wrote Floyd was not eligible to receive a CPL because she had an authorization to possess cannabis. Skinner also cited Federal law, 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(3) which prohibits any son who is an "unlawful user of, or addicted to any controlled substance" from shipping, transporting, receiving or possessing firearms or ammunition.
Read more: http://www.komonews.com
Californias 2013 Marijuana Harvest Was Worth 31 Billion Dollars
Category: News | Posted on Wed, June, 11th 2014 by THCFinder
Marijuana is big business in California. How big? According to a recently released report, California’s 2013 marijuana harvests were worth 31 billion dollars. Yes, that’s billion, with a B. This number is of course an estimate and not an exact figure due to the fact that California’s marijuana industry is hard to pin down. The true number could be a bit off of that number, or could be even larger than that number. Regardless of how exact the number is, one thing is for sure – California’s marijuana industry is enormous.
Imagine if the industry didn’t operate in the shadows, and was allowed to operate above-board. How much tax revenue would that generate for the State of California? According to California NORML, taxes from legalized marijuana sales in California could generate upwards of 2.5 billion dollars for the State. Anyone who has ever traveled to California or lives in California knows firsthand just how bad the State of California needs revenue right now.
California was the first state to vote on marijuana legalization during the 2010 Election. Unfortunately, that initiative was voted down. However, it was the first time any state had ever run a campaign to legalize marijuana, and I think the campaign did a commendable job navigating the uncharted territory. California, and other states, learned a lot from that campaign.
I’m confident that California will have another opportunity to vote on marijuana legalization, this time during the 2016 Election. It’s a presidential election year, which worked very well for Colorado and Washington during the 2012 Election. I wish the same was true for Oregon, which also voted on marijuana legalization during the 2012 Election. However, unfortunately, the campaign in Oregon was grossly underfunded. A successful California campaign in 2016 will need more money than all three of the 2012 campaigns combined, which I’m hoping won’t be an issue.
DEA targets doctors linked to medical marijuana
Category: News | Posted on Fri, June, 6th 2014 by THCFinder
US Drug Enforcement Administration investigators have visited the homes and offices of Massachusetts physicians involved with medical marijuana dispensaries and delivered an ultimatum: sever all ties to marijuana companies, or relinquish federal licenses to prescribe certain medications, according to several physicians and their attorneys.
The stark choice is necessary, the doctors said they were told, because of friction between federal law, which bans any use of marijuana, and state law, which voters changed in 2012 to allow medical use of the drug.
The DEA’s action has left some doctors, whose livelihoods depend on being able to offer patients pain medications and other drugs, with little option but to resign from the marijuana companies,where some held prominent positions.
The Globe this week identified at least three doctors contacted by DEA investigators, although there may be more.
“Here are your options,” Dr. Samuel Mazza said he was told by Gregory Kelly, a DEA investigator from the agency’s New England Division office. “You either give up your [DEA] license or give up your position on the board . . . or you challenge it in court.”
Mazza, chief executive of Debilitating Medical Conditions Treatment Centers, which won preliminary state approval to open a dispensary in Holyoke, said the DEA investigator’s visit came shortly after state regulators announced the first 20 applicants approved for provisional licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries.
Mazza said he returned from vacation in February to find a DEA business card on the door to his home and several messages on his answering machine urging him to contact the agency immediately.
The quiet DEA crackdown comes even as the US House of Representatives approved a measure last week that would restrict the DEA from raiding medical marijuana operations in states where it is legal. Senate action is pending.
Tensions between federal and state officials have flared as 22 states, including Massachusetts, have legalized medical marijuana, many since 2010.
A spokesman for the DEA in Boston on Wednesday referred calls to agency headquarters in Washington.
A DEA spokeswoman in Washington declined to answer questions Thursday about the doctors’ assertions that they are being asked to choose between their drug prescribing licenses and their ties to dispensaries. The spokeswoman would not say whether the action in Massachusetts is part of a national policy or limited to the state.
Read more: http://www.bostonglobe.com
Big Tobacco Planned Big Marijuana Sales in the 1970s
Category: News | Posted on Tue, June, 3rd 2014 by THCFinder
Documents buried deep in tobacco company archives reveal a hope and a plan to sell marijuana as soon as legally possible
Tobacco executives anticipated the legalization of marijuana as early as the 1970′s — and they wanted a piece of the action, according to newly discovered documents from tobacco company archives.
Public health researchers scanned 80 million pages of digitized company documents for keywords such as, “marijuana,” “cannabis,” “reefer,” “weed,” “spliffs,” and “blunts.” The results, published Tuesday in the Milbank Quarterly, reveal a long history of maneuvers toward marijuana-laced products.
“The starting point must be to learn how to produce in quantity cigarettes loaded uniformly with a known amount of either ground cannabis or dried and cut cannabis rag,” read one memorandum from British American Tobacco’s adviser on technical research, Charles Ellis.
A hand-written letter from Philip Morris president George Weissman read, “While I am opposed to its use, I recognize that it may be legalized in the near future…Thus, with these great auspices, we should be in a position to examine: 1. A potential competition, 2. A possible product, 3. At this time, cooperate with the government.”
Philip Morris even went so far as to request a marijuana sample from the Department of Justice for research purposes, promising to share its findings with the government so long as the company’s involvement remained strictly confidential. “We request that there be no publicity whatsoever,” wrote a Philip Morris executive. The Justice Department drug science’s chief Milton Joffee obliged with a promise to deliver “good quality” marijuana.
While tobacco executives missed the mark on legalization by several decades, they did lay out a persuasive case for vigilance. In early 1970, an unsigned memorandum distributed to Philip Morris’ top management read, “We are in the business of relaxing people who are tense and providing a pick up for people who are bored or depressed. The human needs that our product fills will not go away. Thus, the only real threat to our business is that society will find other means of satisfying these needs.”
The study authors said the documents provide proof of tobacco companies’ intent to enter the marijuana trade, despite their claims to the contrary. They urged policymakers to prevent tobacco makers from entering the nascent market for legal marijuana “in a way that would replicate the smoking epidemic, which kills 480,000 Americans each year.”
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