Local medical marijuana operations unaffected by DEA raids

Category: News | Posted on Wed, November, 16th 2011 by THCFinder

Drug Enforcement Administration agents and local law enforcement officers raided more than a dozen medical marijuana operations in Western Washington on Tuesday, but the sweep did not affect collectives in Issaquah and Preston.

The operation targeted at least 14 medical marijuana operations in King, Pierce and Thurston counties. Overall, authorities arrested more than a dozen people.

Officials said the operations targeted in the raids failed to meet state guidelines or used the state medical marijuana law as cover to make illegal sales.

“Our job is to enforce federal criminal laws. In doing so, we always prioritize and focus our resources,” U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said in a statement. ”As we have previously stated, we will not prosecute truly ill people or their doctors who determine that marijuana is an appropriate medical treatment.”

Representatives at The Kind Alternative Medical Collective, a nonprofit collective in Preston, and GreenLink Collective, a nonprofit collective in downtown Issaquah, said the raids did not affect the local operations.

Initiative 692, passed in 1998, allows people suffering from certain medical conditions to possess a 60-day supply of marijuana. Marijuana, for medical purposes or otherwise, remains illegal under federal law.

State law allows up to 10 qualifying patients to join together and form a collective garden of up to 45 plants, so long as the marijuana is not visible from public spaces.

“However, state laws of compassion were never intended to protect brash criminal conduct that masquerades as medical treatment,” Durkan said.

Issaquah is in the midst of a moratorium on the marijuana collective gardens as officials attempt to clarify rules for such operations.

Under direction from the City Council, the municipal Planning Department is developing a measure to determine what or if restrictions should apply to the collective gardens. Council Services & Safety Members discussed the proposed ordinance Monday.

The council enacted the moratorium in June. The following month, council members agreed to uphold the ban, but after hearing from medical marijuana users and advocates, directed planners to formulate a solution.



Smoked out? Holland moves closer to pot ban for tourists

Category: News | Posted on Tue, November, 15th 2011 by THCFinder
A controversial bid to keep foreign visitors out of Holland's nearly 700 marijuana "coffee shops" is gaining momentum, despite some politicians' protests that a ban would be "tourism suicide."
Under a policy announced by the country's justice ministry last week, pot-selling shops will become members-only clubs restricted to Dutch residents over age 18. The new policy is being rolled out regionally, taking effect Jan. 1, 2012 in the southern border provinces of Limburg, North-Brabant and Zeeland and scheduled to extend nationwide - including Amsterdam - in 2013.
In a pilot program launched October 1 and aimed at reducing drug tourism from nearby France, cannabis cafes in the border city of Maastricht have been allowed to serve only Dutch, Belgian, and German customers. The Daily Telegraph says the move will cost the city about $41 million a year in revenue, the equivalent loss of 345 full-time jobs.
The city of Amsterdam, meanwhile, is fighting the measure because it says it discriminates against foreigners and could lead to a sale of soft drugs on the streets.
"The Dutch government has decided upon this for the whole of the Netherlands. Amsterdam doesn't want it," Machteld Ligtvoet, a spokeswoman from the Amsterdam tourism board told CNN this summer.


High IQ linked to drug use

Category: News | Posted on Tue, November, 15th 2011 by THCFinder
The "Just Say No" generation was often told by parents and teachers that intelligent people didn't use drugs.   Turns out, the adults may have been wrong.
A new British study finds children with high IQs are more likely to use drugs as adults than people who score low on IQ tests as children.  The data come from the 1970 British Cohort Study, which has been following thousands of people over decades.  The kids' IQs were tested at the ages of 5, 10 and 16.  The study also asked about drug use and looked at education and other socioeconomic factors.  Then when participants turned 30, they were asked whether they had used drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and heroin in the past year.
Researchers discovered men with high childhood IQs were up to two times more likely to use illegal drugs than their lower-scoring counterparts.  Girls with high IQs were up to three times more likely to use drugs as adults.  A high IQ is defined as a score between 107 and 158.  An average IQ is 100. The study appears in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
The lead researcher says he isn't surprised by the findings.  "Previous research found for the most part people with high IQs lead a healthy life, but that they are more likely to drink to excess as adults," says James White a psychologist at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom.
It's not clear why people with high childhood IQs are more likely to use illegal drugs.  "We suspect they may be more open to new experiences and are more sensation seeking," says White.  In the paper, White and his co-author also mention other studies that find high IQ kids may use drugs because they are bored or to cope with being different.
That seems to ring true for one of my childhood classmates. Tracey Helton Mitchell was one of the smartest kids in my middle school. But, by the time she was in her early 20's, Tracey was a heroin addict. I found out while flipping channels one sleepless night and stumbled upon the documentary "Black Tar Heroin."
"I was confident in my abilities but there was a dissonance," says Tracey, with whom I recently reconnected.  "No matter what I did, what I said, where I went, I was never comfortable with the shell I carried called myself."


Medical Marijuana ok with TSA

Category: News | Posted on Mon, November, 14th 2011 by THCFinder
By Steve Elliott:
It's usually not a good idea to whip out your medical marijuana while going through a Transportation Security Administration airport checkpoint, but sometimes, in some airports, in some medical marijuana states, it turns out OK.
Case in point: Mike Schaef of Tacoma, Washington, who operates North End Club 420, a medical marijuana patient collective garden. 
When going through security at SeaTac airport just south of Seattle Friday morning at about 10:15, Mike put about two grams of cannabis in the scanner bowl in the TSA line.
‚Äč"They grabbed it," Mike's friend Todd Dearinger told Toke of the Town. "After a few minutes with the feds and locals they gave him back his meds and let him go on his way."
Schaef shared the photo on Facebook this morning, with the caption:
"This is what happens when u put your meds in the scanner bowl at seatac....they let me go and gave it back...said have a nice flight...."


Clinic manager gets prison for selling medical pot

Category: News | Posted on Mon, November, 14th 2011 by THCFinder
GRANTS PASS, Ore. — The manager of a medical marijuana clinic in Southern Oregon has been sentenced to 16 months in prison for growing and selling pot.
Josephine County Circuit Judge Pat Wolke told Brenda Thomas on Monday that he was imposing the sentence to show people that using the Oregon medical marijuana law to cover up illegal drug dealing will be punished.
"The majority of people in the Medical Marijuana Program are obeying the law," Wolke said. "There is a substantial minority who are not. They are overgrowing, and they are selling. ... I think the Medical Marijuana Program is hurt by people who thumb their nose at the law."
Thomas was led away in handcuffs and in tears to begin serving her sentence immediately. She called out to supporters to arrange for someone to take her roommate to the doctor.
Thomas was the manager of the Hemp and Cannabis Foundation office in Grants Pass, part of a chain of medical marijuana clinics owned by marijuana activist Paul Stanford.
After turning down a plea bargain with an offer of probation, she went to trial, trying to throw the blame on grower Thomas Bletco, who had turned state's evidence. She was convicted in July of possessing, manufacturing and selling marijuana.
Police raided Thomas' home in the rural community of Wilderville in October 2009 after a Las Vegas couple pulled over in a traffic stop on Interstate 5 near Ashland told investigators that they bought the pound of marijuana found in their car from Thomas.
According to testimony from Bletko, he and Thomas had a deal to grow marijuana for money, not just for patients, and were careful to have enough medical marijuana cards to cover the 72 plants in the ground.
But when police raided the property, they found drying plants and processed marijuana amounting to 200 pounds, far more than the 19.5 pounds of processed pot authorized by holding medical cards for 13 patients.
Under Oregon's medical marijuana law, patients can have someone else grow pot for them, but growers cannot charge patients for the marijuana they produce. They can only collect for expenses, such as electricity and fertilizer.


National Study Reveals Native and White Kids Most Likely to Abuse Drugs

Category: News | Posted on Wed, November, 9th 2011 by THCFinder
A recent study lead by Duke University based on a large sample of teens from across the 50 states reveals that Native kids are the most likely to abuse or become dependent on drugs and alcohol. “The prevalence of disorders was by far highest among Native Americans, at 15 percent,” reported McClatchy Newspapers.
After American Indians, white kids are the most likely to develop a drug habit—much more so than black or Asian kids, the study revealed. “There is certainly still a myth out there that black kids are more likely to have problems with drugs than white kids, and this documents as clearly as any study we’re aware of that the rate of . . . substance-related disorders among African American youths is significantly lower,” Dr. Dan Blazer of Duke’s Department of Psychiatry, a senior author of the study, told McClatchy.
Across all racial and ethnic groups, 37 percent reported drug or alcohol use in the past year. Nearly 8 percent exhibited signs of a substance abuse disorder.
Marijuana was the most prevalent choice among kids who abused illegal drugs, followed by prescription opioids such as oxycodone. Of the marijuana users in the study, 26 percent had issues with abuse or dependency on the drug.
Blazer also notes substance-abuse problems vary greatly from one tribe to another, and a shortcoming of the cross-cultural study is that it wasn’t broken down into smaller subsets, such as tribes. Also, Asians were not distinguished from Pacific Islanders, thus making it more challenging to dig deeper into the questions raised by the study, he told McClatchy.



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