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The White House Tries, Fails to Explain Why Marijuana Should Remain Illegal

Category: News | Posted on Fri, August, 1st 2014 by THCFinder
white-house-mj
No sooner had the Times published its opening editorials advocating legalization of marijuana than the White House fired back with an unconvincing response on its website. It argued that marijuana should remain illegal because of public health problems “associated” (always a slippery word) with increased marijuana use.
 
Careful readers will immediately see the White House statement for what it is: A pro forma response to a perceived public relations crisis, not a full-fledged review of all the scientific evidence, pro and con. The White House is actually required by law to oppose all efforts to legalize a banned drug.
 
Besides, it is hypocritical for the White House, whose chefs brew beer for the president, to oppose legalizing marijuana, which poses far less risk to consumers and society than does alcohol. Two recipes for the White House brew are posted on its website under the headline “Ale to the Chief.”
 
The White House lumped its public health argument under four main headings. Before addressing them individually, we should note that there was an enormous upsurge in marijuana use in the 1970s. So far as we know, no one has claimed that it produced calamitous health or societal harm in subsequent decades. The main metric that soared was arrests for possession of marijuana.
 
Here are our responses to the four main public health contentions made by the White House.
 
The first — that marijuana use affects the developing brain — is a concern for all parents of teenagers. That’s why we recommended regulations to keep marijuana out of the hands of young people. The White House cites a study by Australian researchers, published in 2012 in the journal Brain, which found that heavy cannabis use starting while young impairs connections between nerve fibers in the adult brain. It also cites a study which purports to show that heavy use by teenagers can lead to a big decline in intelligence in adult years. That study has been criticized as flawed by a Norwegian researcher who believes that socio-economic factors explain most of the apparent loss of IQ and that the true effect of marijuana could be zero. And remember: no responsible advocate of legalization is urging that marijuana be made available to teenagers.
 

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How the Federal Government Slows Marijuana Research

Category: News | Posted on Thu, July, 31st 2014 by THCFinder
fed-gov-slows-down-marijuana-research
Politicians who don’t want to take a clear position on marijuana legalization often say more research is needed on the effects of consuming the drug. Hillary Clinton called for more research just last month on CNN.
 
While existing scientific evidence shows that marijuana is less addictive and harmful than alcohol and tobacco, more research would be welcome and useful to the country. But what most politicians don’t acknowledge is that the federal government has made it incredibly hard to perform this research. Researchers have to go through a cumbersome process to obtain approval from multiple federal agencies before they are allowed to obtain and study the drug. Often their requests are denied and some researchers have had to sue the government before their projects were cleared.
 
In addition to the Food and Drug Administration, which has to approve all clinical trials, researchers studying marijuana also have to obtain approval from the Drug Enforcement Administration and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which controls the country’s only legal source for research-grade marijuana. Independent researchers who are not funded by the National Institutes of Health also have to obtain approval from a Department of Health and Human Services scientific review panel.
 
The drug abuse institute says that it has funded and provided marijuana to researchers looking into the therapeutic benefits of the various chemicals found in the plant, and that it had 28 active grants in this area as of January. But it is far less charitable about providing marijuana to researchers who are independently funded. It has agreed to provide the drug to just 16 such projects since 1999.
 
One researcher, Lyle E. Craker a professor at the University of Massachusetts, grew so frustrated with the delays in getting access to marijuana that he sought to grow his own plants. But the Drug Enforcement Administration refused to grant him a license and a federal appeals court ruled in favor of the D.E.A. last year.
 
A big part of the problem is that marijuana is listed in the restrictive Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act along with much more dangerous drugs such as heroin and LSD. The law says Schedule I drugs have “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.” It is no wonder then that the American College of Physicians said in 2008 that marijuana’s inclusion in Schedule I “raises significant concerns for researchers, physicians, and patients” and urged “an evidence-based review of marijuana’s status as a Schedule I controlled substance to determine whether it should be reclassified.”
 

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The federal governments incredibly poor, misleading argument for marijuana prohibition

Category: News | Posted on Wed, July, 30th 2014 by THCFinder
marijuana-prohibitionThe New York Times editorial board is making news with a week-long series advocating for the full legalization of marijuana in the United States. In response, the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) published a blog post Monday purporting to lay out the federal government's case against marijuana reform.
 
That case, as it turns out, it surprisingly weak. It's built on half-truths and radically decontextualized facts, curated from social science research that is otherwise quite solid. I've gone through the ONDCP's arguments, and the research behind them, below.
 
The irony here is that with the coming wave of deregulation and legalization, we really do need a sane national discussion of the costs and benefits of widespread marijuana use. But the ONDCP's ideological insistence on prohibition prevents them from taking part in that conversation.
 
Here's what they have to say:
 
Marijuana use affects the developing brain. A recent study in Brain reveals impairment of the development of structures in some regions of the brain following prolonged marijuana use that began in adolescence or young adulthood.
 
The same is true for alcohol and tobacco. This is a great argument for restricting young peoples' access to the drugs (as Washington and Colorado have done with marijuana), but a poor one for banning it completely.
 
Moreover, the study cited was of a group of 59 individuals who had been heavy marijuana smokers for 16 years, and who had smoked an average of 4.5 joints every single day over that period.
 
This is far outside the realm of normal, moderate use. A recent Colorado Department of Revenue report found, for instance, that the majority of users in that state smoked five or fewer times per month. Again, what we have is not an argument against marijuana use, but an argument against overdoing it.
 

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RIVERSIDE COUNTY: Ordinance would impose $10 to $1,000 fines for growing marijuana

Category: News | Posted on Tue, July, 29th 2014 by THCFinder
growing-marijuana-fine-in-riversideGrowers of indoor and outdoor marijuana crops in unincorporated parts of Riverside County could be fined $10 to $1,000 under an ordinance before the county Board of Supervisors Tuesday.
 
Those who cultivate 12 or more plants also would face up to six months in jail if the ordinance offered by Supervisor Kevin Jeffries passes as written. Supervisors this week could set a Sept. 9 public hearing on the ordinance, after which they could vote on the proposed law.
Jeffries, who represents a district stretching from Riverside to Lake Elsinore, is sponsoring the ordinance to crack down on for-profit marijuana fields. More than 200 marijuana grows are in the Mead Valley, Good Hope and Meadowbrook areas of Jeffries’ district, according to county officials.
 
Authorities say solicitors offer thousands of dollars a month to property owners and renters if they let their backyards be used for growing marijuana.
 
Permits posted near the crops state the marijuana is being grown for medicinal use. Jeffries said he fears drug cartels are involved, though sheriff’s officials say they have not received specific reports on such activity. The crops increase the risk of crime, create noxious odors and lead to illegal power and water hookups, according to a county staff report on the ordinance.
 
Jeffries has said he doesn’t want to go after legitimate medical marijuana patients with small crops. Medical marijuana is legal in California, although it remains against federal law and many cities and counties – Riverside County among them – have banned dispensaries.
Technically, the county already outlaws marijuana cultivation. Jeffries’ ordinance would spell that out more clearly and impose $10 fines for anyone found guilty of cultivating six or fewer plants.
 
Those who grow more than six but fewer than a dozen plants would be subject to a fine not to exceed $200. Anyone who cultivates 12 or more plants would be guilty of a misdemeanor could be fined up to $1,000, face a jail sentence of up to six months or both.
Lanny Swerdlow, a marijuana legalization advocate from Whitewater, said the ordinance is deeply flawed.
 
“It’s nice that they lowered the fines,” he said. “They claim it’s to stop large-scale grows ... but it stops little teeny (grows) by patients, indoor or outdoor.
 
Read more: http://www.pe.com/

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Federal marijuana bill would legalize some cannabis strains

Category: News | Posted on Mon, July, 28th 2014 by THCFinder
legalize-some-strains
(CNN) -- Doctors in Macon, Georgia, told Janea Cox that her daughter, Haleigh, might not live another three months.
 
That was the middle of March, when Haleigh's brain was being short-circuited by hundreds of seizures a day, overrunning the array of five potent drugs meant to control them. Worse, the drugs were damaging Haleigh's organs.
"She was maxed out," Cox said. "She'd quit breathing several times a day, and the doctors blamed it on the seizure medications."
 
Cox had heard that a form of medical marijuana might help, but it wasn't available in central Georgia. So a week after hearing the ominous diagnosis, she and Haleigh packed up and moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado. There, Haleigh began a regimen of cannabis oil: four times a day and once at night.
 
By summer, she was down to just a handful of seizures a day. In less than three months, doctors were able to wean her off Depakote, a powerful medication that had been damaging her liver.
 
Haleigh had never been able to walk or talk. But freed from seizures in Colorado, "She said 'Mama' for the first time," Cox said. "She's playing with puzzles; she's walking. She's almost being a normal child."
 
Despite all the good news, Cox is living in limbo. Her husband, a paramedic, couldn't afford to leave his job and pension; he still lives and works in Forsyth, Georgia. The family is relying on charity to keep their Colorado apartment for the next few months; beyond that, the future is uncertain.
 
A bill being introduced Monday in the U.S. House of Representatives could be Cox's ticket home. The three-page bill would amend the Controlled Substances Act -- the federal law that criminalizes marijuana -- to exempt plants with an extremely low percentage of THC, the chemical that makes users high.
 
If passed, it would be the first time that federal law allows any medical marijuana use.
 
"No one should face a choice of having their child suffer or moving to Colorado and splitting up their family," said Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pennsylvania, the bill's sponsor. "We live in America, and if there's something that would make my child better, and they can't get it because of the government, that's not right."
 
The bill will land in a Congress that may be open to change. Across the country, highly sympathetic patients and a nonintoxicating product have proved a popular mix. This year alone, 11 states have passed legislation loosening regulation of cannabis strains with high cannabidiol and/or minimal THC content.
 
In this atmosphere, Perry says that once members and their staffs are brought up to speed, he expects the bill to attract "overwhelming" support. "In a time of intractability in Washington, D.C., this is something where we can show some progress."
 
Read more: http://www.cnn.com

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German Court Says Patients Can Grow Medical Marijuana

Category: News | Posted on Thu, July, 24th 2014 by THCFinder
german-court-says-you-can-grow-marijuanaThis week a German court ruled that medical marijuana patients can grow their own medicine. Germany has a medical marijuana program, but up until the court ruling, most patients had to purchase their medicine through pharmacies. Per Leafly:
 
The ruling occurred after five people issued a complaint to a court in Cologne after they were refused permission to grow cannabis at home. These people actually had permits to purchase and consume medical cannabis, but they wanted the option to grow plants at home because the cost to purchase cannabis was too high and their health insurance didn’t cover it.
 
Three of the five plaintiffs met requirements to grow plants at home because they were able to assure the court that their plants wouldn’t be accessible to third parties. The approved applicants will have a permit to purchase and use cannabis for medical purposes and will be permitted to grow the amount needed to treat their chronic pain. However, the other two were rejected because one patient had a too-small apartment for safe cultivation and couldn’t prove that third parties would be denied access to the plants, while the other patient had not exhausted other available treatment options before turning to medical cannabis.
 
The court ruling doesn’t apply to each and every medical marijuana patient in Germany. The court ruling means that it’s possible for a patient that is licensed to purchase, possess, and use medical marijuana to also be granted the right to grow their own medicine. Each patient will have to pursue their own case, and if they can prove that they meet stringent requirements, then they may be granted the right to grow their own medicine.
 
Being able to grow ones own medical marijuana is a very important right that I wish more medical marijuana states allowed in the United States. When home cultivation isn’t allowed, it forces patients to pay high prices to dispensaries, or in the case of Germany, high prices at pharmacies. In some cases, due to supply shortages, there isn’t any safe access at all, as in the case of New Jersey.
 

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