House Blocks DEA From Targeting Medical Marijuana
Category: News | Posted on Fri, May, 30th 2014 by THCFinder
WASHINGTON -- Reflecting growing national acceptance of cannabis, a bipartisan coalition of House members voted early Friday to restrict the Drug Enforcement Administration from using funds to go after medical marijuana operations that are legal under state laws.
An appropriations amendment offered by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) prohibiting the DEA from spending funds to arrest state-licensed medical marijuana patients and providers passed 219-189. The Senate will likely consider its own appropriations bill for the DEA, and the House amendment would have to survive a joint conference before it could go into effect.
Rohrabacher said on the House floor that the amendment "should be a no-brainer" for conservatives who support states' rights and argued passionately against allowing the federal government to interfere with a doctor-patient relationship.
"Some people are suffering, and if a doctor feels that he needs to prescribe something to alleviate that suffering, it is immoral for this government to get in the way," Rohrabacher said, his voice rising. "And that's what's happening."
The debate pitted three House Republicans who also are doctors against one another. Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) and Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) opposed the amendment, while Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) supported it.
Harris insisted that there were no medical benefits to marijuana and that medical marijuana laws were a step toward legalizing recreational pot.
"It's the camel's nose under the tent," said Harris. He cited piece of anti-marijuana propaganda published by the DEA this month that claimed medical marijuana was just "a means to an end" -- the eventual legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes. The taxpayer-funded report uses scare quotes around the word "medical."
Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com
New York Assembly Passes Medical Marijuana Bill
Category: News | Posted on Wed, May, 28th 2014 by THCFinder
ALBANY — For the fifth time in seven years, the State Assembly on Tuesday passed a bill legalizing medical marijuana, backing a measure that would far surpass a program Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced this year.
But with less than four weeks left in the legislative session, the prospects for passage in the State Senate remained uncertain.
The bill allows the possession and use of up to two and a half ounces of marijuana by seriously ill patients whom doctors, physician assistants or nurse practitioners have certified. It permits organizations to establish dispensaries to deliver the drug to registered users and their caregivers, part of what advocates call a “seed to sale” system meant to prevent abuse or illegal use.
Marijuana plants grow under artificial sunlight in one of the many climate-controlled rooms at Tweed Marijuana in Smiths Falls, Ontario. Tweed is one of about 20 companies that are licensed to grow medical marijuana in Canada.When Cannabis Goes CorporateMAY 24, 2014
Katrin Haugh, left, and Carol Thompson, of the Absentee and Petition Office in Anchorage, processed signatures that supported the effort to put marijuana legalization on the ballot.Pivotal Point Is Seen as More States Consider Legalizing MarijuanaFEB. 26, 2014
“There are tens of thousands of New Yorkers with serious, debilitating, life-threatening conditions whose lives could be made more tolerable and longer by enacting this legislation,” said Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried, a Democrat from Manhattan who heads the Health Committee and sponsored the bill.
But enacting any bill on medical marijuana may be difficult. The Assembly, where Democrats are a majority, has passed such bills as far back as 2007, but Republicans in the Senate have been chilly to the concept.
This year, supporters’ hopes have been aided by the advocacy of Senator Diane J. Savino of Staten Island, a member of the Independent Democratic Conference, a breakaway group that shares leadership with the Republicans. She has sponsored a similar bill in her chamber, and said she had the support of as many as 40 senators, including several Republicans.
Ms. Savino’s bill narrowly passed the Senate Health Committee last week; the finance panel could take it up next week.
Still, for the bill to be brought to a vote in the Senate, the Republican leader, Dean G. Skelos of Long Island, would need to allow it. Senator Skelos was considerably more circumspect about medical marijuana’s chances on Tuesday, saying no decision had been made on a vote.
Ms. Savino suggested that talks with Mr. Skelos were continuing and said she fully expected her bill to be passed before the legislative session is scheduled to end June 19.
“I’m doing this,” she said in an interview. “It’s going to happen.”
Read more: http://www.nytimes.com
Canada vending machines pop out marijuana
Category: News | Posted on Mon, May, 26th 2014 by THCFinder
The vending machines at a Vancouver storefront look ordinary -- but instead of spitting out gum or snacks, for a few coins they deliver medical marijuana.
For Can$4, the brightly lit "gumball" machine drops a plastic ball filled with the so-called "Cotton Candy" variety of the drug. The "Purple Kush" option costs Can$6.
But the really good stuff, said proprietor Chuck Varabioff, is "Pink Kush," available from another machine the size of a fridge that delivers a wide range of marijuana in plastic bags heat-sealed for hygiene.
His British Columbia Pain Society is one of about 400 pot stores -- which call themselves medical marijuana dispensaries -- in the western Canadian city.
They're all part of a booming medical marijuana industry that operates in a legal gray zone since a federal court ruling recently overturned Ottawa's latest attempt to regulate its distribution.
Under the new regulatory regime, as of April 1, some 30,000 home-based growing operations and distributors across Canada are to be replaced by fewer but larger commercial operations.
Many of the smaller growers and distributors, particularly in westernmost British Columbia province, however, refused to step aside.
The drug is illegal outside of the new regime, Vancouver police said in March, but it's not one of the force's top priorities, which are instead focused on violent and predatory drug traffickers, gangs and hard drugs including cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.
"Medical marijuana dispensaries operating today in Vancouver do not meet these criteria," the police warning said.
Official city policy -- and to a lesser degree British Columbia government policy -- tackles all illegal drugs as a health instead of a criminal issue.
The use of marijuana for medicinal purposes was effectively legalized in Canada in 1999, and its use has been expanded through a series of court challenges.
Calls are now growing to also decriminalize recreational marijuana use -- which Canada has prohibited since 1923.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com
Apple pull iPhone cannabis drug dealing game after it rockets to top of App Store
Category: News | Posted on Thu, May, 22nd 2014 by THCFinder
Weed Firm topped the charts in 'all categories' on iPad and iPhone before it was quietly removed by the tech giant on Tuesday
A drug dealing iPhone game where users grow and sell cannabis has been pulled by Apple after rocketing to number one on the App Store.
In Weed Firm, players control character Ted Growing, who inherits a commercial marijuana operation and looks to expand his empire.
But users were furious when the game disappeared from the App Store on Tuesday and its creators Manitoba Games insist it was 'entirely Apple's decision'.
The game has dozens of different strains of cannabis and sees players overcome various challenges such as dangerous gangsters and crooked cops.
Manitoba posted a statement on their website attributed to the main character Ted, who appears to take a swipe at everything from the Teletubbies to Angry Birds.
It said: "As you might have noticed the game is no longer available on the Apple App Store. This was entirely Apple's decision, not ours.
"We guess the problem was that the game was just too good and got to number one in All Categories, since there are certainly a great number of weed based apps still available, as well as games promoting other so-called 'illegal activities' such as shooting people, crashing cars and throwing birds at buildings."
The game was also available on Google Android but was removed after the company had 'a problem' with their publisher according to Manitoba.
Ted added: "One thing we can promise you is that we will be back! The Apple version might need to be censored a bit to comply with Apple's strictest requirement since they are going to be looking very attentively at what we submit from now on.
"Google never had a problem with the application itself. The problem was with our publisher and we are expecting to return to the Play Store once we find a suitable publisher."
Manitoba now says they will try and censor the game more to hopefully meet the approval of Apple bosses.
Read more: http://www.mirror.co.uk/
Texas Man Faces Possible Life in Prison For Pot Brownies
Category: News | Posted on Thu, May, 22nd 2014 by THCFinder
A 19-year-old Texas man could be facing the possibility of life in prison for allegedly baking and selling pot brownies.
According to police in Round Rock, a city north of Austin, officers found 1.5 pounds of brownies, along with a pound of marijuana, digital scales, $1,675 in cash and several bags of marijuana at Jacob Lavoro's apartment last month.
Now, Lavoro faces a first-degree felony and if convicted, the former high school football player with a clean record faces a possible punishment ranging from five years to life behind bars.
His father Joe Lavoro called the potential punishment “outrageous.”
“Five years to life? I’m sorry, I’m a law-abiding citizen, I’m a conservative, but I’ll be damned,” Joe Lavoro said. “This is wrong. This is damn wrong.”
Prosecutors say the charge is so severe because of Lavoro’s brownie recipe. Authorities say he mixed in hash oil, which features a far higher concentration of THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana. Under Texas law, the hash oil can be treated similarly to far more serious narcotics such as ecstasy.
Because the drops of oil were cooked into the brownies, police weighed the entire brownie batch – sugar, flour and butter – and charged him with possessing 1.5 pounds of drugs.
Jack Holmes, Lavoro’s defense attorney, believes the charge should be downgraded.
“They’ve weighed baked goods in this case,” Holmes said. “It ought to be a misdemeanor.”
Lavoro has pleaded not guilty. His father remains upset that prosecutors aren’t backing down.
“If he did something wrong, he should be punished, but to the extent that makes sense,” he said. “This is illogical.”
Lavoro is due back in court next month.
Colorado Food Inspectors Are Cracking Down On Cannabis Edibles
Category: News | Posted on Wed, May, 21st 2014 by THCFinder
Cannabis edibles are harder to regulate than flower in some ways. Flower, if grown correctly, is easy to test for contaminants and potency. Cannabis edibles have more factors to consider. Since edibles also contain some cannabis flower, the issues that revolve around flower are present. But there are additional factors that are involved when creating cannabis edibles.
One factor, which is true of cooking/baking anything (cannabis or otherwise), is whether or not the edibles were prepared in a sanitary workspace. Creating the right dose is another thing that is tricky. One thing that a lot of people don’t take into consideration is calculating for food allergies. How does one properly store the edibles? And then there is of course the factor of making the edible appeasing to consumers taste buds.
As cannabis edibles continue to grow in availability and popularity, issues surrounding these types of businesses are also on the rise. Colorado food inspectors have been cracking down on cannabis edible companies and distributors that aren’t following the correct procedures. Per the Denver Post:
“Food safety inspections of businesses that manufacture and sell marijuana edibles in Denver have found products that should be refrigerated sitting out on shelves and preparation methods insufficient to kill bacteria that can cause serious food-borne illness.
The unannounced visits by the Denver Department of Environmental Health have led to three product recalls and the destruction of tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of products.”
If you are a cannabis edible company, or are thinking of starting a cannabis edible company, then you are aware that there is a greater need for rules and regulations in this sector of the cannabis industry. Customers want to know that the products they are buying are safe. The general public wants to know that cannabis edible companies are following proper food handling practices. Right now all eyes are on Colorado, and everything has to be done right in order for the industry to spread and flourish inside and outside of Colorado.
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