OK Senate Approves Life In Prison For Making Hash →

Concentrating marijuana down into hashish could get you a life sentence in Oklahoma under a bill approved by the Oklahoma Senate.
The Senate voted 44-2 for the bill on 4-20, of all days. Dudes, are they saying F.U. to us, or what? The bill now heads to the House for final consideration, reports the Associated Press.

The bill was “requested” by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. Well, hell. Nice to know that in Oklahoma, they let the BNDD not only enforce the drug laws, but also write the damned things. That cuts a whole host of inconvenient things out of the process, you know? Things like citizen input and common sanity.

In any case, the OK BNDD said the state “has seen few cases” of hash manufacturing in Oklahoma. So it’s not a problem, therefore you need to pass a law against it? Brilliant thinking, douche bags. No wonder you’re losing the Drug War (which is really a war on American citizens).

OK BNDD spokesman Mark Woodward claimed the goal of the draconian bill is to “send a message” that “illegal drugs won’t be tolerated in Oklahoma.” Fair enough, Officer Woodward; let me take this opportunity to “send a message” that you’re an asshole, ‘k?

Conviction of a first offense of making hashish would result in a prison sentence from two years to life in prison. Sentences would be doubled under a second offense, and those convicted would not be eligible for a suspended sentence or probation.

States broke, prisons are full, what can you do put pass a law sure to send more nonviolent offenders to prison!
Man, with stellar leadership like this in Oklahoma, it’s no wonder they lead the nation in… Well, I’m sure they do something right.

Pennsylvania Lawmakers Introduce Medical Marijuana Bill →

On Thursday, four state senators in Pennsylvania introduced Senate Bill 1003, which would legalize the medicinal use of cannabis in the Keystone State.
According to an unofficial PDF of the bill viewed by Randy LoBasso at PhillyNow(the official bill has not been made public), it would provide for “the medical use of marijuana; and repealing provisions of the law that prohibit and penalize marijuana use.”

The bill’s language contends there are several reasons why this needs to happen now: first of all, modern medical research “has discovered a beneficial use for marijuana in treating or alleviating the pain” or symptoms caused by certain medical conditions. Secondly, 99 percent of  all marijuana arrests are made under state, not federal law. And thirdly, 15 other states have already enacted such policies “for the health and welfare benefits of their citizens.”

Patients must qualify as medical marijuana candidates by getting authorization from a licensed doctor, and must then carry an ID card from the state.
The bill lists conditions such as cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, treatment that has resulted in seizures, nausea and other “weakening medical conditions” recognized by licensed medical authorities as being treatable with marijuana as applicable under the law.

"A qualifying patient shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution or penalty in any manner, or denied the right or privilege… for the medical use of marijuana, provided that the patient possesses a registry identification card and no more than six marijuana plants and once ounce of usable marijuana," the bill reads.
"Possession of, or application for, a registry identification card shall not alone constitute probable cause to search a person or property of a person possessing or applying for the… card," according to the bill.

"A physician shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege… by the State Board of Medicine for providing written certification for the medical use of marijuana to a qualifying patient," the bill reads.

Similar legislation last year was put on the dreaded “back burner” in the Pennsylvania Legislature.

This year’s bill was introduced by Daylin Leach (D-Montco), Larry Farnese (D-Philadelphia), Jim Ferlo (D-Allegheney/Westmoreland/Armstrong) and Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheney), three of whom introduced the legislation in last year’s session.

About 59 percent of Pennsylvanians support the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes, according to a Quinnipiac Public Opinion poll conducted last year.

Montana Legislature Passes Medical Marijuana Overhaul →

Montana’s state House and Senate have passed a bill aimed at radically slashing the number of authorized medical marijuana users and eliminating large cannabis businesses in the state.

The measure cleared both chambers of the Legislature on Wednesday, and now heads to Governor Brian Schweitzer for his signature, veto or amendment recommendations. Schweitzer has already vetoed an outright repeal of the state’s medical marijuana law, saying it went against the will of the voters, who approved the law in 2004.

The governor hasn’t indicated whether he would sign or veto the overhaul measure, but has suggested “something could be done” to control the state’s marijuana industry, reports Stephen Dockery at Bloomberg Businessweek. In a budget deal with GOP leaders reached on Friday, Schweitzer added funds to the state budget for medical marijuana, contingent on the passage of the overhaul bill.
Gov. Schweitzer said he was going to make sure legitimate patients still have the option to use cannabis.

"Many people have suggested that this has become so restrictive that people that have actual medical needs for cannabis may be excluded from the process," Schweitzer said. "So we want to look at it very closely and make sure that we’re not locking the door on people that have actual medical needs for cannabis."
Sen. Dave Wanzenreid (D-Missoula) said the bill is too restrictive and will hurt legitimate patients, reports Christian Hauser at KECI.
​”I don’t think it represents public opinion at all,” Wanzenreid said. “Does it represent the concerns out there? Absolutely. And are there things we need to do to lighten up the system? Absolutely. But we are going to throw thousands of people with legitimate needs under the bus with this bill.”

"People who want to put an artificial constraint on it by saying you’re going to have to have a volunteer grow medical marijuana is absurd," Wanzenreid said. "There’s lots of people who will have it available illegally for them. And I don’t know how they’re supposed to find out who can legally grow it for them in the first place. That was one of the questions that was unanswered.
Despite its shortcomings, the bill passed the House on Wednesday with a final vote of 70-30, while the Senate passed the measure with a 33-17 vote, reports Marnee Banks at KXLH Helena.

Senate Bill 423, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Jeff Essman (R-Billings), likely means the demise of the state’s multimillion-dollar cannabis industry. It aims to do away with the state’s profitable marijuana business and replace it with a grow-your-own system.

Under the bill, cannabis would be given to patients free of charge on compassionate grounds. Providers would be limited to three patients each. Under the current system, there is no limit on the number of patients for each provider.
The legislation would almost certainly lead to a huge reduction in the number of authorized medical marijuana patients in Montana, with about 30,000 people currently enrolled in the program.

Montana’s number of medical marijuana patients has grown by almost 10 times in just two years, since the Obama Administration announced it would no longer prioritize going after medicinal cannabis patients and providers in states where it is legal.

Several Montana medical marijuana businesses were the targets of federal raids last month, and a letter from U.S. Attorney for Montana Michael Cotter last week said the prosecution of businesses that sell marijuana is a “core priority” in the Department of Justice.

The tactic of using letters from U.S. attorneys to do the dirty work of threatening patients and providers appears to be the latest iteration of the federal government’s war on the herb and its users.

Last week, progressive medical marijuana legislation was derailed in Washington state after the state’s two U.S. attorneys threatened federal action against state employees if dispensaries were legalized. Then this week, U.S. Attorney for Colorado John Walsh warned that state’s lawmakers the pending legislation adjusting rules for medical marijuana would conflict with federal law and could lead to federal prosecutions.

Here are some highlights from SB 423, the new Montana Medical Marijuana Act:
• Repeals the existing Montana Medical Marijuana Act• Lists debilitating medical conditions which qualify for a medical marijuana card• Defines a standard of care that doctors must comply with to issue a card (prohibits “telemedicine”)• Places regulatory authority with the Department of Health• Limits the number of plants a cardholder can have to four mature plants, 12 seedlings and one ounce of usable marijuana• Defines chronic pain and forces a patient to either have “proof of pain” or have two doctors certify a chronic pain patient• Allows patients to reimburse their provider for registration fees• Prohibits patients from paying cash for their medical marijuana; providers must volunteer to grow the plant.

Marijuana Raid Training Interrupted To Protest Raids In Progress →

​It didn’t take long for the feds to follow through on their threat of federal raids in Washington after the governor refused to sign a bill which would have legalized medical marijuana dispensaries in the state.
A medical marijuana raid preparedness class in Spokane was interrupted Thursday so that the participants could go protest ongoing dispensary raids by federal agents, according to patient advocacy group the Cannabis Defense Coalition.

CDC, based in Seattle, had already scheduled raid preparedness classes around the state this week. It turns out that the training is even more timely and needed than the group may have imagined.
At about 2 p.m. on Thursday, federal agents, apparently assisted by local police, began executing a raid against a medical cannabis provider, THC Pharmacy, at 1108 South Perry Street in Spokane, according to Phil Mocek of the CDC.
​The raids come soon after threats from the two U.S. Attorneys in Washington state, and as Governor Christine Gregoire considers the fate of a bill to license medical cannabis dispensaries and create a state registry of medical cannabis patients which would provide arrest protection.
The raids eerily coincided with a “raid preparedness training” class in Spokane presented by two activist groups, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) and the CDC. Also in attendance was Kevin Oliver of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). Steph Sherer of ASA spoke at the training event.

IL: Legalize marijuana for certain illnesses →

Reasonable people see a difference between using marijuana to treat the symptoms of a serious illness and passing out joints on a playground. Yet both acts, under current law, are criminal. 

State lawmakers can fix that by passing a pending bill, which in previous years has been shot down, that would legalize the medical use of marijuana by people with cancer, HIV, Crohn’s disease and several other illnesses. 

Fifteen other states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, which has been shown to reduce the nausea and vomiting that are typical side effects of anti-cancer drugs. It also is effective in improving the appetite of AIDS patients, treating the pain of multiple sclerosis and treating the pressure within the eye caused by glaucoma.

A measure before the Illinois House would allow people with specific medical conditions to purchase marijuana from not-for-profit dispensaries, so long as they have proof of medical need from their doctor. A database would be set up to make sure patients don’t buy more than 2.5 ounces every 14 days. And the law would expire, if not renewed, in three years.

Lawmakers should not fear that supporting this bill will make them look soft on crime. 

A national poll conducted last year by the Washington Post and ABC News found that 81 percent of Americans favor legalizing medical marijuana.

Will there be abuses? Of course. The same can be said of legal prescription painkillers, whose misuse can be far more dangerous. But the multiple safeguards written into this carefully crafted bill should keep the unintended consequences to a minimum while finally giving to people in great physical pain the relief they need. 

Medical marijuana rules advance in Holland →

HOLLAND — The City Council on Wednesday took its first step toward approving a medical marijuana ordinance, but some city leaders want to see a provision put that would limit the ability of caregivers to grow and distribute marijuana near school.

The council unanimously approved a first reading of the ordinance, which would make caregivers — those who grow and dispense medical marijuana — a home occupation status. That designation would require such providers to apply for a city permit and give their name and address.

A final vote is scheduled for June 1, but council members could amend the ordinance during a May 25 study session. One possible change could involve prohibiting caregivers from growing or dispensing marijuana within a certain distance of a school.

“I think it’s something that should be given serious consideration,” Councilman Todd Whiteman said. “I have four kids. I think this is something we need state leadership on.”

However, others on the council said the issue of proximity to schools and churches was earlier addressed by the Planning Commission. Mayor Kurt Dykstra, who serves on the planning body, said commissioners dropped the idea of placing a 1,000-foot gap between schools, churches and homes where caregivers could grow and dispensemarijuana.

“It took out not just neighborhoods or blocks, but vast sections of the city,” Dykstra said. “It would create almost an exception that swallows the rule.”

Public Safety Director Matt Messer expressed support for some type of “safe zone” around local schools.

“I would not want to see a caregiver open next to a school playground,” Messer said. “I do think we need to give our children some kind of protection.”

The proposal continues to come under criticism from medical marijuana advocates. Kurt Volbeda, a resident of West 20th Street, says the measure discriminates against people who choose to grow marijuana in their own homes.

“The city does not inspect any home occupation residences. So why impose this on (medical marijuana) home occupations? Are medical marijuana growers less trustworthy than other citizens who engage in home occupations?” Volbeda wrote in a letter to the council.

Others expressed concern that the ordinance would still make it possible for marijuanato end up in the wrong hands.

“There’s extensive research that marijuana is addictive, particularly for young people who are much more prone to addictive response,” substance abuse prevention coordinator Lindell Herrick said.

CO: Federal pot warning sent to Colorado lawmakers →

Colorado is the latest state to receive marijuana warnings from the federal government as state lawmakers mull regulating the drug.

The top federal prosecutor in Colorado sent a letter Tuesday to Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and some lawmakers. The letter says states shouldn’t pass bills that appear to authorize the medical marijuana business because the drug is still illegal under federal law.

Other states considering marijuana legislation have faced federal questions. Earlier this month, Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire said she may veto a bill to license marijuanadispensaries after the Justice Department warned it could result in a federal crackdown.

Montana lawmakers passed an outright repeal of medical marijuana in that state after federal raids. The repeal was vetoed, but a bill limiting marijuana dispensaries awaits Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer.

Drug Testing - The Definitive Guide →

Despite recent and strong empirical evidence proving employment-based drug screenings do not increase productivity – and in many cases may even adversely affect productivity – more and more employers continue to require a clean drug screening for consideration of employment.

If you are applying for a job, the chances are good that you will need to take a drug test. While a few industries are still considered “safe” from drug testing (namely, restaurant and hospitality), this is by no means an industry standard. Larger offices are particularly diligent in their drug testing efforts. If your prospective employer has around 100 employees or has government or private financial backing, you can bet your bottom dollar that you will be tested; if not for pre-employment, then at some point during your tenure with that company.

To simplify things, your prospective employer is only testing for illegal drugs during a drug screening. They cannot, by law, test for pregnancy or medical conditions during a drug test. Thankfully, prospective employers cannot run your urine, hair, saliva or blood and see what substances or activities in which you have engaged over the last ten years. Such actions are not only illegal – they are currently impossible. In this Guide, you will learn how long the chemical traces, or metabolites, stay in your system (for example, marijuana can stay in your blood stream for as long as two months!). 

The Department of Defense requires frequent, observed tests of its military personnel, as do parole/probation officers. Employment tests, however, are rarely observed, provided your first test proceeds without complications. 

If you have even the slightest concern of being caught with a positive result on your impending drug test, this Guide will help you. Practically speaking, the information contained herein could very well protect your reputation, prevent you from suffering unimaginable loss or even help you get started down the path of a bright future. After hearing tens of thousands of scenarios, it is not difficult for us to imagine those worrying about their well-known name, experiencing a divorce or custody battle or looking for their once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity. As marijuana and its relation to drug screening is the primary focus of this publication, the researchers and writers of this text strongly recommend that pot smokers become familiar with the subject matter.

What follows is a highly detailed and expansive Guide to Drug Testing. Additional information, including a forum for discussing your drug testing experiences, can be found at PassaDrugTest.com. While it is possible to detoxify your system in about 30 days without the aid of products, this result is by no means guaranteed. That is whyMarijuana.com recommends that you familiarize yourself with the products offered by PassaDrugTest.comMarijuana.com’s only partner in detoxificationPassaDrugTest.com’s industry-leading cleansing products are completely safe and 100% effective, backed by an unbeatable guarantee. Because of their years of dedicated support to stressed out test-takers the world over, as well as the unparalleled products they offer,PassaDrugTest.com is the only detoxification vendor that Marijuana.com supports. 

Politics v. Science: Understanding Cannabis Therapeutics Before it is Censored →

A milestone quietly occurred last month, and one the federal government would prefer to ignore. Yet, it could mean a step in the right direction for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people who use a centuries-old botanical medicine: cannabis, otherwise know as marijuana.

According to theWashington Independent, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) changed itswebsiteon March 17th and for the first time listed cannabis as a Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM). At that time, the NCI website read:

"The potential benefits of medicinal Cannabis for people living with cancer include antiemetic effects, appetite stimulation, pain relief, and improved sleep. In the practice of integrative oncology, the health care provider may recommend medicinal Cannabis not only for symptom management but also for its possible direct antitumor effect."

And just in case the issue of medical efficacy was in question, NCI further stated that:

Cannabishas been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years prior to its current status as an illegal substance.”

Besides the obvious “It’s about time” retort to the inclusion of cannabis in the CAM listing, there is definitely more here to this decades-long story of the struggle between politics and science. If the symptoms of cancer and the side effects from treatment can be ameliorated or fought-off with medical cannabis, wouldn’t that be worth significant research investment? And, wouldn’t the value of that research increase considerably if cannabis therapeutically benefited people with an array of other medical conditions? What if science showed that cannabis couldhaltordiminishthe growth of tumors?

Unfortunately, despite promising studies on the effects of cannabis on tumor growth and a host of other scientific investigations into the therapeutic benefits of cannabis — mostly conducted outside of the United States — we have failed to rise to the occasion. Cannabis used for research in the U.S. istightly controlledby the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the National Institutes on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The research that does occur is narrowly focused by NIDA on the supposed abuse potential of cannabis, bypassing vast areas of efficacy ripe for investigation.

In 2007, DEA Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Mary Ellen Bittnerruledin a case attempting to expand and diversify the production of research cannabis in the U.S. that such research was “in the public interest.” However, DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart ignored her own ALJ’s recommendations and denied the petition that would have broken a 40-year old monopoly on federal research cannabis production, housed at the University of Mississippi. The federal monopoly on cannabis cultivation is complemented by a Byzantine approval process that would have made Franz Kafka proud.

With these tactics, the government has held a pretty tight lid on cannabis research over the years — an obstructionist’s approach really. But prioritizing politics over science is a tenuous affair, full of contradictions and hypocrisy.

Take for instance therevisionsNCI made to its website not two weeks after it listed cannabis as a Complementary Alternative Medicine. Just to make sure its readers didn’t think it was endorsing the use of medical cannabis, NCI reminded us that “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the use of Cannabis as a treatment for any medical condition…” However, more importantly, NCI removed reference to a “possible direct antitumor effect.” They wouldn’t want to give the impression that cannabis should be further researched, would they?

After feeling some heat from mainstream media outlets, NCI offered anexplanationfor its apparent shiftiness around cannabis. Craftily, NCI distanced itself from the Physician Data Query (PDQ) Editorial Boards, which are responsible for the website content (i.e. the content on cannabis). “PDQ Editorial Boards review current evidence,” and “do not make recommendations,” said NCI in a written response. “Their work is editorially independent of [NCI],” and “The summary on Cannabis and cannabinoids does not represent a policy statement of NCI or NIH (National Institutes of Health).”

Okay, this is where it gets interesting…

Study: Pot that kills pain with no high is possible →

A new U.S. study has paved the way for cannabis that relieves pain but doesn’t get you high.

“The psychoactive effects of marijuana is the major issue that limits, across the country, the use of medical marijuana in the treatment of different diseases,” said Li Zhang, who headed up the research at the NationalInstitute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in Bethesda, Maryland.

The study, published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology, claims to debunk the long-held belief that the therapeutic and psychoactive effects of pot are mutually exclusive.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (TCH) is the key ingredient in marijuana that makes people high, said Zhang. It works by binding to molecular anchors on cells called cannaboid type-1 receptors.

It was thought that this process also relieved pain, but Zhang says marijuana has over 400 chemical compounds that provide therapeutic relief for a number of disorders, such as chronic pain, seizures, depression and muscle spasms frommultiple sclerosis.

These compounds, he says, could target different receptors in the brain. Figuring out what compounds target which receptors is the key to crafting cannabis-based medicine for different disorders, but without the usual side-effects associated with recreational pot smoking.

The study found the glycine receptor might be the primary target for pot’s painkilling effects. When Zhang’s team blocked glycine receptors on mice dosed with cannabis, the animals still felt pain.

The next step is to test his theories on different animals using different strains of marijuana. The goal is to find the strain that has the strongest pain-relieving component.

“That may support my prediction that different strains of marijuana, some might be more potent in reducing pain but less so in causing psychoactive effects,” Zhang said.

Zhang said if other research teams pick up where he left off, they could narrow down the targets for marijuana’s other therapeutic effects, leading to the creation of all sorts of cannabis-based therapeutic medicine.

“The effects of medical marijuana can be separated if the target can be located,” he said. “Find the target, and based on the target, you can develop new medicines.”