Joy Inside My Tears: The Greening of Kamala Harris

Senate Judiciary Committee member Kamala Harris

During a February 11  appearance on New York City morning radio show, The Breakfast Club, Senator Kamala Harris admitted smoking marijuana in college and said that she supports its legalization.

Even these days, when a serving member of the U.S. Senate says something like that, it’s news. But Senator Harris’s announcement on January 21 that she’s running for the Democratic presidential nomination in the 2020 general election makes her statements all the more significant.

At the 34th minute of the interview (watch below), DJ Envy commented: “They say you opposed legalizing weed.”

“That’s not true,” Harris replied stiffly, then lightened up. “Half my family’s from Jamaica. Are you kidding me?”

Harris’ father Donald is from Jamaican. He came to the U.S. in 1961 to attend the University of California at Berkeley. Her mother, Shyamala, was from India.

Then she launched into a long caveat about pot: “I have had concerns. I believe we need to legalize marijuana and we need to move it on a schedule so we can research the impact weed has on a …

World Health Organization Expert Committee Calls For Changes In Cannabis’ International Classification

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Expert Committee on Drug Dependence have proposed amending the classification of cannabis under international law.

According to reporting in the British Medical Journal, the WHO policy reversal “takes account of the growing evidence for the medical applications of the drug,” and marks the first time that the agency has reviewed its stance on cannabis in nearly 60 years.

The recommended changes, outlined in a letter by WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and reported on by NORML, call for cannabis to be removed from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Schedule IV is the most restrictive classification under the treaty. Instead, the committee advises that whole-plant cannabis and THC be designated as Schedule I controlled substances under international law.

“The current [international] scheduling of cannabis is as strict as that for heroin,” the BMJ summarizes. “[T]he Committee believes that keeping cannabis at that level of control would severely restrict access to and research on potential therapies derived from the plant.”

In a separate recommendation, the Committee reiterated its 2017 request that preparations containing “pure cannabidiol … and not more than 0.2 percent of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol” no longer be scheduled within the international drug conventions.

The Committee’s policy recommendations now await action from the 53 participating members states of the United Nation’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs. The Commission is anticipated to vote on the issue in March.

In October, NORML delivered over 10,000 public comments to the US Food and Drug Administration urging the agency to recommend that WHO reschedule cannabis internationally.

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Social Cannabis Consumption Taking Off in California and Colorado

Old-style volcano vaporizers are popular at Magnolia Wellness’ consumption lounge in Oakland.

Vape lounges and cannabis cafés are popping up everywhere in 2019. San Francisco has the largest concentration of licensed facilities, with a dozen dispensaries that feature tabletop vaporizers, edibles consumption and, at some, even marijuana smoking. It’s a major trend that will continue around the country in legal states this year.

The latest consumption room to open in San Francisco was Moe Green’s at 1256 Market St. Named after the notorious Las Vegas gangster, the store boasts “three lavish consumption lounges where you can chill, create, work and stop in for a quick smoke.” The Playground is “dedicated to vaping,” The Vault is “where concentrated cannabis extracts are consumed” and The High Roller “features five booths to roll up, light up and smoke.” Each room is stylized to attract a sophisticated tech-oriented crowd.

The other San Francisco lounge that opened in January, the Vapor Room at 79 9th St., was closed due to local regulations and federal harassment in 2012, but is thriving again as a neighborhood joint.

Prop 64 Allows for Social Use 

It makes no sense to legalize cannabis without creating places to use it. California’s state law baked the idea in right from the start, saying “a local jurisdiction may allow for the smoking, vaporizing and ingesting of cannabis or cannabis products on the premises of a retailer or microbusiness licensed under this division.” The law contains added provisions that only those over 21 are allowed access to the consumption area, the inside can’t be visible from the street and no sales of tobacco or alcohol are allowed.

Legislation to Legalize Marijuana Passed by New Mexico Committee

Legislation that would legalize marijuana for everyone 21 and older has been passed by a key House committee in New Mexico.

The House Health and Human Services Committee passed House Bill 356 by a vote of 5 to 2, with all of the “Yes” votes coming from Democrats.

“Prohibition simply does not work, and the country is coming to the realization of that”, said Representative Antonio Maestas, one of the bill’s sponsors.

The measure would allow those 21 and older to possess and grow personal amounts of marijuana. They would be authorized to purchase the plant from a licensed retail outlet.

The proposal would establish a 19% tax on recreational marijuana sales. The tax revenue would be split between law enforcement, health and research programs, and city and county governments. The measure would also allow for the expungement of past charges that would become legal if it’s passed.

The proposal must now be passed by the full House of Represents and then Senate before it can be sent to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for consideration. Govewrnor Grisham has said she would support a legalization law under certain conditions, such as having strong safeguards to prevent children from obtaining cannabis.

For the full text of House Bill 356, click here.

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How to Prevent Cannabis Surpluses and Shortages

The rollout of marijuana legalization has not been smooth. On one side, there’s a push for revenue; on the other, there’s a desire for tough regulations and enforcement. While businesses get caught in the middle, consumers go along for the ride and patients run the risk of being mowed over.

Greed Rules: The Case of Oregon

Legislators often see legal marijuana as a cash cow. If money is the motivation, authorities will push to issue as many licenses to as many businesses as possible, which can lead to overproduction and oversupply. Take the legal marijuana state of Oregon, for instance.

People in Oregon grow a lot of weed. The Beaver State has been a net marijuana exporter for decades. The state’s medical-marijuana program was approved by voter initiative in 1998, yet it wasn’t until 2013 that the state legislature passed a bill to license and regulate dispensaries. Voters approved a legalization measure in 2014 and adult-use sales started in 2015. Then, in 2016, the legislature repealed a residency requirement for marijuana businesses and opened up Oregon’s marijuana industry to out-of-state investment.

“We’ve created an oversupply problem,” says Anthony Taylor, co-founder and legislative liaison for the patient advocacy organization Compassionate Oregon. “Before we legalized cannabis for the adult-use population, we were already producing about five times what the state consumes, and when the Oregon Liquor Control Commission came in and threw all that infrastructure away in favor of their new infrastructure, it created this situation that’s virtually collapsing in on itself.”

Hawaii Committee Unanimously Approves Bill to Legalize Marijuana

Legislation to legalize marijuana for everyone 21 and older has been unanimously passed by its initial committee in Hawaii’s Legislature.

Hawaii Senate Bill 686 was introduced by Senator Kalani English (D) along with 11 cosponsors.  According to its official summary, the measure “Legalizes the personal use, possession, and sale of marijuana in a specified quantity” and “Requires licensing to operate marijuana establishments”.

The measure sets the possession limit at one ounce. It would also allow for the personal cultivation of six marijuana plants, up to three of which can be mature. In addition, the measure establishes a licensed and regulated system of marijuana businesses.

The measure will now moves towards a vote by the full House of Representatives. Passage in the House will send it to the Senate. If also passed by the Senate, it will be sent to Governor David Ige for consideration.

For the full text of Senate Bill 686, click here.

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An Apology from Joe Biden for His Drug War Sins Would Be Nice

Sen. Joe Biden chaired the Justice Committee from 1987-1994. Sen. Ted Kennedy looks on. (Photo: Greg Gibson/AP)

I attended my first US Senate committee hearing about 30 years ago this year. It was the confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee of William Bennett to be the nation’s first Drug Czar. The hearing was chaired by Senator Joseph Biden, the Democrat from Delaware.

The post of Drug Czar – Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, to give the job its proper name – as well as the Office of Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) itself was created by Joe Biden and his colleagues in the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988.

People need to be aware that Biden was one of the architects of our modern drug war. He made news recently when he admitted his support for harsh drug and crime policies was a “big mistake” and that he “may not have always gotten things right” when it comes to criminal justice policy.

It’s a prime example of much too little and very much too late. It’s also just the most recent attempt by Biden to excuse his past.

Study: Marijuana Consumption Linked to Increased Sperm Count

Men who have consumed marijuana have higher sperm counts than those who have never used it, according to a new study published in the February 6th issue of the journal Human Reproduction.

This longitudinal study “included 662 subfertile men enrolled at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center between 2000 and 2017.” The men “provided a total of 1143 semen samples; 317 men also provided blood samples in which we measured reproductive hormones.”

Researchers found that “Men who had ever smoked marijuana had higher sperm concentration and count and lower serum FSH [follicle stimulating hormone] concentrations than men who had never smoked marijuana; no differences were observed between current and past marijuana smokers.”

The following is the method researchers used to come to this conclusion:

Use of marijuana and other drugs was self-reported at baseline. Standard protocols were followed for measuring semen quality, sex hormones and DNA integrity. We used linear mixed effect models with a random intercept to evaluate the associations of self-reported marijuana smoking at enrolment with semen parameters from subsequently collected samples, and linear regression models for sperm DNA integrity and serum reproductive hormones, while adjusting for confounders including smoking and cocaine use.
Below are the main results of the study:
Men who had ever smoked marijuana (N = 365) had significantly higher sperm concentration (62.7 (95% confidence interval: 56.0, 70.3) million/mL) than men who had never smoked marijuana (N = 297) (45.4 (38.6, 53.3) million/mL) after adjusting for potential confounders (P = 0.0003). There were no significant differences in sperm concentration between current (N = 74) (59.5 (47.3, 74.8) million/mL) and past marijuana smokers (N = 291) (63.5 (56.1, 72.0) million/mL; P = 0.60). A similar pattern was observed for total sperm count. Furthermore, the adjusted prevalence of sperm concentration and total sperm motility below WHO reference values among marijuana smokers was less than half that of never marijuana smokers. Marijuana smokers had significantly lower follicle

Autoflowering Seeds: The Expert’s Guide

Man holding autoflowering seeds

One of the most righteous things about modern cannabis genetics (other than the sky-high THC counts) is the introduction of autoflowering seeds. The first hints of the autoflowering revolution popped on the scene as early as 1995, with the first commercial autoflowering strain (Lowryder) hitting the market around 2005.

If you’re wondering why we’re making such a big deal about autoflowering seeds and the plants they produce, read on. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to become an expert in autoflowering marijuana.

Photoperiod-Dependent Seeds

Before we explain autoflowering seeds, it’s essential that you understand the other side of the cannabis coin.

Photoperiod-dependent seeds (or photoperiodic for short) are your classic indica, sativa, and hybrid strains with names even the newest of noobs is probably familiar with (like Blue Dream, Sour Diesel, and Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies).

So what sets these apart from autoflowering seeds? It’s all in the name, man. But “photoperiod-dependent” isn’t the most self-explanatory of monikers.

So let’s dissect and divide in order to better understand this multi-syllabic monstrosity.

  • Photo means light
  • Period is a length of time
  • Dependent means determined by

Put all that together (and add in a few more words for clarity) and you come up with:

Seeds whose flowering point is determined by the length of time they’re exposed to light.

These types of seeds respond to changes in light (i.e., the length of exposure) to “know” when to produce flowers. And the flowers are the things that all your growing efforts should be aimed at.

Autoflowering marijuana plants

To better explain, think about the summer and fall seasons. During the longest days of summer, an outdoor plant might get 15 hours or more of sunlight. After the summer solstice, the number of hours of daylight decreases.

This is usually the “cue” for plants to begin flowering. It’s the basic growing cycle that farmers have been …

Washington Senate Committee Passes Bill to Allow Patients to Buy Medical Marijuana Tax Free

Legislation in Washington State to allow qualified medical marijuana patients to purchase their medicine tax free has been passed by the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee.

Senate Bill 5234 was filed by Senator Karen Keiser (D) along with a bipartisan group of three other lawmakers. It was passed by the Labor and Commerce Committee today, sending it towards a vote by the full Senate.

The measure states that “Qualifying patients or designated providers who have been issued a recognition card, are exempt from the 37 percent excise tax on purchases of marijuana concentrates, useable marijuana, or marijuana-infused products, if the products have been identified by DOH as beneficial for medical use and are purchased from a marijuana retailer with a medical marijuana endorsement.”

Each seller making exempt sales “must maintain information establishing eligibility for the exemption in the form and manner required by the LCB.”

For the full text of the bill, click here.

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Oregon Garnered Over $107 Million in Marijuana Taxes in 2018

Oregon brought in over $107 million in taxes from the legal sale of marijuana and marijuana products in 2018.

According to data released by the Oregon Department of Revenue, the state made $107,777, 721 in 2018 from marijuana taxes. This is significantly higher than the roughly $68 million made in 2017, and the $60 million garnered in 2016 (the first year of legal sales).

Of the $107 million in marijuana taxes Oregon earned in 2018,  $94,226,985 came from the statewide tax on marijuana (17%). The remaining $13,550,736 came from local taxes, which vary from city to city but can exceed 3%.

Oregon’s biggest single-month marijuana tax gain in 2018 came in November, with $11.6 million garnered. The lowest-earning month was February, with $7.7 million.

In Oregon, thanks to an initiative passed in 2014, the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana is legal for those 21 and older. Marijuana retail outlets, licensed by the state, are authorized to sell the plant; they first opened in 2016.

More data on Oregon’s marijuana market can be found by clicking here.

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Weekend Unlimited Wins the “Pot” Lottery

“POT” LOTTERY GENERATES GLOBAL INTEREST AND EXPOSURE FOR CANADA’S LEADERSHIP IN CANNABIS LEGALIZATION

VANCOUVER, BC, CANADA (CROSSING 12:05 AM ET on 1 February 2019) – Weekend Unlimited Inc. (“Weekend” or the “Company”) (CSE: YOLO – FSE: 0OS1) has been informed by the Canadian Stock Exchange (CSE) that it has won the lottery for the trading symbol POT.

“Weekend Unlimited is thrilled to add the iconic POT trading symbol to its identity,” said Mr. Paul Chu, Weekend Unlimited President and CEO. “As a fast-growing multi-state operator, Weekend Unlimited is developing lifestyle brands around recreational and wellness to help define the future of the cannabis industry. The POT symbol is a tremendous fit with our brand identity.”

The Canadian Securities Exchange, collectively with Toronto Stock Exchange (“TSX”), TSX Venture Exchange, and Aequitas NEO Exchange (together the “Exchanges”) announced thelottery for the POT symbol in January 2019. With the symbol in high demand, many eligible issuers currently listed on any of the Exchanges, or applicants who have made listing applications to the Exchanges, submitted ballots for the POT symbol.

Added Mr. Chu, “There has been tremendous excitement generated globally for the POT symbol. The POT lottery served to raise the profile of Canada’s leadership in legal recreational cannabis and we believe it will also serve to raise Weekend Unlimited’s leadership profile.”

Weekend Unlimited expects to begin trading with the new symbol POT on Monday, February 4th, subject to confirmation by the CSE.

About Weekend Unlimited Inc.

Weekend Unlimited is capitalizing on its vast industry relationships to establish a lifestyle brand featuring premium products and delivering life’s highest moments.

The company aggregates and scales small to medium brands, primarily in the categories of flower, extracts and edibles. Weekend Unlimited brands have best of class operations, distribution and strong revenue trajectories, making them ideal candidates for the deployment of capital and expertise through access to technologies, infrastructure and centralized systems. Learn more at www.weekendunlimited.com

For Sixth Straight Year, Super Bowl Features Team from a Legal Marijuana State

As the National Football League (NFL) continues its hard-line stance on marijuana, which includes punishing players even if they’re using medical marijuana legally under their state’s law, it’s worth noting that this is the sixth straight year where the Super Bowl has featured at least one team from a state where marijuana is legal for all purposes.

This year’s Super Bowl LIII features the New England Patriots playing against the Los Angeles Rams. Both teams are located in states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use (Massachusetts and California). This is the sixth consecutive year – dating back to 2014 – where at least one of the Super Bowl teams are located within a legal marijuana state.

Let’s recap:

Last year’s Super Bowl featured the Philadelphia Eagles vs. the New England Patriots.  As just-mentioned the Patriots are from a legal marijuana state. 2017’s Super Bowl also included the Patriots (against the Atlanta Falcons).

In 2016 the the Denver Broncos faced off against the Carolina Panthers. Colorado, of course, legalized marijuana in 2012.

In 2015 – Super Bowl XLIX- the Patriots battled the Seattle Seahawks. Although cannabis wasn’t legal in Massachusetts at that point, it was in Seattle (Washington also legalized marijuana in 2012).

In 2014 Super Bowl XLVIII was dubbed by many as the Cannabis Bowl, as both teams – the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks – are from states with legal cannabis. Given this year’s Super Bowl also features two teams from legal marijuana states, some have referred to it as the Cannabis Bowl II.

With all of this in mind, fans of the NFL should continue pressure those at the top of the league to allow players to use marijuana if its legal under their state’s law, especially for medical purposes.

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Washington Committee Passes Bill to Allow Medical Marijuana at Schools

Legislation to allow students to use medical marijuana on school groups (including school buses) has been passed by its initial committee in the Washington State House of Representatives.

Cannabis tincture.

House Bill 1095 was filed by Representative Brian Blake (D) and is cosponsored by Representatives Maureen Walsh (R) and Laurie Jenkins (D). It was passed today by the House Committee on Health Care & Wellness, sending it to a vote by the full House.

The measire “Requires a school district to permit a student who meets certain requirements to consume marijuana concentrates for medical purposes on school grounds, aboard a school bus, or while attending a school-sponsored event.”

In addition, the legislation “Requires the board of directors of a school district, upon request of a parent or guardian who meets certain requirements, to adopt a policy that authorizes parents or guardians to administer marijuana concentrates to a student for medical purposes while the student is on school grounds, aboard a school bus, or attending a school-sponsored event.”

Click here for the full text of House Bill 1095.

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Study: CBD May Help Treat Alcohol Use Disorder

Cannabidiol shows promise as a potential treatment option for alcohol use disorder, according to a new study published by the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, and epublished by the U.S. National Institute of Health.

“There is substantial interest in the therapeutic potential of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in plants of the genus Cannabis”, begins the abstract of the study. “The goal of the current systematic review was to characterize the existing literature on this topic and to evaluate the credibility of CBD as a candidate pharmacotherapy for alcohol use disorder (AUD).”

Using a comprehensive search strategy, “303 unique potential articles were identified and 12 ultimately met criteria for inclusion (8 using rodent models, 3 using healthy adult volunteers, and 1 using cell culture).” In both rodent and cell culture models, “CBD was found to exert a neuroprotective effect against adverse alcohol consequences on the hippocampus.” In rodent models, “CBD was found to attenuate alcohol-induced hepatotoxicity, specifically, alcohol-induced steatosis.”

Finally, “findings from preclinical rodent models also indicate that CBD attenuates cue-elicited and stress-elicited alcohol-seeking, alcohol self-administration, withdrawal-induced convulsions, and impulsive discounting of delayed rewards.”

In human studies, “CBD was well tolerated and did not interact with the subjective effects of alcohol. ” Researchers state that “Collectively, given its favorable effects on alcohol-related harms and addiction phenotypes in preclinical models, CBD appears to have promise as a candidate AUD pharmacotherapy. This is further bolstered by the absence of abuse liability and its general tolerability.”

The study concludes by stating that “Human preclinical and clinical studies are needed to determine whether these positive effects in model systems substantively translate into clinically-relevant outcomes.”

More information on this study can be found by clicking here.

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