When Todd Mitchem's mother was diagnosed with cancer a second time, her doctor told her that she had only six months remaining to put her affairs in order.
"That was a terrifying moment," Mitchem recalled. "Her doctor was so convinced of her prognosis that we began to accept the inevitable. Saying goodbye to my mother was going to be the hardest thing I could imagine doing."
At the time Mitchem's mother's doctor asked that she head to Pennsylvania to visit a wellness clinic and to undergo limited radiation. This visit could potentially extend her life as much as another month.
During this time Mitchem's mother found out about the many properties of marijuana, but in her state the plant was still illegal. Mitchem's mother began growing pot plants in her house and baking them into muffins with the hope that this self-treatment would extend her life a few extra and precious months.
That was six years ago and she is still alive today.
Todd Mitchem of Todd Mitchem Cannabis Consulting and CannaSearch LLC is on a mission to help doctors understand that they must learn about the benefits of cannabis in the body as a wellness medicine. "Doctors in many states now have a powerful medicine available to their patients if they will simply take the time to learn about cannabis," he said.
By Steve Elliott
Opponents of the marijuana law reform, alarmed by the rising tide of cannabis-sane legislation sweeping the United States, have turned to a group of paid academic "experts" to bolster their regressive arguments against relaxing the pot laws.
These so-called experts who are paid to offer anti-marijuana opinions in the press may represent a conflict of interest in the cannabis debate, reports Lee Fang at Vice.
Many of the "researchers" who have publicly opposed marijuana legalization are also on the payrolls of Big Pharma companies with products that could be easily (and much more safely) replaced by marijuana. Even worse, when these sold-out "scientists" have been quoted in the popular media, their financial ties to the drug industry haven't been revealed.
Dr. Herbert Kleber of Columbia University is an example. He has impressive academic credentials, and has been extensively quoted in both the popular press and in scholarly publications warning against marijuana use. Dr. Kleber claims pot may cause huge addiction and public health issues.
Activists plan to engage ruling party in discussion following caucus meeting
Back in January, then-Minister Michael Dunkley told the public that compassionate cannabis permit applications could be filed with his office, with a doctor’s support. This has proven to be untrue, with the Permanent Secretary as well as the Health Ministry Chief Medical Officer denying the program’s very existence./ (Please see below attachments for proof of the license program’s cancellation).
“Gravely ill and dying patients took the Premier at his word, and scurried from doctor to doctor, sapping their final reserves of time and energy, only to find out that Government had secretly cancelled the program, despite taking public credit for their alleged compassion,” Gordon explained.
Gordon called the government’s gambit a “dirty trick” to play on the gravely ill and dying. At least two Bermudian patients have died while waiting for access to medical cannabis, needlessly suffering, according to Gordon.
Patients are now insisting on face-to-face talks with the Premier, outside the formal time-limited caucus meeting guidelines, because, Gordon says: “The time for sound bites and stock answers is over. We want direct, honest talks with follow-up questions because we were lied to, and we don’t trust these guys anymore.”
Celebrity chef Payton Curry will be taking charge of an upcoming cannabis cooking website featuring infused foods, MarijuanaRecipes.com announced on Wednesday.
The site is set to launch "in the very near future," according to parent company Northsight Capital, Inc. MarijuanaRecipes.com will link to the company's cannabis industry website and mobile phone app, "WeedDepot," delivering content including directions, information, articles and ratings for medicinal and recreational users of cannabis.
Chef Curry has been seen on many popular TV programs in the Phoenix area, including Fox News, Good Morning America, and others. A restaurant owner, Curry has also given instructions on television for the proper use of medical marijuana in the cooking process, and has held local cannabis cooking classes for hundreds of participants.
In addition to developing the marijuana recipes site, Chef Curry will be doing live and video cooking classes, which will be available on www.MarijuanaRecipes.com and www.WeedDepot.com, with worldwide streaming video.
WeedDepot is designed to attract cannabis consumers and to appeal to cannabis related businesses in all 50 states. Cannabis related businesses will be able to advertise and deliver content to consumers through this robust platform set to launch the week of September 4, 2014.
"Northsight does not handle, grow, distribute, sell or manufacture cannabis or cannabis related products," the company notes in a prepared statement.
By Steve Elliott
The Santa Fe City Council, in a surprise move on Wednesday night, decriminalized marijuana possession. The city of about 70,000 residents became the first in New Mexico to decriminalize pot.
The resolution, passed on a 5-4 vote, changes the city's penalties for cannabis possession from a criminal misdemeanor punishable by a $50-$100 fine and up to 15 days in jail, to a civil infraction and a $25 fine, reports Joey Peters at the Santa Fe Reporter.
It also instructs Santa Fe's police force to treat possession of small amounts of marijuana as the lowest law enforcement priority. The decrim measure applies to possession cases involving one ounce or less, and also decriminalizes marijuana paraphernalia.
The vote came after pressure from Drug Policy Action and ProgressNow NM to get decriminalization on the November general election ballot.
"Obviously from a policy perspective, this is incredible," said Emily Kaltenbach, New Mexico director of Drug Policy Action, affiliated with Drug Policy Alliance of New Mexico. "The people have won tonight no matter what."
Kaltenbach added, though, that the Reducing Marijuana Penalties initiative was formed with the aim of getting decrim on the ballot so that voters could have a say on the issue. Petitioners submitted more than 11,000 signatures from residents to qualify for November's ballot.
By Steve Elliott
New findings from a study of 634 couples have found that the more often they smoked marijuana, they less likely they were to engage in domestic violence. The study's big sample size and the nine-year length of the study make it a significant finding.
Researchers hypothesized that the positive effects of using cannabis may actually help reduce conflict and aggression. The findings were strong even after controlling for things like demographics, behavioral problems, and alcohol use, reports Christopher Ingraham at The Washington Post.
The study, which was conducted by researchers at the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions along with the Research Institute on Addictions (RIA), appeared in the August online edition of Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, reports Cathy Wilde at the ]University at Buffalo.
Looking at couples over the first nine years of marriage, the study, "Couples' Marijuana Use Is Inversely Related to Their Intimate Partner Violence Over the First 9 Years of Marriage," found:
• More frequent cannabis use by husbands and wives (two to three times or more per month) predicted less frequent intimate partner violence (IPV) by husbands.
• Husbands' marijuana use also predicted less frequent IPV perpetration by wives.
By Steve Elliott
Uruguayans who want to grow their own marijuana are able to register with the government to legally do so, as of Wednesday, when the government there launched the latest phase of its cannabis legalization program.
Under a law that went into effect in May, citizens or legal residents who are 18 or older can grow marijuana for personal use if they register, reports France 24. The limit is six female plants, with an annual harvest of up to 480 grams.
Only 10 people had registered with the government by midday on Wednesday to become private marijuana growers. Three of them were in the capital city, Montevideo, and seven in Uruguay's interior, according to the newly created Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis (IRCCA).
Marijuana activist Juan Vaz said he registered, and the process was easy, but added that he can understand why some people might be reluctant.
"There are some people who might feel persecuted," Vaz said. "For many years, they grew plants in secret and it's hard to break from that way of thinking."
Uruguay is the first country in the modern world to fully legalize the production, sale and distribution of cannabis. The law, passed by Uruguay's Parliament in December 2013, also allows growers and users to form clubs, and permits pharmacies to sell up to 40 grams of marijuana per month to registered users.
WeedHire on Tuesday announced that WeedHire.com, a jobs site for the legal marijuana industry, has launched a mobile android app.
WeedHire.com said it is the first cannabis-related job site to create such a mobile app. The company said it has also created an app for the iPhone, which has already been submitted to Apple for approval and is expected to launch in the coming weeks.
WeedHire.com officials said the company a mobile version of its website for smartphone users accessing the site through their phone-based internet browsers.
"The new mobile app will allow users to conveniently access WeedHire.com right from their phone where they can review open positions and apply directly from wherever they are," said David Bernstein, CEO of WeedHire.com. "This means people can see the most recent jobs as they come out, without needing to be in front of a computer, making WeedHire.com that much more efficient for our users."
WeedHire.com says it connects professionals looking for jobs in the legal cannabis industry with employers, including government regulators, equipment manufacturers, and medical professionals.
Current job postings for cannabis related employment include many positions such as growers, budtenders, dispensary operators, security guards, dispensary administrators, solar panel specialists, delivery drivers, lab techs, marketing specialists, lawyers, insurance agents and government jobs, according to the site.
Cannabis Science, Inc., a United States-based company specializing in marijuana formulation-based drug development and related consulting, on Tuesday provided an updated guidance report on its current pre-clinical drug development programs underway, beginning with scientific cannabis cultivation programs in Europe and North America, testing multiple marijuana strains for multiple critical ailments.
"The company's efforts in Spain complement Cannabis Science's plans in Canada and the company's current, pre-clinical collaboration with the Institute for Research, Hospitalization and Health Care on Aging (INRCA) in Italy, where the company is testing toxicity and efficacy of cannabinoid formulations for neurobehavioral diseases including sleep disorders," said Mario S. Lap, director and president of European Operations at Cannabis Science.
The facilities are located in the Alicante region of Spain; the company said it has successfully initiated an agricultural program spanning combined 15 hectares parceled according to seed strains and growth cycles and protocols. The tests focus on production requirements and research framework to conduct scientific testing of the active constituents in the cannabis plant.
The company said it will set those protocols "to multiply optimal results into drug formulation regimens for pre-clinical studies."
The 21st annual conference of the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) will be held Sunday, September 21 and Monday, September 22 at the Phoenix Park Hotel in Washington, DC.
Business leaders and farmers in the hemp industry in North America and from abroad will meet during the two-day event to discuss strategies and plans to legalize industrial hemp and return hemp to the American agrarian landscape once again.
The conference will include expert speakers, hemp exhibits and sales, luncheon, silent auction, networking dinner, presentations, panel discussion and updates on industry developments and expanding markets for hemp products.
Speakers from the hemp industry and movement will present at the conference including Doug Fine, author of Hemp Bound, John Roulac, President of Nutiva, Steve Allin, featured speaker and author of Building with Hemp, Christina Volgyesi, Marketing Director of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, and other leaders in the hemp industry.
The 21st conference occurs at a significant moment in hemp history, as the first legal hemp harvests in the U.S. in decades will be taking place in Colorado, Kentucky and Vermont this fall. Exceeding $581 million in 2013 annual sales according to SPINS market data and HIA estimates, hemp is among the fastest growing categories for food and consumer products in the U.S.
In addition to presentations on hemp manufacturing, agronomy, and other industry issues, a special panel discussion focusing on new cannabidiol (CBD) research and its market potential will take place on Sunday.
Citizens for a Safer Maine will submit its petition Wednesday in support of a citizen initiative to make private marijuana possession legal for adults 21 years of age and older in the Town of York. York Selectman Ronald Nowell will join initiative backers at a media availability at 2 p.m. ET in front of York Town Hall prior to submitting the petition to the Town Clerk’s Office.
Citizens for a Safer Maine collected more than 900 total signatures, and just 641 valid signatures of registered town voters are needed to qualify for the ballot.
In July, the group submitted more than 100 signatures in order to place the measure in front of the York Board of Selectmen. On July 28, it voted 3-2 against putting the measure on the ballot, giving Citizens for a Safer Maine 30 days to collect the additional 600-plus signatures.
The initiative would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to privately possess up to one ounce of marijuana. It would remain illegal to consume or display marijuana in public.
The measure also includes a statement in support of regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol at the state level. A similar measure will appear on the November ballot in South Portland, and one is expected to be placed on the ballot in Lewiston following a city council hearing next week.
By Steve Elliott
Marijuana advocates might have an extra reason to celebrate if Florida voters approve a proposed constitutional amendment which would legalize cannabis for medicinal use: Passage of Amendment 2 would also preempt Florida's "bong ban," which forbids the sale of pipes or paraphernalia used to smoke pot, according to the head of the organization which backs the amendment.
Amendment 2's definition of marijuana's medical use includes "related supplies," points out Ben Pollara, campaign manager for United For Care, reports James L. Rosica at The Tampa Tribune.
Anything currently outlaws as "drug paraphernalia" in Florida, including "metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic or ceramic pipes," may be legally sold if used to smoke cannabis to treat medical conditions, Pollara said.
That would even include "2-liter-type soda bottles," which Florida lawmakers somehow found it necessary to ban when used with a controlled substance.
The former University of Florida Levin College of Law dean who drafted the language for Amendment 2 didn't disagree with Pollara's interpretation, but said it would probably be sorted out in the courts.
By Steve Elliott
Critics of Nevada's laws on driving under the influence of marijuana want the Legislature to change the test from one which detects cannabis, to one which measures performance.
A state legislative panel on Thursday agreed with a 9-3 vote that a bill draft request be modeled after California's law and submitted for the 2015 session, reports Arnold M. Knightly at the Las Vegas Review-Journal. In California, police must first determine with a field sobriety test that you might be impaired, then request a blood test if they think you are.
If marijuana is found in a person's system in California, the prosecution must prove that the person in question was too impaired on cannabis to drive safely.
State Sen. Tick Segerblom (D-Las Vegas), who chairs the Advisory Commission of the Administration of Justice's Subcommittee on the Medical Use of Marijuana, said if a bill draft isn't submitted by the committee, he will probably propose it himself. Segerblom authored the 2013 law formally legalizing medical marijuana dispensaries in Nevada.
"If it's good enough for 40 million people, it is probably good enough for us," Segerblom said of California's marijuana DUI law.
The global fight to reform drug laws and put an end to the war on drugs gained a powerful new communications tool -- a three-minute stop-motion animation movie from Brazil entitled, WAR ON DRUGO.
In a fairytale setting, the movie explains the disastrous War On Drugs by telling the story of a dragon banished from an ancient kingdom, and how people that spent time with the dragon were thrown in jail. The visually appealing metaphor uses a simple narrative that is likely to help break the taboo on this complex subject and disseminate the argument to an even wider international audience.
The key messages of the movie are: prohibition does not mean control, and criminalization generates violence and suffering. A society with less violence is something that can be achieved.
WAR ON DRUGO is part of an ongoing effort by the Global Commission on Drug Policy (GCDP) to highlight the need for more humane, evidence-based policies to deal with drugs in our society. The GCDP is the most distinguished group to call for broad reform of drug policies, and includes seven former presidents, the entrepreneur Richard Branson, former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, and other international leaders.
By Steve Elliott
States which have legalized medical marijuana for chronic pain have significantly fewer overdose deaths from prescription painkillers, according to a new study published on Monday in the JAMA Internal Medicine, the journal of the American Medical Association.
Scientists looked at medicinal cannabis laws and death certificate data in all 50 states between 1999 and 2010, reports Saundra Young at CNN. During that period, 13 states had medical marijuana laws in place.
"We found there was about a 25 percent lower rate of prescription painkiller overdose deaths on average after implementation of a medical marijuana law," said lead study author Dr. Marcus Bachhuber.
In 2010 alone, marijuana saved 1,700 lives in states which permit its medicinal use, based on the number of overdose deaths that would have been expected before such laws were passed, according to the study.
"It can be challenging for people to control chronic pain, so I think the more options we have, the better," Bachhuber, who has treated many chronic pain patients as a primary care doctor at Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center, said. "But I think it's important, of course, to weigh the risks and benefits of medical marijuana."