By Steve Elliott
Uruguay's leading opposition candidate for President said he would try to repeal much of the country's historic marijuana legalization law which allows the commercial cultivation and sale of cannabis if he wins Sunday's election.
The South American nation became the first in the world to officially allow the production and use of cannabis, but almost two-thirds of Uruguayans oppose the experiment which aims to take control of the marijuana trade away from drug gangs, reports Esteban Farat at Thomson Reuters.
But notably, even the candidate in question, Luis Lacalle Pou of the centrist National Party, would still allow home cultivation and cannabis clubs.
"I will keep the law's articles that allow users to grow their own cannabis at home and authorize smoking clubs and repeal the rest, in particular the state's commercialization of the drug," Lacalle Pou said.
"I will send a bill to Parliament to repeal it," he said. "We will need a majority in Parliament, and I will look for support.
Polls show Lacalle Pou trailing the left-wing candidate for the Frente Amplio (Broad Front) party, Tabare Vazquez, who has backed the legalization law.
Photo of Luis Lacalle Pou: Xinhua News Agency/Rex
By Steve Elliott
A Michigan appeals court ruled on Friday that workers who've been fired solely for failing a drug screen because of their legal use of medical marijuana qualify for unemployment benefits, upholding lower court rulings that the state's medical marijuana law preempts its unemployment law.
The three-judge panel found that three state courts were right to reverse a decision by the Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission to deny three workers unemployment payments after they were fired for testing positive for marijuana.
The judges ruled that a provision of the state's medical marijuana law forbids penalties "in any manner" for those who use medical marijuana legally.
Because the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act trumps the Michigan Employment Security Act, the circuit courts were right to reverse the MCAC's ruling that claimants were not entitled to unemployment benefits, according to the opinion.
The decision stems from three cases in which between 2010 and 2012 three employees were fired from their jobs after allegedly violating their employers' "drug free" policies by testing positive for medical marijuana. All three had state issued cards authorizing them to legally use cannabis to treat specific medical conditions.
An administrative law judge in each of the three cases had upheld the unemployment eligibility of the employees, forklift operator Rick Braska, CT technician Jenine Kemp and furniture repair technician Stephen Kudzia.
Meanwhile, federal Drug Enforcement Administration carries out latest raid on Los Angeles area medical marijuana dispensaries
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California will hold rare formal hearings beginning Monday, October 27, to determine whether an indictment against Brian Justin Pickard and others for conspiracy to grow more than 1,000 marijuana plants violates the U.S. Constitution, and whether marijuana is misclassified by the federal government as a dangerous Schedule I drug with no medical value.
What: Evidentiary hearing with several expert witnesses to review the classification of marijuana as a Schedule I substance
When: Starting Monday, October 27, 9 am and continuing to Wednesday, October 29
Where: Sacramento Federal Court, 501 I Street, Sacramento, Californbia
U.S. District Court Judge Kimberly J. Mueller will preside over the three-day hearing, which includes expert testimony from Drs. Carl Hart, associate professor of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology at Columbia University in New York City, Greg Carter, medical director of St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute in Spokane, Washington, retired physician Phillip Denny, as well as author, consultant, and expert witness Chris Conrad.
By Steve Elliott
Hundreds of automatic teller machines in medical marijuana dispensaries were shut down on Wednesday, just days after ATMs were turned off in recreational cannabis shops.
The machines in Colorado and Washington were part of a network served by MetaBank, a South Dakota company which in January had warned ATM providers that machines located in marijuana shops violated federal banking rules, reports David Migoya at The Denver Post.
The machines, both cashless and the traditional ATMs which dispense cash, continued to work until this week, according to owners of cannabis shops impacted by the shutdown.
"Just like that, it was out of commission," said Andy Williams, owner of Medicine Man, a Denver recreational and medical marijuana dispensary that has an on-site cash-dispensing ATM. "I got a warning the night before saying they'd lost their bank, and that was it.
The ATM machines are the lifeblood of many marijuana shops, which are forced by federal banking rules to otherwise work in cash only rather than accepting credit and debit cards from their customers.
A number of trade organization Marijuana Industry Group's clients lost ATMs, both of the cash-dispensing and cashless variety, according to executive director Michael Elliott.
By Steve Elliott
A new study from the University College of London of 2,612 children in the United Kingdom examined children's IQ scores at age 8 and again at age 15, and found "no relationship between cannabis use and lower IQ at age 15. Even heavy cannabis use had no associated with reduced IQ scores.
But alcohol was a different story. "In particular alcohol use was found to be strongly associated with IQ decline," the study's author's wrote, reports Christopher Ingraham at The Washington Post. "No other factors were found to be predictive of IQ change."
"This is a potentially important public health message -- the belief that cannabis is particularly harmful may detract focus from and awareness of other potentially harmful behaviors," noted the study's lead author, Claire Mokrysz.
"The current focus on the alleged harms of cannabis may be obscuring the fact that its use is often correlated with that of even more freely available drugs and possibly lifestyle factors," agreed reviewer Guy Goodwin of Oxford University. "These may be as or more important than cannabis itself."
A 2012 Duke University study of just 38 subjects had made world headlines when it claimed to find a link between heavy marijuana use and IQ decline among teens. Columbia University's Carl Hart noted the very small sample of heavy users in the study led him to question how relevant were the results.
Steve Janjic, CEO of Amercanex, says his company is the first fully electronic marketplace in which licensed wholesale and retail distributors of cannabis can sell, buy or exchange their inventories on a fully disclosed market.
The core function of the marketplace is to ensure fair and orderly transactions, as well as efficient dissemination of price information for any product bought, sold or exchanged on the electronic cannabis marketplace (ECM), according to Janjic.
Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia have either legalized or decriminalized some form of marijuana use or possession, or are in the process of doing so, according to Janjic.
“The patchwork nature of marijuana legalization on the local, state and federal levels creates problems for buyers, sellers and users,” says Janjic.
“Amercanex has already created solutions to regulate the buying and selling of marijuana in Colorado, which has major implications for the entire country, from capturing lost tax revenues to influencing voters in states where marijuana use is on or coming to ballots.”
Janjic, the former global director of eFX Sales and Distribution for Tullett Prebon, one of the world’s largest institutional brokerage firms, says Amercanex will ensure a completely neutral, non-manipulated marketplace while strictly adhering to and centralizing regulatory and reporting requirements to local and regional regulatory authorities.
Shiloh Baptist Church and The Washington Informer to host a community forum to inform and educate
On Monday, October 27 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., the Social Justice and Community Outreach Ministry of Shiloh Baptist Church of Washington, in partnership with The Washington Informer, will host a community forum on the impact of Ballot Initiative 71 and D.C. marijuana laws on African Americans.
Nationally acclaimed economist and author Dr. Julianne Malveaux will moderate the event, held at Shiloh Baptist Church located at 9th and P Streets, NW. Panelists will include representatives from law enforcement, academia, community advocates, members of the business community, and members of the clergy.
Washington D.C. leads the country in per capita marijuana arrests, doubling that of any other U.S. state. Ninety-one percent of all marijuana arrests are of black people.
Between 2001 and 2010, while the number of white people arrested for marijuana has stayed about the same, while the number of black people arrested increased to 4,908 from 3,228. Young black men are 10 times more likely to be arrested for drug crimes than white ones, even though whites are more likely to both use and sell marijuana.
This community forum will gather nearly 500 District residents to raise awareness of this important topic and bring to the forefront the importance of voting on November 4.
Ganjapreneur — an online cannabis business resource that launched over the summer — has announced the launch of a "Freelancer Network" on its website. An official launch date for the project has not been set, but Ganjapreneur has outlined several of the features.
This network will be made publicly available and will be free to use. Freelancers who join the network will be able to create a listing using their real name or a pseudonym, describe their specialty and location, upload a biography and/or personal statement, and provide a contact email address.
The listings will be organized in a directory and categorized by service type. Businesses will then be able to use the directory when searching for freelancers for projects that require specific skill sets, and creative agencies who want to take on cannabis industry jobs will be able to recruit people who are interested in cannabis-related work.
The Ganjapreneur Freelancer Network will include categories such as web developers, graphic designers, copywriters, SEO experts, social media marketers, videographers, animators, and programmers.
Unlike many other freelancer networks, Ganjapreneur will not take a percentage off the top of projects organized through its network, and it will not require freelancers to manage all communications with their clients through its website.
By Steve Elliott
An Oregon physician who outraged the crowd at a Tuesday night debate on marijuana legalization when he claimed five Colorado children had died from cannabis retracted on his statement on Wednesday and acknowledged he was wrong.
"I really need to retract that statement because I can't back it up," said Dr. Ron Schwerzler, medical director at an addictions treatment center in Eugene. Schwerzler claimed he "might have been misunderstanding" stories of children who have been hospitalized in Colorado after accidentally ingesting marijuana-infused edibles. "Telling a whopper" seems a much more likely explanation, Dr. Schwerzler.
When Tuesday's discussion turned to the issue of how legalization is being implemented in Colorado, Schwerzler said: "Let's concentrate on those edibles. There have been at least five infant children deaths in Colorado that have picked up these drugs."
Several audience members began yelling, "Not true!" and "What source?" The ill-informed physician was apparently unaware that there has never been one single documented case of a fatal marijuana overdose in history.
Schwerzler on Wednesday emailed a statement to leaders of the No On 91 campaign admitting his mistake. "After our conversation today I realized that my statement about children's deaths in Colorado is in error," he wrote. "There have been admits to ICUs for children who have eaten edibles and were hospitalized.
Music icon Melissa Etheridge sits down with Larry King on the Emmy nominated series “Larry King Now” to talk about the ‘panic’ in her industry, President Obama's job performance, legalizing marijuana and her new self-released album.
As a cancer survivor, Etheridge explained how medical marijuana got her through it and why cannabis should be legal across the board. “I think it could help our society incredibly,” she said. (You can view the interview clip below.)
Of her duet with Queen Latifah, “It was so much fun, any genre anything just come knock on my door I’ll sing with you, I love playing in other people’s sandboxes,” Etheridge said.
The Oscar winner talked about why 'coming out' in 2014 isn't always an easy decision, “It’s still very ingrained into our society that men and women is correct.” Melissa also discussed why the country has come around so fast on the issue of gay marriage and rates the president’s slow action on gay marriage rights, “It can’t be easy to be President, it can’t be easy… but as a President I think he’s doing ok...Politics is just about this side and that side and where you’re going to land and you got to wait till public opinion gets up there.”
She wrapped up her interview by answering social media questions from some of her biggest fans, including any parenting advice she has and if she wants to be a grandmother.
MPP backing Republican gubernatorial candidate in light of his support for a more compassionate and comprehensive medical marijuana program
The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) PAC has contributed $4,000 to the campaign of Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson. The contribution to the Johnson for Governor Campaign is the maximum allowed under Minnesota law.
Johnson is challenging Gov. Mark Dayton in the Minnesota gubernatorial election following a legislative session in which the governor refused to support a compassionate and comprehensive medical marijuana program championed by patients and approved by the Minnesota Senate. The contribution was made in light of Johnson’s support for the more inclusive legislation. A matching contribution was made to the Senate DFL PAC as well.
The medical marijuana proposal supported by Johnson and a bipartisan Senate coalition would have protected an estimated 30,000 seriously ill Minnesotans, according to a fiscal analysis prepared by the state. Gov. Dayton refused to sign such a bill and insisted on a restrictive program that will only help an estimated 5,000 patients.
The governor’s resistance also resulted in the law prohibiting the use of marijuana in its natural form, requiring patients to use oils or extracts that will be produced by just two manufacturers for the entire state. Some patients have said they will not sign up for the program because whole plant cannabis is the most effective form of treatment for their conditions.
Endorsements Come on the Heels of Recent Support from Local Chapters of the SEIU, D.C. Working Families, and UFCW
Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Releases Report on Collateral Consequences of Arrest
The Washington, D.C. chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the D.C. Branch of the National Organization for Women on Thursday came out in support of marijuana legalization and endorsed D.C.’s Initiative 71.
Initiative 71, which is on the November 4 ballot, would legalize the possession of up to two ounces marijuana for adults over the age of 21, and allows individuals to grow up to six plants in their home. D.C. laws prevent the ballot initiative from addressing the taxation and sale of marijuana; however, the D.C. Council is currently considering a bill which would account for such provisions.
Additionally, the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs on Wednesday released its groundbreaking report entitled "The Collateral Consequences of Arrests and Convictions under D.C., Maryland, and Virginia Law." The report is the first of its kind to examine the effect of the collateral consequences associated with arrests for residents in the DMV area.
By Steve Elliott
A woman in Beaumont, Texas says she was cast out by her church for using medical marijuana.
Faith Bodle said she uses cannabis oil extracted from marijuana to treat degenerative spine disease, congestive heart failure and arthritis, reports Brittany Rainville at KBMT-TV.
Fellow church members at Beaumont Seventh Day Adventist Church became concerned after Bodle publicly supported the medicinal use of marijuana on a TV news report.
12News had first spoken to Bodle at the arraignment of Jeremy Bourque, who is facing marijuana charges. Bodle was there to show her support for cannabis legalization and medicinal use.
She said she got a letter from her pastor telling her to stop using and promoting marijuana, and six weeks later the congregation decided to revoke her church membership.
Bodle's son, Jason Falconbridge, said cannabis is the only pain relief his mom can find. "She's got a beautiful heart and to see her ostracized makes me angry," Falconbridge said.
Falconbridge read a letter from his mother's physician which mentioned, "She takes the extract for medicinal and not recreational purposes ... She has benefited from taking this supplement and it has improved her quality of life."
"It's about bringing relief from pain and suffering and that's what Jesus wants; he doesn't want to see his children suffer and that's why he created this awesome plant," Bodle said.
With the addition of their new "Post a Job" page, Ganjapreneur has entered the world of online job boards geared toward the marijuana industry. The website launched their marijuana industry job feed several weeks ago, which up until now has merely aggregated links to jobs had been posted around the web. With the new form, employers will be able to fill out their own job posting to be published on Ganjapreneur's website and Android app.
"This is just one small feature of what we're building out," a Ganjapreneur spokesperson said. "Ultimately we're going to be a lot more than a simple job board.
"We're aiming to be a business hub for the industry as a whole, so naturally, helping people find careers related to cannabis and helping employers reach out to potential employees is going to be a big part of that," the spokesperson said. "But we have many more features in the works that will be coming out soon."
All jobs listed by Ganjapreneur are available both on their website and their recently-launched Android app. Ganjapreneur has announced that their app will also be available in the Apple App store in the near future.
The website announced its official launch over the summer, and has since published a large number of news articles, business editorials, and interviews with cannabis industry pioneers.
Pan's Ink and Michigan Hemp Company on Tuesday announced they have entered into a strategic supply agreement through which Pan's Ink will provide tailored, natural terpene mixtures in bulk to Michigan Hemp Company for use in MHC's hemp CBD products. Pan's Ink will distribute its terpene mixtures to MHC under the Pan's Ink brand, TerpAid™.
Terpenes are an essential part of hemp and cannabis medicine, just as are the cannabinoids, including cannabidiol (CBD). These aromatic compounds work in concert to promote healing and well being through the "entourage effect."
Pan's Ink is known in the legal cannabis, smoking accessories, and aromatherapy industries for its line of terpene customization products. These products are used by customers to target the effects of their legal cannabis or other herbal smoking products in order to provide consistent symptom relief.
Pan's Ink also supplies balanced terpene profiles in bulk form to manufacturers. "We are thrilled to be working with hemp pioneers Joe Brown and the Michigan Hemp Company in this new venture," said Jack Turner, CEO and Founder of Pan's Ink.
"Terpenes are an integral part of cannabis medicine, and our 100 percent natural terpenes are the best in the industry," Turner said. "Teaming up with Michigan Hemp Company will gain Pan's Ink a valuable new relationship and will allow Michigan Hemp Company to augment its already cutting-edge products."