• Study explains how Marijuana gives People the Munchies

    February 18, 2015

    For years, the marijuana users have been asking one question to themselves after waking up. "Why I am so hungry"? A lot of theories were going around. But, finally, we have an answer, as per the recent study titled, "Hypothalamic POMC neurons promote cannabinoid-induced feeding" published on Nature.com journal.

    This cluster, called the POMC neurons, is in the hypothalamus, a specific area of the brain that is associated with base instincts like sexual arousal, alertness and feeding. The active ingredients in pot make appetite-curbing regions of the brain reverse functions. When that happens, neurons give the brain the munchies instead of giving it instructions to stop eating. The neurobiologists claim that marijuana hijacks the brain and controls the functions, which even the pot users fail to understand.

    In the past, we had seen comedies that smoking marijuana makes users crave for salty, crunchy or sweet snacks, including potato chips and brownies. However, the scientists have now confirmed it as a brain function. These are nothing, but pot-fuelled snack attacks, they revealed it in other words. The pot compels to eat further even if the body does not need food, the study claims.

    Author of the study, Tamas Horvath, a neurobiologist at Yale University School of Medicine, termed the finding as completely "nonsensical". He revealed that his group's research was supposed to confirm the nerve circuits that tamp down hunger. Instead, the results were "upside down", he said, as quoted by the USA Today.

    Apart from Tamas L. Horvath, other researchers, who were part of the study group, included Marco Koch, Luis Varela, Jae Geun Kim, Jung Dae Kim, Francisco Hernández-Nuño, Stephanie E. Simonds, Carlos M. Castorena, Claudia R. Vianna, Joel K. Elmquist, Yury M. Morozov, Pasko Rakic, Ingo Bechmann, Michael A. Cowley, Klara Szigeti-Buck, Marcelo O. Dietrich, Xiao-Bing Gao and Sabrina Diano.

  • Vermont to legalize Marijuana through State Legislature

    February 18, 2015

    Vermont is all set to make history, as it may become the first state in the United States to legalize marijuana through a state legislature rather than going for a public vote. Vermont state Senator David Zuckerman’s bill, Senate 95, would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and set up a regulatory body to monitor the cultivation and sale of marijuana in the state.

    The bill will also prevent public consumption, while giving individual municipalities the option to veto marijuana retailers, and grant landlords authority to prohibit possession. Rep. Chris Pearson (P-Burlington) will introduce a similar bill in the state’s House.

    In Vermont, medical marijuana is already legal. However, the latest bill will pave the way for use of recreational marijuana in the state. Only Colorado, Washington state, Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C. have passed the measures for recreational use of marijuana, but all their moves came through ballot initiatives.

    Sen. David Zuckerman argued that 80,000 out of 626,562 Vermont residents use marijuana now. He also claimed that Vermont's economy will get a big boost if the bill is approved. Every year, millions of dollars are consumed by an unregulated market, thanks to the ban on recreational marijuana. The marijuana industry in Vermont may exceed the unofficial amount spent ($125-225 million per year).

    Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada are preparing to vote on legalization of recreational marijuana in 2016. In addition, Florida, Missouri and Montana are also trying to bring ballot initiatives to legalize the recreational pot.

  • Legal Marijuana Sales cross $700 Million in Colorado

    February 13, 2015

    The sale of legal marijuana in Colorado has crossed $700 million last year, according to a Washington Post analysis. The news came even as other states are battling to legalize the use of pot for recreational and medical use. The marijuana market in the State, which has allowed both medical and recreational pot, may go up to $1 billion by 2016.

    In 2014, Colorado retailers sold $386 million of medical marijuana and $313 million of marijuana for recreational purposes. Total tax revenue collected by the government was $63 million from the sale, while an additional $13 million revenue was collected from licenses and fees. These figures do not include retail sale of marijuana products such as pipes and bongs. If they are taken into account, the sales data may go up further.

    Colorado is jubilant over the massive revenue they generate from sale of marijuana now. The state has a clear picture now about its marijuana market. Total marijuana tax revenues are now expected to climb to $94 million per year by 2016. The sales may cross $1 billion by that time. The Colorado revenue figure may catch the attention of other states that are advocating the legalization of marijuana.

    Despite the increase in sales of marijuana in Colorado, the growers and retailers of pot are not very happy. They are still not eligible to avail wide variety of tax deductions which are available to other businesses. They feel a big pinch and allege that they are deprived of a fair share in the profits. Ironically, the banks are also hesitant to do business with the marijuana industry fearing federal crackdown, which leaves them with no options but to fend for themselves.

    According to Washington Post, the federal government has been taking steps to help the marijuana industry integrate with the rest of the market. The IRS has already made it clear that the accountants who file taxes for marijuana businesses, won't face additional audit or penalties. Even, the Drug Enforcement Agency was prevented from raiding medical marijuana outlets if they are in compliance with state law.
  • Jamaica passes Historic Marijuana Law

    February 09, 2015

    While many States in the US continue their fight in support of marijuana, Jamaica Senate passed a new marijuana law, which will change the social landscape of the Caribbean nation forever. The historic 'Dangerous Drugs Amendment Act 2015', which was approved by Jamaica, allows possession of two ounces or less of marijuana a non-arrestable, but ticketable offense.

    Jamaica, which is notorious for drug related offenses, passed the law after a five-hour intense debate in the Senate. The decision came while the nation celebrated the 70th Birthday of Jamaican Music Legend Bob Marley, who had died in 1981. Marley is known for his connection to marijuana. While he publicly advocated use of marijuana, but his country never approved it. He sustained attacks on his life, but survived. He had live in exile for years in England.

    The Jamaicans always loved Marijuana, which is known as 'Ganja' in their country. However, it remains a taboo in the country just like the Western countries such as the U.S., England and Canada. According to some statistical data published in 2013, 4,367 people were convicted for drug-related offenses in Jamaica. Most of them were arrested for simple possession of a small marijuana cigarette.

    In 2014, there was a massive outrage across Jamaica, after a 31-year-old youth Mario Deane was beaten to death in his prison cell. He was arrested for possession of a marijuana cigarette. The new marijuana would also allow licenses, permits, and other authorizations of pot, which would help the establishment to set up a lawful and regulated industry for medical marijuana.

    Although Jamaican Senate has passed the law, the House of Representatives would debate during the next session next week.
  • Sarah Jain Reviews the Herbalizer Vaporizer

    January 20, 2015

  • Public Health Offensive on E-Cigs in California

    January 29, 2015

    We're facing a public health juggernaut against e-cigs in CA.   The Dept of Pub Health has lined up with the American Lung Assoc, Heart Assoc and Cancer Society in attacking them as a  public health danger. 

    The SF Chronicle has reversed its editorial position from last session, when it called regulations premature.

    It will be difficult indeed to calm the fears of the public and legislators in the face of this  smokescreen of public health disinformation.

    The BART board will be considering a rule to ban e-cigs like tobacco from its trains and stations on Feb. 12th. I'm debating whether to appear.  It would seem very difficult to defend vaping on trains, though I don't see why passengers shouldn't be allowed to vape at stations.  The instinct of regulators is to ban everything in case anyone complains.  I'm tempted to testify anyway if only to refute the American Lung Association's big lie that vaping is just as bad as smoking.

    View BART proposal here, starting on page 39.

    Dale Gieringer

  • Will Pennsylvania approve Medical Marijuana Bill?

    January 28, 2015

    In a major development, a bill to legalize marijuana for medical use was introduced in the Pennsylvania state senate this week. Interestingly, Governor Tom Wolf has come out in support of the bill, raising hopes of its smooth passage. In the past, then Governor Tom Corbett had opposed such a bill. The present Governor made it clear that he would sign a medical marijuana bill into law if it comes to him.

    If the bill is passed, Pennsylvania would become the 24th State in the United States to allow pot for medical use. In 2014, a similar bill was passed by the Pennsylvania Senate, but Governor Tom Corbett refused to sign it, leading to its collapse. The change of tune in the Governor's office has made people believe that medical marijuana may be closer than it's ever been before in the state.

    The Senate Bill 3 is almost identical to the previous bill, SB 1182, which passed the Senate in September 2014 by a vote of 43-7, but was never considered by the House. The new bill has 25 co-sponsors, including 14 Democrats and 11 Republicans. More Republicans may extend their support to the bill, as Governor Tom Wolf has already started mobilizing opinion in its favor.

    As per the provisions of the bill, a person, who grows, processes or dispenses medical cannabis or operates a testing lab, would be required to get license and certification from that board. The licensing fee would be $50,000 with a $5,000 renewal fee every year. In addition, the Department of Health at the state government, will have to approve the patients. The patients would get an access card for obtaining the medicine. The application fee has been fixed at $100, while renewal will cost $50.

    Initially, Pennsylvania would limit the number of growers and processors to 65. All employees who work on this field, would have to undergo background checks. The drugs would have all relevant information about expiration dates, health warnings and safety and storage instructions on the packaging.

    Governor Tom Wolf met with medical marijuana advocates and family members of affected people to know their point of view and suggestions on the bill. It pains me that anybody, any citizen of Pennsylvania, is not getting the treatment he or she needs because of some legal impediment," said Tom Wolf.