• Tennessee Republicans introduce Medical Marijuana Bill

    January 19, 2018

    Two Republican lawmakers Thursday introduced legislation to make medical marijuana legal for patients with certain health conditions in Tennessee.

    Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, and Sen. Steve Dickerson, R-Nashville, introduced the measure that would only allow oil-based manufactured products, such as pills or lotions, while the sale of marijuana cigarettes as well as raw marijuana such as dried plant and edibles would remain illegal.

    The backers of medical marijuana call it the Medical Cannabis Only Act. The two Republicans hope the bill will win over their reluctant colleagues. They also estimated at least 65,000 Tennesseans would benefit from the legislation. 

    “Makers of oil-based marijuana can isolate the substances that make cannabises effective and label dosages,” Faison said. “Marijuana oil products are much harder to abuse than the dried plant.”

    Supporters say medical marijuana can relieve pain, anxiety and the nausea associated with some intensive treatments. Diseases for which marijuana could potentially be used include Cancer, HIV and AIDS, Hepatitis C, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Arthritis, Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Tourette’s syndrome among others.

    However, Republican lawmakers are split over the marijuana legalization in the State. Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, said he remained opposed to any form of marijuana in Tennessee, whether recreational or medical. 

    As many as 29 states and the District of Columbia currently allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, according to the Marijuana Policy Project. Eight states permit recreational marijuana. However, marijuana use is still illegal under federal law in the U.S.

  • Recreational marijuana shops open in California

    January 19, 2018

    California began selling legal recreational marijuana on the New Year’s Day Monday, joining seven other states and Washington D.C. in the US that have legally allowed to sell it through retail stores.

    Customers have lined up early to purchase recreational marijuana legally for the first time in the nation's most populous state.A large number of customers wore cannabis necklaces and sunglasses, green swag to celebrate the legal sale of recreational marijuana.

    At least 90 retailers received licenses state-wide to open New Year's Day. They are concentrated in San Diego, Santa Cruz, the San Francisco Bay Area and the Palm Springs area.

    “It feels great. It is long overdue,” said Craig Reinarman, a UC Santa Cruz sociology and legal studies professor emeritus who purchased the first weed at the KindPeoples dispensary in Santa Cruz to a round of applause.

    Defying federal law, Californians voted for cannabis legalization in November 2016 by passing Proposition 64 with 57 per cent of the vote. Anyone 21 and older now can make purchases recreational marijuana at licensed shops as well as possess as much as an ounce and grow up to six plants at home. 

    Along with the retail sales law, California legislators enacted specific provisions for marijuana use. Anyone who purchases recreational marijuana isn't allowed to smoke in public areas and can't use it places where cigarettes aren't allowed.

    Growing and selling marijuana for medicinal purposes has been legal in California since 1996.

    The marijuana market in the state, which boasts the world's sixth-largest economy, is valued by most experts at several billion dollars annually and is expected to generate at least a $US1 billion a year in tax revenue.

  • Cynthia Calvillo fails drug test for marijuana metabolites

    January 19, 2018

    Cynthia Calvillo, a promising star in the UFC strawweight division, has been informed by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for a potential violation of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy three weeks after she lost a unanimous decision to former champion Carla Esparza at UFC 219.

    The UFC announced in a statement Wednesday evening that 30-year-old Calvillo tested positive for a marijuana metabolite (Carboxy-Tetrahydrocannabinol (Carboxy-THC), above the decision limit of 180 ng/mL, stemming from an in-competition sample collected in conjunction with her recent bout in Las Vegas, Nevada on December 30, 2017, UFC 219: Cris Cyborg vs. Holly Holm.

    Carboxy-THC is described in the release as “a metabolite of marijuana and/or hashish.”

    “USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case involving Calvillo, as it relates to the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and future UFC participation,” the statement read.

    Besides USADA, the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC), which has jurisdiction over Calvillo, shall also determine sanctions in this regard.

    “Because the Nevada Athletic Commission was the regulatory body overseeing the fight in Las Vegas and has licensing jurisdiction over Calvillo, USADA will work to ensure that the Nevada Athletic Commission has the necessary information to determine its proper judgment of Calvillo’s potential anti-doping violation,” the statement added.

    The most recent case of a UFC fighter failing marijuana test involved middleweight contender Kelvin Gastelum. He was flagged by USADA last April, which led to a win over Vitor Belfort being overturned to a no contest, and received a three-month suspension.

    Calvillo’s loss to Esparza at UFC 219 in last December was her first defeat in six professional appearances. The Team Alpha Male product, who had debuted in the promotion in early 2017, began her Octagon tenure with victories over Amanda Bobby Cooper, Pearl Gonzalez and Joanne Calderwood.

  • Labor Unions look to organize Pot Workers in California

    December 26, 2017

    Labor Unions are looking to organize all the thousands of workers involved in marijuana production as it becomes legal in California on January 1.

    Major labor organizations including the United Farm Workers, Teamsters and United Food and Commercial Workers are looking to bring together thousands of potential workers involved in cannabis production.

    Experts state that the recreational pot business in California could result in the employment of at least 100,000 workers involved in harvesting and trimming the plants, extracting ingredients to put in liquids and edibles, and driving it to stores and front doors.

    While other states have organized pot workers, California is expected to be friendly towards labor unions. California has one of USA’s highest minimum wages and the largest number of unionized workers across industries.

    “I’m always down to listen to what could be a good deal for me and my family,” said Thomas Grier, 44, who has not been contacted by any unions so far. Though he doesn’t want to pay union dues for sorting workplace disputes, he has not ruled out on the idea of joining.

    Medical pot and black market accounts for about $22 billion in California. California has been the first state to approve medical cannabis way back in 1996.

    The process of legalization of recreational pot began last year when California voters approved Proposition 64, which allows recreational pot sales to adults. Medical marijuana in the state has been legal for the last two decades.

    California will allow people only 21 and above to legally possess up to an ounce of the drug and grow six plants at home. To sell the drug in the state, businesses must acquire both local permit and a state license.

  • Los Angeles won’t be selling recreational pot on New Year’s Day

    December 26, 2017

    Even as California will kick off the recreational marijuana sales from January 1, shops in Los Angeles will not be part of the celebration on New Year’s Day.

    “Come Jan. 1 in the city of Los Angeles, there are no legal, adult-use sales,” Cat Packer, who heads the city’s Department of Cannabis Regulation, told reporters at City Hall.

    “We are starting a process. This is something that is not going to happen overnight,” Packer said.

    Los Angeles will only be accepting applications to sell legal recreational pot from January 3 onwards. It would further take weeks before the City has a properly licensed recreational pot business. The business houses need approval from both local and state authorities to sell recreational cannabis to adult customers.

    Around 200 businesses are estimated to fit the bill and get a temporary license from local authorities within three weeks. However, license from the state authorities will also be needed to start running recreational pot shops.

    “A lot of the businesses are disappointed because they aren’t going to be able to participate on the first day,” said Aaron Lachant, an attorney representing a few of the existing marijuana shops.

    California will allow people only 21 and above to legally possess up to an ounce of the drug and grow six plants at home. Medical marijuana in the state has been legal for the last two decades.

    The process of legalization of recreational pot began last year when California voters approved Proposition 64, which allows recreational pot sales to adults.

    Los Angeles is California’s largest cannabis market, but the city has struggled to fix rules for licensing businesses. In March, 80 percent of voters had endorsed for a creation of the new pot marketplace.

  • Congress votes emergency resolution to prevent medical pot crackdown

    December 26, 2017

    Federal protections for medical marijuana patients are safe for now, after Congress leadership voted an emergency resolution that maintains present federal spending levels and priorities through January 19, 2018

    Protections offered under the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment give a four-week extension to the medical cannabis patients protection under the act.

    The emergency resolution was signed by President Donald Trump on Friday. This is cited to be a temporary measure that keeps the government running even as the federal lawmakers contemplate on the details of their 2018 fiscal-year spending plan.

    Representative Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, in a statement said such a move has given an amount of certainty to the medical marijuana patients.

    “Patients around the country who rely on medical marijuana for treatment — and the businesses that serve them — now have some measure of certainty. Our fight, however, continues to maintain these important protections in the next funding bill passed by Congress,” he said.

    Cannabis is illegal under Federal Law but the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment can stay the Justice Department from cracking down on medical pot patients in the State which has permitted the use of medical marijuana. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has also condemned use of the drug.

    The move has been welcomed by medical pot patients and marijuana growers. Jered DeCamp, co-owner of Herbal Remedies, a marijuana outlet, and a patient, is hopeful that the provisions are extended beyond January.

    “It's nice to know they're protecting us," DeCamp said.

    A similar continuing resolution was passed on December 7 by the Congress lawmakers.

    Meanwhile, US Senator Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, has announced he would cosponsor a bill ‘Passage of the Marijuana Justice Act of 2017,’ which would decriminalize marijuana across the nation.

  • Elderly couple arrested with 60 pounds of marijuana

    December 26, 2017

    The authorities in Nebraska arrested an elderly couple after they were found in possession of 60 pounds of marijuana.

    The accused, Patrick Jiron, 80, and his wife, Barbara, 83, told deputies they were on their way to Vermont from California and the marijuana was intended to be given away as Christmas gifts.

    As per information, the York County Sheriff’s department stopped the couple in a traffic stop.

    Lt. Paul Vrbka of the York County Sheriff’s department revealed that the couple, both of Clearlake Oaks, California, were stopped when the couple were found crossing the center line and the driver turning without a signal in the New York City Metropolitan Area.

    When intercepted, a strong smell of pot wafted from their vehicle. A canine unit was called in and the deputies searched the vehicle and found the marijuana in boxes stashed inside the bed of the Toyota Tacoma.

    When asked about the possession of marijuana, the couple revealed they had planned to give it away as Christmas gifts. The estimated street value of the seized product is estimated at $336,000.

    “They said the marijuana was for Christmas presents," Lt. Paul Vrbka told a local website.

    The Jirons were taken to custody by the York County Jail and charged with possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver and no drug tax stamp.