• Jeff Sessions: Marijuana is “only slightly less awful” than Heroin

    March 21, 2017

    In his ongoing war against marijuana, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the curious claim that marijuana is "only slightly less awful" than the heroin crisis in the country while speaking to a group of law enforcement officials in Richmond, Virginia on Wednesday.

    "I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana—so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful", Sessions said. “Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life.”

    Sessions reiterated some of the points he made during a speech at the National Association of Attorneys General’s winter meeting address in February where he expressed doubt that we would be "a better, healthier nation if we have marijuana being sold at every corner grocery store."

    The Attorney General also suggested that marijuana is a gateway drug that is helping to fuel the opioid addiction crisis in the country.  "We have too much tolerance for drug use psychologically, politically, morally. We need to say, as Nancy Reagan said, 'Just say no. Don't do it’. There's no excuse for this. It's not recreational. It can be destructive and it consistently is destructive. Lives are at stake and we're not going to worry about being fashionable," he said.

    However, in the same speech, Session said that Obama-era policies led some states to legalize marijuana is ‘valid’ suggesting that he might not be prepping for a nationwide crackdown on marijuana shops or dispensaries as previously believed.

    Sessions has not been a fan of marijuana. Last year, he had stated that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

    In the U.S., medical marijuana is legal in 28 states and D.C., while eight states and Washington D.C. have legally allowed marijuana for recreational purpose.

  • Unclear whether Trump administration could stop legalizing marijuana: Hickenlooper

    March 21, 2017

    Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” told moderator Chuck Todd on Sunday that it is unclear whether the Trump administration could stop legalizing marijuana for recreational purpose.

    The Trump administration, just few days ago, said the department of justice was going to step up enforcement of marijuana laws.

    The Democratic governor is however optimistic that the White House will respect sovereignty of the states. He highlighted that U.S.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that marijuana will not be a top enforcement priority.

    However, if things change with the federal government, Hickenlooper is prepared to fight for the interest of Colorado. “I took a solemn oath to support our constitution,” he said.

    “I had opposed the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado. I spoke openly against it, but it passed in Colorado by 55% to 45%. It is now part of our constitution”, he added. "It's never my choice to be in conflict with federal law, let's make that clear.”

    “Over 60 percent of American people are now in a state where either medical or recreational marijuana is legalized. This has become of the great social experiment of our time.” Hickenlooper stated. "I'm getting close. I don't think I'm quite there yet, but we have made a lot of progress. We didn't see a spike in teenage use, if anything, it's come down in the last year."

    In 2012, Colorado Amendment 64 legalized the sale and possession of marijuana for recreational purposes including private cultivation of up to six marijuana plants, with no more than three being mature. The legalization of marijuana sales and use brought the state tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue in 2015, and sales topped $1 billion in 2016.

  • English Actor Patrick Stewart reveals he uses Medical Marijuana Daily

    March 21, 2017

    English Patrick Stewart has revealed that he uses medical marijuana on a daily basis for two years in order to combat the symptoms of his severe arthritis.

    Seventy-six years old veteran actor, whose career has included roles on stage, television, and film in a career spanning almost six decades, made the admission supporting the UK’s first research initiative by Oxford University and Kingsley Capital Partners which aims to explore the benefits of marijuana-based medicines.

    In a statement, the X Men star explained that he uses the ointment at night and applies the spray to his fingers and joints several times each day. The marijuana medicines have reduced the pain and stiffness in his hands, Stewart admitted.

    “Two years ago, in Los Angeles, I was examined by a doctor and given a note which gave me legal permission to purchase, from a registered outlet, cannabis-based products, which I was advised might help the ortho-arthritis in both my hands,” Stewart said in the statement. “This, it would seem, is a genetically-based condition. My mother had badly distorted and painful hands."

    "As a result of this experience, I enthusiastically support the Oxford University Cannabis Research Plan," Stewart said. "This is an important step forward for Britain in a field of research that has, for too long, been held back by prejudice, fear and ignorance."

    Stewart believed the research initiative would help people like him as well as millions of others for certain health conditions.

    In the U.S., twenty-eight states have legalized the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes and eight of those have legalized marijuana for recreational use. However, the Attorney General Jeff Sessions suggested that marijuana is a gateway drug that is helping to fuel the opioid addiction crisis in the country.

  • San Diego County Supervisors ban marijuana facilities in unincorporated areas

    March 21, 2017

    Just four months after a majority of San Diego County voters supported to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana, the Board of Supervisors on Wednesday voted 3-2 to ban all marijuana businesses in unincorporated county areas.

    Supervisors Dianne Jacob, Kristin Gaspar and Bill Horn voted for the ban while Greg Cox and Ron Roberts voted against it.

    Supervisor Jacob cited concerns over the fact that marijuana is still illegal at the federal level and whether the Trump administration could opt to enforce federal law, while Gasper stated that voters all the time approve measures that require local elected officials to manage the unintended consequences.

    More than 50 people applied to speak before the Board to voice their thoughts for and against the ban.

    The ban was opposed by the San Diego Farm Bureau, medical marijuana patients, recreational pot advocates, and dispensary owners.  It was supported by anti-drug speakers and some rural residents.

    "We ought to grow it, and we ought to have facilities conveniently located throughout the county including my neighborhood and your neighborhood and everybody else's neighborhood, which is in a very controlled way, can provide for the sale," Roberts, who voted against the ban, said. "We don't want kids to have it, there's no question about that."

    The ban includes all medical and non-medical marijuana facilities, licensed dispensaries, marijuana farming and hemp. Three dispensaries that are operating must close by 2022. Two that are in the permitting process may still open up, but must also close in five years.

    In November 2016, around 57 percent of county voters supported Proposition 64, a ballot measure that makes recreational marijuana legal, regulated, and eventually, taxable. It also gave local governments the ability to regulate where marijuana facilities could be located, or ban them entirely.

  • Class-action launched against Canopy Growth over pesticide in Medical Marijuana

    March 21, 2017

    Canada's largest publicly traded medical marijuana producer, Canopy Growth, and its subsidiary Mettrum are facing class action lawsuits by a Halifax-based law firm Wagners , after recalling marijuana product that tests confirm contained banned pesticides.

    The lawsuit alleges that Mettrum used unauthorized pest control products in the production of some of its medical marijuana products between September 2014 and November 2016. It also alleges that the company failed to pay refunds to its customers.

    A Nova Scotia man listed in the proposed suit said he became violently ill and unable to keep food down after taking federally regulated medical marijuana purchased from Toronto-based Mettrum Ltd. Others claimed that they became bedridden, stricken by nausea and suffered bouts of “scary” breathing difficulties, among other symptoms after using the products.

    The lawsuit seeks millions in damages on behalf of individuals who purchased the affected medical marijuana products.

    Health Canada spokesperson Anna Maddison said, “During its inspection of Mettrum, it was discovered that a foliar plant spray was being used, which contained a pesticide that was not identified on the product’s label, and which is not authorized for use on medical marijuana.”

    Responding to the class action, Canopy Growth issued a statement saying “the company was, and continues to be satisfied with Health Canada’s independent decision to classify the Mettrum recall as a Type III recall, defined as ‘a situation in which the use of, or exposure to, a product is not likely to cause any adverse health consequences.”

    The company says it will defend itself vigorously against all suits relating to the Mettrum recall.

  • Ohio Entrepreneurs urge Residency requirement for Medical Marijuana Licenses

    March 21, 2017

    Majority of speakers at the final public hearing on marijuana cultivation rules in Ohio Monday urged regulators to issue a residency requirement for those granted licenses to grow medical marijuana under a new state law. They said medical marijuana licenses should be provided to Ohio residents only, at least for some initial period of times.

    Kelley Mottola of Hilliard, owner of Hyro Innovations, said, she has family members and many customers who would benefit from medical marijuana business in the state. She is hopeful to get money together as to apply for a marijuana cultivation license.

    “I feel that it's unreasonable for out-of-state individuals to get licenses," Mottola said. "Allowing people from outside the state is not benefiting Ohio or Ohioans or our unemployment."

    Like Mottala, several other people spoke in favor of the residency requirement during the hearing. Some of them also pointed out that how Colorado required licensees live in the state at least two years before applying for a marijuana license.

    However, Colorado lawmakers have recently reduced the residency requirement to one year and allowed greater out-of-state investment.

    Ohio legislators approved a medical marijuana program last year, though rules are still being made. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy recently released its first draft of rules for dispensaries, adding more dispensaries from 40 up to 60, extended hours and no longer requiring pharmacists to be on call or on site.

    The first draft of rules also dropped the permit fee to $70,000 every two years, bans coupons or discounts and allows for more access to advertise.

    According to the Ohio medical marijuana board, dispensary rules are expected to be in place by Sept. 8, 2017, and for medical marijuana dispensaries to be fully operational in 2018.

  • West Des Moines teacher faces drug charges after Marijuana found in Car

    March 21, 2017

    In an unprecedented incident, a West Des Moines junior high school teacher is facing misdemeanor drug charges after police found a small amount of marijuana and a pipe with marijuana residue in her car.

    According to the court documents, Katherine Seiberling was arrested by the city police on Thursday.

    Traffic cop Jake Forrester pulled Seiberling at around 8 p.m. for a broken headlight in the 200 block of Valley West Drive. Officials smelled marijuana and noted her eyes were bloodshot. While speaking to officials, she talked in a “slow and deliberate tone,” and admitted to having small amount of marijuana in her car.

    Thirty-eight years old Seiberling is charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and a Schedule I controlled substance, who admitted before the officials that she had smoked marijuana when she started driving.

    She was sent to the Polk County Jail and released on Friday after depositing a $1,000 bond. She is now scheduled to appear in the court on March 24.

    However, the court records show that there is no previous arrest for Seiberling, though the court records can be expunged if a defendant receives a deferred judgment or a charge is dismissed.

    Seiberling is listed on the West Des Moines Community Schools' website as an eighth grade language arts teacher at Stilwell Junior High and as a student council sponsor.

    So far, the West Des Moines school district has not put its view in this regard though the district policy says teachers are required to pass a drug test before taking the jobs in the district.