Posts Tagged ‘legal weed’

The DARE Program Makes a Comeback

dareBring up DARE to people of a certain age, and they’re likely to remember the program as the butt of a joke. DARE, an acronym for Drug Abuse Resistance Education, was a nation-wide program that reached the height of its popularity in the late 1980s.

The curriculum brought local law enforcement into schools and sought to curb and prevent teen drug use. DARE warned kids to “Just Say No” and relied heavily on role-playing to get kids to avoid peer pressure.

During the era when DARE was popular, there was huge public consciousness and concern over drug use. There were PSAs on television that urged abstinence–like the one with an egg in a frying pan that admonished, “This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs.”

At its peak, 75 percent of the country’s schools participated in the DARE program. But that changed in the early 1990s, when a slew of studies came to the same conclusion: DARE wasn’t decreasing the rate of teen drug or alcohol use. One study even found that the program made teens more likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol in a sort of “boomerang effect.” In this new era of cannabis legalization, the lucky stoners with the foresight to hang on to their DARE t-shirts are the kings and queens of irony.

But now, it seems, DARE is back, this time with a curriculum called “Keepin’ It REAL“. Maintaining their cheesy acronyms, REAL stands for refuse, explain, avoid, leave. DARE is pushing the curriculum as a prevention program for middle school students as part of its mission to “teach students good decision making skills to help them lead safe and healthy lives.”

One of the biggest changes the DARE organization has made is their claim that they no longer teach drug abuse resistance education. Now, they claim to “teach students good decision making skills to help them lead safe and healthy lives.”

However, the Washington Post reported that not everyone is behind the new program. A peer-reviewed study conducted last year concluded that “the systematic review revealed major shortfalls in the evidence basis for the KiR D.A.R.E. programme. Without empirical evidence, we cannot conclusively confirm or deny the effectiveness of the programme. However, we can conclude that the evidence basis for the D.A.R.E. version of KiR is weak, and that there is substantial reason to believe that KiR D.A.R.E. may not be suited for nationwide implementation.”

Denver to Issue Cannabis Social Use Licenses

smoking-clubThe problem of where to consume cannabis in Colorado has been an issue since recreational marijuana use was approved by voters in 2012. Now, five years later, the city of Denver is ready to become the first in the nation to launch a program allowing businesses to set up social marijuana consumption areas.

Initiative 300, the ballot proposal to create a four-year social cannabis pilot program was approved by Denver voters last November.

As of August 24, Denver’s department of Excise and Licenses began accepting applications from businesses interested in getting in on the growing cannabis industry. Private, invitation only cannabis clubs are already legal, but the new program allows more conventional businesses, like art galleries, coffee shops, concert venues or yoga studios, to wade into the cannabis industry.

A committee of 20 people from the marijuana industry, city council members, and community groups were responsible for hammering out the details of the program.

Some of the rules that the committee came up with were expected: Social use clubs or venues will be strictly 21-and older. Businesses with a social use license will not be allowed to sell cannabis on site, so expect to bring your own weed. Additional restrictions require social use licensees at least 1,000 feet from schools, as well as distance restrictions to keep them at least 1,000 feet away from daycares, public recreation — public parks and community pools — and alcohol and drug treatment facilities.

Additional rules require obtaining backing from a nearby neighborhood or business group, making sure the site isn’t within 1,000 feet of restricted sites, putting together extensive supporting documents and plans, and paying the $1,000 application fee.

However, not everyone is happy with the committee’s final rules. The drafters of the initiative have publicly criticized the results, arguing that the rules don’t reflect the will of voters and undermine existing cannabis laws in Colorado that regulate marijuana like alcohol–Emmett Reistroffer and Kayvan Khalatbari, the creators of the initiative are planning to sue the city.

“Nothing has changed,” Khalatbari says of a potential lawsuit. “All of my comments about this inequality between how they’re treating alcohol and cannabis are the same. We’ve even had a lot of conversations with the mayor’s office since then, and they continue to say there was consensus, and that’s bullshit.”

Many fear that the committee’s rules are so restrictive that businesses will be discouraged by the extensive requirements to obtain a social use license.

Adding to the difficulty, Khalatbari and Reistroffer explain that the distance requirements will make it extremely difficult for businesses to find a space suitable for a social cannabis use.

Reistroffer, who was on the Social Consumption Advisory Committee explains, “Now the pilot program is set up to fail, because there is such little space available in Denver where permits are eligible and none of the original businesses that supported our campaign are able to apply. This means the issue of private consumption clubs and events will continue to proliferate throughout the city without any oversight from the city or feedback from neighbors — and public consumption will continue to occur in public places like parks and sidewalks because there will be no safe access to permitted consumption areas.”

Justice Department Blocks DEA Cannabis Research

cannabis-researchA year after the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) began accepting applications to grow cannabis for research it appears that the Department of Justice (DOJ), with the pressure of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, are blocking researchers from moving ahead with their proposals.

The DEA has received 25 research proposals, but so far none of them have been able to move forward. As part of the approval process, researchers must get final sign-off from the DOJ–and it’s no secret that Sessions is not a fan of weed.

“They’re sitting on it,” one law enforcement official told the Washington Post, “They just will not act on these things.”

A senior DEA official said that, “the Justice Department has effectively shut down this program to increase research registrations.”

The marijuana that researchers currently have access to is not what most people would consider weed. Since the late 1960s, all marijuana used in clinical research is required to come from a single government-run marijuana farm at the University of Mississippi. The problem is that the marijuana grown there doesn’t even really resemble the weed that’s sold at dispensaries, making it difficult for researchers to reach conclusions that are applicable to real-world use.

The quality of the government grown cannabis was so bad that Johns Hopkins University, which planned to begin a multiyear clinical trial studying cannabis and PTSD, backed out of the study.

One of the researchers who submitted a proposal to the DEA is Lyle Craker, a professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Craker submitted his last application in February but hasn’t heard back on his yet. He’s hoping to do research into whether other parts of the cannabis plant have medicinal value.

“I’ve filled out the forms, but I haven’t heard back from them. I assume they don’t want to answer,” said Craker. “They need to think about why they are holding this up when there are products that could be used to improve people’s health. I think marijuana has some bad effects, but there can be some good and without investigation we really don’t know.”

UN Report: Cannabis Still Hasn’t Caused One Overdose Death

legal cannabis salesCannabis is the most widely used, cultivated, and confiscated drug on the planet, according to a new report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). But despite its use, there hasn’t been a single report of fatal cannabis overdose.

The 2017 World Drug Report states that between 128 million to 238 million people used cannabis in 2015–that equates to an estimated 3.8 percent of the world’s adult population. Amphetamines were the second most commonly used drug used worldwide, while opioids were found to cause the highest negative health impact.

Prevalence of cannabis use varies by country, but it’s not surprising to see that cannabis use in the U.S. is on the rise.

“According to data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), the past-month prevalence of cannabis use among the population aged 12 years and older in the United States increased from 6.2 per cent in 2002 to 8.3 per cent in 2015, with an estimated 22 million people aged 12 years and older being current (past-month) cannabis users in 2015,” the report states. “Since 2008 there has been a consistent year-on-year increase in cannabis use among the population aged 12 years and older, particularly in those states that currently allow the production and sale of cannabis for recreational use among adults.”

Cannabis cultivation was reported in 136 countries, while opium poppy cultivation was reported in 49 countries. Coca bush–the plant used to make cocaine was cultivated in 8 countries.

Globally, UNODC estimates that there were 190,900 drug-related deaths in 2015, although the report notes that “this is likely and underestimate.”

Approximately one quarter of global drug-related deaths are in the United States.

“Mostly driven by opioids, overdose deaths more than tripled in the period 1999-2015 and increased by 11.4 per cent in the past year alone, to reach the highest level ever recorded,” according the the report. “Of the 52,000 total drug-related deaths reported for the United States, those related to opioids accounted for more than 60 percent.”

Medical Marijuana in Dispensaries Hawaii are Open but Unable to Sell

hawaiiHawaii’s first medical marijuana dispensary opens Thursday, but don’t expect to see any cannabis on the shelves.

The problem? The state labs tasked with testing medical marijuana prior to sale have yet to be certified. The state Department of Health says they must take the necessary time to ensure that testing is accurate.

“It has to be done in the right way and we think we’re going about a very deliberate path to make sure the law is followed,” said Keith Ridley, chief of the health department’s Office of Health Care Assurance.

So instead of selling medical cannabis on Thursday, Aloha Green will open its doors for patient outreach and education.

“Once they saw that it wasn’t this dingy, scary place, then they started to see it’s something legitimate that will provide relief for a lot of patients,” said Tai Cheng, Chief Operating Officer of Aloha Green.

Cheng says that they’ve harvested four times since last month, but instead of putting product out into the market, they’ve had to vacuum seal their flower and hope that testing is certified sooner rather than later.

“It’s frustrating for our team and our growers. You’re able to hold that product for an extended period of time between 6-12 months, but oxidization of the product does cause it to lose not only its flavor but its efficiency as well,” Cheng said.

The delay is putting dispensary owners in a tough spot: operating costs can exceed $100,000 per month, and without product to sell, there’s no money coming back in.

Hawaii was one of the first states to legalize medical marijuana 17 years ago, but dispensaries weren’t legalized until 2015. Dispensaries were slated to open in July 2016, but the state had not approved software to track the product from seed-to-sale.

The health department plans to have labs up and running by summer.

Cheeky Monkey™ Sponsors 2017 Industry Awards at Cannabis Classic

Cheeky Monkey™ had another amazing time at this 2017 Cannabis Classic last weekend! Great turnout from the Alaska cannabis community – we appreciate everyone coming out and showing support.

As a proud sponsor of this year’s Cannabis Classic Industry awards show, Cheeky Monkey™ was happy to see so many great new cannabis products in the mix, and provided medicated High Tai cocktails for the entire crowd. You could also see us handing out freebies and selling our great Cheeky Monkey™ merch – hats, shirts, pipes, Chi Sticks and product samples (where allowed).

This year our Chief Product Officer and owner of Alaska Thunder Skunk farms, Andrew Campbell, does it again!

Andrew came home with both 1st Place and 3rd Place awards in the Cannabis Classic competition. A first place award was given for Alaska Thunder Skunk’s new extract product Slim Hash – a unique strain of cannabis grown for its relaxing and medical purposes (THCV!) in a high grade concentrate form and 3rd place to Peanut Butter Cup Pie – a medicated dessert that was as delicious as it sounds. You can view the official judges results on the Cannabis Classic site.

Thanks to all who participated and congratulations to all the winners! We are so delighted to have such a supporting cannabis community and look forward to more in the future.

Check out this video of Andrew accepting his award below:
 

Marijuana Could Benefit Native Tribes in Nevada

tribal lands cannabisLast week, tribal leaders in Nevada testified in support of a bill that would bring the medical and recreational cannabis industry to tribal lands.

Senate Bill 375, introduced by Sen. Tick Segerblom (D-Las Vegas), would allow the state to work with individual tribes whose tribal councils have approved medical and/or recreational cannabis.

“The tribes would oversee what is happening on their reservation, but when they participate in the system they would have to follow the state rules,” Segerblom said of the bill.

Opening marijuana dispensaries and production facilities could be a big deal for the tribes, bringing revenue and new opportunities to their communities. Most of the tribal leaders at last Thursday’s meeting said that marijuana could help mitigate high unemployment and poverty rates.

Tildon Smart, former chairman of the Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone tribe, said that about 98 percent of her community of 1,100 are unemployed.

“We lack a tribal court system, we lack a police department, we lack health services – this may help create those services,” said David Decker, Chairman of the Elko Band Council for the Te-Moak Tribe of the Western Shoshone. “Just to pay for dispatch, this is very expensive. This could help us pay for all those economic securities that we currently can’t provide.”

If the bill passes, Nevada wouldn’t be the first state to reach a compact with tribes. In 2015, the Suquamish and Squaxin Island tribes signed 10-year compacts with the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board.

Unfortunately, Washington seems to be the exception rather than the rule when it comes to cannabis on American Indian reservations. Similar compacts between tribes and states have fallen flat, especially because tribes still have to contend with the federal government–many tribes rely on federal funds to keep their communities afloat.

“They are sticking their necks out on this one, but at some point you have to say, ‘We can’t sit around and twiddle our thumbs,'” Segerblom said. “I think the tribes – because they’re sovereign nations – they will have a better leg to stand on.”

Smoke-Free Cannabis Cup & Nevada’s End of Marijuana Prohibition

Las Vegas’ second-ever High Times Cannabis Cup wasn’t the toke-friendly festival that many hoped it would be–organizers were forced to make the Cup a cannabis-free event after a federal prosecutor sent a letter warning that anyone caught distributing or consuming marijuana would be subject to prosecution.

The Cannabis Cup, produced by cannabis-centric magazine the High Times, describes the event as the world’s leading marijuana trade show, “celebrating the world of ganja through competitions, instructional seminars, expositions, celebrity appearances, concerts and product showcases.” Recreational cannabis was legalized in Nevada as of January 1 this year, and the Cup was slated as an unofficial celebration of the new law.

However, that didn’t stop thousands of pot enthusiasts from attending the event at the Moapa Indian Reservation–the first Cannabis Cup held on U.S. tribal lands. 15,000 people were expected to attend the two-day festival, which featured musical acts Ludacris, B-Real, Chief Keef, and J Boog. A rally stage was a gathering point for speakers and activists; there were cannabis-themed panels on topics like legal and veterans issues and grow advice from experts. The festival included 300 vendors from 15 countries.

Daniel Bogden, the U.S. Attorney who sent the letter, went so far as to underline several sentences, emphasizing that,
“Marijuana remains illegal under federal law…[and] federal investigation and prosecution may still be appropriate.

…nothing in the Guidance Memorandum or the Cole Memorandum alters the authority or jurisdiction of the United States to enforce federal law in Indian Country or elsewhere.”

In response to Bogden’s letter, the High Times cautioned vendors and attendees prior to the event:

“Vendors, guests, performers and attendees are advised to comply with all local, state, and federal laws regarding the use and distribution of cannabis and cannabis related products. In order for the cannabis industry to continue to earn legitimacy and social acceptance, we understand that rules and laws need to be abided,” the letter stated. “High Times will continue to stand up for our civil liberties and advocate for our inalienable rights to cultivate and consume cannabis. We urge you to join us.”

The festival was scheduled to take place March 4-5, but in another turn of bad luck, day two of the event was canceled due to high wind. Gusts reportedly reached above 60 mph.

Read the entire letter from U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden here.

Retired NFL Players Bring Weed to the Super Bowl

Retired NFL players held a pro-marijuana event on Wednesday night to raise awareness about the benefits of cannabis use in treating chronic pain and traumatic brain injury. The event, Cannabis in Professional Sports, hoped to capitalize on the upcoming Super Bowl and to persuade the NFL Players’ Association to change their drug policy and lift the ban on marijuana.

Football players sustain repeated concussions throughout their career, often resulting in Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). CTE causes brain degeneration that is associated with memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and progressive dementia. Other injuries cause debilitating chronic pain. Unfortunately, physicians in the NFL have treated pain with powerful opioids, putting players at risk for addiction.

Both CBD and THC have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, and there’s even evidence that CBD can be used to treat CTE, but so far the league hasn’t budged from their anti-marijuana stance.

Former NFL tight end, Nate Jackson, says that the NFLPA, “has always been concerned about its public image, but when it comes to cannabis they’re really misinformed. The league is largely run by older, wealthy men who grew up hearing about the evils of cannabis so there’s a generational gap to contend with Let’s see what happens when the league is presented with a study showing the effects of cannabis use on its players and comparing the results to what the opiates and other league-approved pharmaceuticals, which are passed out like candy, do to players. ”

The NFLPA requires players to submit to urine tests in the off-season, and they are prohibited from having more than 35 nanograms per milliliter of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the substance in marijuana that gets users high. The limit was last set in 2014, when the NFL and union agreed to change the substance abuse policy and raise the limit from 15 ng/mL of THC. The punishment for testing positive for marijuana include fines, suspension, or banishment from the league.

Speakers at the event included physicians and former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, former New Orleans Saints offensive tackle Kyle Turley, former Denver Broncos tight end Nate Jackson and former Chicago Bears offensive lineman Eben Britton.

Denver: First U.S. City to Allow Public Cannabis Use

Denver is one step closer to setting guidelines for public marijuana use in clubs and businesses located in Denver. The initiative, passed by voters in November, allows adults 21 and older to consume cannabis at marijuana clubs and places like yoga studios, art galleries, and coffee shops.

Regulators met with business owners, cannabis activists and detractors, and law enforcement authorities on Wednesday to hammer out details about what’s ahead for social cannabis use. Aside from the 21-and-up age restriction and a ban on smoking indoors, the initiative didn’t set rules for how these businesses operate.

So, what can you expect social cannabis use in Denver to look like? Here’s what we know so far:

  • Licenses for social cannabis use will cost $2,000 per year. Applications are available on January 20, but it’s worth noting that the city has no deadline for issuing the licenses. Supporters hope to see the first application approvals by this summer.
     
  • Forget about bringing your marijuana to restaurants or any business that serves booze–the state Liquor Control Board has already decided that businesses with a liquor license will not be allowed to apply for a social cannabis use license.
     
  • Social use clubs or venues will be strictly bring-your-own weed. Marijuana businesses, including dispensaries, will not be allowed to apply to the program.
     
  • Denver hasn’t set any zoning rules yet, but businesses interested in applying for a permit from the City of Denver must also have approval from their local neighborhood association or business group.
     
  • Tourists may have to depend on locals to direct them to pot bars, as advertising will likely be limited.
     
  • The initiative is a pilot program meant to last four years, until the end of 2020. At that point, City Council has the option of making changes, making it permanent, or allowing it to expire.

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