Tag Archives: medical marijuana

Colorado Indoor marijuana growing steadily increases Denver electrical usage.

Admin; Eye opening status of how much electricity is used for indoor marijuana growing to meet Colorado medical and recreational marijuana industry.

 http://www.denverpost.com/environment/ci_28417456/pot-boom-spikes-denver-electric-demand-challenges-clean

GOLDEN — Surging electricity consumption by Colorado’s booming marijuana industry is sabotaging Denver’s push to useless energy — just as the White House perfects a Clean Power Plan to cut carbon pollution.

Citywide electricity use has been rising at the rate of 1.2 percent a year, and 45 percent of that increase comes from marijuana-growing facilities, Denver officials said Wednesday.

Denver has a goal of capping energy use at 2012 levels. Electricity is a big part of that.

The latest Xcel Energy data show cannabis grow facilities statewide, the bulk of which are in Denver, used as much as 200 million kilowatt hours of electricity in 2014, utility officials said. City officials said 354 grow facilities in Denver used about121 million kwh in 2013, up from 86 million kwh at 351 facilities in 2012.

“Of course we want to grow economically. But as we do that, we’d like to save energy,” city sustainability strategist Sonrisa Lucero said.

She and other Denver officials joined 30 business energy services and efficiency leaders seeking U.S. Department of Energy guidance Wednesday at a forum in Golden. Energy Undersecretary Franklin Orr said feds will promote best practices and provide technical help through an Office of Technology Transitions.

“It’s a big issue for us,” Lucero told Orr. “We really do need some assistance in finding some good technology.”

Orr said he tried to figure out “how we would address that to Congress.”

When the EPA later this summer unveils the Clean Power Plan for state-by-state carbon cuts and installation of energy-saving technology, utilities are expected to accelerate a shift away from coal-generated electricity toward cleaner sources, such as natural gas, wind and solar.

Until they can replace more coal-fired plants, the nation’s utilities increasingly are trying to manage demand by, for example, offering rebates to customers who conserve electricity.

Colorado for years has been encouraging cuts in carbon emissions by requiring utilities to rely more on renewable sources.

Yet electricity use statewide has been increasing by 1 percent to 2 percent a year, due in part to population growth, said Jeffrey Ackermann, director of the Colorado Energy Office.

The rising electricity demand means more opportunities to save money by using energy more efficiently , Ackermann said. “We’re not going to compel people to reduce their usage. … But we’re going to try to bring efficiency into the conversation.”

Colorado’s marijuana sector, in particular, is growing rapidly, relying on electricity to run lights that stimulate plant growth, as well as air-conditioning and dehumidifiers. The lights emit heat,raising demand for air conditioning, which requires more electricity.

Robert Grandt works in the grow room at 3D Cannabis Center in Denver on March 11. Marijuana growing facilities contributed to the city’s energy use

Robert Grandt works in the grow room at 3D Cannabis Center in Denver on March 11. Marijuana growing facilities contributed to the city’s energy use increase.

“How do you capture their attention long enough to say: Hey, if you make this investment now, it could pay back in the future,” Ackermann said, referring to possibilities for better lights.

Southwest Energy Efficiency Project director Howard Geller said new adjustable light-emitting diode, or LED, lights have emerged that don’t give off heat. Companies installing these wouldn’t require so much air-cooling and could cut electricity use, Geller said.

Lighting companies are working with pot companies to test the potential for LED lamps to reduce electricity use without hurting plants, Xcel spokesman Mark Stutz said. Xcel is advising companies on how much electricity different lights use, he said.

Denver officials currently aren’t considering energy-efficiency rules for the industry, said Elizabeth Babcock, manager of air, water and climate for the city. Marijuana-growing facilities in2013 used 1.85 percent of total electricity consumed in Denver.

“We see many opportunities in all sectors,” Babcock said. “Energy efficiency lowers the cost of doing business, and there are lots of opportunities to cut energy waste in buildings,transportation and industry.”

Bruce Finley: 303-954-1700, bfinley@denverpost.com or twitter.com/finley bruce

http://www.denverpost.com/environment/ci_28417456/pot-boom-spikes-denver-electric-demand-challenges-clean

Momentum of opinion to legalize marijuana.

Admin; Let’s pay attention to people that are supporting nationwide legalization.  Researchers, politicians, public figures telling their first hand experiences and reciting what they know to be true.  It’s  all moving in one direction.

Morgan Freeman Destroys The Argument Against Marijuana Legalization

BY SAM P.K. COLLINS POSTED ON MAY 11, 2015 AT 12:12 PM

 

Morgan Freeman Destroys The Argument Against Marijuana Legalization

Morgan Freeman

CREDIT: PHOTO BY RICHARD SHOTWELL/INVISION/AP

Since a 2008 car accident that shattered bones in his left arm, shoulder, and elbow, marijuana has served as an effective pain reliever for award-winning actor Morgan Freeman.

Freeman, an unabashed supporter of marijuana legalization, recently told the Daily Beast that there were too many medical benefits for lawmakers to ignore the issue, and public opinion, any longer.

“Marijuana has many useful uses. I have fibromyalgia pain in this arm, and the only thing that offers any relief is marijuana,” Freeman said. “They’re talking about kids who have grand mal seizures, and they’ve discovered that marijuana eases that down to where these children can have a life. That right there, to me, says, ‘Legalize it across the board!’”

Freeman counts among a growing chorus of celebrities who have expressed their support of marijuana legalization. Whoopi Goldberg, former comedian and co-host of daytime talk show The View, defended marijuana legalization before more than 3 million viewers, even inviting her co-hosts on a marijuana farm to learn more about the plant. Veteran actress Susan Sarandon, amember of the Marijuana Policy Project’s advisory board, admitted to sparking up before every award show. Even his holiness the Dalai Lama surprised Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike when he said that marijuana should be used for medical purposes.

These public figures have echoed a growing sentiment and shift in thinking about marijuana in the United States that has been in motion since Californialegalized medical marijuana in 1996. Since then, four states have legalized it and 12 have passed legislation for its medical use and decriminalization. Doctors prescribe marijuana for a host of ailments including muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis, nausea from cancer chemotherapy, seizure disorders, poor appetite and weight loss caused by HIV, and nerve pain. Studies have also shown marijuana to be a less addictive alternative to prescription painkillers.

The debate has even crossed into veteran affairs. If a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers have their way, doctors in states that have legalized medical marijuana will be able to prescribe it to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders. This week, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed a bill for limited medical use of cannabis oil, a product that some medical professionals say treats seizures.

Even with the headway made in marijuana policy reform, the plant maintains its designation as a Schedule 1 substance, along with other drugs that the federal government says have a high potential for abuse and are without medical benefits. In his comments to the Daily Beast, Freeman also derided what he described as archaic logic.

“They used to say, ‘You smoke that stuff, boy, you get hooked!’” Freeman said. “My first wife got me into it many years ago. How do I take it? However it comes! I’ll eat it, drink it, smoke it, snort it! This movement is really a long time coming, and it’s getting legs – longer legs. Now, the thrust is understanding that alcohol has no real medicinal use. Maybe if you have one drink it’ll quiet you down, but two or three and you’re fucked.”

The government’s rationale for not legalizing marijuana, however, may no longer stand with the release of a study that confirmed the plant’s potential to reduce aggressive types of brain tumors when combined with radiation treatment. In April, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)issued a revised report acknowledging the St. George University of London study and findings summarized in a research report last November. “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not recognized or approved the marijuana plant as medicine,” the statement read. “However, scientific study of the chemicals in marijuana, called cannabinoids, has led to two FDA-approved medications that contain cannabinoid chemicals in pill form. Continued research may lead to more medications.”

For now, conducting further study will be easier said than done. Federal barriers to research mean that scientists often have to jump through hoops to secure samples legally through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and NIDA, a process that delays research by months, and oftentimes years.

That’s why there’s been some pressure to reclassify marijuana. Earlier this year, the American Academy of Pediatrics urged the federal government to downgrade marijuana to a Schedule II drug, which would allow for more research into its potential uses to treat sick children suffering from seizures. “A Schedule I listing means there’s no medical use or helpful indications, but we know that’s not true,” Seth Ammerman, a clinical professor in pediatrics at Stanford University who co-authored the group’s policy statement on the subject, said at the time.

http://thinkprogress.org/health/2015/05/11/3657263/morgan-freeman-wants-ganja-to-be-legalized/

Puerto Rico surprise order to legalize medical marijuana signed by Governor Padilla.

Admin; So now we just need all other Governors to take initiative and do the same thing! Is this an idea to be applied to states that know the voters/citizens are profoundly in agreement with legalizing medical marijuana?  Yet their state’s politicians are dragging their feet due to contributions from Big Alcohol and Big Tobacco?

Puerto Rico governor signs order to legalize medical marijuana

  • Article by: DANICA COTO , Associated Press
  • Updated: May 3, 2015 – 8:01 PM

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Rico’s governor on Sunday signed an executive order to authorize the use of medical marijuana in the U.S. territory in an unexpected move following a lengthy public debate.

Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said the island’s health secretary has three months to issue a report detailing how the executive order will be implemented, the impact it will have and what future steps could be taken. The order went into immediate effect.

“We’re taking a significant step in the area of health that is fundamental to our development and quality of life,” Garcia said in a statement. “I am sure that many patients will receive appropriate treatment that will offer them new hope.”

The order directs the health department to authorize the use of some or all controlled substances or derivatives of the cannabis plant for medical use.

Garcia said the government also will soon outline the specific authorized uses of marijuana and its derivatives for medical purposes. He noted that medical marijuana is used in the U.S. mainland and elsewhere to treat pain associated with migraines and illnesses including epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and AIDS.

Medical marijuana is already legal in 23 U.S. states, and a group of U.S. legislators is seeking to remove federal prohibitions on it. Elsewhere in the Caribbean, Jamaica recently passed a law that partially decriminalized small amounts of pot and paved the way for a lawful medical marijuana sector.

Jaime Perello, president of Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives, said he supported Garcia’s order.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” he said. “One of the benefits that patients say they receive the most is pain relief.”

Opposition legislator Jenniffer Gonzalez said Garcia’s actions leave the law of controlled substances in what she called a “judicial limbo.”

Back in 2013, Puerto Rico legislators debated a bill that would allow people to use marijuana for medicinal purposes, but a final vote was never taken.

Amado Martinez, an activist who supports legalizing marijuana for all uses, said in a phone interview that he was very surprised by the governor’s actions.

He wondered what type of illnesses would receive authorization for medical marijuana, and whether the medical marijuana will be imported or if people can obtain licenses to grow it on the island.

“There are so many questions. We have to look at all those details,” he said

 

http://www.startribune.com/nation/302364741.html

Marijuana Legalization now decidedly favored by U.S. Citizens.

Admin;

An array of polling company’s are coming up with the same results when voter age citizens are quizzed about their opinion on legalization of marijuana.

This makes Chris Christie out of touch with his public relations team; apparently they are “yes” people wanting to save their jobs instead of having the fortitude to point out to the Govenor that he’s about 30 years behind public opinion.

What we have in America is Baby Boomers that were “there” at Woodstock and share a common belief with their children and grandchildren in marijuana needing to be legalized. 

So you now have 3 generations in America that are aligned in their opinion to legalize.

When you drill down into the details this poll shows that even if the people asked do not consume marijuana they still think it should be recreationally available.

 

 

There is a term “the quickening” and it means that the time has come, the turning point has come. 

Guess what; the proof of the quickening was Colorado and Washington.

No turning back.

The hypocrisy of Schedule one designation is trending to end.

Medical and recreational marijuana is legalizing right before our very eyes.

Thanks to common sense by the citizens.

Marijuana legalization in Texas.

Admin; Amazing read about the shift to logic, reason paved by successful legalization in California and Colorado. The last two paragraphs are an excellent critique of the future of marijuana legalization in America.

Medical marijuana in Texas: ‘The wind is shifting’

A Q&A with drug-reform advocate William Martin

By Claudia Kolker, for the Houston Chronicle

April 7, 2015 Updated: April 7, 2015 5:41pm

What makes people change their minds about drugs? Specifically, what has prompted political leaders, voters, law enforcement officials, and even the medical establishment to so alter their views that marijuana is now decriminalized in more than 20 states and has been made legal for recreational use in Colorado?

For sociologist William Martin, one of Texas’ strongest advocates of drug-law reform, the answer lies in a compelling new mix of research, the experience of people who have used marijuana for medical purposes, and steady work by scholars and activists that has revealed the failures of drug prohibition.

Faith in the cause might also help. Martin, an emeritus professor at Rice and a senior fellow at the Baker Institute for Public Policy, is currently best known for preaching drug policy reform. But he first appeared in the public eye as a different type of preacher: At 14 he was a child evangelist in the fundamentalist Church of Christ. Two years later, at Abilene Christian University, Martin was still preaching on weekends. But he was also beginning a career as a scholar. His studies led him to question the fundamentalist world-view and to focus more on Biblical principles of justice and compassion.

Martin went on to earn a seminary degree at Harvard Divinity School as well as a doctorate in sociology and ethics. Returning to Texas, he became one of Rice University’s most popular professors. During those years, he also maintained an unusual connection with mainstream readers, authoring seven books and writing regularly for publications ranging from The Atlantic to Texas Monthly.

Martin says that his own experience with illegal drugs was limited to a few timid tokes of marijuana in the early 1970s; his advocacy is based on the public health and economic fallout of decades of failed drug policy. As director of the Baker Institute’s Drug Policy Program, he has written, testified, and worked in favor of projects such as the needle exchange program proposed by Legacy Community Health Services in Montrose.

“This is not something I expected to be doing in my old age,” he says. “But it’s pretty interesting.”

Q: What drug-policy reforms do you advocate?

A: First, regulation is better than prohibition. Drug prohibition causes more problems than it solves. That’s not to say that drugs don’t cause problems. I’m not saying we should put rocks of crack in gumball machines at McDonald’s. But we have regulation already for much stronger substances than marijuana. We’ve already regulated drugs like amphetamines — there are many problems with their use, but at least they’re not contaminated with lye and people don’t blow themselves up making them.

Perhaps most important, we need to reform our approach to alcohol, which is the number one drug of abuse in the country. Absent criminal behavior, we ought to treat all drug use as we treat alcohol: as a medical and public health problem, rather than a crime. I think most scientists and medical people who work in the field of addiction agree on that. At one point, the National Institute for Drug Abuse and the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse seriously considered merging. They decided not to because people do not like to give up their fiefdoms.

We also should study the examples of other governments to see what works. Switzerland and the Netherlands provide addicts with pharmaceutical-grade heroin in a sterile environment with a nurse present in case of overdose. Participants in those programs can live a reasonably normal life and their participation in crime has dropped by more than 70 percent. Portugal has decriminalized all drugs. If someone gets in trouble, they deal with it as a social problem, with a three-person panel to decide on proper measures. I was in Portugal recently, and visited with the police there. It hasn’t been the chaos that people predicted, and no one has gone to jail for simple possession or use in fifteen years. Other European countries are looking at as a possible model.

The best thing we can do is to focus on adolescents and drug abuse. This is difficult. Part of the problem is genetic. Part is family and environment. But we have spent a trillion dollars on what doesn’t work. We’ve now got four decades of mapping illicit drug use. We know that about 7 percent of adolescents under 18 have a substance abuse problem.

Between 18 and 25 years old, 20 percent have a problem. Then, after age 26, it’s about 7 percent. As many as 90 percent of substance abusers in that older group developed the problem in adolescence before age 18. This is where we need to focus.

Finally, we need to reform the criminal justice system and the penalties for drug possession. One of the worst things that can happen to a young person is getting a criminal record. You lose a scholarship, your family can lose access to public housing, it’s difficult to find employment. In fiscal year 2011, nonviolent drug offenders who were incarcerated in Texas state jail or prisons cost us $725,000 a day — that’s $264 million a year. I think pretty much everyone agrees that drug policy reform is going to save or make money.

Bill Martin in his office. Photo: ©ev1pro.com

Photo: ©ev1pro.com

Bill Martin in his office.

Q: What drew you to studying drug policy?

A: When I came to Rice in 1968, I was assigned to teach a course in American social problems. I had never taken a course on American social problems! But I had seen the issue through reading and in projects such as starting a settlement house in Boston in the mid-1960s. Early on, I started bringing in people like gay and prison activist Ray Hill, prostitutes, police officers to speak to the class.

Also in 1972, a book came out, Licit and Illicit Drugs, published by Consumer Reports. It was a wonderful book: It talked about how heroin could be dealt with by providing addicts with pharmaceutical-grade heroin in a clean, medical environment, thus taking the criminal aspect out of it. It talked about how marijuana was not as harmful as it was portrayed to be. It was the early ’70s, a lot of my students were using marijuana, and I started paying attention to it.

I also taught criminology for 35 years. I thought that instead of saying drugs cause crimes, it is more accurate to say people who commit crimes also use drugs. Personal and social factors are more important than the drugs themselves. That’s not to say that drugs cannot cause serious problems.

Meanwhile, I’ve been involved in the Baker Institute since it began. In 2000, I was asked by Jerry Epstein and Dr. Al Robison of the Drug Policy Forum of Texas if the Baker Institute would be interested in drug policy. I knew we were needlessly packing our prisons for drug offenses. Fortunately, others agree.

Q: You recently wrote an article for Texas Monthly about veterans’ efforts to obtain medical marijuana.

A: Many veterans find medical marijuana more effective than conventional medications for PTSD and chronic pain. When a guy has done four tours in Iraq and been shot in the chest, it’s hard to look him in the eye and say, “You just want to smoke pot because you’re a slacker.”

Different strains of marijuana are more likely to create anxiety or paranoia than others. Dr. Raphael Machoulam, the Israeli professor of medicinal chemistry who identified THC, the component in marijuana that creates a high, discovered that we have an “endocannabinoid system.” We manufacture cannabis and we have receptors for it. For people who don’t have enough or who get overwhelmed by trauma such as war, an outside source can bring them back into balance.

Q: Have you always specialized in marijuana policy?

A: No. One of the first things I took on was not marijuana, but a needle-exchange program for injecting-drugs users favored by the Legacy Clinic in Montrose. This is essentially a freebie. The science is clear: It prevents blood-borne diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C without increasing drug use. We weren’t asking for any tax money: Charities would cover the exchange. We came quite close a couple of times, but never got it through.

In March, I testified in favor of a bill co-sponsored by San Antonio Representative Ruth McClendon Jones and Houston Representative Garnett Coleman that would allow pilot programs in at least seven of the state’s largest cities. Taxpayer funding would be allowed, but not required.

"Iran has needle exchange programs!" says Martin. But in Texas, "fundamentalist Christianity is preoccupied with 'bodily sins.'" Photo: Melissa Phillip, Staff / © 2012 Houston Chronicle

Photo: Melissa Phillip, Staff

“Iran has needle exchange programs!” says Martin. But in Texas, “fundamentalist Christianity is preoccupied with ‘bodily sins.'”

Q: Texas is the only state that makes needle exchanges impossible, by banning purchasing syringes for illegal drug use. Is there something in Texas culture that reinforces this position?

A: Even the conservative mullahs in Iran has permit needle exchange programs, to combat an AIDS epidemic spread by heroin users!

There’s an ascetic quality that one often finds among evangelical and fundamentalist Christians, who have considerable influence in Texas politics. They are often preoccupied with “bodily sins.” Personal morality figures very highly. Sex. Dancing. Drinking. That is often accompanied by a punitive streak: ”We’re denying ourselves. You’re not denying yourself, so you should be punished.”

When I was at Abilene Christian in the 1950s, I never felt personally repressed. But a girl I knew got expelled for going to a dance during Christmas vacation. A guy was suspended for a year for drinking wine while he was in Europe in the summer. There is a belief in “mortification of the flesh.” That has eased up considerably in many quarters, including Abilene Christian, and the popular “prosperity gospel” does not emphasize self-denial. But that ascetic quality still plays a role in resisting changes to our drug laws.

Q: Does the Baker Institute support your advocacy for drug-policy reform?

A: I’ve never had anything but encouragement. I have lobbied and testified before the Texas House and Senate. I have written in the mainstream press about reform. I’ve organized conferences and worked in coalitions with a wide range of people. I know it does help that this initiative for reform is coming from the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy.

Q: How have the supporters of reform changed in recent years?

A: They’ve really diversified. Some think of drug policy reform as a liberal cause, but this movement is supported by the Koch brothers, Grover Norquist, Newt Gingrich, Ron and Rand Paul, and many others. I’m in touch with two women, conservative Tea Party members and members of a Bible church in Austin, who are fierce advocates for medical marijuana for autism and epilepsy.

The Texas Association of Business and Legislative Budget Board has called for lowering the penalties on things like cocaine possession. [Former District Attorney] Pat Lykos didn’t want to prosecute cases involving minute traces of drugs, and was supported by the command structure of the police department, but not the union. HPD Chief Charles McClelland made headlines last December by calling the War on Drugs a failure and calling enforcement of laws against casual marijuana use a waste of time and other valuable resources.

The organizations range from the Drug Policy Alliance, the Marijuana Policy Project, the ACLU, and NORML to Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition, Mothers Against Teen Violence, and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

Q: What are the chances for legislative reform in Texas?

A: For the first time, the a major reform coalition, Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, has come together in an impressive way, including hiring a lobbyist and having professional organizers working in Austin for much of the last year. More than 300 people gathered at the Capitol on February 18 to visit every legislative office and distribute materials supportive of reform — including a document, Marijuana Reform: Fears and Facts, that our program’s Alfred C. Glassell, III, Postdoctoral Fellow Katharine Neill and I prepared. Other smaller groups have followed up since.

Bills currently before the 2015 session of the Legislature include the needle-exchange bill I’ve already mentioned, several bills that would lower or remove criminal penalties for possession and use of small amounts of marijuana, and a comprehensive medical marijuana bill. On April 8, the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee will hear testimony on four such bills in a single session.

Reform has a better chance in initiative states such as Colorado and California, where voters can gather enough signatures to put issues the ballot. In Texas you have to convince legislators to draw up a bill and then move it through a complicated process, with possible roadblocks at every turn. But if other states relax their laws without falling into ruin, and people see pressure builds, and more people recognize multiple medical uses of cannabis and the financial benefits of lowered law enforcement costs and a legal marijuana industry, Texas will eventually come on board.

For this session, I think some form of decriminalization has the best chance, and perhaps a modest medical bill. Whatever happens, the wind is clearly shifting, and is finally at our backs.

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/local/gray-matters/article/Preaching-past-the-choir-6182391.php

Tennessee medical marijuana bill.

Admin; this bill from Tennessee was quietly developed and will be up for consideration to move forward in the next few days…

Bill aims to legalize use of cannabis oil by suffering Tennesseans

April 5th, 2015by Kate Belzin Local Regional NewsRead Time: 5 mins.

Kimberly Brown, right, with Brown’s German Shepherds, speaks as five-year-old Cora Vowell watches during a meeting to discuss the legalization of medical cannabis with Times Free Press editors and writers on April 1, 2015. Photo by Angela Lewis Foster/Times Free Press.

Conditions that could warrant cannabis use

Proposed legislation aims to give patients the ability to use cannabis oil if they have one of the six following “debilitating” conditions:
* Stage II-IV terminal cancer
* Parkinson’s disease
* Multiple sclerosis
* Intractable seizures diagnosed from epilepsy
* Huntington’s disease
* Crohn’s disease
* Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
* Any terminal health condition in which palliative use is recommended for end-of-life care
Source: House Bill 1284/Senate Bill 1248
APPROVED DELIVERY METHODS
* Vaporization or atomization
* Oils
* Ingestible gel caps
* Transdermal patches
Source: Source: House Bill 1284/Senate Bill 1248

Sporting a pale pink helmet and flanked by her faithful German shepherd, 5-year-old Cora Vowell looks ready to hop on a tricycle, or maybe go barreling headfirst into a backyard football game.

But Cora cannot ride her bike or play sports.The helmet is part of her everyday outfit, protecting her head against the nine to 12 seizures that batter her body each day. Her German shepherd, Hulk, is a therapy dog, trained to alert Cora’s parents when the seizures start.

Brought on by an accident more than a year ago, those seizures are a constant in the family’s life — so frequent that her mother, Melissa Vowell, doesn’t even break conversation as she swiftly reacts to one of her daughter’s brief episodes, holding her close until it passes.

But just because the Vowells have grown familiar with Cora’s epilepsy doesn’t mean they feel OK with it. They aren’t OK with her not knowing her ABCs. Or her steady intake of psychoactive drugs, which make her sleep through most of the school day but don’t do much to relieve her seizures. They want more options.

That’s why they are trying to bring momentum to one Tennessee group’s 11th-hour efforts this legislative session to make cannabis oil legal for treating conditions like epilepsy. Physicians have told the Vowells that the oil could minimize Cora’s seizures.

“It’s heartbreaking to have to tell your child that she can’t go play on the jungle gym or do karate like the other kids do,” Melissa Vowell said. “It’s just hard to explain to her, when she asks you to take the pain away every day.”

The bill, introduced and sponsored by Rep. Ryan Williams, R-Cookeville, and Sen. Steven Dickerson, R-Nashville, would allow marijuana to be grown, manufactured into medical products and sold to Tennesseans of all ages who suffer from a handful of debilitating medical conditions including epilepsy, terminal cancer and Parkinson’s disease.

The most recent draft of HB1284, which seeks to legalize medical cannabis.

The investment group pushing the legislation, called TennCanGrow LLC, was started late last year by Murfreesboro health care attorney Ted LaRoche.

“We see this could be life-changing for many people,” said LaRoche, who hopes to form a cannabis production company if the bill is passed. “It’s a business opportunity for us, which allows us to focus on what is reasonable and doable when it comes to getting legislation passed. But it’s a business that could help people.”

Dickerson, an anesthesiologist, said he felt comfortable carrying the legislation after seeing how the “science has accumulated” on the therapeutic properties of cannabis oil.

“The national dialogue has changed dramatically on this issue over the last several years,” Dickerson said.

SHIFTING ATTITUDES

Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah, sponsored a bill that passed last year permitting a pilot program that uses low-THC marijuana cultivated by Tennessee Technological University as a therapy for epileptic children.

That program has stalled so far. But for advocates, it signaled an openness to rethinking marijuana legislation.

Photo by Angela Lewis Foster/Times Free Press.

A Vanderbilt University poll in 2014 showed that 76 percent of Tennesseans are in favor of legalizing marijuana in some form, with 32 percent in favor of general legalization and 44 percent supporting only medicinal use.

Twenty-three states permit some kind of marijuana usage. Georgia passed a bill last week legalizing cannabis oil in medical treatment.

The wide spectrum of state legislation gives lawmakers a range of test cases to study, explained Erik Williams, a Colorado-based political consultant and medical marijuana activist brought in by TennCanGrow to direct the organization’s government affairs. He is unrelated to Rep. Ryan Williams.

“We see how things have been done well, and how things have been done poorly,” Erik Williams said. California, with its loose laws on dispensaries, is the prime example of what not to do, he said.

Dickerson and Ryan Williams say their bill lies on the strictest end of the spectrum, excluding recreational use and allowing only minimal levels of THC, the psychoactive agent that causes users to get high.

Tennessee companies that wish to sell cannabis would have to take on the entire operation — farming, production and distribution — to be licensed, and would have to install plant-to-sale tracking systems. Doctors would have to recommend patients to the Tennessee Department of Health, which would issue ID cards required at dispensaries. The cannabis would come in the form of gel tabs, a patch or oils.

Even without all the regulations, the advocates say that in comparison with prescription painkillers — heavily abused in Tennessee — marijuana is a far safer drug. And it could have far fewer side effects than medications epileptic patients now rely on, said Rita Moore, education services director for the Epilepsy Foundation of Southeast Tennessee.

“Those medicines can completely incapacitate them,” she said. Conversely, “the side effects of [medical marijuana] are very, very minimal.”

Ryan Williams says the strict language of the bill “eliminates one of biggest concerns, which is that medical cannabis is going to lead to a ‘pot culture.’

“Tennessee was never meant to be a Colorado, and I don’t want it to be,” he said.

Still, he and Dickerson say some critics believe such legislation would pave the way for outright decriminalization.

On the other side, advocates for legal marijuana have mixed responses. Some have celebrated the bill, while others say it is too narrow and benefits only special interest groups. Production companies would have to pay $50,000 with their license application, and the fact that licensees must oversee the entire seed-to-sale operation effectively excludes small, independent farmers, critics say.

“This bill has nothing to do with ending suffering,” said Steve Cooper, a Nashville-based medical marijuana advocate who runs a website called Tennessee Medical Marijuana Voter Initiatives. “It is all about some wealthy guys getting together, seeing the writing on the wall when it comes to what directions this country is moving in with decriminalizing marijuana, and trying to get in there on the ground floor to monopolize production.”

Cooper favors medical marijuana legislation repeatedly introduced by Democratic Rep. Sherry Jones, which has not made it out of committee this session. That bill, he said, is less stringent on which medical conditions warrant cannabis, and does not limit production to all-in-one operations.

Dickerson said getting criticism from both sides makes him think he has “landed in the sweet spot” for workable legislation.

But the bill’s outlook remains unclear. On Thursday, House Speaker Beth Harwell said she believed the bill needs more study and vetting, with input from the commissioner of public health.

The bill is scheduled to be discussed Wednesday in the House Health Committee and be presented in the Senate House and Welfare Committee.

Contact staff writer Kate Belz at kbelz@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6673.

http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2015/apr/05/bill-aims-legalize-use-cannabis-oil-suffering-tennesseans/297006/

New York medical marijuana inches forward.

Admin; Progress on medical marijuana for New York state.

 

New York Readies Restrictive Medical Marijuana Law

New bill caps number of dispensaries, limits eligible ailments and prohibits medicinal smoking

BY DANIEL KREPS March 30, 2015

MarijuanaNew York is inching forward on a medical marijuana bill that critics have called overly restrictive. Matthew Staver/Bloomberg/Getty

While states like Washington, Colorado and Alaska have enacted laws decriminalizing weed, New York is only now moving forward with a plan to legalize medical marijuana. However, when the lawmakers in Albany do finally sign off on the bill, the state’s Health Department has placed so many restrictions on medical marijuana that many of its potential patients won’t be able to get their hands on it. For those who do qualify, another odd restriction dictates that the medical marijuana can’t be smoked.

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Adam Eldinger

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The New York Times reports that the new bill would only allow for 20 medical dispensaries, run by five organizations, to be established throughout the state, which would handcuff accessibility for many potential patients. Only patients suffering from a shortlist of 10 “severe debilitating or life-threatening” conditions, ranging from multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease to ALS and AIDS, would be allowed to acquire medical marijuana.

The Health Department’s bill also defines “terminally ill” as patients with a “life expectancy of one year or less,” a restriction that would prevent the elderly from accessing the drug. Perhaps strangest of all, the law prohibits the smoking of medical marijuana. Instead, the drug will be administered as an “individual dose” of raw or concentrated “ingestible or sub-lingual” medical marijuana.

New York Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried, one of the politicians struggling to bring medical marijuana to the Empire State, criticized the Health Department’s provisions, telling the Times, “There are people from very, very young children to very elderly New Yorkers who are going to continue to suffer unnecessarily” because of “a long list of senseless burdensome restrictions on patients and organizations.”

New York’s Health Department defended their tight restrictions and the “safeguards” they’ve put in place, saying “the state developed the regulations through this very critical lens to ensure that the entire program would not be subject to enforcement action or legal challenge.”

If the measure passes, New York, which harbors one of the most severe stances on narcotics thanks to the state’s Rockefeller Drug Laws, would join 23 states in allowing the use of medical marijuana. Barring any setbacks, New York’s medical marijuana law should go into effect by 2016.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/new-york-readies-restrictive-medical-marijuana-law-20150330#ixzz3Vy0MXVFX
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Medical marijuana state #24?

Admin; State by state the medical marijuana acceptance grows to validate the medical marijuana validity…

 

How ‘marijuana refugees’ brought legal cannabis to Georgia
Republican Gov. Nathan Deal signed an executive order Friday to prepare for legislation that would make Georgia the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana.
By Patrik Jonsson, Staff writer  MARCH 27, 2015
David Goldman/APView Caption

 

http://images.csmonitor.com/csm/2015/03/dx153_647c_9.jpg?alias=standard_600x400

 

ATLANTA — Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal on Friday said he would sign into law a bill that would make the Peach State the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana, continuing the rapid expansion of cannabis into the Deep South and underscoring a dramatic shift in pot politics for social conservatives in the US.

With Governor Deal’s OK, the law will allow certified Georgia families to possess up to 20 ounces of nonintoxicating cannabidiol extract (CBD) for use in treating symptoms of eight health conditions, without fear of prosecution.

The law, dubbed “Haleigh’s Hope Act” after a child it will affect, could help as many as 500,000 Georgians, said Rep. Allan Peake, a Macon Republican who fought for the passage of what was only two years ago a long-shot gambit.

Recommended: How much do you know about marijuana? Take the quiz
Following on the heels of similar, but much narrower laws that passed last year in Florida, South Carolina, and Tennessee, Deal, a Republican, has said he’s mainly reaching out to 17 “marijuana refugee” families that moved from Georgia to Colorado in order to be able to legally obtain the substance to help with their children’s treatment.

But more broadly, the sight of Southern Republican governors such as Deal, Gov. Nikki Haley in South Carolina and Gov. Rick Scott in Florida signing even narrow medical marijuana laws highlights a rapidly shifting political landscape for conservative politicians, including potential Republican presidential candidates.

“This is tough for the Republican Party because it’s got this libertarian component that says that we should legalize, period, and then you’ve got social conservatives that oppose marijuana for health, paternalistic, or moral reasons,” says Rob Mikos, a Vanderbilt University political scientist who specializes in the nexus between federalism and drug policy. “Maybe some conservatives are seeing these CBD laws as a compromise that helps a small sub-set of the population but doesn’t open the floodgates.”

Just this week, Sen. Rand Paul, a likely presidential candidate, co-sponsored with Democrats a federal bill, the CARERS Act, which marks the first time a medical marijuana bill has been introduced in both houses of Congress.

It “could represent a turning point in the national debate about this much-maligned plant,” writes libertarian drug policy expert Jacob Sullum, on Forbes.

There have been other signs of philosophical shifts among top conservatives.

Last year, Sen. Ted Cruz railed against the decision by the Justice Department to continue to allow states to experiment with legal recreational marijuana. But earlier this month, Senator Cruz, who announced his presidential candidacy this week, took a different tack, saying federalism should allow for states to experiment with marijuana policy without fear of federal intervention.

At the same time, some legalization proponents say the CBD-only strategy by conservatives is a prohibitionist ruse, since the laws, most of which don’t provide a legal way for patients to actually obtain the extract, still leave legitimate users susceptible to felony prosecutions.

“What appeared at first to be movement within the GOP to buck the usual tone-deaf and compassionless ‘Just Say No’ policy of drug reform has actually turned out to be nothing more than another delay tactic of prohibitionists and a new strategy for Republicans to … appear compassionate while appeasing voters,” writes Tori LaChapelle for Ladybud, a women’s lifestyle site that advocates against marijuana prohibition.

Alternatively, analysts say the acceptance by states like Georgia of even a highly regulated, non-psychoactive medical marijuana protocol represents a deeper debate within the Republican Party over whether helping vulnerable Americans with health conditions will in turn lead to broader acceptance of legal recreational marijuana.

Indeed, on the same day the Georgia House approved “Haleigh’s Hope Act,” a North Carolina legislative committee voted without comment to kill a medical marijuana bill. To underscore the emotional nature of the issue, one of the opponents of the law, Rep. Dean Arp, was reportedly punched in the back by an activist shortly after the vote.

“Obviously the stories are heart-wrenching,” Representative Arp told WRAL, in Raleigh, after the hearing. Still, “I don’t think [medical marijuana] is appropriate.”

After the Georgia vote, however, Sebastian Cotte, who moved his family from Georgia to Colorado last summer so his son, Jagger, could legally receive CBD, disagreed with Arp’s sentiment.

The new law “is going to let us come home,” Mr. Cotte told WMAZ-TV in Macon.

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2015/0327/How-marijuana-refugees-brought-legal-cannabis-to-Georgia

Marijuana choice from Pediatrician’s perspective.

Admin; Excellent information, well balanced regarding pros and cons.  Well worth the read to educate yourself.

Alcohol or Marijuana? A Pediatrician Faces the Question

MARCH 16, 2015

Aaron E. Carroll

As my children, and my friends’ children, are getting older, a question that comes up again and again from friends is this: Which would I rather my children use — alcohol or marijuana?

The immediate answer, of course, is “neither.” But no parent accepts that. It’s assumed, and not incorrectly, that the vast majority of adolescents will try one or the other, especially when they go to college. So they press me further.

The easy answer is to demonize marijuana. It’s illegal, after all. Moreover, its potential downsides are well known. Scans show that marijuana use isassociated with potential changes in the brain. It’s associated with increases in the risk of psychosis. It may be associated with changes in lung function or long-term cancer risk, even though a growing body of evidence says that seems unlikely. It can harm memory, it’s associated with lower academic achievement, and its use is linked to less success later in life.

But these are all associations, not known causal pathways. It may be, for instance, that people predisposed to psychosis are more likely to use pot. We don’t know. Moreover, all of these potential dangers seem scary only when viewed in isolation. Put them next to alcohol, and everything looks different.

Photo

Andy Eidinger, chairman of the D.C. Cannabis Campaign, held a joint on Feb. 26, on the first full day of marijuana legalization in Washington.CreditRobert Macpherson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Because marijuana is illegal, the first thing I think about before answering is crime. In many states, being caught with marijuana is much worse than being caught with alcohol while underage. But ignoring the relationship between alcohol and crime is a big mistake. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence reports that alcohol use is a factor in 40 percent of all violent crimes in the United States, including 37 percent of rapes and 27 percent of aggravated assaults.

No such association has been found among marijuana users. Although there are studies that can link marijuana to crime, it’s almost all centered on its illegal distribution. People who are high are not committing violence.

People will argue that casual use isn’t the issue; it’s abuse that’s worrisome for crime. They’re right — but for alcohol. A recent study in Pediatricsinvestigated the factors associated with death in delinquent youth. Researchers found that about 19 percent of delinquent males and 11 percent of delinquent females had an alcohol use disorder. Further, they found that even five years after detention, those with an alcohol use disorder had a 4.7 times greater risk of death from external causes, like homicide, than those without an alcohol disorder.

When I’m debating my answer, I think about health as well. Once again, there’s no comparison. Binge drinking accounted for about half of the more than 80,000 alcohol-related deaths in the United States in 2010, according to a 2012 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The economic costs associated with excessive alcohol consumption in the United States were estimated to be about $225 billion. Binge drinking, defined as four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men on a single occasion, isn’t rare either. More than 17 percent of all people in the United States are binge drinkers, and more than 28 percent of people age 18 to 24.

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Binge drinking is more common among people with a household income of at least $75,000. This is a solid middle-class problem.

Marijuana, on the other hand, kills almost no one. The number of deaths attributed to marijuana use is pretty much zero. A study that tracked more than 45,000 Swedes for 15 years found no increase in mortality in those who used marijuana, after controlling for other factors. Another study published in the American Journal of Public Health followed more than 65,000 people in the United States and found that marijuana use had no effect at all on mortality in healthy men and women.

I think about which is more dangerous when driving. A 2013 case-control study found that marijuana use increased the odds of being in a fatal crash by 83 percent. But adding alcohol to drug use increased the odds of a fatal crash by more than 2,200 percent. A more recent study found that, after controlling for various factors, a detectable amount of THC, the active ingredient in pot, in the blood did not increase the risk of accidents at all. Having a blood alcohol level of at least 0.05 percent, though, increased the odds of being in a crash by 575 percent.

I think about which substance might put young people at risk for being hurt by others. That’s where things become even more stark. In 1995 alone,college students reported more than 460,000 alcohol-related incidents of violence in the United States. A 2011 prospective study found that mental and physical dating abuse were more common on drinking days among college students. On the other hand, a 2014 study looking at marijuana use and intimate partner violence in the first nine years of marriage found that those who used marijuana had lower rates of such violence. Indeed, the men who used marijuana the most were the least likely to commit violence against a partner.

Most people come out of college not dependent on the substances they experimented with there. But some do. So I also consider which of the two might lead to abuse. Even there, alcohol fares poorly compared with marijuana. While 9 percent of pot users eventually become dependent, more than 20 percent of alcohol users do.

An often-quoted, although hotly debated, study in the Lancet ranked many drugs according to their harm score, both to users and to others. Alcohol was clearly in the lead. One could make a case, though, that heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamine would be worse if they were legal and more commonly used. But it’s hard to see how pot could overtake alcohol even if it were universally legal. Use of marijuana is not rare, even now when it’s widely illegal to buy and use. It’s estimated that almost half of Americans age 18 to 20 have tried it at some point in their lives; more than a third of them have used it in the last year.

I also can’t ignore what I’ve seen as a pediatrician. I’ve seen young people brought to the emergency room because they’ve consumed too much alcohol and become poisoned. That happens thousands of times a year. Some even die.

And when my oldest child heads off to college in the not-too-distant future, this is what I will think of: Every year more than 1,800 college students die from alcohol-related accidents. About 600,000 are injured while under alcohol’s influence, almost 700,000 are assaulted, and almost 100,000 are sexually assaulted. About 400,000 have unprotected sex, and 100,000 are too drunk to know if they consented. The numbers for pot aren’t even in the same league.

I’m a pediatrician, as well as a parent. I can, I suppose, demand that my children, and those I care for in a clinic, never engage in risky behavior. But that doesn’t work. Many will still engage in sexual activity, for instance, no matter how much I preach about the risk of a sexually transmitted infection or pregnancy. Because of that, I have conversations about how to minimize risk by making informed choices. While no sex is preferable to unprotected sex, so is sex with a condom. Talking about the harm reduction from condom use doesn’t mean I’m telling them to have sex.

Similarly, none of these arguments I’ve presented are “pro pot” in the sense that I’m saying that adolescents should go use marijuana without worrying about consequences. There’s little question that marijuana carries with it risks to people who use it, as well as to the nation. The number of people who will be hurt from it, will hurt others because of it, begin to abuse it, and suffer negative consequences from it are certainly greater than zero. But looking only at those dangers, and refusing to grapple with them in the context of our society’s implicit consent for alcohol use in young adults, is irrational.

When someone asks me whether I’d rather my children use pot or alcohol, after sifting through all the studies and all the data, I still say “neither.” Usually, I say it more than once. But if I’m forced to make a choice, the answer is “marijuana.”

Aaron E. Carroll is a professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine. He blogs on health research and policy at The Incidental Economist, and you can follow him on Twitter at @aaronecarroll.

Medical marijuana and bipolar disorder.

Admin; What do you think about this study? A wrinkle in the study is that the participants tended to use cannabis more when feeling good and then had mixed results to report.  Are you bipolar and do you use cannabis and what are your reactions?

How Cannabis Affects Bipolar Disorder

By TRACI PEDERSEN Associate News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on March 15, 2015    ~ 1 min read

How Cannabis Affects Bipolar Disorder

Cannabis use is linked to an increase in both manic and depressive symptoms in people with bipolar disorder, according to a new study by Lancaster University.

The study is the first to examine the use of cannabis in the context of daily life among people with bipolar disorder. In the U.K., where the study took place, around two percent of the population suffers from bipolar disorder, with up to 60 percent of those using cannabis at some point in their lives.

Research in this area is limited, however, and reasons for this high level of use are unclear.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Tyler of the Spectrum Centre for Mental Health Research at Lancaster University led the study with Professor Steven Jones and colleagues from the University of Manchester, Professor Christine Barrowclough, Nancy Black, and Lesley-Anne Carter.

“One theory that is used to explain high levels of drug use is that people use cannabis to self-medicate their symptoms of bipolar disorder,” said Tyler.

For the study, the researchers evaluated people diagnosed with bipolar disorder who were not experiencing a depressive or manic episode during the six days the research was carried out. Each participant reported daily on their emotional state and drug use at several random points over a period of week. This enabled people to log their daily experiences in the moment before they forgot how they were feeling.

Here are a few comments from the daily reports:

  • “I do smoke a small amount to lift my mood and make myself slightly manic but it also lifts my mood and switches me into a different mind-set.”
  • “I do not use weed to manage depression as it can make it worse, making me anxious and paranoid.”
  • “I have found though that if I have smoked more excessively it can make me feel depressed for days afterwards.”

The researchers found that the odds of using cannabis increased when individuals were in a good mood. Cannabis use was also associated with an increase in positive mood, manic symptoms and paradoxically an increase in depressive symptoms, but not in the same individuals.

“The findings suggest that cannabis is not being used to self-medicate small changes in symptoms within the context of daily life. However, cannabis use itself may be associated with both positive and negative emotional states. We need to find out whether these relationships play out in the longer term as this may have an impact on a person’s course of bipolar disorder,” said Tyler.

The study is published in the journal PLOS ONE.

Source: Lancaster University

http://psychcentral.com/news/2015/03/15/how-cannabis-affects-bipolar-disorder/82314.html