Greetings From New Jersey, Now The 15th State To Go Green

By Stu Zakim

After a long rollercoaster rider, which saw the Cannabis legislation in New Jersey go through many iterations, this past Monday, it finally became legal.  The Garden State now stands in a unique position of being the epicenter of legal Adult Use and medical Cannabis on the East Coast.  The bigger question is can the current infrastructure manage what will surely be a significant increase in consumers purchasing legal Cannabis without minimizing the importance of keeping the state’s over 100 thousand medical patients fully supplied with the medicine they need to manage their lives in a healthier way than opiates.

Stu Zakim and NORML:’s Keith Stroup

In most of the states where the voters or legislators have approved laws that make Cannabis use legal, there has been a major hit on the medical patients.  New Jersey, in learning from the other states, have addressed a number of issues to avoid making the same mistakes.  They need to be applauded for their focus on the patients rather than the Adult use consumer as it’s all about how the plant makes life better for all.

Besides the celebration of the approval of the bill and Governor Murphy’s signing of it, the new bill will finally deal with the long term impacts of social injustice and equity that have affected communities of brown, black and Latino’s.  No longer can the police arrest someone if they smell of Cannabis or alcohol based on that fact; there are other long needed corrections to how the police deal with underage and Adult use Cannabis in place thanks to the concerted efforts of industry leaders like Leo Bridgewater, Ed Devereux, Scott Rudder, William Caruso, Susanna Short, Happy Munkey and others.

Curved Papers founder Michael O’Malley and Stu Zakim at the 2018 NYC Cannabis Parade

From a financial perspective, New Jersey is situated between two of the most populous areas in the I-95 corridor on Amtrak – NYC and Philadelphia – and should reap those rewards as it expands its medical program and moves towards awarding more licenses before moving on the Adult Use dispensaries.

As a communications strategist who has spent 8 years preparing for this moment on the East Coast, validates all the principals my friend David Rheins created with his forward thinking Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) and their many media properties (including MJNews Network and Marijuana Channel One used to help influence public opinion through educational programs long before others joined that space.

As the legalization process moves forward in NJ and hopefully NYC, please check MJNews for regular updates.  It’s going to be an exciting time and thanks for reading.

Set The Truth Free – Cannabis Science Now!

By Vivian McPeak

WASHINGTON: Before cannabis was prohibited in the early 20th century, it was one of the most widely prescribed botanical medicines in the pharmacopeia. Its safety has been supported by the fact that humans have used it therapeutically for thousands of years. Not content with just prohibiting the sale, manufacture, & use of cannabis, the United States government has also prevented scientific research from being conducted on any promising aspects of cannabis for many decades.

Despite prohibitionist restrictions, some science has taken place albeit primarily via the National Institute on Drug Abuse, where research is limited to harmful effects of the drug on the brain and body. Despite this research bias, there is still a large body of work supporting that cannabis has significant therapeutic potential. Research bias in the United States has prevented many people from receiving the benefit of reduced suffering in untreatable disease as well as the potential for actual treatment for a wide range of diseases.

Relief delayed and obstructed?

In America and beyond, there are many children and adults suffering from a host of neurological, autoimmune and degenerative diseases such as autism spectrum, epilepsies, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Crohn’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Conventional medicine and pharmaceutical products have little to offer these patients while cannabis has the potential to provide effective treatment and/or relief. This year the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) said in a new position statement that cannabis “may be useful in treating some illnesses of the brain and nervous system” and called on the federal government to allow research to happen.

Both child and adult athletes often suffer traumatic injuries to the head and brain. Cannabinoids are the only compounds that have been identified as potential neuro-protectant and anti-inflammatory agents. They have shown potential in animal models that mimic traumatic brain injury for preventing further damage and accelerating healing, and even grow new brain cells.

An average of 22 U.S. veterans commit suicide each and every day. Cannabis, as a whole plant medicine, has shown potential in treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), pain, and depression, all common disorders veterans experience after discharge. Soldiers suffering from combat related injuries all over the world could benefit from cannabis as medicine.

A Cannabis Use Survey has revealed that anxiety and depression are third in the list of conditions for which patients self-treat with cannabis in Washington State. In fact, one in 10 Americans now takes an antidepressant medication, some of which have shown potential catastrophic side effects. Cannabis is safe and non-toxic, and has promise in treating both anxiety and depression without intolerable side-effects.

America’s baby boomers are aging, and ground breaking research in Israel, where scientific study on cannabis is allowed, indicates that cannabis has great promise in the treatment of dementia. Israel’s ministry of health licensed 10,000 patients to use cannabis medicinally and has sanctioned more than a dozen studies to treat dementia as well as illnesses like Crohn’s disease, PTSD, pain, and even cancer.

Much of American research is focused on cost-prohibitive, potentially addictive, pharmaceutical drugs that have unknown long-term effects. Nearly seven out of 10 Americans were prescribed at least one drug in 2009, and half were given two or more, according to new research from the Mayo Clinic. Prescription medicine has progressed at unprecedented levels, while consumers are trending back toward natural and botanical medicines, such as cannabis.

Sixty percent of the 38,329 people who died of a drug overdose in the U.S. in 2010 died taking prescription drugs. Three out of four of those deaths were caused by opioid analgesics, according to estimates from the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). The CDC estimates that 15,000 people die every year in this country from overdoses involving opioid or narcotic pain relievers alone, although that number is likely higher.

Cannabis is known to work wonderfully for pain management. Additionally cannabis has never killed a single person from overdose or toxic reaction, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. In the 13 states that passed laws allowing for the use of medical marijuana between 1999 and 2010, 25 percent fewer people die from opioid overdoses annually.

Science lags behind public awareness

In 1999, the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine (IOM) reported, “Nausea, appetite loss, pain, and anxiety are all afflictions of wasting, and all can be mitigated by marijuana.” It is impossible to truly gauge how much needless suffering may have been prevented if scientific study of cannabis would have been allowed these last decades. Scientific prohibition has likely cost many lives, as well as quality of life, by thwarting scientific advancement on several fronts.

In January of 2014 President Obama publicly declared that cannabis is no more dangerous than alcohol. In a historic recent development, Congress has prevented federal intervention in states that have legalized medical cannabis.

A clear majority of Americans support legalizing medical marijuana. Now that things are changing dramatically in public policy, it is time to the set the truth free.

It is now time for the DEA to de-schedule cannabis once and for all so the plant can legitimately join the American Herbal Pharmacopeia with its botanical counterparts. This move would enable clinical trials of locally-accessed products, not just government-grown pot. How has Israel advanced light years ahead of the United States when it comes to cannabis research? How can we miss this opportunity for a homegrown, American-made, sustainable industry that could do public good while revitalizing our stumbling economy?

Hemp is on the way

But that’s not all. In addition to the medicinal research of cannabis that needs to take place there is also the gargantuan economic and environmental potential offered by the domestic production of industrial hemp. Cannabis prohibition has also prevented innovation and advancement in the U.S. industrial hemp industry merely because hemp looks like intoxicating “marijuana.”

The potential that hempcrete, hemp bio-composites, hemp fiber board, hemp seed oil, hemp foods, textiles, paper, and other industrial, environmental and agricultural applications that the cannabis genus offers are almost incalculable. Research and development must take place in the industrial hemp industries as well, particularly so that America can catch up to the other developed countries that possess the varieties that meet current, and in many cases, sophisticated market demands. And hemp is the future in ways we never imagined! There have been amazing discoveries in the last year that hemp cellulose is superior to graphene and ideal for 3D-printing, super-capacitors and nanotechnology.

America is already the largest importer of industrial hemp products in the entire world, importing over $58 million in 2013/2014, and importing 90% of all hemp seed grain and oil being harvested and produced in Canada. Industrial hemp is literally a biospheric sponge, soaking up and converting carbon dioxide, while its long tap roots help maintain moisture and are phenomenal erosion controllers. However, industrial hemp continues to be lumped in with intoxicating “marijuana” by the federal government, impeding research and development, while industrial hemp could potentially produce as many new jobs as The New Deal.

Historic federal legislation was signed into law in early 2014 that allows for research and pilot plots in states where hemp is legal, and subsequent law was passed precluding federal intervention in legal hemp states acting in accordance with the federal research and pilot plot requirements. Yet only two states have thus far taken advantage of this right, and Washington isn’t one of them.

Final note

Finally, with recreational retail outlets opening up in at least four states it is even more important for critical health and safety research to take place concerning cannabis and its use. Public safety demands it.

It is time for the DEA or Congress to de-schedule cannabis entirely (just like alcohol and tobacco, both of which are known killers) and treat it like other botanical medicines by allowing the scientific community to examine the cannabis plant in every way possible. Fear of knowledge is an anathema to the American way, and an impediment to compassionate, informed public health, economic and social policy. How can a government that is afraid of the truth govern in the best interests of its citizenry?

Lastly, as a biotech state with progressive marijuana policies, Washington could benefit from research funding if government obstacles were not in impeding of research.

It is time to let the truth free. We need cannabis science, now!

 

– By Vivian McPeak, Dr. Michelle Sexton, Dr. Michele Ross, Joy Beckerman

Oklahomans Rally For Medical Marijuana Initiative

OKLAHOMA: Oklahomans pushing for a stronger medical marijuana initiative rallied at the State Capitol on Saturday.

Organizers said although they made some strides in the past year, it’s still not enough for patients who they said really need help.

All smiles now, little Jaqie Warrior looks like any happy two-year-old. But it hasn’t always been this way.

“She can hold her head up she can hold things now she had lost all of her development, my baby was on the brink of death every day,” said Brittany Hardy Warrior.

 

No Plans In Works For Medical Marijuana Vote In North Dakota

NORTH DAKOTA:   The chairman of the last attempt to get marijuana legalized for medical use in North Dakota says he can’t get fired up about leading another effort anytime soon, even as the debate promises to light up the Minnesota Legislature in February.

Rep. Steve Zaiser, a Democrat who represents Fargo’s District 21, said he has no intent to push a vote on the issues again after the 2012 attempt, which ended when it turned out some of the petitions for the medical marijuana initiative and other proposed ballot measures included faked signatures.

“That was an exhausting – frustrating as well – experience,” Zaiser said.

Other members of the sponsoring committee, including John Helgeland and Brandon Wald of Fargo, have heard no rumblings about renewed attempts to get the medical marijuana issue back in front of voters. But at least one man is ready to jump into the fray again. [Read more…]

Creating The Cures

By Tawnee Cowan

WASHINGTON: Dawn Darington is a woman on a mission. Dawn is desperately seeking the cure for cancer using cannabis, and at the same time reaching out to teach all of us in the community how to heal ourselves and others. Dawn is known to say, “Education is key.”

Some time ago a patient found himself seeking Dawn because he had no other hope. He was a patient in Spokane and he had been fighting colon cancer. Treatment had ravaged his body completely and the doctors had advised him to get his affairs in order. Dawn immediately started him on oil and after 13 months of treatment on the oil, he just got the news that he is cancer free. [Read more…]

Creating The Cures

By Tawnee Cowan

WASHINGTON: Dawn Darington is a woman on a mission. Dawn is desperately seeking the cure for cancer using cannabis, and at the same time reaching out to teach all of us in the community how to heal ourselves and others. Dawn is known to say, “Education is key.”

Some time ago a patient found himself seeking Dawn because he had no other hope. He was a patient in Spokane and he had been fighting colon cancer. Treatment had ravaged his body completely and the doctors had advised him to get his affairs in order. Dawn immediately started him on oil and after 13 months of treatment on the oil, he just got the news that he is cancer free. [Read more…]

Florida Medical Marijuana Supporters Hold Another Day Of Action

FLORIDA:  Medical marijuana supporters are planning to be out in force this weekend.

Those pushing to place a constitutional amendment on the 2014 ballot have planned their second “Day of Action” on Saturday. It’s part of an ongoing effort to gather the nearly 700,000 signatures needed to put the amendment before voters.

United for Care plans to set up locations in 14 different cities, including Jacksonville, where volunteers can pick up and drop off petition forms.

Last week, organizers said they gathered close to 100,000 petitions. But supporters want to get additional signatures since it’s likely some of the petitions will be invalid. Petitions must be signed by registered voters.

In order to make the ballot the state Supreme Court must also approve the language that will go on the ballot.

Florida Medical Marijuana Supporters Hold Another Day Of Action

FLORIDA:  Medical marijuana supporters are planning to be out in force this weekend.

Those pushing to place a constitutional amendment on the 2014 ballot have planned their second “Day of Action” on Saturday. It’s part of an ongoing effort to gather the nearly 700,000 signatures needed to put the amendment before voters.

United for Care plans to set up locations in 14 different cities, including Jacksonville, where volunteers can pick up and drop off petition forms.

Last week, organizers said they gathered close to 100,000 petitions. But supporters want to get additional signatures since it’s likely some of the petitions will be invalid. Petitions must be signed by registered voters.

In order to make the ballot the state Supreme Court must also approve the language that will go on the ballot.

What Can Utah Lawmakers Learn From Michigan's Medical Marijuana Program?

UTAH: In a continued effort to inform and educate Utah lawmakers about the many benefits of cannabis, grassroots organization UtahCARE – Cannabis Awareness, Respect and Education – will kick off the 2014 Utah Legislative Session with a new campaign entitled “Educate in order to Medicate.” [Read more…]

What Can Utah Lawmakers Learn From Michigan's Medical Marijuana Program?

UTAH: In a continued effort to inform and educate Utah lawmakers about the many benefits of cannabis, grassroots organization UtahCARE – Cannabis Awareness, Respect and Education – will kick off the 2014 Utah Legislative Session with a new campaign entitled “Educate in order to Medicate.” [Read more…]