Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Ten Things California Marijuana Growers Should Know Before They Grow in 2015

by David Downs
Tue, Apr 7, 2015 at 10:18 AM

The California drought has thrown cannabis cultivation practices into the spotlight, and the state has begun a historic effort to work with growers on best-practices and fine bad actors who steal water and foul streams.

Part of that effort is education, and the State Water Board is posting a series of new pamphlets, brochures, fact sheets, and guidelines covering everything from hillside grading to pesticide use.

As the spring planting season picks up, here are ten things California cannabis growers need to know:

Solid waste fouls a private property used for cannabis cultivation. - STATE WATER BOARD
  • State Water Board
  • Solid waste fouls a private property used for cannabis cultivation.



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Friday, April 3, 2015

Updated: War on California Medical Marijuana Will Continue, Justice Department Says

by David Downs
Fri, Apr 3, 2015 at 10:30 AM

California’s multi-billion medical cannabis industry will remain in the crosshairs of federal prosecutors, despite direction from Congress to cease interfering with state medical pot systems.

In December, the US Congress passed and the president signed a historic amendment that de-funded the Department of Justice’s war on medical pot. Medical marijuana is legal in 23 states, yet the Obama Administration had spent an estimated $300 million enforcing the marijuana provisions of federal Controlled Substances Act.

After three months reviewing the amendment, the DOJ told the Los Angeles Times this week that “it did not believe the amendment applies to cases against individuals or organizations.”

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Obama Commutes Sentence of Prisoner Serving Life for Pot

by David Downs
Wed, Apr 1, 2015 at 10:33 AM

On Tuesday, President Obama commuted the sentences of 22 drug offenders, including that of Francis Darrell Hayden, who was serving life for growing marijuana.

The commutations are part of a larger effort aimed at more fair sentencing in the United States. “As the Department of Justice has noted, mandatory minimum sentences have at times resulted in harsher penalties for non-violent drug offenders than many violent offenders and are not necessary for prosecutions at this level,” the White House states.

Hayden received life in prison for his involvement in the cultivation of an estimated 18,900 plants grown among rows of corn in Indiana and Michigan between 1991 and 1998. It was Hayden’s third conviction after pot offenses in 1980 and 1990.  Hayden’s was the lone pot sentence commutation among the batch, which mostly dealt with commutation of sentences for cocaine and cocaine base.

 
Francis Hayden (center) — a pot lifer — will be released in July under a sentence commutation signed by President Obama Tuesday. - VIA FACEBOOK
  • via Facebook
  • Francis Hayden (center) — a pot lifer — will be released in July under a sentence commutation signed by President Obama Tuesday.


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Friday, March 27, 2015

Colorado Smashes Nebraska and Oklahoma’s Legalization Challenge

by David Downs
Fri, Mar 27, 2015 at 5:59 PM

The Attorney Generals of Nebraska and Oklahoma are going to lose their hypocritical and ill-advised lawsuit to shut down Colorado marijuana legalization.

And when the U. Supreme Court declines to accept the case — or officially dismisses it — it’s going to blow back in prohibitionists’ faces and quicken marijuana law reform efforts nationally and internationally.

That much is apparent after reading the Colorado Attorney General’s Office’s official response today to the legal challenge from their neighbors. It’s clear Oklahoma and Nebraska are grasping at thin air in their lawsuit, and the Colorado AG cuts their arms off.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Medical Cannabis Faces Double Standard for Safety, Efficacy Compared to Prescription Pills

by David Downs
Wed, Mar 25, 2015 at 2:44 PM

Medical cannabis faces a double standard for safety and efficacy compared to prescription pharmaceuticals.

The most recent illustration of that fact is a story from the Wall Street Journal, which reported this week that at least a third of children with previously untreatable epilepsy got better on extracts of cannabis - a non-toxic botanical.

Of 75 children who took cannabidiol (CBD), the second most common active molecule in cannabis, “33% of them had their seizures drop by half,” the Journal reported.

In a study funded by GW Pharmaceuticals — makers of cannabis extract Epidiolex — 40 percent of patients saw seizures decline by more than half and 10 percent became "seizure-free.”

A CBD-rich tincture faces a cultural double standard for safety and efficacy compared to much more powerful, and dangerous prescription medications for epilepsy. - DAVID DOWNS
  • David Downs
  • A CBD-rich tincture faces a cultural double standard for safety and efficacy compared to much more powerful, and dangerous prescription medications for epilepsy.
Marijuana — a federally illegal schedule 1 drug with allegedly “no medical use” — temporarily cured one in ten seizure suffers. That sounds like a miracle drug, considering epilepsy is thought to have no cure.

Instead, the Journal focuses on the kids for whom CBD does not help. In the study of 75 children, 44 percent experienced ‘adverse effects’ sometimes including increased seizures.

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Santa Cruz Bans Commercial Medical Pot Farming

by David Downs
Wed, Mar 25, 2015 at 10:31 AM

The party is over in Santa Cruz.

The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors did an abrupt about-face and reversed the county's lenient policy toward non-personal medical cannabis cultivation last night — banning all of it.


Commercial cannabis cultivators earned the ire of local officials in Santa Cruz with neighborhood impacts like odor, environmental damage, traffic, security measures like dogs, lights and fences, and just generally being bad neighbors, according to county staff reports. - DAVID DOWNS
  • David Downs
  • Commercial cannabis cultivators earned the ire of local officials in Santa Cruz with neighborhood impacts like odor, environmental damage, traffic, security measures like dogs, lights and fences, and just generally being bad neighbors, according to county staff reports.


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Friday, March 20, 2015

Study: Suspending Teens For Pot Increases Use

by David Downs
Fri, Mar 20, 2015 at 12:04 PM

School administrators who suspend children for marijuana violations actually increase the likelihood the kid will use the drug, a new study finds.

teen_smoking_pot.jpg
The American Journal of Public Health published a study this week that startled its own researchers. Those researchers found students attending schools with suspension policies for illicit drug use were 1.6 times more likely to use pot in the next year, compared to their peers at schools who kept kids in class and counseled them about drugs.
 
"That was surprising to us," stated co-author Richard Catalano, professor of social work and co-founder of the Social Development Research Group at the University of Washington’s School of Social Work. "It means that suspensions are certainly not having a deterrent effect. It's just the opposite."

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Senator Boxer Joins Bill to End Federal War on Medical Marijuana

by David Downs
Thu, Mar 19, 2015 at 11:11 AM

California Senator Barbara Boxer has signed on as a major co-sponsor to curtail the federal war on medical marijuana.

Earlier this week, Boxer decided to become a co-sponsor of the CARERS Act — a bill by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Rand Paul (R-KY) that seeks to downgrade pot on the federal government’s official list of dangerous drugs; ease cannabis industry banking woes; and reform the government's biased pot research mission. Under the legislation, doctors working for the Department of Veterans Affairs could also recommend it for certain conditions.

While fellow California Senator Dianne Feinstein has been a drug war hawk and has focused on increasing penalties for marijuana activity, Boxer has generally been a supporter of medical cannabis law.

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Friday, March 13, 2015

Five Tips for Buying Marijuana-Infused Food

by David Downs
Fri, Mar 13, 2015 at 10:12 AM

Stanford law professors Rob MacCoun and Michelle Mello write in a new article in the New England Journal of Medicine that marijuana edibles — which look like snacks and are often highly potent — lack appropriate regulations in medical and recreational marijuana states.

Due to poor packaging and labeling, it’s way too easy to over-consume THC — the main active ingredient in marijuana, they find. The products also evoke the legal definition of “attractive nuisance” with packages that seemingly go out of their way to look enticing to children.

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Watch Biased Cannabis Science and Media in Action

by David Downs
Thu, Mar 12, 2015 at 11:40 AM

In February we detailed how cannabis research is institutionally biased and broadly misinterpreted by the media. Today we get an illustration of that vicious cycle.

TIMEFOX, and ScienceDaily are reporting on a new study, using headlines such as "Teen Pot Smokers Have More Memory Damage" and "Teen cannabis users have poor long-term memory in adulthood."

But the study in no way warrants jumping to those conclusions. The researchers clearly state that this apparent pothead-brain shape correlation does not equal causation, and the role could be reversed.

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