Monday, February 29, 2016

California Voters Are Saying ‘Yes’ to Legalized Pot

by John Geluardi
Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 11:20 AM

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The public’s perception of marijuana has steadily changed over the past twenty years, and a new poll in California shows that trend is continuing. People most likely to vote in California’s November 2016 elections say they are supportive of legalizing marijuana for recreational use.
 
The new poll conducted by Probolsky Research is a further indication that legalization may be at hand. Nearly 60 percent of likely voters support marijuana legalization. Those kind of numbers should dramatically shift the debate around legalization in California and the nation. State Democrats were the largest supporters of legalization — 69.4 percent — which is a supermajority, while a majority of Republicans still oppose legalization — 57.8 percent.
 

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Weed for Votes

by John Geluardi
Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 12:45 PM

If you want to inspire voters, perhaps the best way is to be straight to the point — and that’s why marijuana legalization activist set up a table across from the San Jose City Hall last Friday and gave away up to 2,000 free grams of pot.  

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Well, the nonprofit Weed4Votes didn’t actually give away weed, but organizers did give away vouchers to adults who offered their contact information and were willing to listen to a short spiel about two proposed measures to legalize marijuana for recreational use, which will be on the California ballot in November. There was no requirement to sign any petitions, and according to the organizer, Dave Hodges, participating medical marijuana dispensaries will redeem the vouchers after Election Day provided voters legalize marijuana for recreational use.

And that was just the first Weed4Votes event. Hodges has promised to give away 10,000 pounds of marijuana through three separate campaign programs. One program, Weed4Donations, will match any contributions to any pro-legalization political action committee or nonprofit with weed. Those who can verify they contributed to the cause will receive a certificate redeemable after Election Day.

“California needs your help to make legalization in your state a reality and I want to give you free marijuana for your support,” Hodges said.
 

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Thursday, February 18, 2016

America's Best Retail Look Might Be This Arizona Hash Bar

by David Downs
Thu, Feb 18, 2016 at 1:16 PM

An award for the best-looking retail space in America may go to a pot club this year — a sign of increased sophistication in the $5 billion economic sector.

National cannabis retail designer Megan Stone is a finalist for the coveted 23rd Annual Association for Retail Environments Design Awards Competition — for her hash bar at the TruMed dispensary in Phoenix. Arizona has dozens of state-licensed dispensaries.


Megan Stone and the TruMed extract bar. - THE HIGH ROAD DESIGN
  • The High Road Design
  • Megan Stone and the TruMed extract bar.



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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Pot Patients Are Diverse and Satisfied, Huge Survey Finds

by David Downs
Wed, Feb 17, 2016 at 9:52 AM

Medical pot patients are anything but stereotypical and are generally very satisfied with the botanical drug for a wide variety of reasons, new survey results indicate. The doctor-recommendation app HelloMD polled 17,000 patients in January, and got 1,400 respondents in seven days. While the new study’s generalizability is limited, the large, comprehensive survey shines some critical light on what’s going on and adds to the woefully thin public health literature on medical cannabis.

“… the prevailing perception of a medical marijuana patient is that of a masquerading recreational user (a stoner). … our research and analysis show a much larger portion be genuinely seeking an alternative to traditional medication for improved health and wellness. … 78% of those using cannabis for health and wellness are above the age of 25. … these people are highly educated working professionals. Many are parents. They could be your friends, your colleagues, or your neighbors. All of them have legitimate health issues.”



As one survey respondent wrote: “Without cannabis I would not be able to sleep at night peacefully, my migraines would overwhelm my daily life, and I would not be able to function.”

HelloMD enables online medical consultations for marijuana recommendations, as well as treatment information and advice.

Common Indications, Effective Medication
HelloMD found the most common indications for medical marijuana included chronic pain, anxiety, stress, and insomnia.

HELLOMD
  • HelloMD


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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

FDA Threatens More Hemp Oil Hustlers Like 'Morgue Juice' with Seizure, Injunctions

by David Downs
Tue, Feb 16, 2016 at 10:11 AM

Online peddlers of hemp-based cure-alls got another round of warning letters from the Food and Drug Administration earlier this month, the latest in federal efforts to push back on post-modern snake oil salesmen. In letters dated February 4, the FDA warned eight online hemp oil sellers — ABC Productions; Dose of Nature; Green Garden Gold; HealthyHempOil.com; Michigan Herbal Remedies; Morguetorium, LLC; PainBomb; and Sana Te — that they face product seizures and injunctions for selling what amounts to drugs, and not dietary supplements, as the peddlers claim.

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These companies bait parents of terminally sick kids and cancer patients with promises of “100% percent legal oils” rich in cannabidiol (CBD) — the second most common active ingredient in cannabis. The FDA states that CBD is considered a federally illegal drug that is not approved for any human use — except in the rare case of a drug trial, such as that of Epidiolex at UC San Francisco.

For example Morguetorium, LLC marketed their product “Morgue Juice” by saying: “CBD kills breast cancer. … [and] could treat aggressive forms of cancer without any of the painful side effects of chemotherapy”.

There’s no evidence to support such a conclusion, according to leading oncologists who sometimes recommend medical cannabis. (Cell and animal studies as well as human reports show CBD-rich medications could help calm intractable seizures, among other uses.)


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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Tommy Chong Speaks On: Celebrity Weed Brands; Endorsing Bernie Sanders; Voting for AUMA; And The Purpose of Life

by David Downs
Tue, Feb 9, 2016 at 10:14 AM

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Comedian, actor, and cultural icon Tommy Chong returns to the Bay Area this weekend for the International Cannabis Business Conference. The entertainer and elder statesman of pot is releasing Chong’s Choice — a line of flower buds, available now in Washington state.

The 77-year-old is healing after a second surgery for cancer, and in our recent interview, he discussed the road to market for Chong’s Choice, his endorsement of Bernie Sanders, and his view on legalization in California. I talked to Chong by phone, and he spoke eloquently and swiftly, deftly moving from topic to topic and dropping zen-like little insights while preaching a message of tolerance, common sense, relaxation, and hydration.

Here’s some zen hits from the Chong.

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Monday, February 8, 2016

Oakland May Green-Light Eight New Pot Clubs a Year

City staffers are seeking to lift Oakland’s cap on dispensaries and to license vapor lounges, commercial gardens, hash-makers, kitchens, and labs.

by David Downs
Mon, Feb 8, 2016 at 5:06 PM

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Oakland stands poised to dominate California’s new era of regulated medical cannabis. The Oakland City Council could green-light up to eight new medical cannabis dispensaries per year, as well approve dozens of related licenses for cultivation, testing, edibles, and pot extracts at its meeting on Tuesday, February 16.

Under the sweeping plan pushed by staffers in Mayor Libby Schaaf’s administration, Oakland would also issue new licenses for delivery-only dispensaries, transportation services, lounges, and analytical labs. The plan also likely will produce millions of dollars in new tax revenue for the city; would increase safety by reducing the need for a black market for medical pot; would add more local jobs; and would produce safer medical cannabis supplies on a smaller carbon footprint, according to city staffers. The plan is scheduled to go before the council’s Public Safety Committee on Tuesday night, February 9.

Many in the industry cheered the plan on Monday. “It’s long overdue,” said Dale Sky Jones, chancellor of Oaksterdam University in the city’s Uptown district. “But I trust Oakland to continue to be the leader.”

“Oakland’s always been at the forefront of the legal cannabis movement,” said BLUM dispensary Executive Director Salwa Ibrahim. “It’s only appropriate the city continue to expand its legislation in ways that allow our industry room to thrive, innovate, and compete with the rest of the country.”


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Friday, February 5, 2016

Gov. Brown Announces First-Ever California Medical Marijuana Bureau Chief — A Republican

by David Downs
Fri, Feb 5, 2016 at 11:56 AM

Californians, meet your first-ever Medical Marijuana Regulation chief — Lori Ajax.

Lori Ajax.
  • Lori Ajax.
Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown announced that Ajax — currently the chief deputy director of the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) — will head up the new Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation. As chief of the BMMR, Ajax will oversee the implementation and administration of California’s first-ever, seed-to-sale regulations on medical cannabis. Ajax’s appointment is subject to confirmation by the state Senate.

The Governor’s Office announced Ajax's appointment Thursday, stating:
“Lori Ajax, 50, of Fair Oaks, has been appointed chief of the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation at the California Department of Consumer Affairs. Ajax has been chief deputy director at the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control since 2014, where she has served in several positions since 1995, including deputy division chief, supervising agent in charge and supervising agent. She is a member of the National Liquor Law Enforcement Association and the St. Sava Mission Foundation. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $150,636. Ajax is a Republican.”
Cannabis industry reactions were enthusiastic, as a bureau chief is essential to making regulations work:

“We are excited to have an appointee so early in the year. Answers to a lot of outstanding regulatory questions depend on a functioning bureau,” stated Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association. “Having a bureau chief is a critical next step on this process.

“Our members want to see a functioning bureau as soon as possible," Allen continued. "We are encouraged by Lori’s experience with state bureaucracy and familiarity with rural counties. This skill set should prove valuable as the state works to create a Bureau capable of protecting public safety and patients while ensuring level playing for licensees of all sizes in all communities around the state.” 

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Anti-Tobacco Forces Target Legal Pot Use

by David Downs
Wed, Feb 3, 2016 at 2:06 PM

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Californians who support ending pot prohibition are not only facing swing voters, conservatives, and stoners against legalization this year, but they now also find themselves up against anti-tobacco officials, who aired their issues with the state's leading initiatives yesterday.

In a new paper, researchers at UC San Francisco argue for Orwellian-style pot legalization: legal, but subject to unprecedented restrictions; and a multibillion-dollar propaganda campaign to stigmatize the herb and its users. 

Legalization advocates said they support more reasonable, science-based restrictions on legal cannabis, as well as more research and public health outreach.


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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

California Doctors Endorse Leading Legalization Initiative

by David Downs
Tue, Feb 2, 2016 at 10:19 AM

California’s leading physician organization, the California Medical Association (CMA) has announced its formal endorsement of the state’s leading ballot initiative to tax and regulate adult cannabis use — dubbed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. It's one of the biggest endorsements of AUMA so far.

Ending failed cannabis prohibition and regulating the botanical drug allows for greater medical breakthroughs, medical pot patient care, and quality control, the CMA stated.

The endorsement from the group of 41,000 doctors doesn’t mean they encourage pot use or smoking the drug.

But taxing and regulating the billion dollar cannabis industry benefits public health through better monitoring and research, which can inform further health policy adjustments. With cannabis illegal, none of that happens. More than half of Californians have tried pot, and an estimated one in twenty California adults have used it medicinally. 

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