Wednesday, May 27, 2015

WW: 420-friendly hotel; weed smoke and fart nuisances; weed don'ts

Posted By on Wed, May 27, 2015 at 1:57 PM

Welcome back to Weed Wednesday, your weekly dose of pot news. Wondering what this is about? Click. Looking for our previous marijuana coverage? Click. Got a question or tip? Email me at [email protected]

In Denver, a 420-friendly hotel has opened up to cater to visitors who want to enjoy the state’s marijuana, reports The Cannabist. The lack of places for visitors to smoke marijuana has plagued the newly legal marijuana industries in Washington and Colorado, and its owners have balconies that allow guests to light up, along with other amenities.

Don’t give your students pot brownies.

Don’t put synthetic marijuana on the cops’ pizza.

Don’t sell pot on the Internet.

Maybe marijuana doesn’t help people commit crimes after all. 

In Massachusetts, a report issued by a state health agency suggests that medical marijuana is contributing to opioid addictions. Medical marijuana supporters are contesting the finding.

Speaking of Massachusetts, you can be fired for using medical marijuana, which is the case in other states.

The PBS NewsHour has a look at efforts to legally challenge Colorado’s pot laws.

It’ll be legal to possess marijuana in Oregon beginning July 1. The Eastern Oregon city of Pendleton has updated its nuisance code to include pot smoke. A letter from a reader of the East Oregonian says it makes sense to ban farts next.

Half of Seattle’s medical marijuana dispensaries will likely be shut down as a result of a new state law.

An appeals court in Oregon has ruled that a U.S. Postal inspector and Portland police can’t intercept packages that they suspect contain weed.
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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

WW: Cannabis regulator sting, university gets weed prof, Oprah and Letterman talk pot

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2015 at 2:45 PM

Welcome back to Weed Wednesday, your weekly dose of pot news. Wondering what this is about? Click. Looking for our previous marijuana coverage? Click. Got a question or tip? Email me at [email protected]

Last week, the Washington State Liquor Control Board (soon to be the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board) announced that it would be conducting stings on recreational pot stores, sending in young investigative aides to try and purchase marijuana without an ID indicating that they were 21 years of age.

The board has announced the results of its first round of compliance checks finding that of the 22 stores in Skagit, Snohomish, Kitsap, Pierce and Cowlitz counties, only four took the bait.

Here’s other news:

The Texas Legislature has passed a bill allowing for the very limited medical use of marijuana.

Independent Vermont Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is open to relaxing laws regarding marijuana.

You could have been taller if you hadn’t smoked all that weed as a prepubescent boy.

In Indiana, you still can’t grow weed, even if you’re a Rastafarian.

Continue reading »

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

WW: Liquor board conducts sting; Christians, Morgan Freeman make case for weed

Posted By on Wed, May 13, 2015 at 2:12 PM

Welcome back to Weed Wednesday, your weekly dose of pot news. Wondering what this is about? Click. Looking for our previous marijuana coverage? Click. Got a question or tip? Email me at [email protected]

Washington pot retailers, beware of young people coming into your stores.

The Washington State Liquor Control Board (soon to be the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board) has announced that it’ll be sending 18-to-21-year-old “investigative aides” into recreational pot shops to test to see that they are checking the IDs of potential customers before selling marijuana. According to a statement from the board, the investigative aides will tell whoever is working the counter that they forgot their ID or will present IDs that show they aren’t old enough to buy pot.

Indiana’s First Church of Cannabis plans on testing the state’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act by holding a service on June 1, the day the controversial law goes into effect, that will include public smoking of pot for religious reasons, reports U.S News.

Could Texas really be the next state to legalize pot? A Texas legislative panel has passed a measure that would legalize pot in the state, but the Houston Chronicle reports that it’s unlikely to make its way to the governor’s desk. The bill’s sponsor is state Rep. David Simpson, a Longview Republican, who makes his case for legalization from a Christian perspective.

“As a Christian, I recognize the innate goodness of everything God made and humanity’s charge to be stewards of the same,” he writes in an opinion piece. “In fact, it’s this reason that I’m especially cautious when it comes to laws banning plants. I don’t believe that when God made marijuana he made a mistake that government needs to fix.”

Lawmakers in Texas are also considering two other marijuana-related bills that would decriminalize the drug and allow cannabidiol oil to be used for medical purposes. A group called Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy is running this ad to support the bills.

Have you ever wondered what Morgan Freeman thinks about marijuana. The Daily Beast decided to ask him. He replied:
They used to say, ‘You smoke that stuff, boy, you get hooked!” says a chuckling Freeman. “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.
Forbes has a ranking of the cheapest weed in the country. Washington state doesn’t have the cheapest, but it comes close.

Here is Alex Trebek telling Howard Stern a story about eating hash brownies.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

WW: The struggle to get vets some weed, D.A.R.E. gets fooled and Telsa's battery potential

Posted By on Wed, May 6, 2015 at 3:45 PM

Welcome back to Weed Wednesday, your weekly dose of pot news. Wondering what this is about? Click. Looking for our previous marijuana coverage? Click. Got a question or tip? Email me at [email protected]

If you ever wonder if medical marijuana (more specifically, medical marijuana for soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or brain injuries) can be bipartisan, just look to Washington state Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley.

A freedom-loving, gun-toting, self-professed "Constitutional conservative," Shea gave an impassioned speech on the House floor last month against a bill that would require m
State Rep. Matt Shea speaking out for the right of veterans to some medicinal weed.
  • State Rep. Matt Shea speaking out for the right of veterans to some medicinal weed.
edical marijuana patients to register with the state. In the same speech, he mentioned that medical marijuana could help returning soldiers struggling with PTSD.

“Addressing that issue in the right way with medical marijuana, in some cases, dramatically reduces suicide rates,” he said, citing research showing that the substance can reduce deaths among veterans.

PTSD and traumatic brain injuries are now qualifying conditions for medical marijuana under a marijuana reform bill that passed the Washington State Legislature. 

However, Congress isn’t as eager to get returning soldiers some weed.

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly voted down an amendment to an appropriations bill that would allow Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals to discuss medical marijuana with patients, reports The Hill.

"Why in the world would we give a drug that is addictive, that is prohibited under Schedule I, that is not accepted for any specific mental disease or disorder and enhances psychosis and schizophrenia, why are we going to give that to our veterans, especially those with PTSD? That is just absolutely insane," said Rep. John Fleming, R-La., a physician, according to the paper.

Medical marijuana supporters were predictably bummed.

“While it’s disappointing that the House just voted to continue a senseless rules that prevents doctors from treating military veterans with a medicine proven to work for a number of serious conditions, the fact that we came so close is a good sign of things to come,” said Tom Angell, chairman of the Marijuana Majority in a prepared statement.

Here’s the news elsewhere:

“For every one joint of marijuana, four teenagers become burdened with pregnancy. And for every bag of marijuana candy sold, it seems 16 violent crimes in the 16-to-45-year-old cohort break down.”
That’s from a fake news article. D.A.R.E. thought it was a real article.

Some members of Congress think that the disturbances in Baltimore have something to do with the drug war.

Tesla, the maker of upscale electric cars, has developed a futuristic battery that can be used in the home. It’ll also be great to grow weed with.

A woman in Missouri is arguing that a “right to farm” enshrined in the state constitution extends to her marijuana crop.

A bill in Congress to help the marijuana industry more easily access banking services faces an uphill battle

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who opposed legalization of pot in marijuana, is now saying it’s not such a big deal after all.
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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

WW: Synthetic cannabinoids cause fear and loathing — not so much in WA

Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2015 at 4:11 PM

Welcome back to Weed Wednesday, your weekly dose of pot news. Wondering what this is about? Click. Looking for our previous marijuana coverage? Click. Got a question or tip? Email me at [email protected]

“That shit will kill you,” is the response I get when I call up a local head shop and ask for Spice, a synthetic cannabinoid. Calls to other pipe shops and other weed-related establishments draw similarly perplexed responses when I call to ask if they sell Spice or any other synthetic cannabinoids. I’m still not sure where you can buy it in Spokane.

In Spokane, it might be hard to get your hands on synthetic cannabinoids — chemicals mixed with some plant matter to resemble marijuana — but other parts of the country are struggling with people getting high on the potent substance. The American Association of Poison Control Centers has seen a spike in recent years in the number of people nationally that are using the substance, which is often marketed as legal high.

Although it looks like marijuana, synthetic cannabinoids are significantly more toxic and their use can cause seizures, psychosis and even death. Most of the problems with synthetic cannabinoids appear to be occurring in states in back east, such as Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, New York and New Jersey.

“We’re not seeing the numbers they’re seeing on the East Coast,” says Alexander Garrard, clinical managing director of the Washington Poison Center.

According to Garrard, the number of calls to the center regarding exposure to synthetic cannabinoids has been on the decline. In 2011, the center received about 160 calls, he says. Last year, it received about 80.

Garrard says that the center has received calls from hospitals who’ve needed six people to restrain a patient having a violent reaction to synthetic cannabinoids. Some patients, he says, need to be placed on antipsychotics after their experience with the substance.

“It’s the type of patient that is very scary to treat,” he says.

Fortunately, he says synthetic cannabinoids never caught on with the drug-using community in Washington state. That might have something to do with people opting for legal weed over synthetics, but he doesn’t have evidence to directly correlate the two.

But the Washington State Legislature isn’t taking any chances and is considering legislation that will make synthetic cannabinoids along with cathinones and methcathinone, better known as “bath salts,” illegal.

Linda Graham, health policy and communications manager with the Spokane Regional Health District, says she doesn’t have any evidence that the use of synthetics is problem in Spokane. But she does note that companies will keep coming up with new chemicals that people will ingest.

“One of the things I’ve discovered is there are basically no limits on the degree to which people will go to get high or abuse their bodies,” says Graham. “It is truly amazing.”

Here’s the news elsewhere:

Bernie Sanders, Vermont’s independent socialist senator, is going to challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. He’s also open to legalization of marijuana.

Texas lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow cannabidiol to treat seizures, which is not unlike the measure that failed to become law in Idaho.

Could marijuana legalization be on the ballot in Louisiana?

Two University of Akron students are developing a test to see if drivers have been using marijuana.

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Monday, April 27, 2015

In Idaho, resistance to marijuana runs deep

Posted By on Mon, Apr 27, 2015 at 11:02 AM

In our current issue, we wrote about how New Approach Idaho, a group of pro-pot activists, is attempting to sidestep the legislature in the Gem State with an initiative that would legalize medical marijuana and decriminalize possession of the drug.

Although New Approach Idaho has a high bar to clear, it’s probably the only way the state’s pot laws will change because elected officials don’t want anything to do with marijuana.

Idaho is a conservative state to be sure. A Democrat hasn’t held the governor's office since 1995, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney won 65 percent of the vote in 2012 and both houses of the legislature are dominated by the GOP. But in other states where the GOP is the prevailing party, elected officials have been a bit groovier with marijuana.

Consider this: On April 16, Georgia Republican Gov. Nathan Deal signed a medical marijuana bill passed by the Republican-dominated legislature. On the very same day, Idaho Republican Gov. Butch Otter vetoed a significantly narrower bill that would allow for the use of cannabinol oil, which contains virtually no THC, to be used to treat children and others experiencing severe seizures. Both Utah, which has a sizable Mormon population, and Alabama allow medical use of CBD oil.

State Rep. Tom Loertscher, R- Iona, says after hearing “heart-wrenching” stories from families with severely epileptic children desperate for a therapy that would stop their debilitating seizures, he sponsored a bill allowing the therapy.

Lawmakers (who almost killed the bill) and the governor heard the same stories. But they also heard from law enforcement who said they would be burdened trying to differentiate CBD oil from other marijuana byproducts and from the state Office of Drug Policy, which called the therapy “unproven.”

“They think it’s the slippery-slope argument, that it’s the gateway to legalizing it in the state,” says Loertscher, who is also dead-set against medical marijuana, of the bill’s opponents.

State Rep.Vito Barbieri, R- Dalton Gardens, voted for the bill and was disappointed to see it vetoed. He says that medical marijuana is unlikely to become a reality in the state. In 2013, the legislature passed a resolution expressing that marijuana would never become legal for any reason.

“I think that it’s just been illegal for so long,” he says. “It’s a psychotropic and most of the members of the Legislature just don’t want to go there.”

Bill Esbensen, spokesperson for New Approach Idaho, attributes resistance among lawmakers and the governor to “ignorance and bigotry.”

“Prohibition has been thrust upon us for so long and so hard that it’s harder for these older legislative people, and they are older, to believe anything good about cannabis,” he says.

This blog has been updated to reflect the accurate date of when Idaho last had a Democratic governor. 

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

WW: DEA chief out, Kansan loses son over medical marijuana and ex-cops smoke weed

Posted By on Wed, Apr 22, 2015 at 2:22 PM

Welcome back to Weed Wednesday, your weekly dose of pot news. Wondering what this is about? Click. Looking for our previous marijuana coverage? Click. Got a question or tip? Email me at [email protected]

Embattled Drug Enforcement Administration head Michele Leonhart is resigning over her handling of a sex scandal. Those familiar with her tenure at the agency know that she was an unflinching drug warrior, saying that the legalization of pot “just makes us fight harder.” Critics said that her stance on pot was out of step with that of President Obama, and now they are seeing opportunity to set a new course for the agency.

“Hopefully, her resignation will mark the end of the Reefer Madness era at the DEA,” Dan Riffle, director of federal policies at the Marijuana Policy Project, told The Hill.

At times, she clashed with members of Congress for her stridently anti-pot views. Here’s a video of U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colorado, trying to find out if she thought heroin and meth are more harmful than pot.


California could be one of the next states to legalize marijuana. Buf first, advocates have to figure how they’re going to do it.

Stock photos used by the media often aren't that flattering to stoners. So the Drug Policy Alliance made its own stock photos of normal people doing normal things, like smoking pot and playing Jenga.
The Ohio Rights Group, an organization seeking to legalize pot in the Buckeye State, is accusing a like-minded group of infiltrating it and stealing its donors.

In Kansas, a woman lost custody of her 11-year-old son after he defended medical marijuana in class.

Willie Nelson is launching his own brand of weed.

The Denver Police Department had this to say on 4/20:

They weren’t joking. They gave out 100-pot related tickets on that day.

Speaking of Denver, The Denver Post was Pulitzer Prize finalist for its series on families with children suffering from severe seizures who relocated to Colorado to use Cannabidiol as a treatment. It’s worth a read.

Lastly, here is a video of ex-cops smoking pot and giving each other sobriety tests.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

WW: Leg enacts sweeping reform to state pot laws, Obama talks ganja in Jamaica

Posted By on Wed, Apr 15, 2015 at 3:30 PM

Welcome back to Weed Wednesday, your weekly dose of pot news. Wondering what this is about? Click. Looking for our previous marijuana coverage? Click. Got a question or tip? Email me at [email protected]

After months of hearings, debates, amendments, votes and more hearings, marijuana as we know it is about to change in Washington state. Although the dust is still clearing, the cannabis business community is clearly pleased about this development, while medical marijuana advocates are calling on the governor to veto the legislation.

Yesterday, a final version of SB 5052 passed out the Senate and is on its way to Gov. Jay Inslee, who hasn’t definitively said if he will sign it.

One of the central goals of the bill is to bring the state’s freewheeling medical marijuana market under more regulation by combining it with the recreational market, all of which will be overseen by the newly redubbed Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Control Board. The bill would also create a voluntary registry for patients and allows recreational stores to obtain a medical endorsement so they can serve medical patients.

Proponents of the bill say it’s needed to close down shady medical dispensaries that they say are undermining the recreational system by selling tax-free pot to non-patients. However, medical marijuana advocates have expressed concerns throughout the process that responsible dispensaries, which offer advice and medicinal products to patients in a way recreational stores can’t, would also be swept away.

Continue reading »

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

WW: Pro-ganja members of Congress say feds have it all wrong on medical pot, Oregon's "ganja cops"

Posted By on Wed, Apr 8, 2015 at 1:47 PM

Welcome back to Weed Wednesday, your weekly dose of pot news. Wondering what this is about? Click. Looking for our previous marijuana coverage? Click. Got a question or tip? Email me at [email protected]

The U.S. Justice Department made clear last week that it won’t back off on prosecuting medical marijuana users despite Congress passing a budget amendment meant to block funding for federal law enforcement activities that “interfere” with state laws that sanction the medicinal use of pot. But the members of Congress who authored the budget amendment say the department has it all wrong.

When the budget rider passed back in December, there was hope that medical marijuana patients facing federal drug charges, such as the Kettle Falls Five, might see their cases dismissed. But the feds found enough wiggle room with the language of the rider to continue prosecuting the case (getting a partial conviction), even though marijuana is legal for both medicinal and recreational purposes in Washington state.

Last week, a department spokesperson told the LA Times that the language of the budget amendment still allows for cases against individuals or organizations.

U.S. representatives Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Sam Farr (D-Calif.), responded by telling the Huffington Post, two members of Congress who authored the budget amendment, that the department is misinterpreting their amendment.

“The Justice Department’s interpretation of the amendment defies logic," Farr told the Huffington Post. "No reasonable person thinks prosecuting patients doesn’t interfere with a state’s medical marijuana laws. Lawyers can try to mince words but Congress was clear: Stop going after patients and dispensaries.”

There is bipartisan legislation in the U.S. Senate intended to clarify the situation.

Here’s the news elsewhere:

In Oregon, medical dispensaries could start selling recreational pot this summer.

Just watch out for “ganja cops.”

The results of a new survey have found that voters in crucial presidential swing states support medical marijuana.
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Friday, April 3, 2015

No efforts planned to promote marijuana tourism in Washington

Posted By on Fri, Apr 3, 2015 at 10:55 AM

If you’ve read this week’s paper, you’ll know that the legal ambiguity over what constitutes private or public when it comes to marijuana consumption can be a tricky subject for businesses wanting to accommodate stoners that just want a social space to light up.

With it being illegal to consume cannabis on the street, pot lounges being clouded by legal ambiguity and hotels generally frowning on smoking anything in their rooms, this issue is particularly acute for the state’s marijuana tourism industry as it seeks to accommodate visitors who might want to light up. Although travelers have come from all over the world to experience the Evergreen State’s pot and the state even has a commission to promote wine tourism, don’t expect Olympia to throw its support behind encouraging people to come to Washington to enjoy its cannabis anytime soon.

David Blandford, Washington Tourism Alliance board member and vice president of communications for Visit Seattle, says that ambiguity over what “public” means for the consumption of pot makes promoting marijuana tourism difficult. That issue aside, he says that promoting marijuana tourism is currently not on the WTA’s agenda because the organization is currently focused at the moment on securing long-term funding from the legislature.

He also says that there are concerns about restrictions on how marijuana can be advertised, and Blanford isn’t even sure that tourists would respond.

“I’m not aware of any research that there is a pot tourism market,” says Blanford. So far, he says, all the evidence has been anecdotal.
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