Chile: New TV Channel ‘Promotes Cannabis Culture’

November 27th, 2014 by Shandar No comments »
A new TV channel has gone on air in Chile with the aim of winning support for the legalization of cannabis.

Cultiva TV will broadcast once a week, and wants to persuade viewers about the alleged "medicinal, cultural and spiritual" benefits of marijuana. It's being run by a plant feed and cannabis equipment company called Pos240, the Santiago Times reports. Its first episode saw the Cultiva team visit Amsterdam and Barcelona to investigate European approaches to regulation. They also interviewed a Chilean sufferer of muscular spasms, who says medical marijuana treatment alleviates her symptoms to the extent that she now competes in indoor climbing championships - without any of the side effects of conventional treatment. Cannabis remains a Class A drug under Chilean law, although there is some leeway for individual consumption and the sale of seeds. Cultiva TV's programmer opens with a statement saying it doesn't advocate illegal activities.

Chile has among the highest figures for marijuana consumption in Latin America, at 4.2% of the population, according to the country's narcotics agency. "There's a revolution brewing," says Cristian Ansaldo, the director of Pos240. "It's more than probable that from here in Latin America a global change towards home-growing will lead to a noticeable reduction in cannabis smuggling."

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Illinois Doctor Fined Over Medical Marijuana Slip

November 27th, 2014 by Shandar No comments »
Chicago – Illinois regulators have disciplined a doctor who they say misled potential patients by offering preapproval for medical marijuana through a Chicago company called Good Intentions – a business that’s carrying on its work with patients and plans to have a float in the city’s Thanksgiving parade.

Dr. Brian Murray will be on probation for at least two years and has been fined $10,000, according to a consent order signed last month and released Wednesday by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, the agency that oversees doctor licensing.

Phone messages left for Murray’s attorney weren’t immediately returned. The doctor agreed to the discipline without admitting any wrongdoing, according to the consent order. Murray can continue to practice medicine, but must meet with a monitor who will review some of his patients’ charts, including anyone he certifies to use marijuana.

The case underscores the hard line Illinois regulators plan to take on physician involvement in the state’s new medical marijuana program. State law requires a doctor’s written certification before a patient can use marijuana and a “bona fide” doctor-patient relationship, including an exam. Doctors can’t accept payments for the marijuana certification itself, only for the treatment and care they provide.

When the department filed its complaint against Murray, it put out a news release warning other doctors against setting up medical cannabis clinics.

“Our position has not changed,” department spokeswoman Susan Hofer said Wednesday.

Still unclear is how long the relationship between a doctor and patient must be to meet regulators’ approval.

Tammy Jacobi is CEO of Good Intentions Medical Marijuana Services, where Murray once worked. She said the business is referring patients to six other doctors now and has helped more than 600 patients with their applications for the medical marijuana program, charging each patient a $159 consultation fee. About half those patients have asked for help finding doctors who would consider certifying their marijuana use. Some don’t have doctors, she said. Others have doctors who aren’t comfortable with marijuana.

“Instead of having a doctor right in our office for a patient to see, we found different doctors in different specialties who are willing to accept referrals from us,” Jacobi said. “We stay out of how often the doctor wants to see the patient.” She wouldn’t name any doctors involved with the referrals. She said no money changes hand between Good Intentions and the doctors.

The company will have a float in Chicago’s parade Thursday, Jacobi said. Philip Purevich of the Chicago Festival Association, producer of the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade, confirmed the company has a parade float.

“I wasn’t familiar with the original complaint allegations,” Purevich said when told of the disciplinary action against Murray. He declined to comment further.

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Colorado Pot Shops Hosting ‘Green Friday’ Sales

November 27th, 2014 by Shandar No comments »
Boulder, Colo. -- Pardon the pun, but Colorado's marijuana stores are offering some smoking deals for Thanksgiving and Black Friday, which they've dubbed "Green Friday."

One Denver store was offering a limited number of ounces of marijuana for $50 each, significantly below the $250 per ounce price buyers would normally pay. Many stores were offering similar deals, including steep discounts on pre-rolled joints.

This is the first Black Friday weekend Colorado's recreational marijuana stores have been allowed to sell pot to the public, and several store managers said they were caught off-guard by customers' interest in snagging deals. Colorado legalized the sale of recreational marijuana on Jan. 1, although medical marijuana sales had been allowed for several years prior.

But as Thanksgiving approached, recreational store workers said they realized their customers might want a little something to take the edge off Uncle Bill's political diatribes while facing a kitchen full of turkey, gravy and pies.

"We were expecting a very quiet day, but when everyone else jumped on it, we definitely didn't want to be left behind," said Ryan Pratt, manager of Boulder's Helping Hands Herbals, as he contemplated his sale pricing on Wednesday afternoon. "We're going to be prepared."

In addition to rock bottom prices on marijuana "bud," stores offered deep discounts on pot-infused foods known as edibles. One marijuana store bought advertising on the Denver Post's Internet homepage to advertise a "Danksgiving" sale.

Among the edibles for sale: Sweetgrass Kitchen's single-serving marijuana-infused pumpkin pies. Another manufacturer was offering pumpkin-spice mocha chocolate bars containing eight servings of pot.

One store was even offering discounts for customers who brought in canned food for the local homeless shelter.

Store workers said they expected customers would roll into their pot shops only after fighting crowds at more traditional retailers. They were competing with bars and liquor stores that also planned to be open both Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

"It's a pretty stressful event, and some people might need a little relaxation afterward," laughed Maka Kala'i, director of sales and marketing at Organic Alternatives in Fort Collins.

The store advertised its sale with a picture of a turkey made from joints and marijuana flowers.

Pratt, the store manager in Boulder, said he has worked Black Friday many times -- just not at a marijuana store.

"It's regular old retail," he said. "It's just that this happened to all be illegal a year ago."

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Seth Rogen Invites Moviegoers To Get ‘Baked’ With Him At Screening

November 27th, 2014 by Shandar No comments »
Los Angeles - Seth Rogen is taking his stoner persona to an even higher level next month for a Colorado screening of his new movie, "The Interview."

The actor, currently promoting the Sony film on the West Coast, apparently tweeted that he would "get baked" with the entire audience in Denver, Co. before watching the action-comedy together.

Colorado, of course, recently legalized marijuana but the state doesn't allow recreational use of the drug in public places so, if true, the theater would likely have to be private and 21 and over.

"The Interview," co-starring James Franco, tells the story of a two journalists who travel to North Korea to interview (and possibly assassinate) Kim Jong-un.

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Health Canada Clamps Down On Medical Marijuana Advertising

November 27th, 2014 by Shandar No comments »
Health Canada has ordered Canada’s medical marijuana companies to stop making their products look so good.

The department issued warning letters this week to licensed commercial growers across Canada telling them to clean up their advertising by Jan. 12 or face suspension and even revocation of their licences.

The letters, customized for 20 officially licensed producers of medical marijuana, set strict limits on how their products can be presented on websites and social media, even forbidding photos of buds or the inclusion of hyperlinks to other websites that promote the product.

The tough restrictions also prevent producers from telling customers how varying strains can treat different symptoms, insisting on only bare-bones information.

"The information provided by licensed producers to the public should be limited to basic information for prospective clients such as the brand name, proper or common name of the strain, the price per gram, the cannabinoid content, and the company’s contact information," says a Health Canada notice about the new warning.

Health Canada requires all licensed producers to maintain a website where approved patients can order strains for delivery, and quietly issued guidelines on June 30 about how the products could be advertised.

Crossing the line

But as various firms jockey for market share, virtually all the existing websites have crossed the line, some making broad claims for the efficacy of their strains and posting glitzy photos of their indoor farms.

Now, these companies can’t even advertise about the taste of their products.

"The smoke is strong with an unmistakably flowery taste," says one website, a claim that will apparently have to be dropped by Jan. 12.

"At the end of the day, everybody's offside in some capacity," said Marc Wayne, president and CEO of Bedrocan Canada, a Toronto-based producer and chair of the industry group the Canadian Medical Cannabis Industry Association.

"We welcome the clarity and enforcement … and the level playing field," he said from Toronto, noting that each of the 20 firms was provided an individual breakdown by Health Canada officials of where their corporate websites crossed the line.

The prohibition on "promotional images" of bud or leaf also applies to Twitter and Facebook accounts, and other social media sites, which have become some of the most potent marketing tools available for the industry.

An Ottawa lawyer who represents medical marijuana firms says the rules have been unclear for months and that Health Canada's clampdown was expected.

"They had to finally take a position, even though it's not really a clear one," Trina Fraser said of the latest missive from the department. She said she has been pressing Health Canada for months, but got "some nonsensical response back."

Still not clear

"It sounds like words like 'treats,' 'relieves' and 'prevents' will be off-limits in describing … strains," she said.

Fraser said that because producers are prevented from providing in-depth information about their strains, medical marijuana clinics may have to take a larger role in helping connect patients to the right product. In the meantime, there will be a flurry of activity as producers get guidance about what is and isn't allowed on their websites, given that "it's still not totally clear," she said.

A Health Canada spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

Advertising limits for medical cannabis come largely from the Food and Drugs Act and the Narcotic Control Regulations, which forbid the promotion of any narcotic to the general public.

Canada’s medical marijuana industry saw a major change on April 1, moving from a cottage industry of small growers to a new commercial sector in which large-scale producers serve medically approved customers with standardized strains and doses, charging what the market can bear.

The new system has attracted more than 1,000 applicants, but Health Canada has licensed just 22 so far, prompting complaints from several hundred companies that are still awaiting word on their licences – many fending off impatient investors looking for a return on their money.

Health Canada said it is placing no limit on the number of producers in Canada, but has been quietly cranking up its standards and requirements, making it tougher to comply with security and other measures. Critics have complained the process is not transparent and at least one court case has been launched.

Wayne said his industry group plans to meet Thursday to discuss the warning letters, but members generally support the measures.

"You don't want to be over-promoting a narcotic," he said.

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Oregon Appeals Ruling That City Can Ban Pot Outlets

November 27th, 2014 by Shandar No comments »
Grants Pass, Ore. (AP) — The state of Oregon is appealing a Circuit Court ruling that a city in the heart of southern Oregon marijuana country can ban medical marijuana dispensaries.

The Grants Pass Daily Courier reported Wednesday the appeal was filed last week by the Oregon Department of Justice on behalf of the governor and the Oregon Health Authority.

Josephine County Circuit Judge Pat Wolke ruled that the dispensary law enacted last year by the Legislature does not stop the city of Cave Junction from denying a business license to a medical marijuana dispensary.

He relied on past rulings over similar issues, and did not address the constitutional issues raised in the city of Cave Junction's original lawsuit.

The city has also appealed.

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Nevada – Patients Must Be Patient A Little Longer

November 27th, 2014 by Shandar No comments »
“It’s marijuana,” said Clark County Sen. Richard “Tick” Segerblom. “From my perspective, whatever you do, no one should be going to jail for marijuana. It’s just marijuana.”

Segerblom is one of a number of advocates of medical use of marijuana who have worked for years to move the state to a different stance on the medicine. In 2000, voters approved the use of medicinal marijuana. However, Nevada cardholders were required to grow their medicine on their own. Now, 14 years later, the push for dispensaries in Nevada has been successful. Up to 55 dispensaries will be opening across the state. With the exception of some of the smaller counties, all the major cities and counties have approved dispensaries in their area.

In order to open a dispensary, applicants had to pay a $5,000 application fee plus processing cost. They had about three months to complete their applications and turn them in by mid-August. The Division of Pubic and Behavioral Health then had 90 days to review the applications. During the week of Nov. 3, the results of that review process were received. However, not all the applicants signed a release form allowing their results to be made public on the division’s website, so the public is still figuring out who the “winners” were. There is criticism of the secrecy.

It is believed that most of the funding is provided by local Nevadans. Legislators designed the law to encourage experienced out-of-state people to merge with locals. Most are a combination of local and out-of-state business people from Colorado, California, Arizona and Washington who have had experience with marijuana dispensaries.

“The amount of money that is being set forth is just incredible,” said Segerblom. “And it’s based upon the idea that they can make money down the road. I think realistically it’s because they think it’s going to be recreational in a couple of years.”

On Nov. 12, an initiative petition with 200,000 signatures was turned in, providing for recreational marijuana. It goes first to the Nevada Legislature, whose members can approve and enact it into law outright, reject it, or propose an alternative version of their own. If the legislature chooses either of the last two choices, the petition will go on the ballot in 2016—alongside the legislature’s version, in the case of the third choice. If voters approve the petition or a legislative alternative, Nevada could be looking at possible use of recreational marijuana in 2018.

As for the current law, applicants who received the provisional license from the state will then have to go to their local jurisdiction and go through whatever bureaucratic hoops the jurisdiction puts in place. According to Nevada Medical Marijuana Association director Kathryn Reiter, these range from a simple business license, special use permit, or a whole administrative review, as is the case in Sparks. “A lot of winners are now kind of looking at, Where we go from here? and we’ll see over the next six months where all this shakes out in terms of who has the authority to decide local jurisdiction over the state, which licensees get to open, those kind of things,” said Reiter. “We’re all hoping that there are no lawsuits, but we’ll see.”

The law provides zoning regulations for areas in which the dispensaries are allowed to open. Medical marijuana establishments must be located in their own separate buildings in commercial or industrial zones. They cannot be within 1,000 feet of a school or within 300 feet of day care, public parks, pools, playgrounds, religious buildings or any recreation facilities for children or teens.

Most applicants say they are going to open their doors early in 2015. Some moved forward in the local approval process before they received the state license. However, both state and local licensing is needed before they can open shop. “In reality, if you start today, build out your facility for a grow operation, you probably would have the built-out finished by the end of the year,” said Segerblom. “It takes three months to grow, so I’m saying by April you’ll definitely have some marijuana dispensaries open with product here in Nevada.”

Unlike neighboring states, Nevada cardholders are unable to consume marijuana on the premises of the dispensary. But, Nevada will create a medical marijuana tourist industry by allowing out-of-state cardholders to buy their medicine at a Nevada dispensary. Out-of-state cardholders will be allowed to buy from Nevada dispensaries if they have all the proper paperwork and have not exceeded a threshold of purchases of the medicine within a certain number of days in their own jurisdiction. Although they are allowed to purchase in Nevada, it is still illegal to drive the medication across state borders.

The Feds

Medical marijuana is still legal only on the state level, so even with a state medical card, patients could potentially run into problems with the federal government. The good news is the “Obama administration has basically said, ‘Hands off, if the state is regulating it very closely we are not going to intervene,’” said Segerblom. As long as the local government is properly regulating it, patients should not have to worry about the federal government. However, the Drug Enforcement Administration is still bringing marijuana charges against people.

In addition, after President Obama took office with a hands-off policy, U.S. attorneys in California eventually started cracking down in a breach of the Obama policy, so there are no guarantees. Nevada U.S. Attorney David Bogden has generally said he will follow the lead of the U.S. Justice Department, which has given local prosecutors hands-off instructions.

Another problem arises when a patient is behind the wheel. The current DUI laws for marijuana are “per-se” intoxication laws, which states if a driver tests over a certain limit s/he automatically violates the law. The problem is that marijuana does not pass through the system quickly like alcohol. It can register for weeks. “There isn’t a method available for law enforcement right now to test someone for marijuana intoxication within a few hours of the test,” said Reiter. “A hair test, a blood test and pee test, might show someone who consumed marijuana a month ago.”

With a per-se law there is no room for interpretation. Efforts are underway to change this law. It is something that both the industry and law enforcement are concerned about. Segerblom is working on getting a bill passed to change that. “The DUI standard for marijuana is terrible,” he said. “It’s like anything in your system, and it’s an automatic DUI. That has no correlation to being under the influence.”

The current list of bill drafts requested from the legislative bill drafters for the 2015 Nevada Legislature has six marijuana measures of various kinds on it.

Nevada’s medical marijuana industry has come a long way since 2000 and still has some kinks to work out but the progress is being made. “It has been a long time coming, but the light is at the end of the tunnel and we will see dispensaries,” said Segerblom. “Once the public sees them, that’s the final thing. They are so immaculate and clean and professional that no one can object to it.”

No one will object to it. Yes, that’ll happen.

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Arizona Marijuana Researcher Gets $2M Grant From Colorado

November 27th, 2014 by Shandar No comments »
Phoenix — A fired University of Arizona professor has received a $2 million grant from the state of Colorado to continue her research of marijuana's effects on veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Arizona Republic reported Wednesday that Sue Sisley says she can now pursue her study without relying on an Arizona university lab.

Sisley says the study will be split between participating veterans in Arizona and at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

UA officials said in a letter in June that Sisley was let go because funding for part of the work she did with the medical school was running out and other factors.

Sisley says her termination was because of her connection to a recall attempt of a lawmaker who killed legislation that could have funded her research.

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Minnesota To Name Medical Marijuana Producers

November 27th, 2014 by Shandar No comments »
St. Paul — The state is ready to name two manufacturers for its new medical marijuana program.

Twelve companies applied to grow and cultivate marijuana for the state, but Minnesota's law says just two companies can provide it. The Minnesota Department of Health said Wednesday it will announce its selections on Monday morning.

The applicants had to submit detailed plans on how they'd grow the plant and convert it into pill, oil or vapor form. They also provided stringent security plans and a $20,000, non-refundable check.

Each manufacturer will eventually operate four dispensaries across the state — one in each of Minnesota's eight Congressional Districts.

Patients are expected to be able to start getting the medicine in July. — Associated Press

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Merry marijuana: Pot sellers woo holiday shoppers

November 27th, 2014 by marijuana - Yahoo! News Search Results No comments »
© AP Photo/David Zalubowski In this photograph taken on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, bud tenders Maxwell Bradford, back left, and Emma Attolini display buds in the shape of Christmas trees that are on sale for the holiday season in a recreational marijuana shop in northwest Denver.