MMJ-Related Giveaway

Denver, Colorado’s Westword blog, The Latest Word was given a few Enjoy Jars – which they describe as a “four-part herb container meant to keep your strains separated from one another.” Their bloggers liked the product and decided that the best thing to do with with them is share them with their readership.

So how do you win one?

Here are the instructions:

All you have to do is write up your funniest, most amusing tale about a time you got busted (or almost busted). Maybe it was the first time you came home red-eyed to mom and dad, or after the fabric softener in the toilet-paper roll failed to keep the the RA in your college dorm from smelling your skunk, or that Christmas when your aunt caught you smoking out of your grandmother’s bathroom window. Whatever it may be, we want to hear it. You don’t need to be a Colorado medical marijuana patient, either. We’re equal-opportunity enablers here at Westword.

Send your submissions to William.Breathes@westword.com by 4:20 p.m. on Sept. 22nd and we’ll pick the top two. Winning stories will be posted in an upcoming blog, so feel free to change the names of the innocent and all that jazz.

We are not affiliated with Westword in any way, but we thought their contest was cool and wanted to share it.

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MMJ Provider Charged With Election Law Violation

A medial marijuana dispensary owner in Lansing, MI, who advertised free products to patients who registered to vote has been charged with breaking Michigan state election law. Specifically, the owner of the Your Healthy Choice clinic, Shekina Pena, has been charged with a misdemeanor count of “influencing voters with money or other valuable consideration.” The charge was filed by Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, and state Attorney General Bill Schuette, and comes with a sentence of up to 90 days in jail.

The charges were caused by a post on the dispensary’s website, made last July, which offered a free half-gram of marijuana or a free edible marijuana products in return for proof that they’d registered to vote.

In a statement to the press, Schuette said, “Voters did not intend for marijuana to be handed out as a door prize, especially when it undermines the integrity of our elections process.”

John Sellek, a spokesperson for Schuette said that Pena was notified of the pending charges last Friday, and subsequently turned herself in. The 34-year-old Pena did not respond to requests from the press for comments.

The web post in question also listed the dispensary owner’s thoughts on the MMJ voting records of several local political candidates.

On July 29th, Pena posted on the dispensary’s Facebook page that her clinic, Your Healthy Choice, was participating in a voter registration drive along with other MMJ shops in Lansing, but she also posted, “Your Healthy Choice has not and will not compensate ANYONE to vote nor will we compensate ANYONE for voting for a particular candidate. ANYONE who says or implies that we are compensating people for a vote is dishonest and shameless.”

Your Healthy Choice has ceased dispensing medical marijuana.

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Marijuana Use on the Rise, Meth and Coke Use Down, Survey Says

Reuters reported yesterday on the results of a national survey on drug use which said that the use of methamphetamines is decreasing while more people are using marijuana.

According to the survey, 22.6 million Americans over the age of twelve – or roughly nine percent of the population – used illegal drugs in 2010, up from 8.7 percent in 2009 and 8 percent in 2008. The survey was conducted by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Among those 22.6 million drug users, roughly 17.4 million of them specifically said that they were using marijuana, an increase from the 2007 number of 14.4 million.

Not surprisingly, the increases in marijuana use are much higher in those states which have legalized the use of medical marijuana. According to Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, “Emerging research reveals potential links between state laws permitting access to smoked medical marijuana and higher rates of marijuana use.”

The survey also showed that the use of cocaine has fallen, as has drinking among those under the legal age for consuming alcohol.

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Wednesday Film Festival: South Bay Healing Center

Last week an overturned truck offered San Jose denizens a chance to get free weed, but if you want your MMJ a bit more legitimately you actually have several options.

One of them is the South Bay Healing Center – and their intro ad is our video for this week’s Film Festival entry. Enjoy!

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DEA Rules Against It’s Own Adminsitrative Law Judge

NORML reported yesterday that a final order has been issued by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) which rejects a ruling from it’s own Administrative Law Judge who found that the public interest would be served if the University of Massachusetts was granted a license to grow marijuana for federally regulated research.

By rejecting the finding, the DEA is upholding the monopoly on the supply of marijuana available for FDA (Food and Drug Administration)-regulated research, which is currently held by NIDA – the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Last year, a spokesperson for the DEA told a reporter from the New York Times, “We generally do not fund research focused on the potential beneficial medical effects of marijuana.”

Four years ago, after an extensive number of hearings, DEA Judge Mary Ellen Bittner issued an opinion favoring the University of Massachusetts being granted legal permission to grow cannabis for use in FDA-approved clinical trials.

In her findings, she wrote, “I conclude that granting Respondent’s application would not be inconsistent with the Single Convention, that there would be minimal risk of diversion of marijuana resulting from Respondent’s registration, that there is currently an inadequate supply of marijuana available for research purposes, that competition in the provision of marijuana for such purposes is inadequate, and that Respondent has complied with applicable laws and has never been convicted of any violation of any law pertaining to controlled substances. I therefore find that Respondent’s registration to cultivate marijuana would be in the public interest.”

Two years later, DEA director Michele Leonhart set aside Judge Bittner’s ruling. Last month, in a move that shows that the DEA remains consistent in their misguided opinions, the agency denied a nine-year-old petition seeking to initiate hearings regarding the current federal classification of cannabis, stating that there were no adequate and well-controlled studies that proved any medical benefit.

The agency’s ruling may be appealed in the First Circuit US Court of Appeals, but one must ask, what are the chances that the DEA will honor any subsequent ruling when they’ve created the ultimate Catch-22 with regard to medical marijuana: they refuse to approve hearings to reclassify it because there is not enough research, but they also refuse to allow scientists to engage in the necessary research.

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Friday Film Festival – Clearing the Smoke

PBS Newshour produced this video “Clearing the Smoke” which not only talks about the medical benefits of cannabis, but also talks about the science behind why medical marijuana works. Enjoy!

Watch the full episode. See more PBS NewsHour.

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Kucinich Calls Hempfest Attendees to Action

Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who may make a bid for an opening representative seat in Washington if his existing seat in Ohio is eliminated because of re-districting, spoke on Saturday at Seattle’s Hempfest.

His speech called for – among other things – the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana.

Because we believe it’s worth reading, the entire text of his speech is quoted below – warning: it’s pretty long.

“Hello Seattle. On this day, in this place of great beauty we celebrate the beauty of nature The wondrous nature of each other. Our presence here binds us as a community. It empowers us. It strengthens us. We become most visible, en mass. We extend our reach. We sense new possibilities. And the creative spark which births action can usher in a new world.

Open America! Show yourself! Mass action! This is why, and how, recent movements for freedom in Tunisia and Egypt gained momentum. This is how Gandhi’s march to the sea cast off the British Empire. This is how America’s suffragettes gained for women the right to vote. This is how Dr. Martin Luther King’s March on Washington became a pivotal moment in the history of the civil rights movement.

People became visible. They went to the streets. They linked arms. They marched. They sang: “ We Shall Overcome”. They walked the uplit path of social and economic justice. They marched to glory, not for themselves, but for generations to come.

We gather in a common determination for change. A sense of commonality of purpose awakens. An awareness grows. The moment arrives to exercise a new commitment to cast off an old order of things. This same awareness brought America’s founders to put in writing a Declaration of Independence to proclaim “A New Order Follows”. Today it is not a financial deficit that will bring America down, it is a deficit of public action. When people discover what happens when one person determines to make a difference and then merges with the many like-minded, new possibilities unfold.

Seattle, you understand this. Because in 1999, tens of thousands of citizen activists, including Teamsters and “Turtles”, coursed through nearby streets on behalf of social and economic justice. They marched. They chanted. They sang: We Shall Overcome, and Solidarity Forever!” They spoke of Union. Acting in unity their presence was felt.

The Seattle WTO protests shined light upon the World Trade Organization’s workings. Seattlites, union members and trade activists helped spark a world-wide awareness that trade agreements must have enforceable workers’ rights, human rights and environmental quality principles. You identified the child labor, slave labor and prison labor that was driving international corporate profits. While the cause of justice in our trade agreements has yet to be served, you, Seattle brought it forward. You nurtured it. You kept it alive.

Large, intentional gatherings can be a catalyst for dramatic change. But only if we are prepared, as George Bernard Shaw wrote, “to dream things that never were and ask: ‘Why not?’ Let us dream about the America we want. And let us give our dreams firmament.

Let our dreams, our thoughts, become words. Let our words become deeds. Let our deeds bring action. Let our actions build a new America and a new Seattle, you shook the world once, can you shake it again? Will you?

Are you prepared to declare and demand, here and now that it is time United States bring an end to the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya?

Are you prepared to demand our troops be brought home?

Are you prepared to demand America end our world-wide military presence?

Are you prepared to demand America must lead the world in the abolition of nuclear weapons?

Are you prepared to demand the Patriot Act must be repealed?

Are you prepared to demand that government spying, eavesdropping, and wiretapping of law abiding citizens must end?

That our sisters’ Right to Privacy be protected and decisions about women’s reproductive health be between a woman and her doctor?

Are you prepared to demand that our brothers and sisters who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered have equal rights, including the right to marry?

Are you prepared to demand we decriminalize and legalize marijuana, demand hospitalization not incarceration for those with drug problems?

Are you prepared to demand Not-for-profit Health Care for All?

Education for All?

Retirement Security for All?

Jobs for All?

Are you prepared to rescue our federal government from corporate interests by calling for a constitutional amendment which establishes only public financing of federal elections?
Are you prepared to rescue our planet, to protect our air, water, and land from further exploitation by demanding an end to drilling the earth, fracking the earth, cracking the earth, and end to poisoning the seas and the skies with carbon based energies, and a rapid transition to an environmentally friendly, socially responsible green economy?

This day, here and now, you have now voiced the Seattle Declaration. Let the sound of your voice be heard far and wide. Let your affirmations give birth to new actions, a new nation and a new world. Let your voice cause America to march. Let your voice cause America to sing. Let your voice cause America to seek new freedoms. Let your voice cause America to seek a newer world. Ours is a restless quest for freedom. We know wars make us less free. Fear makes us less free. Social and economic insecurity makes us less free. If it is for freedom’s sake we gather, so then let it be for freedom’s sake that we act!

Our individual desire for change carries extraordinary power to become more than we are. Better than we are. Forged in the human heart, ignited by love and passion for transformation, our common unity, our common purpose and our common action carry the power to change everything. This is the power of human unity. This is the power of our Oneness. Feel it. Own it. Act upon it.

Thank you Seattle.”

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Biotech Firm Opensources MJ Genome

NPR ran a story this morning about a new biotech company that has recently completed sequencing the DNA of cannabis sativa, but here’s the catch: the company in question is doing this because it wants to breed marijuana plants with an extremely low THC content, while also boosting other compounds in the plant that they believe have therapeutic traits.

The company, Medicinal Genomics, is run by CEO Kevin McKernan who is also its founder. McKernan says that there are eighty-four other compounds within cannabis sativa that work to fight pain and even shrink cancer tumors. Since anti-pot laws prevent researchers in most countries to engage in hands-on study of the plant, McKernan has decided to embrace the concept of opencourcing: he’s published his research results on Amazon’s EC2 public data cloud…for free.

McKernan has an office in Massachusetts, but he does his labwork in the Netherlands, where he has legal access to marijuana plants for DNA extraction. He’s spent the bulk of his professional life studying tumors in human beings, but he told reporters that several of his friends with cancer have asked him whether they could benefit from the use of medical marijuana. It was their plight which piqued his interest in the emerging medical research on the healing properties of the plant.

Later, McKernan learned about Sativex, a German-made cannabis-derived drug used to treat the muscle stiffness associated with MS. Sativex contains THC but it also has a high concentrate of CBD, which – according to research – minimizes the psychoactive effects of THC. Sativex is available in Germany, Span, and the United Kingdom, and is also in trials to see if it has a positive effect on cancer pain.

Sativex, McKernan believes, might be the first of a line of future pharmaceuticals using cannabis to treat illnesses without the social stigma of smoking weed.

In his interview with NPR, McKernan said, “We know which genes govern CBD and THC, but not the other 83 compounds. Now that we’ve sequenced this genome, we can sequence other strains, and then we can tie the differences in DNA to different traits.”

A key part of cannabis research, McKernan emphasizes, is making the research data easily available, especially since many scientists around the world want to study it, but can’t because they cannot obtain grow-licenses.

He elaborated, “A lot of people who want to contribute to this field can’t, but now that this information is available, a lot of research can get done without growing any plants.”

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MMJ Film Festival: This Week in Weed

NORML has begun a new weekly video series called “This Week in Weed.” In this, their first edition, they’ve included a poll which says that 55% of Americans are for the legalization of cannabis. They also cover marijuana use by region, and medical marijuana in Israel. Enjoy.

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California Judge Says Cannabis is Not A Crop

“It grows in the ground, requires water and sunshine to blossom, and earns Californians an estimated $17 billion a year. But don’t call marijuana an agricultural crop in Tulare County.”

Those words are the opening of a story from the CBS news affiliate in Sacramento, about the fact that a judge in Tulare county ruled that marijuana is not a crop, siding with the Board of Supervisors who said a medical marijuana collective called the Foothill Growers Association was “improperly operating in a warehouse on land zoned for agricultural uses.”

The collective was given until today to stop using the building, after the judge determined that collectives were only allowed in manufacturing and commercial zones.

The collective’s attorney, Brandon Ormonde, spoke to the Fresno Bee, explaining that marijuana is agricultural in nature, though he conceded that it has never been “legally recognized as a crop.” ( Local pro-pot organizations believe that distinction is absurd, and I have to agree.)

Dale Gieringer, the director California’s NORML branch said,”If it’s not a crop, I don’t know what it is.”

Tulare County is one of the nation’s top agricultural communities, with total farm receipts in excess of $4.8 billion last year.

In his decision, Superior Court Judge Paul Vortmann wrote that cannabis has never officially been classified as an agricultural crop, and added that growing a controlled substance does not qualify as an “agricultural use of property.”

Despite the fact that even in two of the state’s most cannabis-friendly counties – Alameda and Mendocino – have agricultural commissioners who also don’t consider marijuana a crop, activists keep trying to slip it through. For example, in 1979, then-Mendocino County agricultural commissioner Ted Erikson, Jr, included the plant in the county’s annual crop report. With $90 million a year in generated receipts, it was the county’s top commodity after timber, that year.

Posted in Growing, News & Current Events | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments