IS WEED LEGAL? – Cannabis 101

The question of whether weed is legal or not may very well depend on your location. For instance, in Washington state it’s not unusual to drive down the highway and see a billboard advertising legal weed for adults 21 and older, but don’t expect to see a similar sight in Alabama anytime soon.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has yet to loosen its stronghold over cannabis by maintaining its classification as a Schedule I substance, claiming marijuana is highly addictive and has no medicinal benefits. Since the DEA won’t fairly re-examine cannabis, it remains a federally illegal substance.

While medical marijuana is legal in more than half the states across the U.S., only eight have challenged the federal government by passing initiatives to legalize recreational cannabis. Colorado paved the way when their measure for the legalization of cannabis, Colorado Amendment 64, passed in 2012. This past November, California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine joined the slowly growing number of states to have successfully legalized cannabis. While there’s been much excitement surrounding the future of the cannabis industry as more states legalize marijuana, there’s been equal anxiety as a new president enters office.

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END 4/20 SHAME: Cannabis Education Overcomes Fear

How do you destroy the stigma around cannabis? You educate people. As Edmund Burke said, “knowledge conquers fear.”

People only fear the consequences of medicinal and recreational cannabis when they don’t understand it. But as soon as people start learning the truth, they begin to open up their minds, and the truth is this:

According to data collected by the National Incident-Based Reporting System, violent crime in Washington is at a 40-year historic low since the passage of recreational cannabis.

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THE END OF CANNABIS SMALL BUSINESS: How the Pharmaceutical Industry is Preparing to Take Over Cannabis

In case you weren’t already aware, Schedule I is defined as drugs which have no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Cannabis is a Schedule I drug, putting it the same class as heroin, LSD, meth and peyote. For perspective some examples of Schedule IV drugs (ones with low potential for abuse and dependency) are: Xanax, Soma, Darvocet, Valium, Ativan and Ambien, yet we know these drugs are being highly abused in America today.

As a healthcare provider who uses and understands cannabis, Schedule I is a ridiculous proposition, as cannabis has a far lower risk of dependency or abuse than many Schedule IV drugs. This is just one of the fallacies that the US Government continues to claim about cannabis as it prepares for the pharmaceutical takeover of the industry. Anything but a complete descheduling of cannabis will destroy an industry so many of us have helped to build and pioneer, not only enduring the pitfalls typical of all business startups but also risking federal prosecution, a burdensome regulatory structure and legislative obstacles.

First, let’s understand that as a Schedule I drug, cannabis has only been studied in the US by companies allowed access to cannabis grown, processed and distributed by the Federal Government. Yes you heard that correctly, the Federal Government has its own pot farm which is on the campus of Ole Miss. The only company which has been allowed unlimited access to the crop is GW Pharmaceutical. Conducting clinical research using cannabis requires interaction and approval of several federal agencies; the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) provides authorization; obtaining access to the product for research comes from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) who oversees the cultivation on the campus of University of Mississippi, all cannabis transfers and research is overseen by National Institutes of Health (NIH), with review and oversight by the FDA. This structure creates a monopoly and GW Pharmaceutical is holding all of the cards.

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DEA Finally Removes Misinformation about Pot from Website

After months of public pressure and media attention, the DEA has finally removed some inaccurate information from its website.

The change comes after Americans for Safe Access filed a legal request with the Department of Justice in December, demanding that the DEA update and remove factually inaccurate information about cannabis from their website and materials.

Americans for Safe Access (ASA) argued that the more than 25 false statements on the DEA’s website about marijuana constituted a violation of the Information Quality Act (IQA), which requires that administrative agencies not provide false information to the public and that they respond to requests for correction of information within 60 days.

Read more at High Times

Hemp CBD Unaffected by DEA “Rescheduling” Panic

There was widespread panic that the DEA was “banning” or “rescheduling” CBD when news broke the agency was creating a unique “Controlled Substance Code Number” for cannabis extracts, which had previously been classified under the same number as what the federal government still calls “marihuana.” But multiple cannabis law experts say even if the DEA was trying to ban hemp-derived CBD, legal precedent and federal law would not allow them to do so unilaterally.

Reports of hemp-based CBD medicine’s death have been greatly exaggerated. That’s the word from several legal experts who say, despite a moment of industry-wide panic about the DEA’s filing of a memo with the federal register establishing a “final rule” on the internal classification of “marihuana extracts” the law regarding CBD and hemp has not changed.

A memo from Folium Legal Counsel echoes this widespread interpretation of the law and the lack of negative impacts on the industry since the filing took effect.

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More of the Same: Trump to Retain DEA Chief Rosenberg

He’s been president less than a week, but Donald Trump has already sheathed the Oval Office in Trump Organization-worthy gold. The ominous symbolism is also practical, as it provides the proper atmosphere in which to systematically dismantle almost everything Barack Obama accomplished while in office, just as Trump promised.

But amid reviving pipelines, gutting healthcare and endangering the health of women across the world, Trump isn’t shredding every last little vestige of the last eight years… unfortunately. For now, at least, Trump is keeping DEA chief Chuck Rosenberg.

This is the same Chuck Rosenberg who said smoking marijuana medicinally is a big “joke,” and whose agency rejected in August the latest effort to reschedule cannabis from the government’s list of the most dangerous substances known to man.

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Guidelines Give More Clemency for Crack than Cannabis

Former president Obama released more prisoners through pardon and clemency than any other U.S. president in history, but he set out some very specific guidelines for who benefitted. Among them, a general requirement that the prisoner being considered had served at least ten years, which left many cannabis prisoners in legal limbo.

A silver-haired 65-year-old “classic hippie” with soft eyes and a penchant for flowing skirts; there aren’t many people like Sherryanne “Share” Christie in federal prison.

Christie began serving a 27-month sentence at a federal prison camp in Phoenix, Arizona, on Oct. 11, 2016. Her official punishment began after more than six years of supervised release since her arrest in 2010 for her role in running The Hawaii Cannabis Ministry — a small-scale cannabis operation on Hawaii’s Big Island — with her husband Roger.

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PRESS RELEASE: Hoban Law Group

(Denver, CO) – In an overreach of authority and without consulting Congress, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)issued its Final Rule, the “Establishment of New Drug Code for Marihuana Extract,” on Dec 14, 2016. In response to the change, which serves to potentially devastate developing businesses and consumer, textile and manufacturing industries related to industrial hemp and other lawfully derived cannabinoids, Hoban Law Group has filed a petition in San Francisco’s United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to challenge what appears to be the DEA’s attempt to control an otherwise lawful substance.

The petition, filed on January 13, 2017 in California’s United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, is on behalf of three Petitioners: the Hemp Industries Association(an industrial hemp trade organization representing an array of industrial hemp industry actors);RMH Holdings, LLC(which sources its products from industrial hemp lawfully cultivated pursuant to the Agricultural Act of 2014 (also known as the Farm Bill)); and Centuria Natural Foods, Inc. (which lawfully imports certain exempted parts of the Cannabis plant, and oils and derivatives there from, such as stalks and fibers). The recent Final Rule substantially impacts businesses long operating in compliance with existing laws that now could be facing significant change in existing policy. These adverse impacts are caused by the Final Rule’s attempt to create a drug code encompassing all cannabinoids as Schedule 1 substances without reflecting the parts of the Cannabis plant which are Congressionally exempted from the definition of “marihuana” under the Controlled Substances Act and/or are exempted from treatment as a controlled substance.

Unfortunately, the DEA’s Final Rule exceeds the authority granted it by Congress and is inconsistent with the language of the Controlled Substance Act and other laws applying to industrial hemp. The genus Cannabis sativa L. contains over 80 cannabinoids, such as those commonly known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). The DEA’s Final Rule takes the position that the mere presence of any cannabinoid extracted from the Cannabis plant automatically renders that substance a “marihuana extract,”despite no cannabinoid except for (synthetic) THC being expressly scheduled under the Controlled Substances Act. This reclassification contradicts the DEA’s acknowledgement in the past that certain cannabinoids exhibit different effects: THC is known for psychoactive properties, whereas CBD, CBG and other cannabinoids are not commonly associated with psychoactive properties. In addition, the DEA’s Final Rule fails to recognize that cannabinoids can be derived from sources other than the Cannabis plant, such as a certain South African daisy, some chocolates, human breast milk and black pepper, highlighting the point that where or from what plant the cannabinoids originated is very difficult to prove.

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The Murky Waters of Hemp CBD’s Legal Status Get Murkier

Some legal experts say the DEA’s recent notice in the federal register concerning the classification of CBD oil is an attempt to criminalize the “non-psychoactive” substance. Others say it’s just a clarification for the purposes of research. The waters have only gotten muddier, but the general public’s understanding of CBD medicine isn’t crystal clear to begin with.

Everybody in cannabis talks about billions. The main difference between conversations with Wall Street investment banks and cannabis-sector investment firms is just how many billions are at stake.

Five, 10 or 20? Step on up and place your own market-friendly guesstimate! The sky’s the limit.

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DEA Tweet Accidentally Reveals Big Argument for Legalization

Part of the DEA’s failed War on Drugs has been to push erroneous information, despite scientific proof, that marijuana is dangerous and should therefore remain classified in the same category as heroin.

On Tuesday, the DEA tweeted a chart that referred to the “tobacco model” as a success. The chart compared perceptions of tobacco use to that of marijuana use, making the case that rising perception of harm is correlated with falling usage rates.

So far, so good.

Read more at High Times