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It is thought that hemp reached the British Isles via the Picts and Celts. Evidence of both Scottish and Welsh hemp use goes back to before Christ. A Celtic princess by the name of Cambri Formosa was known to have taught women the sewing of hemp and flax in 373 BC. Roman and Anglo-Saxon hemp remains date to the dates of 140-400 AD. Medieval records show its presence in 1175 as a titheable item; in 1211 in Somerset and Dorest; 1304 in Norfolk, and; 1341 in Suffolk. The number of British and Irish place names that contain the word ‘hemp’ or variants thereof also attest to the ubiquity of this crop.

Hemp was the choice fibre for ropes and cordage. This industry was considered to be of importance to national security, and thus the Crown mandated special status to Bridport, a southern town which became synonymous with the cordage industry for centuries. To this day hemp string can be purchased which is made in Bridport. Hemp was grown locally, along with flax. These two bast crops provided a living for thousands of people each year. They also provided the necessary material for the British Navy, which was what was the power behind the empire.

As empire expanded, the demand for hemp increased, and domestic supplies could not satisfy this demand. Although hemp was grown in every corner of the British Isles, indeed in every county in Ireland and England, overland transport costs made it more expensive to buy than Russian hemp, which was transported by sea.

The importation of Russian hemp, however, was not without the cost of danger and toil. Debate took place in Parliament on this very issue, with Lord Somerville addressing it in the early 19th century. Previous to him, other politicians had seen fit to secure a supply of hemp by mandating its cultivation, and such laws, while not enforced, are actually still on the books.

Hemp was to go from the world’s most traded commodity to one of the least traded commodities as metal ships replaced wooden sailing vessels, and other fibres, most notably abaca (Manila hemp) replaced hemp rope. This change led to complaint from papermakers, who relied for centuries on recycled clothes and rope from the navy. Jute, another bast fibre sourced mainly in East India, was used for ropes, but the recycled fibres were of such inferior quality for paper that it was ultimately abandoned as a source of pulp.

Cotton also became much more dominant, replacing hemp sails and other hemp cloth. A recent addition to the European textile world, as it had been discovered in the New World in the 16th century, it was to become a worldwide monoculture crop. It has always had a dark history, with slavery and pesticide use darkening its image. Recently, we have come to realise that it is now depleting the water systems in many countries, as it is a water intensive crop.
In the 20th century Britain was a top producer of cotton based clothing, importing most of it from India as a raw material and processing it largely in Manchester. Mahatma Ghandi changed this in the 1920s when he protested the British textile industry and established an Indian clothing industry. This did material good for India on one hand, but on the other, it added to the popularity of cotton, the cultivation of which leads to the death of tens of thousands of farmers every year in India.

The subcontinent is especially suited to this warm weather crop, but it has a long history of growing hemp and jute as well. Both were of interest to the British, and featured in an 1804 book by Robert Wissett, a clerk of the East India Company. It sold well, and was reprinted in 1808. Decades later other British writers, including J. Forbes Royle and Heber Drury wrote about its cultivation in India. They found that hemp grown in the highlands did especially well, and even made favourable comparisons between Indian hemp and Russian. The latter, however, continued to be in use for the most part until, shortly into the 20th century, hemp use just about died out. Record of its use in WWI does exist; in WWII, an order for it from the US went unfulfilled as a new American tax law made it prohibitive for the farmers to carry on with cultivation.

Ultimately Cannabis sativa was outlawed in the UK in 1971. However, due to much research worldwide, it was relegalised in 1993, and since then, low THC varieties have been grown. Much of this goes to rough fibre use, such as insulation and building material. Some goes into cigarette paper production, mostly made by Robert Fletcher. A third use of hemp in the UK which is becoming more and more popular is hemp seed oil for human consumption. The oil has been found to be high in GLAs, especially Omega 3, 6 and 9. Presently a litre of hemp seed oil retails for £20, and over a dozen brands can be bought in shops ranging from internet hemp sites to mainstream grocery chains such as Sainsburys and Tesco.

One of the earliest hemp pioneers in the UK was Bobby Pugh, a former Territorial Army soldier, who started Mother Hemp and The Hemp Shop in Brighton. That same city is the birthplace of the late Dame Anita Roddick, who started her famous enterprise The Body Shop, which has been hailed as one of the best investments in history, started for less than £10,000. Her cosmetic lines included hemp in over a dozen items, and often the hemp leaf motif was prominent in her High Road shops, including the Bond Street and Chiswick High Road locations.

The success of TBS and THS encouraged many others into the field. In West London alone there are several manufacturers and stockists, including: The Hemp Trading Co., Sativa, Cannabis Iced Tea, Eco and The Hemp Shop. The first one, known as THTC, stocks not only their own range of T shirts, often political in nature, but represents a number of imports. US based hemp apparel makes its way over to the UK in other ways as well, GeoMio and Minawear clothing can be seen on environmentalists along with Braintree, Enamore and House of Hemp creations. The reverse is also true, as many UK brands can be seen from the sidewalks of the Big Apple to the boardwalk in Venice. Sativa, for instance, is not only highly regarded as a hemp manufacturer, but is respected internationally in its own right as a luggage and accessories outfit with long-lasting products.

Despite the cultivation of hemp in the UK, hemp fibre is not produced into textiles here, and the British and Irish firms generally use Chinese hemp, with some amount of Eastern European and occasionally Nepalese. The Hemp Store in Dublin, for instance, showcased hemp mixed with yak hair at one of the London Hemp Expos, while the Lawson brothers, who run THTC, now fly to China to oversee production and ensure fair working conditions. There have been efforts to stimulate a British hemp textile industry, including two extensive field trials by BioRegional Development, but the reality is that there is a lack of infrastructure here that can handle hemp. A small scale effort is being made by Jane Pasquill in Cornwall, along with Kate Molson of Huddersfield, who have found a mill in Cornwall which has worked with hemp and is willing to work with it. Being realistic, it is not expected that any fine grades will be produced in the near future, or even a medium grade. It may be that a coarse grade will be all that can be expected, in which case, it may be turned to use for bags and artists’ canvas. The former use has an interesting and recent history, as in 2007 there were many companies trying to promote their green credentials with non-plastic bags. This resulted in a rush to produce cotton bags, mainly made up in Chinese sweatshops, which craze was outed by the Evening Standard when they took to task the Anya Hindmarch bag on their front page on 25 April, 2007. In rebuttal to the Anya Hindmarch “I am not a plastic bag” slogan, Bobby Pugh and Kenyon Gibson developed a 100% organic undyed hemp bag which stated: “Real Eco Bags are made from Hemp.” This attracted the attention of the Ecologist, which gave them free space to advertise, followed by a similar move from Positive News.

Thus a very simple, grey hemp bag became a focus of environmental debate. It has since caused a number of designers to take note, including Mulberry, which heard of the incident and contacted Pugh to source for them organic hemp later on that same year. All over London that year, at environmental rallies, people could be seen with these bags and signs, often made with hemp stalks, that stated: “real environmentalists wear hemp.”

A newcomer in the environmental world is a shop called Eco, which is located across from The Body Shop on Chiswick High Road. They are working with hemp researchers to stock the shop with hemp and educate the public about hemp and the dangers of cotton. At present it stocks Jilly Cholmondeley 100% Italian hemp bed sheets and Kate Molson hemp/peace silk fabrics. More importantly, it has opened its doors to debate and will host panel discussions on natural fibre use this year.

Hemp has found its niche in the British Isles, and is expected to increase. A hemp textile industry is one goal, but may be, for some time, out of the question. In the meantime hemp seed oil, hemp paper and hemp building materials are a growing market and there is, along with a growing market, a growing awareness and activism.

PROPOSITION 215, the California Compassionate Use Act, was enacted by the voters and took effect on Nov. 6, 1996 as California Health & Safety Code 11362.5. The law makes it legal for patients and their designated primary caregivers to possess and cultivate marijuana for thier personal medical use given the recommendation or approval of a California-licensed physician.
SB420, a legislative statute, went into effect on January 1, 2004 as California H&SC 11362.7-.83. This law broadens Prop. 215 to transportation and other offenses in certain circumstances; allows patients to form medical cultivation “collectives” or “cooperatives”; and establishes a voluntary state ID card system run through county health departments. SB 420 also establishes guidelines or limits as to how much patients can possess and cultivate. Legal patients who stay within the guidelines are supposed to be protected from arrest.
HOW MUCH CAN I POSSESS OR GROW?
Under Prop. 215, patients are entitled to whatever amount of marijuana is necessary for their personal medical use. However, patients are likely to be arrested if they exceed the SB 420 guidelines. SB420 sets a baseline statewide guideline of 6 mature or 12 immature plants, and 1/2 pound (8 oz.) processed cannabis per patient. Individual cities and counties are allowed to enact higher, but not lower, limits than the state standard. Local limits are posted at: http://canorml.org/prop/local215policies.html. Patients can be exempted from the limits if their physician specifically states that they need more.
In a state supreme court ruling, People v. Kelly (2010), the court held that patients can NOT be prosecuted simply for exceeding the SB 420 limits; however, they can be arrested and forced to defend themselves as having had an amount consistent with their personal medical needs.
WHAT OFFENSES ARE COVERED?
Prop. 215 explicitly covers marijuana possession and cultivation (H&SC 11357 and 11358) for personal medical use. Hashish and concentrated cannabis, including edibles, (HSC 11357a) are also included. Transportation (HSC 11360) has also been allowed by the courts. Within the context of a bona fide collective or caregiver relationship, SB 420 provides protection against charges for possession for sale (11359); transportation, sale, giving away, furnishing, etc. (11360); providing or leasing a place for distribution of a controlled substance (11366.5, 11570).
WHO MAY CULTIVATE UNDER PROP. 215?
Patients with a physician’s recommendation and their primary caregivers, defined as, “The individual designated by the person exempted under this act who has consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health, or safety of that person.” According to a state supreme court decision, People v Mentch (2008), caregivers must supply some other service to patients than just providing marijuana.
As an alternative, SB 420 allows patients to grow together in non-profit “collectives” or cooperatives. Collectives may scale the SB 420 limits to the number of members, but large gardens are always suspect to law enforcement. In particular, grows over 100 plants risk five-year mandatory minimum sentences under federal law.
CAN I STILL BE ARRESTED OR RAIDED?
YES, unfortunately. There is nothing in Prop. 215 to compel police to accept a patient as being valid. Many legal patients have been raided or arrested for having dubious recommendations, for growing amounts that cops deem excessive, on account of neighbors’ complaints, etc. A major purpose of the state ID card system is to avoid undue arrests.
Once patients have been charged, it is up to the courts to pass judgment on their medical claim.
A landmark State Supreme Court decision, People vs. Mower, holds that patients have the same right to marijuana as to any legally prescribed drug. Under Mower, patients who have been arrested can request dismissal of charges at a pre-trial hearing. If the defendant convinces the court that the prosecution hasn’t established probable cause that it wasn’t for medical purposes, criminal charges are dismissed. If not, the patient goes on to trial, where the prosecution must prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the defendant is guilty. Those who have had their charges dropped may file to have their property returned and claim damages.
In many cases, police raid patients and take their medicine without filing criminal charges. In order to reclaim their medicine, patients must then file a court suit on their own. For legal assistance in filing suit for lost medicine, contact Americans for Safe Access (www.safeaccessnow.org).
WHAT ABOUT FEDERAL LAW?
Under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act, possession of any marijuana is a misdemeanor and cultivation is a felony. A Supreme Court ruling, Gonzalez v Raich (June 2005), rejected a constitutional challenge by two patients who argued that their personal medical use cultivation should be exempt from federal law because it did not affect interstate commerce. Despite this, federal officials have stated that they will not go after individual patients, and the Obama administration has pledged not to intrude on state laws. Patients on federal parks and lands are not protected by Prop. 215.
WHO QUALIFIES AS A PHYSICIAN?
Prop. 215 applies to physicians, osteopaths and surgeons who are licensed to practice in California. It does not apply to chiropractors, herbal therapists, etc. For a list of medical cannabis specialists, see www.canorml.org/prop/215physicians.html. Prop. 215 requires physicians to state that they “approve” or “recommend” marijuana. Physicians are protected from federal prosecution for recommending marijuana by the Conant U.S. court decision.
WHAT ILLNESSES ARE COVERED?
Prop. 215 lists “cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine, or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief. Physicians have recommended marijuana for hundreds of indications, including such common complaints as insomnia, PMS, post-traumatic stress, depression, and substance abuse.
WHERE CAN MARIJUANA BE SMOKED?
SB420 bars marijuana smoking in no smoking zones, within 1000 feet of a school or youth center except in private residences; on school buses, in a motor vehicle that is being operated, or while operating a boat. Patients are advised to be discreet or consume oral preparations in public.
WHERE CAN I GROW MEDICINE?
Although Prop. 215 allows patients to grow their own medicine, landlords are not legally obliged to allow it. A few cities, such as San Diego and Ukiah, have ordinances restricting outdoor gardens.
CAN I SELL MY EXCESS MEDICINE?
In general sales of marijuana are NOT permitted under Prop 215. However, SB 420 authorizes legal caregivers and collective/cooperative members to charge for their expenses in growing for others on a “non-profit” basis. Growers who provide for others should either be members of a collective or be bona fide “primary caregivers.”
HOW CAN I START A COLLECTIVE?
The A.G. has issued guidelines for operation of cannabis collectives and coops. For details, see http://canorml.org/prop/collectivetips.html.
PRISONERS AND PROBATIONERS
SB420 allows probationers, parolees, and prisoners to apply for permission to use medical marijuana. However, medical marijuana is regularly disallowed in jails and prisons.
CAN PATIENTS BE DRUG TESTED?
The California Supreme Court has ruled that employers have a right to drug test and fire patients who test positive for marijuana, regardless of their medical use (Ross v RagingWire, 2008). Some employers will excuse patients if they present a valid 215 recommendation. Others won’t. Marijuana is never permitted in jobs with federal drug testing regulations, such as the transportation industry.
WHEN ARE RECOMMENDATIONS VALID?
Under Prop. 215, a recommendation is valid so long as the doctor says it is. However, SB420 requires ID cards to be renewed annually, and many police refuse to recognize recommendations that are older than a year or so. Courts have ruled that patients must have a valid approval at the time of their arrest, though this can have been oral.
WHAT ABOUT OUT-OF-STATERS?
Out-of-state recommendations are not recognized in CA, though they are in MT, RI and MI. While Prop. 215 arguably applies to anyone with a recommendation from a California physician, most physicians refuse to recommend to out-of-staters.
WHAT ABOUT MINORS?
Patients under 18 should have parental consent.
SHOULD I GET AN I.D. CARD?
Patients are not required to get an ID card to enjoy the protection of Prop. 215. All that is needed is a physician’s statement saying that marijuana is “approved” or “recommended.” However, many police refuse to recognize recommendations and arrest patients anyway unless they have a valid ID card. Patients and caregivers can obtain state ID cards through the health departments of the county where they live. Unfortunately, a few counties still have not implemented ID cards. The state ID card system has safeguards to protect patient privacy. Police cannot track down patients through the registry. No patient has ever been harassed on account of getting a card.
 
WHERE CAN I GET MEDICAL MARIJUANA?
Even though Prop. 215 doesn’t explicitly legalize sales, hundreds of cooperatives are presently providing marijuana to patients in accordance with SB 420 and the A.G.’s guidelines.

Text of Prop. 215
Compassionate Use Act of 1996
Health and Safety Code Section 11362.5

  Sec. (1) a-b The people of the State of California hereby find and declare that the purposes of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 are as follows:
      (A) To ensure that seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes where the medical use is deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician who has determined that the person’s health would benefit from the use of marijuana in the treatment of cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine, or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief.
     (B) To ensure that patients and their primary caregivers who obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes upon the recommendation of a physician are not subject to criminal prosecution or sanction.
      (C) To encourage the federal and state governments to implement a plan to provide for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients in medical need of marijuana.
      (2) Nothing in this Act shall be construed to supersede legislation prohibiting persons from engaging in conduct that endangers others, nor to condone the diversion of marijuana for nonmedical purposes.
      (c) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no physician in this state shall be punished, or denied any rights or privilege, for having recommended marijuana to a patient for medical purposes.
      (d) Section 11357, relating to the possession of marijuana, and Section 11358, relating to the cultivation of marijuana, shall not apply to a patient, or to the patient’s primary caregiver, who possesses or cultivates marijuana for the personal medical purposes of the patient upon the written or oral recommendation or approval of a physician.
      (e) For the purposes of this section, “primary caregiver” means the individual designated by the person exempted under this act who has consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health, or safety of that person.
      Sec. 2. If any provision of this measure or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the measure which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this measure are severable.

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The drugs used to treat cancer are among the most powerful, and most toxic, chemicals used in medicine. They kill both cancer cells and healthy cells, producing extremely unpleasant and dangerous side effects. The most common is days or weeks of vomiting, retching, and nausea after each treatment. The feeling of loss of control is highly depressing, and patients find it very difficult to eat anything, and lose weight and strength. People find it more and more difficult to sustain the will to live, and many chose to discontinue treatment, preferring death to treatment.

Cannabis can be used as an antiemetic, a drug which relieves nausea and allows patients to eat and live normally. It is safer, cheaper and often more effective than standard synthetic antiemetics. Smoking cannabis is more effective than taking it orally (or its synthetic derivatives such as Marinol) as patients it difficult to keep anything down long enough for it to have an effect. Smoking cannabis produces an immediate effect, and patients find it easier to control the doseage. Additionally the euphoric properties act as an anti-depressant, and the hunger and enjoyment of food properties (‘the munchies’) make weight gain easy, and these increase the chances of recovery.

Scientific Evidence

Vincigeurra et al. found that 78% of 56 patients with nausea who were resistant to standard drugs became symptom free through inhaling cannabis. Chang et al. found that smoking cannabis rather than ingesting it seemed more effective.

Doblin & Kleiman sent a questionaire to US oncologists (cancer specialists). 44% of the respondents had recommended illegal use of cannabis and half of them would prescribe it if it were legal.

Links:

Cannabis Sativa v Marinol – A Patient’s Story
This is a detailed personal testimony by a testicular cancer patient who underwent 13 cycles of chemotherapy. He discovered that smoking cannabis made his constant nausea manageable, and allowed him to eat normally. He also used Marinol, and discovered that although it stopped his nausea, it also knocked him him unconscious, and he couldn’t eat while he was sleeping. So he began to take half his Marinol dose and top it up with cannabis, and was able to lead a normal life between chemotheraphy sessions.

 

Marijuana and Multiple Sclerosis

In the condition known as MS the normal functioning of the nerves in the brain and spinal cord is disrupted. Dibilitating attacks, which last for weeks, come and go unpredictably, with gradual deterioration and eventual disability. Because the central nervous system controls the entire body, the effects may appear anywhere. Common symptoms include tingling, numbness, impaired vision, difficulty in speaking, painful muscle spasms, loss of co-ordination and balance, fatigue, weakness or paralysis, loss of bladder control, urinary tract infections, constipation, skin ulcerations and severe depression.

There is no known effective treatment. The standard drugs used to treat the muscle spasms are addicitve, have severe short-term side effects and worryingly damaging long-term side effects. Many MS sufferers find that they don’t even work.

Cannabis has a startling and profound effect on the symptoms of MS. It stops muscle spasms, reduces tremors, restores balance, restores bladder control and restores speech and eyesight. Many wheelchair-bound patients report that they can walk unaided when they have smoked cannabis. Patients also report that they find smoked herbal cannabis better at controlling their symptoms that synthetic derivatives. According to Marijuana – The Forbidden Medicine cannabis may even retard the progression of the disease.

Scientific Evidence

In 1995 Mills reviewed all the scientific evidence of MS treatment using cannabis, and discussed all the surrounding issues. He concluded that the evidence is sparse and of poor quality and that a proper clinical trial of smoked cannabis for MS, was needed. Dr Roger Pertwee of the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Aberdeen University wants to carry out such a study. Unfortunately he still needs proper funding and a source of legal cannabis.

In 1997 Dr Pertwee, along with Consroe et al. carried out a survey of MS patients who are using cannabis to see how cannabis helped their condition. The patients reported that cannabis helped the following conditions: spasticity, chronic pain of extremities, acute paroxysmal phenomenon, tremor, emotional dysfunction, anorexia/weight loss, fatigue states, double vision, sexual dysfunction, bowel and bladder dysfunctions, vision dimness, dysfunctions of walking and balance, and memory loss (these results are ranked in order, 97% of the patients said cannabis helped the first condition, spasticity, down to 30% reporting the last condition, memory loss.

Although there has never been a clinical trial of MS patients, that used smoked herbal cannabis, there is some direct evidence of cannabis’ effect on tremor. Both Clifford and Meinck et al. reported that cannabis reduced tremors and provided graphic evidence of this, in the form of before and after tremor recordings and handwriting samples.

During the 80’s there were three trials of oral synthetic THC in small numbers of MS patients. All were placebo-controlled, and involved various doses of THC from 2.5 to 15 mg daily. Many of the patients claimed to get a beneficial effect from THC, but the doctors, looking on objectively could find no effect in most of them – perhaps cannabis has a psychological benefit rather than a muscular one. Petro & Ellenberg found that THC improved spasticity compared with placebo, and that half their 8 patients had a “substantial” improvement. Clifford found that 7 of his 9 patients claimed a benfefit, but doctors could only confirm that 2 patients had benefited. Ungerleider et al. studied 13 patients with MS that proved untreatable with standard drugs. Although the patients said their spasticity had improved significantly, the doctors couldn’t spot an improvement. Large THC doses were poorly tolerated by the patients, with weakness, dry mouth, dizziness and psychoactive effects the common complaints – interestingly none of the patients asked to keep a supply of THC after the trial ended.

A recent letter in the Lancet from Martyn et al. reports synthetic cannabinoid, nabilone being of benefit in a single patient study. Weeks of placebo and nabilone were alternated, and muscle spasm, general well-being and sleep all improved when cannabis was given.

There is also evidence from animal experiments. EAE is an artificial disease that has been used as a laboratory model of MS in guinea pigs. Lyman et al. reported that when animals were exposed to the disease and treated with a placebo, they all developed severe EAE and 98% died. The animals that were treated with THC had no or mild symptoms and 95% survived.

Glaucoma

The human eyeball is filled with fluid, which exerts pressure to keep the eyeball spherical. Glaucoma is a condition where the channels through which the fluid flows gradually become blocked, and the intraocular pressure gradually increases, causing increasing damage to the optic nerve, and gradual deterioration of vision. Glaucoma is the second-largest cause of blindness, and affects 1.5 % of 50-year olds and 5 % of seventy-year olds.

Standard treatments have unpleasant or dangerous side effects, and have little effect on intraocular pressures in end-stage glaucoma. Cannabis however lowers intraocular pressures dramatically, with none of the serious side effects. Patients who find that standard medicines do not help their conditions report that smoking cannabis quickly restores their vision. Many long-term glaucoma patients have successfully maintained their sight using cannabis for 20 or 25 years, and avoided the gradual painfull deterioration to blindness that is otherwise enevitable.

However older generations, who are most at risk of glaucoma do not appreciate the euphoric side effects of smoked or ingested cannabis. There is also concern about the effects on the cardio-vasculat system. There is hope that a cannabis-containing eyedrop could be developed in the future which would have no side effects but this is made difficult since cannabinoids are not water soluble.

Ironically the discovery that cannabis lowers intraocular pressure was made accidentally during a police experiment. They were trying to discover if cannabis caused pupil dilation in users, so that they could detect and arrest them more easily!

Scientific Evidence

The effect of cannabis on intraocular pressure (IOP) in normal subjects has been well studied, however the effect on glaucoma patients is less well known, with only a handful of patients studied. Only one study used herbal cannabis, the rest have used cannabinoids.

Hepler & Frank (1971) found that oral or smoked cannabis reduced intraocular pressures in normal subjects for about 4 to 5 hours with “no indications of any deleterious effects … on visual function or ocular structure”. They concluded that cannabis may be more useful than conventional medications and probably works by a different mechanism.

Almost all of the studies using cannabinoids have been double-blind and placebo controlled. Two studies were of the effects of oral or smoked THC on IOP in normal subjects. Hepler et al. (1976) reported that the drop in IOP was dose-related. Jones et al. (1981) found that tolerance to the effects quickly built up, and there was a rebound in IOP to above baseline levels when treatment was stopped. Another two studies used intravenous infusions of various cannabinoids. Perez-Reyes et al. (1976) found that only the cannabinoids that had psychoactive effects produced a drop in IOP. Cooler & Gregg (1977) reported a drop in IOP but increased anxiety. The effects of cannabinoids on IOP were confirmed in numerous animal experiments, reviewed by Adler & Geller (1986).

The few studies on glaucoma patients all involve small numbers of patients. Hepler et al. (1976) found that when THC was smoked for months at a time by glaucoma patients, the effect on intraocular pressure stayed constant and there was no deterioration of vision. However only 7 of the 11 patients showed the effect. Merrit et al. (1980) carried out a double-blind and placebo controlled study on 18 patients and found a significant reduction in IOP but unwanted cardio-vascular and pyschoactive side-effects.

Applying cannabinoids directly to the eyes should remove the side-effects but is proving difficult since they are not water-soluble. Merrit et al. (1981) applied THC to only one eye in 8 patients, but found an effect on IOP in both eyes suggesting that the THC had been adsorbed into the bloodstream, rather than acting topically. However his patients reported no pyschoactive side-effects.

High court refuses to hear state lawsuit brought by San Diego County

Washington, D.C. — Medical marijuana advocates celebrated today as the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a landmark case brought by San Diego County. Advocates assert that the High Court’s decision removes one of the final obstacles to full implementation of California’s medical marijuana laws. The lawsuit filed by San Diego in 2006 challenged the state-mandate to implement an identification card program for patients based on the argument that state law is preempted by federal law. However, both the San Diego Superior Court and the Fourth District Court of Appeals rejected that argument, which was followed by the California Supreme Court’s refusal to review the case in 2008. Despite this failure in the state courts, the San Diego Board of Supervisors voted to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“No longer will local officials be able to hide behind federal law and resist upholding California’s medical marijuana law,” said Joe Elford, Chief Counsel with Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a national medical marijuana advocacy group, which represented patients in the county’s lawsuit against the state. “The courts have made clear that federal law does not preempt California’s medical marijuana law and that local officials must comply with that law.”

After the California Supreme Court denied review of County of San Diego v. State of California in October of 2008, ASA filed a lawsuit in January against Solano County for its refusal to implement the state ID card program. “This decision and our lawsuit against Solano will undoubtedly have an impact on the other counties that have failed to implement the ID card program,” continued Elford. ASA has given notice to all 10 counties (Colusa, Madera, Mariposa, Modoc, Mono, San Bernardino, San Diego, Solano, Stanislaus, and Sutter) of their obligation to implement the ID card program.

The San Diego case was preceded by another landmark medical marijuana case, City of Garden Grove v. Superior Court (Kha), which also involved preemption. In the Garden Grove or Kha case, both lower courts similarly found that state law was not preempted by federal law and that “it is not the job of the local police to enforce the federal drug laws.” The defendant in that case, medical marijuana patient Felix Kha, was also represented by ASA and involved the California Attorney General’s office. Advocates argue that it was the Kha case that, at least in part, compelled Attorney General Jerry Brown to issue enforcement guidelines in August 2008. ASA is currently seeking attorneys fees in the Kha case.

ASA worked with the ACLU Drug Law Reform Project to litigate the San Diego case, with both organizations on the side of the California Attorney General defending the state’s medical marijuana law. The County of San Bernardino joined San Diego County in its original lawsuit and the subsequent appeals. The ID card program was adopted in 2004, resulting from the legislature’s passage of SB 420, the Medical Marijuana Program Act.  The ID cards, when properly implemented, assist law enforcement and affords greater protection to patients.

Further information:
2008 landmark Court of Appeals ruling in the San Diego case: http://www.AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/San_Diego_Appeal_Ruling.pdf
2008 landmark Court of Appeals ruling in the Kha case: http://www.AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/GardenGroveDecision.pdf
ASA web page on the San Diego case: http://www.AmericansForSafeAccess.org/article.php?id=4405

# # #

by Bob EgelkoSan Francisco Chronicle
May 18th, 2009

 

California’s medical marijuana law survived its most serious legal challenge today as the U.S. Supreme Court denied appeals by two counties that argued they were being forced to condone violations of federal drug laws.

The justices, without comment, denied a hearing to officials from San Diego and San Bernardino counties who challenged Proposition 215, an initiative approved by state voters in 1996 that became a model for laws in 12 other states. It allows patients to use marijuana for medical conditions with their doctor’s recommendation.

The counties specifically objected to legislation requiring them to issue identification cards that protect holders from arrest by state or local police for possessing small amounts of marijuana for medical use.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the federal government can enforce its laws against marijuana to prosecute users and suppliers of the drug in California and the other 12 states. The Obama administration has said it will target only traffickers who violate state as well as federal laws, although it has not stopped U.S. attorneys from raiding dispensaries that operate with local government approval.

Prop. 215 remains in effect despite federal enforcement efforts that began as soon as it passed. In the counties’ case, the Supreme Court left intact a state ruling last year that said California remains free to decide whether to punish drug users under its own laws.

“The purpose of the (federal law) is to combat recreational drug use, not to regulate a state’s medical practices,” the Fourth District Court of Appeal in San Diego said in the July 31 decision.

In seeking Supreme Court review, San Diego and San Bernardino counties argued that the federal drug law overrides Prop. 215 and that they should not be required to issue identification cards allowing conduct that violates federal law.

Medical marijuana advocates were relieved by today’s order.

“This was the most threatening case to state medical marijuana laws, the only one that tried to invalidate state laws,” said attorney Graham Boyd of the American Civil Liberties Union, which defended the California law in the appeals court.

“No longer will local officials be able to hide behind federal law and resist upholding California’s medical marijuana law,” said Joe Elford, lawyer for Americans for Safe Access, which also took part in the case. He said the decision would strengthen his organization’s case against the two counties and eight others that have refused to issue the identification cards.

The cases are San Diego County vs. San Diego NORML, 08-887, and San Bernardino County vs. California, 08-897.

by Josh RichmanOakland Tribune
May 18th, 2009

 

The U.S. Supreme Court has killed a lawsuit that sought to challenge the validity of one of California’s key medical marijuana laws.

By refusing Monday to review the lawsuit brought in 2006 by San Diego County and later joined by San Bernardino County, the court let stand the state law requiring counties to issue identification cards to qualified medical-marijuana patients. The ID card program was adopted in 2004 under SB 420, the Medical Marijuana Program Act; the cards are meant to protect patients by helping law enforcement officers discern protected medical marijuana use from illicit recreational use.

The counties had claimed they didn’t have to comply because the state law was pre-empted by the federal ban on marijuana. But a San Diego Superior Court judge and the California Court of Appeal ruled against them, and the California Supreme Court had refused to review the case; the national highest court’s review was their final venue. Several other counties — Colusa, Madera, Mariposa, Modoc, Mono, Solano, Stanislaus, and Sutter — had declined to issue the cards pending the lawsuit’s final outcome.

“No longer will local officials be able to hide behind federal law and resist upholding California’s medical marijuana law,” said Joe Elford, chief counsel with Oakland-based Americans for Safe Access, a national medical marijuana advocacy group which represented patients in this lawsuit. “The courts have made clear that federal law does not pre-empt California’s medical marijuana law and that local officials must comply with that law.”

 

 

Aaron Smith, the Marijuana Policy Project’s California policy director, said it’s “time for San Diego and San Bernardino Counties to end their war on the sick and obey the law. And taxpayers should hold to account the irresponsible officials who wasted their tax dollars on frivolous litigation.”

San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Dianne Jacob said she’s “disappointed the Court did not take our case, but I am respectful of the Court’s decision. We were seeking a definitive ruling, in writing, that would resolve the conflict between state and federal law. In my opinion, there remains a gray area that will continue to pose challenges for law enforcement and users.”

But San Diego County officials said supervisors as soon as June 16 might consider a staff recommendation for implementing the ID card program.

Patients choosing to take part in the ID card program must apply for a new card with a doctor’s recommendation each year. Alameda County Public Health officials report having issued 2,408 medical marijuana patient ID cards from when the program began in August 2006 through the end of March; Contra Costa County had issued an estimated 400 by the end of 2008.

After a series of public hearings, Washington State Health Department officials set new limits on the amount of cannabis qualified patients may legally possess and cultivate under state law.

Under the guidelines approved last October, registered patients may now grow up to 15 cannabis plants and possess up to 24 ounces of usable cannabis. Patients are entitled to grow or possess more than these amounts if they can show that their medical condition requires it.

The new guidelines are the result of 2008 legislation that directed the Department of Health to “adopt rules defining the quantity of marijuana that could reasonably be presumed to be a 60-day supply for qualifying patients.”

The New Mexico medical cannabis program now has a licensed cannabis provider, and has another application pending. The Department of Health is licensing nonprofit cultivators to produce up to 95 mature plants and seedlings at a time, as well as maintain a supply of usable cannabis to meet the needs of patients in the program. The name and location of the producer is confidential, but the Health Department is notifying registered patients about how to contact the licensed producer.

“We are proud that we have accomplished the last and most challenging phase of our program and now New Mexico patients who are suffering from chronic, debilitating conditions can legally access medical cannabis under State law,” said Health Secretary Alfredo Vigil, MD.

New Mexico patients may also apply for a permit to grow up to 4 mature plants and 12 seedlings for their personal use. So far, 23 patients have been approved.

SPAIN: Autonomous Regions Can Allow

The parliament of Spain’s Baleares region voted in April by a large majority to allow doctors on Mallorca to prescribe cannabis for therapeutic purposes. The decision comes after responsibility for the health system was passed on to the regional government by the central government.

The vote means that 60 pharmacies and four hospitals in Catalonia will start prescribing cannabis to patients for whom other treatments have failed. Doctors in Catalonia will be able to prescribe cannabis in capsules or as an infusion for four specific groups of patients: those suffering from AIDS, cancer, chronic pain, or multiple sclerosis. The new policy affects roughly 150,000 patients.

Spain’s Health Minister, who must approve such decisions, said she accepted that cannabis “has some therapeutic value” and approves of “the controlled use of tablets in specific cases and under medical supervision.”

The pilot project, which will operate for a year, was proposed by Barcelona’s College of Pharmacists, following a similar program in the Netherlands with 8,000 patients.

Judge Says Patients Have Right to Collective Cultivation of Cannabis

A Supreme Court justice in Canada has taken action on a recent federal court decision there that found the national medical marijuana program is unconstitutional.

Justice Marvyn Koenigsberg gave the Canadian government a year to revise their regulations on medical cannabis so patients can run larger collective marijuana-growing operations.

Currently, Canada restricts licensed growers to supplying only one licensed user and prohibits more than three growers from pooling resources. Those restrictions are unconstitutional, according to the ruling.

The ruling results from the trial of a Victoria man accused of illegally trafficking and producing marijuana. Though the judge found Mathew Beren guilty, she refused to impose a sentence and expunged his criminal record.

The 35-year-old store owner was charged in 2004 following a raid on a research facility operated by a Vancouver Island patient group. Beren said he knew he was violating the law, but felt compelled to help sick people get their medicine.

 charleslynchA federal judge has again postponed sentencing of a California man convicted of operating a city-licensed medical cannabis dispensary. The case of Charles Lynch has become a focal point for the national debate over medical marijuana, with local officials, patients, and advocates pleading for leniency, while federal prosecutors demand a five-year prison sentence. Defense attorneys have asked that Lynch be sentenced to time already served, the four days he was held before posting bond.

“If I could find a way out, I would,” U.S. District Judge George H. Wu said. He gave attorneys until June 2 to file new sentencing briefs.

The sentencing was initially delayed after defense attorneys asked Judge Wu to take into consideration statements from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder that indicated the government would not prosecute anyone who complied with state medical marijuana laws. The judge asked for written clarification from the Department of Justice as to whether federal policy changes would impact Lynch’s sentencing.

In a brief, the U.S. Attorney for the case stated that “the Deputy Attorney General has reviewed the facts of this case and determined that the investigation, prosecution, and conviction of defendant are entirely consistent with the policies of DOJ and with public statements made by the Attorney General with respect to marijuana prosecutions.”

At the latest sentencing hearing, prosecutors said Lynch was not legally entitled to distribute marijuana under state law because he was not a “primary caregiver” and that he profited from his business. 

joeelford That view was refuted by ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford, who briefed the court on the state legislature’s clarification of the law and the new state Attorney General guidelines, which both contain provisions specific to the legal operation of cannabis dispensing collectives of the sort Lynch operated.

Lynch, 47, ran a medical marijuana dispensary in Morro Bay, California from 2006 to 2007 and with the blessing of the Morro Bay City Council, the local Chamber of Commerce, and other community leaders. Before his medical marijuana dispensary was raided by DEA agents in March of 2007, Lynch had operated for 11 months without incident. After a federal trial that excluded evidence about state law and the patients he was helping, Lynch was convicted of violating federal drug laws last year.

“It’s bad enough that the Justice Department is accusing Lynch of violating state law in order to sentence him in federal court, but there is not even any evidence that state law was violated,” said ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford. “It’s disingenuous to accuse people of state law violations and then prosecute them under federal law, thereby denying them an adequate defense.”

Because of the June 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Gonzales v. Raich, federal medical marijuana defendants are prohibited from entering evidence related to medical marijuana or their compliance with local and state laws. With more than two dozen pending federal medical marijuana cases, advocates are demanding that the government cease prosecutions or transfer them to state court where evidence can properly be heard.

“It’s time for the Obama Administration to act on its commitment to change federal medical marijuana policy,” said Elford. “Pending federal cases should be moved to state court, where juries can hear the whole truth.”

I’m not sure I understand what Mark Kleiman means by this:

California Assemblymember Tom Ammiano has introduced a bill to legalize cannabis in California. The bill quite sensibly recognizes that California can’t have a legal market while the drug remains banned under federal law…

Why not? California has a legal market for medical marijuana, which remains illegal under federal law. There has been federal interference, but the vast majority of dispensaries in California remain in operation. Patients can generally obtain medicine legally and conveniently, despite anything and everything DEA has done to undermine California law.

I’m sure the DEA would like us to think that we can’t legalize marijuana, and that might go a long way towards explaining why they keep doing these ridiculous raids that everyone hates. But there is no reason that California or any other state can’t legalize marijuana as long as the votes add up. Sure, the feds will likely show up and makes a mess here and there, but in case nobody noticed, those actions consistently lead to greater public support for changing marijuana laws.

If we’ve learned anything from what’s been happening in California for the past decade, it is that the federal government can’t even come close to stamping out marijuana reform at the state level. Imagine this:

1) California voters pass ballot initiative creating regulated marijuana sales.
2) Shops begin opening in LA, San Francisco.
3) DEA raids high-profile operations, big headlines, big protests.
4) Federal charges brought against defendants. First jury trial ends in surprise acquittal.  
5) Number of new businesses opening exceeds number of raids being conducted.
6) Voters in Nevada, Oregon pass ballot initiatives creating regulated marijuana sales…

Is any of this impossible?

Writing last week in Time.com, Joe Klein became the latest in a steady stream of media pundits to call for the legalization of marijuana (”Why Legalizing Marijuana Makes Sense”). That’s right, ‘legalization’ — with an “L.”

While the notion of regulating the sale and consumption of cannabis for adults might still induce reflexive giggles from the Oval Office, the issue is no longer a laughing matter among the public.

Lawmakers in two states — California and Massachusetts– are debating the merits of taxing pot like alcohol, and a pair of recent polls indicate that Western voters endorse this proposal by a solid majority. According to statistician Nate Silver, national support for legalization could reach “supermajority” status in just over a decade!

Why this momentum now? Klein sums up three primary reasons.

1) Americans are spending billions in judicial resources arresting and prosecuting minor marijuana offenders; these monies could be better redirected elsewhere.

2) America is in the midst of an economic recession; taxing marijuana could decrease criminal justice costs, raise tax revenue, and greatly reduce, if not eliminate, the involvement of drug cartels in the illicit marijuana trade.

3) The use of marijuana by adults is objectively less dangerous — both to the user and to society as a whole — than the consumption of alcohol. (Case in point: Drinking alcohol, even low to moderate amounts, was recently associated with elevated incidences of cancer, particularly among women. By contrast, a study published last week shows that cannabis kills malignant cancer cells.) It is illogical to endorse a public policy that arbitrarily prohibits the former while embracing the latter.

Of course, Klein is hardly the only mainstream pundit as of late to jump on the marijuana ‘legalization’ bandwagon.

In the past days, leading commentators like David Sirota, Kathleen Parker, Paul Jacob, Hendrik Hertzberg, Andrew Sullivan, Glenn Greenwald , Debra Saunders (San Francisco Chronicle), Leonard Pitts (Miami Herald), John Richardson (Esquire), Dan Gardner (Ottawa Sun), and Margery Eagan (Boston Herald), have all opined in favor of regulating cannabis. In fact, Americans’ sudden support for legalization is even beginning to draw attention from those outside the United States.

As well it should be.

American’s support for marijuana law reform is fast approaching a tipping point — a scenario made all that more remarkable when one considers that the federal government has spent nearly seven decades propagandizing against it. Mainstream America is coming to terms with marijuana, and growing more and more dissatisfied with our nation’s failing pot policies. Writes Klein: “Obviously, marijuana can be abused. But the costs of criminalization have proved to be enormous, perhaps unsustainable. Would legalization be any worse?”

He’s no longer the only one asking.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009  

The American people have spoken.

 

Top 10 Suggestions from American People to President Obama

Top 10 Suggestions from American People to President Obama

 

 As President Barack Obama’s transition team wrapped things up before he officially took office in January, staffers compiled a list of the most pressing issues facing the country, based on feedback from the populace. Compiled in the “Citizen’s Briefing Book,” thousands of ideas were offered to President Obama through his website, change.gov. Approximately 125,000 people submitted more than 44,000 ideas, which were then voted on by visitors to the website. After tallying the 1.4 million votes cast, the Obama team listed the major vote-getters, 60 in all, which were awarded 10 points for every positive vote received.

 For all the fanfare that accompanied the project when it was first announced, it is worth noting that the Obama team released the final report with zero publicity. In fact, the report itself does not even highlight the most popular ideas with, for example, a “Top 10” list. Perhaps that’s because had they done so, the No. 1 idea listed would have been the call to legalize marijuana (buried on p. 26 of the report). At 92,970 points, the idea to decriminalize marijuana easily beat out other ideas like ending torture (sixth place) or revoking the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy (seventh place). In fact, marijuana placed twice among the top 10. At No. 3 is the demand that the federal government stop interfering with state medical marijuana laws.
 
Having combed through the briefing book, AllGov.com determined those ideas that really did make the top 10, based on points received:
 
1. End marijuana prohibition (92,970)
2. Commit to becoming the “greenest” country in the world (70,470)
3. Stop using federal resources to undermine states’ medicinal marijuana laws (66,170)
4. Replace government sponsored abstinence education with age-appropriate sex education (65,350)
5. Funding for bullet trains and light rail (65,100)
6. The permanent closure of all torture facilities (61,250)
7. Revoke the George W. Bush tax cuts for the top 1 % (57,080)
8. Get insurance companies out of health care (55,080)
9. Revoke the tax exempt status of the Church of Scientology (52,470)
10. Bring back the Constitution (50,160)
-Noel Brinkerhoff
 
Citizen’s Briefing Book (White House) (PDF)

Washington, DC: Legalizing marijuana use for adults is the top policy question, as voted on by the American public, in White House’s first-ever ‘Citizens Briefing Book,’ issued by the Obama administration on Wednesday.

The ‘Briefing Book’ tabulated Americans’ online votes on over 44,000 different public policy questions. The proposals were posted on the Change.gov website (now whitehouse.gov) in January.

Some 125,000 Americans participated in the White Houses‘ online poll, casting over 1.4 million votes. Proposals were awarded ten points for each positive vote.

Based on the total number of points received, ending the criminal prohibition of marijuana ranked as the most popular issue, receiving 92,970 points. Halting the use of “federal resources to undermine states’ medical marijuana laws” ranked as the third most popular issue, receiving 66,170 points.

In response to a similar White House online poll question in December 2008, a spokesperson for the Obama administration commented, “President … Obama is not in favor of the legalization of marijuana.”

Last week, a national Zogby poll of 3,937 voters commissioned by conservative-leaning O’Leary Report found that a slight majority of Americans – 52 percent – favor legalizing marijuana. The poll marks the first time that a majority of the public has expressed support for pot legalization in a nationwide telephone poll.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at: (202) 483-5500.

Mexico City, Mexico: Mexican lawmakers enacted legislation last week to decriminalize the possession of small quantities of controlled substances. The measure now goes to Mexican President Felipe Calderon for his approval.

As passed, the proposal would eliminate criminal penalties for the personal possession of up to five grams of marijuana, as well as minor quantities of other drugs.

The legislation also authorizes state and local police to enforce drug trafficking laws. Under current law, only federal police (about five percent of Mexico’s law enforcement personnel) may arrest individuals suspected of selling drugs.

In 2006, Mexico’s Congress passed a virtually identical measure, only to have it vetoed by former President Vincente Fox, who stated, “Congress … [needs] … to make it absolutely clear in our country [that] the possession of drugs and their consumption [is], and will continue to be, a criminal offense.” Fox’s veto came after political pressure from members of the US State Department who warned that enacting such a law could promote so-called “drug tourism.”

Last month, Mexico’s ambassador to the United States Arturo Sarukhan told CBS’s Face the Nation that legalizing marijuana could potentially quell ongoing border violence. “This (legalization) is a debate that needs to be taken seriously – that we have to engage in on both sides of the border,” he said.

However after meeting with Calderon days later, United States government officials said that the option of the US liberalizing its pot laws is “not on the table.” The White House instead proposed increased efforts to curb domestic drug demand, and also called for expanding the use of ‘drug courts’ and coerced drug treatment.

According to the Associated Press, Mexican drug cartels now derive an estimated 60 percent of their income from illicit pot sales.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500.

Friday, May 15, 2009 3 comments  |  read comments  |  post a comment

San Diego: A patient fills out documentation for medical marijuana to treat pain from his martial arts-related injuries at 929A Turquoise St. (Photo by Sebastian Ruiz)

A patient fills out documentation for medical marijuana to treat pain from his martial arts-related injuries at 929A Turquoise St. (Photo by Sebastian Ruiz)

A medical marijuana facility called the Pacific Beach Collective opened at 929A Turquoise St. on Monday, May 11 to the dismay of several neighboring business owners and community members who say the facility will attract crime and illegal drug use to the neighborhood.

While residents and businesses in north Pacific Beach protest the dispensary, they may have to grin and bear it because marijuana used for medicinal purposes is legal under state law. Federal law, however, prohibits the sale of medical marijuana.

Some neighbors are livid. “I don’t see any positive aspects to it,” said Jack Story, a 20-year resident. “It’s probably not good for business.”

Story said many older folks in north Pacific Beach fear the store will attract crime and make people afraid to patronize nearby businesses. And with Pacific Beach Elementary within walking distance, at least one parent fears the store might attract dangerous drug addicts to the area.

“There’s nothing wrong or illegal, and they’re certainly necessary, but as someone who walks around with her children – for me – that’s not the kind of business we want in our community,” said Dawna Deatrick, president of Friends of Pacific Beach Elementary School, a parent-teacher organization. “It’s a necessary evil but we just don’t want it in our backyard.”

Click here

Lenny Olsen, manager of the Pacific Beach Gardens at 910 Turquoise St., said there was no announcement about the facility. There is no public noticing requirement for starting a dispensary, according to Pacific Beach Collective store managers.

Olsen said he wants one. “If I want to have an establishment to sell alcohol, I have to notify the community, but they can open up a medical marijuana store?” Olsen said. “How come they don’t have to notify [the public]?”

Olsen added that he doesn’t want his 10-month-old son exposed to a neighborhood culture that would “normalize” marijuana drug use.

Related: Arthur Salm on legalizing marijuana

While many in the neighborhood take issue with the store, the facility is protected under California law as a result of the voter-approved Proposition 215. The Compassionate Use Act of 1996 legalized marijuana for seriously ill persons as long as they have a doctor’s recommendation, according to San Diego County Deputy District Attorney Steve Walter.

In 2004, the Medical Marijuana Program Act, Senate Bill 420, established a voluntary patient identification and registration system. While the intent of the regulations is to help patients in serious pain, many recreational drug users circumvent the law by faking a need for it.

“Most people that voted for [Prop 215] were thinking of people who were gravely ill and marijuana was something to ease their pain… it’s unfortunate that there’s people that have taken it to the extreme and are ruining it for whom the law it was intended for,” Walter said.

Robert, 36, showed up at Pacific Beach Collective for different reasons on the store’s opening day. A Pacific Beach resident, Robert asked that his last name not be published. Robert, a mixed martial arts instructor, said a series of knee operations and shoulder and other training injuries had left him in a lot of pain. Robert said doctors prescribed him pharmaceutical painkillers that had addictive side effects and made him ill. Robert registered with the Pacific Beach Collective and can now legally acquire the medicine he needs.

“Hopefully people can understand that it’s the lesser of two evils when it’s necessary,” Robert said.

Sean Grady, the dispensary’s treasurer, said he wants to dispel rumors that the store is a methadone dispensary clinic or needle exchange program. He added that a plainclothes, unarmed security guard will monitor activity inside, along with a video camera security system.

“Hopefully, the community will see how we actually handle things and embrace us,” Grady said.

While Grady hopes for community support, the County of San Diego has historically sided with the federal law on the issue. San Diego and Merced counties filed a civil court case in February of 2006 questioning the legality of dispensaries under federal law.

Later that year, federal and county law officials cooperated to shut down approximately eight beach-area dispensaries and several others throughout the county, according to published reports.

The case has been appealed and challenged all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. Judges have sided with the California law up to this point, according to Deborah McCarthy, chief deputy counsel for the County of San Diego.

“The case is still alive,” McCarthy said. She said the county has filed a petition to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on the case. The Supreme Court could make a decision to hear the case or not as early as next week. Meanwhile, a movement to legalize and tax the federally controlled substance is underway.

Assembly member Tom Ammiano (D- San Francisco) introduced Assembly Bill 390 in February to regulate and tax the plant the same way the state regulates beer and liquor. The legislation would generate up to $1.3 billion in revenue, according to Ammiano’s Web site.

Sebastian Ruiz writes for the Beach and Bay Press where this story originally appeared.

swine-flu-pig

swine-flu-pig

On April 27, Time magazine published an article which discusses how dozens died and hundreds were injured from vaccines as a result of the 1976 swine flu fiasco, when the Ford administration attempted to use the infection of soldiers at Fort Dix as a pretext for a mass vaccination of the entire country.

Despite acknowledging that the 1976 farce was an example of “how not to handle a flu outbreak”, the article still introduces the notion that officials “may soon have to consider whether to institute draconian measures to combat the disease”.

Fear has become so widespread that Egypt has ordered the slaughter of the country’s 300,000 pigs, even though no cases have been reported there.

Fortunately some respectable journalists recognize this and are seeking to spread a voice of reason to the fear that is being promoted in the majority of the media

This is NOT the First Swine Flu Panic

My guess is that you can expect to see a lot of panic over this issue in the near future. But the key is to remain calm — this isn’t the first time the public has been warned about swine flu. The last time was in 1976, right before I entered medical school and I remember it very clearly. It resulted in the massive swine flu vaccine campaign.

Do you happen to recall the result of this massive campaign?

Within a few months, claims totaling $1.3 billion had been filed by victims who had suffered paralysis from the vaccine. The vaccine was also blamed for 25 deaths.

However, several hundred people developed crippling Guillain-Barré Syndrome after they were injected with the swine flu vaccine. Even healthy 20-year-olds ended up as paraplegics.

And the swine flu pandemic itself? It never materialized.

More People Died From the Swine Flu Vaccine than Swine Flu!

It is very difficult to forecast a pandemic, and a rash response can be extremely damaging.

To put things into perspective, malaria kills 3,000 people EVERY DAY, and it’s considered “a health problem”… But of course, there are no fancy vaccines for malaria that can rake in billions of dollars in a short amount of time.

One Australian news source,3 for example, states that even a mild swine flu epidemic could lead to the deaths of 1.4 million people and would reduce economic growth by nearly $5 trillion dollars.

Give me a break, if this doesn’t sound like the outlandish cries of the pandemic bird-flu I don’t know what does. Do you remember when President Bush said two million Americans would die as a result of the bird flu?

In 2005, in 2006, 2007, and again in 2008, those fears were exposed as little more than a cruel hoax, designed to instill fear, and line the pocketbooks of various individuals and industry. I became so convinced by the evidence AGAINST the possibility of a bird flu pandemic that I wrote a New York Times bestselling book, The Bird Flu Hoax, all about the massive fraud involved with the epidemic that never happened..

What is the Swine Flu?

Regular swine flu is a contagious respiratory disease, caused by a type-A influenza virus that affects pigs. The current strain, A(H1N1), is a new variation of an H1N1 virus — which causes seasonal flu outbreaks in humans — that also contains genetic material of bird and pig versions of the flu.

Symptoms include:

•Fever of more than 100
•Coughing
•Runny nose and/or sore throat
•Joint aches
•Severe headache
•Vomiting and/or diarrhea
•Lethargy
•Lack of appetite
Interestingly enough, this version has never before been seen in neither human nor animal, which I will discuss a bit later.

This does sound bad. But not so fast. There are a few reasons to not rush to conclusions that this is the deadly pandemic we’ve been told would occur in the near future (as if anyone could predict it without having some sort of inside knowledge).

Current State of Swine Flu Spread

As of May 1, 2009, 11 countries have officially reported 363 cases of influenza A(H1N1) infection and only ten deaths in the ENTIRE world from this illness. At this time ALL of the deaths are from people born in Mexico.

Why Mexico? Well overcrowding, poor nutrition and overall poor immunity, all of which are indigenous to Mexico will radically increase your risk of death from almost any infection.

Interestingly there are no official reports of just who these people are that died. Are they elderly or infirm people, are they already chronically ill? Are they under 5 years old? Or perhaps someone who could just as easily be killed by the common cold or a slip and fall? These are important questions that have not been answered.

The number of fatalities, and suspected and confirmed cases across the world change depending on the source, so your best bet — if you want the latest numbers — is to use Google Maps’ Swine Flu Tracker. There is also an experimental version for Mexico.

But “officially’ the most recent numbers according to the World Health Organization’s Epidemic and Pandemic Alert and Response site are:

Country      Cases  Deaths
 Mexico 156  9
 United States  141  1*
 Canada      34 0
 Spain  13  0
 United Kingdom  8 0
 Germany  3  0
 New Zealand      3  0
 Israel  2  0
 Switzerland  1  0
 Austria  1 0
 Netherlands  1 0

*The United States has had 141 confirmed cases, and one death BUT no deaths from US Citizens. On April 29th CNN reported the first swine fatality in the US, however this was actually a child from Mexico that died in Texas.

It is important to note that nearly all suspected new cases have been reported as mild.

Personally, I am highly skeptical. It simply doesn’t add up to a real pandemic.

But it does raise serious questions about where this brand new, never before seen virus came from, especially since it cannot be contracted from eating pork products, and has never before been seen in pigs, and contains traits from the bird flu — and which, so far, only seems to respond to Tamiflu. Are we just that lucky, or… what?

Your Fear Will Make Some People VERY Rich in Today’s Crumbling Economy

Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate) is approved for treatment of uncomplicated influenza A and B in children 1 year of age or older. It is also approved for prevention of influenza in people 13 years or older. It’s part of a group of anti-influenza drugs called neuraminidase inhibitors, which work by blocking a viral enzyme that helps the influenza virus to invade cells in your respiratory tract.

According to the Associated Press at least one financial analyst estimates up to $388 million worth of Tamiflu sales in the near future10 — and that’s without a pandemic outbreak.

More than half a dozen pharmaceutical companies, including Gilead Sciences Inc., Roche, GlaxoSmithKline and other companies with a stake in flu treatments and detection, have seen a rise in their shares in a matter of days, and will likely see revenue boosts if the swine flu outbreak continues to spread.
Swine flue is extremely convenient for governments that would have very soon have to dispose of billions of dollars of Tamiflu stock, which they bought to counter avian flu, or H5N1. The US government ordered 20 million doses, costing $2 billion, in October, 2005, and around that time the UK government ordered 14.6 million doses. Tamiflu’s manufacturer, Roche, has confirmed that the shelf life of its anti-viral is three years.

As soon as Homeland Security declared a health emergency, 25 percent — about 12 million doses — of Tamiflu and Relenza treatment courses were released from the nation’s stockpile. However, beware that the declaration also allows unapproved tests and drugs to be administered to children. Many health- and government officials are more than willing to take that chance with your life, and the life of your child. But are you?

Tamiflu Loaded With Side Effects, Including Death and Can Only Reduce Symptoms by 36 Hours at BEST

Please realize that Tamiflu is NOT a safe drug Serious side effects include convulsions, delirium or delusions, and 14 deaths in children and teens as a result of neuropsychiatric problems and brain infections Japan actually banned Tamiflu for children in 2007.

Remember, Tamiflu went through some rough times not too long ago, as the dangers of this drug came to light when, in 2007, the FDA finally began investigating some 1,800 adverse event reports related to the drug.

Additionally common side effects of Tamiflu include:

•Nausea
•Vomiting
•Diarrhea
•Headache
•Dizziness
•Fatigue
•Cough
All in all, the very symptoms you’re trying to avoid.

Additionally, Tamiflu has been reported to be ineffective against seasonal flu outbreaks, and may not be sufficient to combat an epidemic or pandemic.

But making matters worse, some patients with influenza are at HIGHER risk for secondary bacterial infections when on Tamiflu. And secondary bacterial infections, as I mentioned earlier, was likely the REAL cause of the mass fatalities during the 1918 pandemic!

But here’s the real kicker.

When Tamiflu is used as directed (twice daily for 5 days) it can ONLY reduce the duration of your influenza symptoms by 1 to 1 ½ days, according to the official data.

Why on earth would anyone want to take a drug that has a chance of killing you, was banned in Japan, is loaded with side effects that mimic the flu itself, costs over $100, and AT BEST can only provide 36 hours of SYMPTOM relief. Just doesn’t make any sense.

Should You Accept a Flu Vaccine — Just to be Safe?

Watch the video above to see ridiculous 1976 commercials promoting Swine Flu shots.

As stated in the New York Times14 and elsewhere, flu experts have no idea whether the current seasonal flu vaccine would offer any protection whatsoever against this exotic mutant, and it will take months to create a new one.

But let me tell you, getting vaccinated now would not only offer no protection and potentially cause great harm, it would most likely be loaded with toxic mercury which is used as a preservative in most flu vaccines..

I’ve written extensively about the numerous dangers (and ineffectiveness) of flu vaccines, and why I do not recommend them to anyone. So no matter what you hear — even if it comes from your doctor — don’t get a regular flu shot. They rarely work against seasonal flu…and certainly can’t offer protection against a never-before- seen strain.

Currently, the antiviral drugs Tamiflu and Relenza are the only drugs that appear effective against the (human flu) H1N1 virus, and I strongly believe taking Tamiflu to protect yourself against this new virus could be a serious mistake — for all the reasons I already mentioned above.

But in addition to the dangerous side effects of Tamiflu, there is also growing evidence of resistance against the drug. In February, the pre-publication and preliminary findings journal called Nature Precedings published a paper on this concern, stating15:

The dramatic rise of oseltamivir [Tamiflu] resistance in the H1N1 serotype in the 2007/2008 season and the fixing of H274Y in the 2008/2009 season has raised concerns regarding individuals at risk for seasonal influenza, as well as development of similar resistance in the H5N1 serotype [bird flu].

Previously, oseltamivir resistance produced changes in H1N1 and H3N2 at multiple positions in treated patients. In contrast, the recently reported resistance involved patients who had not recently taken oseltamivir.

It’s one more reason not to bother with this potentially dangerous drug.

And, once a specific swine flu drug is created, you can be sure that it has not had the time to be tested in clinical trials to determine safety and effectiveness, which puts us right back where I started this article — with a potential repeat of the last dangerous swine flu vaccine, which destroyed the lives of hundreds of people.

Topping the whole mess off, of course, is the fact that if the new vaccine turns out to be a killer, the pharmaceutical companies responsible are immune from lawsuits — something I’ve also warned about before on numerous occasions.

Unfortunately, those prospects won’t stop the governments of the world from mandating the vaccine — a scenario I hope we can all avoid.

How to Protect Yourself Without Dangerous Drugs and Vaccinations

For now, my point is that there are always going to be threats of flu pandemics, real or created, and there will always be potentially toxic vaccines that are peddled as the solution. But you can break free of that whole drug-solution trap by following some natural health principles.
I have not caught a flu in over two decades, and you can avoid it too, without getting vaccinated, by following these simple guidelines, which will keep your immune system in optimal working order so that you’re far less likely to acquire the infection to begin with.

•Optimize your vitamin D levels. As I’ve previously reported, optimizing your vitamin D levels is one of the absolute best strategies for avoiding infections of ALL kinds, and vitamin D deficiency is likely the TRUE culprit behind the seasonality of the flu — not the flu virus itself.
This is probably the single most important and least expensive action you can take. I would STRONGLY urge you to have your vitamin D level monitored to confirm your levels are therapeutic at 50-70 ng.ml and done by a reliable vitamin D lab like Lab Corp.

For those of you in the US we hope to launch a vitamin D testing service through Lab Corp that allows you to have your vitamin D levels checked at your local blood drawing facility, and relatively inexpensively. We hope to offer this service by June 2009.

If you are coming down with flu like symptoms and have not been on vitamin D you can take doses of 50,000 units a day for three days to treat the acute infection. Some researchers like Dr. Cannell, believe the dose could even be as high as 1000 units per pound of body weight for three days.

However, most of Dr. Cannell’s work was with seasonal and not pandemic flu. If your body has never been exposed to the antigens there is chance that the vitamin D might not work. However the best bet is to maintain healthy levels of vitamin D around 60 ng/ml.

BUT to keep this in perspective the regular flu, not the swine flu, has killed 13,000 in the US since January. But there is strong support that these types of figures are grossly exaggerated to increase vaccine sales. However, the fact remains that the regular flu at this point in time is FAR more dangerous than the swine flu and were you worried about the regular flu before the media started talking this up?

•Avoid Sugar and Processed Foods. Sugar decreases the function of your immune system almost immediately, and as you likely know, a strong immune system is key to fighting off viruses and other illness. Be aware that sugar is present in foods you may not suspect, like ketchup and fruit juice.

•Get Enough Rest. Just like it becomes harder for you to get your daily tasks done if you’re tired, if your body is overly fatigued it will be harder for it to fight the flu. Be sure to check out my article Guide to a Good Night’s Sleep for some great tips to help you get quality rest.

•Have Effective Tools to Address Stress . We all face some stress every day, but if stress becomes overwhelming then your body will be less able to fight off the flu and other illness.

If you feel that stress is taking a toll on your health, consider using an energy psychology tool such as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), which is remarkably effective in relieving stress associated with all kinds of events, from work to family to trauma. You can check out my free, 25-page EFT manual for some guidelines on how to perform EFT.

•Exercise. When you exercise, you increase your circulation and your blood flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system are also better circulated, which means your immune system has a better chance of finding an illness before it spreads. You can review my exercise guidelines for some great tips on how to get started.

•Take a good source of animal based omega-3 fats like Krill Oil. Increase your intake of healthy and essential fats like the omega-3 found in krill oil, which is crucial for maintaining health. It is also vitally important to avoid damaged omega-6 oils that are trans fats and in processed foods as it will seriously damage your immune response.

•Wash Your Hands. Washing your hands will decrease your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. Be sure you don’t use antibacterial soap for this — antibacterial soaps are completely unnecessary, and they cause far more harm than good. Instead, identify a simple chemical-free soap that you can switch your family to.

•Eat Garlic Regularly. Garlic works like a broad-spectrum antibiotic against bacteria, virus, and protozoa in the body. And unlike with antibiotics, no resistance can be built up so it is an absolutely safe product to use. However, if you are allergic or don’t enjoy garlic it would be best to avoid as it will likely cause more harm than good.

•Avoid Hospitals and Vaccines In this particular case, I’d also recommend you stay away from hospitals unless you’re having an emergency, as hospitals are prime breeding grounds for infections of all kinds, and could be one of the likeliest places you could be exposed to this new bug. Vaccines will not be available for six months at the minimum but when available they will be ineffective and can lead to crippling paralysis like Guillain-Barré Syndrome just as it did in the 70s.

Factory Farming Maybe Source of Swine Flu

Another theory as to the cause of Swine Flu might be factory farming. In the United States, pigs travel coast to coast. They can be bred in North Carolina, fattened in the corn belt of Iowa, and slaughtered in California.

While this may reduce short-term costs for the pork industry, the highly contagious nature of diseases like influenza (perhaps made further infectious by the stresses of transport) needs to be considered when calculating the true cost of long-distance live animal transport.

The majority of U.S. pig farms now confine more than 5,000 animals each. With a group of 5,000 animals, if a novel virus shows up it will have more opportunity to replicate and potentially spread than in a group of 100 pigs on a small farm.

With massive concentrations of farm animals within which to mutate, these new swine flu viruses in North America seem to be on an evolutionary fast track, jumping and reassorting between species at an unprecedented rate.

Why a True Bird- or Swine Flu Pandemic is HIGHLY Unlikely

While in my opinion it is highly likely factory farming is responsible for producing this viral strain, I believe there is still no cause for concern.

You may not know this, but all H1N1 flu’s are descendants of the 1918 pandemic strain. The reason why the flu shot may or may not work, however, from year to year, is due to mutations. Therefore, there’s no vaccine available for this current hybrid flu strain, and naturally, this is feeding the fear that millions of people will die before a vaccine can be made.

However, let me remind you of one very important fact here.

Just a couple of months ago, scientists concluded that the 1918 flu pandemic that killed between 50-100 million people worldwide in a matter of 18 months — which all these worst case scenarios are built upon — was NOT due to the flu itself!4

Instead, they discovered the real culprit was strep infections.

People with influenza often get what is known as a “superinfection” with a bacterial agent. In 1918 it appears to have been Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Since strep is much easier to treat than the flu using modern medicine, a new pandemic would likely be much less dire than it was in the early 20th century, the researchers concluded.

Others, such as evolutionary biologist Paul Ewald,5 claim that a pandemic of this sort simply cannot happen, because in order for it to occur, the world has to change. Not the virus itself, but the world.

In a previous interview for Esquire magazine, in which he discusses the possibility of a bird flu pandemic, he states:

“They think that if a virus mutates, it’s an evolutionary event. Well, the virus is mutating because that is what viruses and other pathogens do. But evolution is not just random mutation. It is random mutation coupled with natural selection; it is a battle for competitive advantage among different strains generated by random mutation.

For bird flu to evolve into a human pandemic, the strain that finds a home in humanity has to be a strain that is both highly virulent and highly transmissible. Deadliness has to translate somehow into popularity; H5N1 has to find a way to kill or immobilize its human hosts, and still find other hosts to infect. Usually that doesn’t happen.”

Ewald goes on to explain that evolution in general is all about trade-offs, and in the evolution of infections the trade-off is between virulence and transmissibility.

What this means is that in order for a “bird flu” or “swine flu” to turn into a human pandemic, it has to find an environment that favors both deadly virulence and ease of transmission.

People living in squalor on the Western Front at the end of World War I generated such an environment, from which the epidemic of 1918 could arise.

Likewise, crowded chicken farms, slaughterhouses, and jam-packed markets of eastern Asia provide another such environment, and that environment gave rise to the bird flu — a pathogen that both kills and spreads, in birds, but not in humans.

Says Ewald:

“We know that H5N1 is well adapted to birds. We also know that it has a hard time becoming a virus that can move from person to person. It has a hard time without our doing anything. But we can make it harder. We can make sure it has no human population in which to evolve transmissibility. There is no need to rely on the mass extermination of chickens. There is no need to stockpile vaccines for everyone.

By vaccinating just the people most at risk — the people who work with chickens and the caregivers — we can prevent it from becoming transmissible among humans. Then it doesn’t matter what it does in chickens.”

Please remember that, despite the fantastic headlines and projections of MILLIONS of deaths, the H5N1 bird flu virus killed a mere 257 people worldwide since late 2003. As unfortunate as those deaths are, 257 deaths worldwide from any disease, over the course of five years, simply does not constitute an emergency worthy of much attention, let alone fear!

Honestly, your risk of being killed by a lightning strike in the last five years was about 2,300 percent higher than your risk of contracting and dying from the bird flu.6 I’m not kidding! In just one year (2004), more than 1,170 people died from lighting strikes, worldwide.7

So please, as the numbers of confirmed swine flu cases are released, keep a level head and don’t let fear run away with your brains.

Where did This Mysterious New Animal-Human Flu Strain Come From?

Alongside the fear-mongering headlines, I’ve also seen increasing numbers of reports questioning the true nature of this virus. And rightfully so.

Could a mixed animal-human mutant like this occur naturally? And if not, who made it, and how was it released?

Not one to dabble too deep in conspiracy theories, I don’t have to strain very hard to find actual facts to support the notion that this may not be a natural mutation, and that those who stand to gain have the wherewithal to pull off such a stunt.

Just last month I reported on the story that the American pharmaceutical company Baxter was under investigation for distributing the deadly avian flu virus to 18 different countries as part of a seasonal flu vaccine shipment. Czech reporters were probing to see if it may have been part of a deliberate attempt to start a pandemic; as such a “mistake” would be virtually impossible under the security protocols of that virus.

The H5N1 virus on its own is not very airborne. However, when combined with seasonal flu viruses, which are more easily spread, the effect could be a potent, airborne, deadly, biological weapon. If this batch of live bird flu and seasonal flu viruses had reached the public, it could have resulted in dire consequences.

There is a name for this mixing of viruses; it’s called “reassortment,” and it is one of two ways pandemic viruses are created in the lab. Some scientists say the most recent global outbreak — the 1977 Russian flu — was started by a virus created and leaked from a laboratory.

Another example of the less sterling integrity of Big Pharma is the case of Bayer, who sold millions of dollars worth of an injectable blood-clotting medicine to Asian, Latin American, and some European countries in the mid-1980s, even though they knew it was tainted with the AIDS virus.

So while it is morally unthinkable that a drug company would knowingly contaminate flu vaccines with a deadly flu virus such as the bird- or swine flu, it is certainly not impossible. It has already happened more than once.

But there seems to be no repercussions or hard feelings when industry oversteps the boundaries of morality and integrity and enters the arena of obscenity. Because, lo and behold, which company has been chosen to head up efforts, along with WHO, to produce a vaccine against the Mexican swine flu?

Baxter!11 Despite the fact that ink has barely dried on the investigative reports from their should-be-criminal “mistake” against humanity.

According to other sources,12 a top scientist for the United Nations, who has examined the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in Africa, as well as HIV/AIDS victims, has concluded that the current swine flu virus possesses certain transmission “vectors” that suggest the new strain has been genetically-manufactured as a military biological warfare weapon.

The UN expert believes that Ebola, HIV/AIDS, and the current A-H1N1 swine flu virus are biological warfare agents.

In addition, Army criminal investigators are looking into the possibility that disease samples are missing from biolabs at Fort Detrick — the same Army research lab from which the 2001 anthrax strain was released, according to a recent article in the Fredrick News Post.13 In February, the top biodefense lab halted all its research into Ebola, anthrax, plague, and other diseases known as “select agents,” after they discovered virus samples that weren’t listed in its inventory and might have been switched with something else.

May 1st, 2009

President Obama has made it clear that, when creating policy, his administration will hold science over political ideology and value the input of people like you.

TAKE ACTION NOW to demand the Obama Administration honor these words when considering policy on medical marijuana policies!

Take a Closer Look

There is a scientific consensus that cannabis can control symptoms of serious and chronic illness. In the past decade alone, clinical research has demonstrated that cannabis and its constituents can safely and effectively treat nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, pain and spasticity. And a growing body of literature suggests that cannabis may hold the key to unlocking new treatments for HIV/AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, cancer, and many other conditions. Year after year, the research has been twisted or ignored to suit a political ideology.

The federal government is lying when it states that the therapeutic use of cannabis has no accepted medical value in treatment in the United States and ASA, time and again, has called them to task on this lie. Now, we need YOU to weigh in!

Last month, the President signed a Memorandum on Scientific Integrity affirming that policy decisions that are made are done so with facts and data, not political agendas. Yesterday, the Office of Technology and Science Policy (OTSP), the agency responsible for overseeing the scientific integrity pledge, created a way for you to provide feedback.

This is your chance to tell the White House what you think about the Government’s long-standing refusal to acknowledge the medical benefits of cannabis and its obstruction of medical cannabis research.

Visit http://www.AmericansForSafeAccess.org/ScientificIntegrity and choose one of the following three options to comment on Sections C and D:

The U.S Department of Health and Human Services must correct statements disseminated on federal websites and in the Federal Register that falsely declare that cannabis “has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.”
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration must accept the Administrative Law Judge Bittner’s February 2007 Opinion and Recommended Ruling in the matter of Lyle E. Craker, Ph.D., Docket No. 05-16, to grant a competitive bulk-manufactures license to establish a privately-funded facility to cultivate cannabis exclusively for clinical research.
The U.S. Department of Justice must remove cannabis from the list of Schedule I controlled substances in light of a growing body of research, including four double-blind placebo controlled clinical trials, which supports the therapeutic use of cannabis and in accordance with DEA’s own 1988 Administrative Law ruling in which Judge Young opined that “the provisions of the CSA permit and require the transfer of cannabis from schedule I to schedule II.”
We have got to make it clear that science and research show that cannabis has medical value and we expect the President’s policy on medical cannabis to reflect that.

Two plus two equals four – NOT five!

When you’re done – send this alert to your email networks to spread the word! Let’s send a message that we expect science to rule out!

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May 1st, 2009

President Obama has made it clear that, when creating policy, his administration will hold science over political ideology and value the input of people like you.

TAKE ACTION NOW to demand the Obama Administration honor these words when considering policy on medical marijuana policies!

Take a Closer Look

There is a scientific consensus that cannabis can control symptoms of serious and chronic illness. In the past decade alone, clinical research has demonstrated that cannabis and its constituents can safely and effectively treat nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, pain and spasticity. And a growing body of literature suggests that cannabis may hold the key to unlocking new treatments for HIV/AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, cancer, and many other conditions. Year after year, the research has been twisted or ignored to suit a political ideology.

The federal government is lying when it states that the therapeutic use of cannabis has no accepted medical value in treatment in the United States and ASA, time and again, has called them to task on this lie. Now, we need YOU to weigh in!

Last month, the President signed a Memorandum on Scientific Integrity affirming that policy decisions that are made are done so with facts and data, not political agendas. Yesterday, the Office of Technology and Science Policy (OTSP), the agency responsible for overseeing the scientific integrity pledge, created a way for you to provide feedback.

This is your chance to tell the White House what you think about the Government’s long-standing refusal to acknowledge the medical benefits of cannabis and its obstruction of medical cannabis research.

Visit http://www.AmericansForSafeAccess.org/ScientificIntegrity and choose one of the following three options to comment on Sections C and D:

The U.S Department of Health and Human Services must correct statements disseminated on federal websites and in the Federal Register that falsely declare that cannabis “has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.”
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration must accept the Administrative Law Judge Bittner’s February 2007 Opinion and Recommended Ruling in the matter of Lyle E. Craker, Ph.D., Docket No. 05-16, to grant a competitive bulk-manufactures license to establish a privately-funded facility to cultivate cannabis exclusively for clinical research.
The U.S. Department of Justice must remove cannabis from the list of Schedule I controlled substances in light of a growing body of research, including four double-blind placebo controlled clinical trials, which supports the therapeutic use of cannabis and in accordance with DEA’s own 1988 Administrative Law ruling in which Judge Young opined that “the provisions of the CSA permit and require the transfer of cannabis from schedule I to schedule II.”
We have got to make it clear that science and research show that cannabis has medical value and we expect the President’s policy on medical cannabis to reflect that.

Two plus two equals four – NOT five!

When you’re done – send this alert to your email networks to spread the word! Let’s send a message that we expect science to rule out!

ShareThis
RSS Feed

Influenza Symptoms

Influenza (also known as the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly and may include these symptoms:

  • Fever (usually high)
  • Headache
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle aches
  • Stomach symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, also can occur but are more common in children than adults

These symptoms are usually referred to as “flu-like symptoms.”

Anyone Can Get the Flu, But the Disease Is More Severe for Some People

Most people who get influenza will recover in a few days to less than 2 weeks, but some people will develop life-threatening complications (such as pneumonia) as a result of the flu. Millions of people in the United States — about 5% to 20% of U.S. residents — will get influenza each year. An average of about 36,000 people per year in the United States die from influenza-related causes, and more than 200,000 have to be admitted to the hospital as a result of influenza-related causes. Anyone can get the flu (even healthy people), and serious problems from influenza can happen at any age. People age 65 years and older, people of any age with chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), pregnant women, and young children are more likely to get complications from influenza. Pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections are three examples of complications from flu. The flu can make chronic health problems worse. For example, people with asthma may experience asthma attacks while they have the flu, and people with chronic congestive heart failure may have worsening of this condition that is triggered by the flu.

How To Know if You Have the Flu

Your respiratory illness might be the flu if you have sudden onset of body aches, high fever, and respiratory symptoms, and your illness occurs during the usual flu season in the Northern Hemisphere. However, during this time, other respiratory illnesses can cause similar symptoms to the flu. In addition, influenza can also occur outside of the typical flu season. It is impossible to tell for sure if you have the flu based on symptoms alone. Doctors can perform tests to see if you have the flu if you are in the first few days of your illness.

Flu is a serious disease and it’s important to take action to protect yourself. If you do get sick, however, there are steps you can take to treat the flu.

This Message was Brought to you by:

Lyle De Vore

Last update: 8:41 a.m. EDT April 27, 2009
SAN FRANCISCO, Apr 27, 2009 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Cannabis Science Inc. (GFON:gulf onshore inc com
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1:55am 04/29/2009

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GFON 1.40, +0.15, +12.0%) , an emerging pharmaceutical cannabis company, reported today on the current state of development of its whole-cannabis lozenge in response to Homeland Security Administration Secretary Janet Napolitano’s declaration of a public health emergency to deal with the emerging Swine Flu pandemic. The Company’s non-toxic lozenge has properties that could alleviate many of the symptoms and harmful effects of the H5N1 bird flu and H1N1 swine flu viruses, and has offered its assistance to HSA today in a letter to Secretary Napolitano. The Company has offered to produce up to 1 million doses of its whole-cannabis lozenge, and provide them to HSA for distribution at cost.
Cannabis Science Inc., President & CEO, Steven W. Kubby said, “We have the science and preliminary anecdotal results confirming the anti-inflammatory properties of our new lozenges and indicating they may present an effective and non-toxic treatment for minimizing the symptoms and harm from influenza infections. Our lozenges appear to down-regulate the body’s excessive inflammatory response to the influenza virus, which could reduce the deadly consequences of an infection into something that is more like a common cold. Because of my cancer and diminished auto-immune functions, even common influenza is a deadly threat, and I’ve had incredible symptomatic relief with the lozenge.”
Dr. Robert J. Melamede, Director and Chief Science Officer, stated, “The influenza virus has a unique genetic make up that, in combination with its replicative machinery, has an extraordinary capacity to mutate. As a result, the high lethality of some strains can be attributed to the resulting adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). ARDS is caused by an excessive immune inflammatory response driven by Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) that leads to the death of respiratory epithelial cells and resulting organ failure. Endocannabinoids are nature’s way of controlling TNF activity. Existing peer reviewed publications have shown that phytocannabinoids can prevent this cell death by mimicking the endocannabinoids that nature has selected to prevent excessive inflammatory immune responses.”
Dr. Melamede, who is also a researcher and past Chairman of the Biology Department at the University of Colorado Springs (UCCS), cautioned, “Smoked marijuana will not effectively prevent the excessive inflammatory response, despite delivering the beneficial pharmacological agents, due to the irritating, pro-inflammatory nature of smoke. In fact, I believe it will make things worse and should be avoided by infected individuals.”
Mr. Kubby added, “If a swine or bird flu pandemic emerges — and everyone seems to think that it is just a matter of when, not if –, there is simply no time for the usual bureaucratic process. With emergency government approval, we can legally access the huge supply of medical cannabis available in California to produce millions of life saving doses within a relatively short period of time.”
Dr. Melamede furthermore stated, “Based upon recent discoveries regarding the role that endocannabinoid system plays in maintaining human health, we have a unique solution to the looming threat posed by deadly influenza strains that we believe, if implemented, could save millions of lives. We will strive for an emergency review of our cannabis extract-based lozenge because we believe its availability will prevent many of the deaths associated with the hyper-inflammatory response associated with known lethal strains of the influenza virus. Current anti-influenza medications have a demonstrated decreased effectiveness against some of these lethal variants. Mankind cannot wait for the emergency situation to materialize. We must be proactive in gaining the necessary governmental approvals to test, and pending the outcome of our studies, produce our lozenge.”
Mr. Richard Cowan, Director and CFO, who recently spoke in Mexico City to a conference sponsored by the Mexican Congress, stated, “I believe the Mexican Congress recognizes that doctors should be able to prescribe medical cannabis. We are prepared to work with the government of Mexico to produce similar medical cannabis products to help fight the outbreak there. We look forward to working with Government officials, including Homeland Security, to help advance our treatments for these outbreaks in Mexico, Canada, the USA, and around the world.”
About the H5N1 Bird Flu and H1N1 Swine Flu Strains
The H5N1 bird flu currently has 63% lethality. A swine-derived H1N1 strain was responsible for 20,000,000 influenza associated deaths in 1918 (more than killed by World War I). The current lethal outbreak of swine flu (H1N1) in Mexico has killed over 80 people and infected more than 1,400 others. There are 20 confirmed cases in the United States, with reports of infections in Texas, New York, Ohio, California and Kansas. Additional reports identify possible cases in New Zealand, Canada, Spain, France and Israel. The H1N1 Swine flu is a porcine respiratory disease caused by type A flu viruses. Human cases occur in people who are around pigs, but an infected person can transmit the disease to another person. Symptoms include a high fever, body aches, coughing, sore throat and respiratory congestion.
About Cannabis Science, Inc.
Cannabis Science, Inc. is at the forefront of medical marijuana research and development. The Company works with world authorities on phytocannabinoid science targeting critical illnesses, and adheres to scientific methodologies to develop, produce, and commercialize phytocannabinoid-based pharmaceutical products. In sum, we are dedicated to the creation of cannabis-based medicines, both with and without psychoactive properties, to treat disease and the symptoms of disease, as well as for general health maintenance.
Forward-Looking Statements
This Press Release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Act of 1934. A statement containing works such as “anticipate,” “seek,” intend,” “believe,” “plan,” “estimate,” “expect,” “project,” “plan,” or similar phrases may be deemed “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Some or all of the events or results anticipated by these forward-looking statements may not occur. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include the future U.S. and global economies, the impact of competition, and the Company’s reliance on existing regulations regarding the use and development of cannabis-based drugs. Cannabis Science, Inc. does not undertake any duty nor does it intend to update the results of these forward-looking statements.
SOURCE: Cannabis Science Inc.
Cannabis Science Inc.
Steven W. Kubby, President & CEO, 888-889-0888
info@cannabisscience.com                                                    www.cannabisscience.com

Thank You

MMR-Staff

Council agrees to six-month stay on marijuana dispensary permits so regulations can be drafted.

By Cindy Frazier

Updated: Thursday, March 26, 2009 5:56 PM PDT

There are No comments posted.

Proponents of medical marijuana got a shot in the arm Tuesday.

Laguna Beach planning officials say they are moving quickly to establish regulations so dispensaries can operate legally in Laguna Beach — possibly by summer.

During a hearing on a proposed extension of a moratorium on permitting the facilities, Community Development Director John Montgomery told the City Council his staff is “close to drafting an ordinance” that would regulate the facilities.

The council rejected Montgomery’s request for a 10 1/2 -month extension on the medical marijuana moratorium — the maximum allowed — opting instead for a six-month stay, to give city officials time to research the issue and come up with a plan.

The moratorium means that a medical marijuana clinic proposed at 777 S. Coast Hwy. won’t open soon, but it doesn’t slam the door, either.

Laguna Beach Medical applied for a conditional use permit for the facility several months ago, triggering the move to establish a moratorium, Montgomery said.

Laguna Beach Medical spokesman Sheridan Linehan begged the council Tuesday not to continue the moratorium, fearing he would lose his lease on the location.

“We meet or exceed all [medical marijuana] guidelines and have already leased an adequate location,” Linehan said. “Our lessor is supportive but we risk losing the location if we can’t open immediately.

“Multiple patients are awaiting our opening. Why do the sick and dying residents of Laguna Beach not have a safe place to obtain medicine?”

Linehan said his own grandfather, who died recently, had benefited from using medical marijuana during the final stages of terminal bone cancer.

Marijuana is considered beneficial for those suffering from AIDS and other terminal illness because of its pain-relieving and appetite-improving qualities.

Linehan noted that President Obama’s administration recently called a halt to federal enforcement of anti-marijuana laws that conflict with California’s voter-approved statute allowing the drug to be used for medicinal purposes.

City Manager Ken Frank asked Montgomery when the proposed regulations could be presented to the Laguna Beach Planning Commission, a precursor to council approval. Montgomery said he hopes to present a proposal to the commission in May.

Montgomery added that his chief concern about granting conditional- use permits for such facilities is that the permits are approved for the location and may be continued indefinitely.

“We are considering [proposing] that no CUP [for medical marijuana] would run with the property,” he told the council.

Instead, the permit would be issued to the operator and presumably would expire if the operator went out of business or the business changed hands.

Montgomery added that since the news broke about the medical marijuana permit proposal for Laguna Beach, “we have gotten a lot of calls” from people wishing to apply.

“We wanted to set up the regulations first, and we can come back [to the council] before the end of summer,” Montgomery said.

ThankYou,
MMR-Staff

Non-profit Operation

California Health and Safety Code Section 11362.765(a) says that nothing in the law authorizes the cultivation of medical cannabis for profit. The Attorney General’s guidelines are very brief on this topic, stating “Nothing in Proposition 215 or [Senate Bill 420] authorizes collectives, cooperatives, or individuals to profit from the sale or distribution of marijuana.” There is no reason to assume that this brief passage from the guidelines mandates the establishment of a statutory nonprofit corporation as described in California Corporations Code Section 5000, et seq. However, operators may chose to organize a medical cannabis collective as a California nonprofit corporation, as discussed in greater detail below.

Regardless of the organizational structure, a medical cannabis collective should operate in a “not-for-profit” manner to comply with the Attorney General’s guidelines. Not-for-profit operation describes the behavior of a business or association that is not operated for a commercial purpose, or to generate profits for its owners. Any business, regardless of its formal structure, can operate in a not-for-profit fashion by reinvesting excess revenue (after salaries and other overhead) in services for members, advocacy for patients’ rights, or other noncommercial activity.

Operating in a not-for-profit manner does not mean that patients and caregivers who own or operate a collective can not be paid a reasonable wage for their services. Patients operating not-for-profit collectives should be aware, however, that the perception of excessive profits is what motivates this provision of the guidelines. Paying reasonable salaries is acceptable, but other indicia of excessive profits should be avoided – bonuses, dividends, conspicuous spending, etc.

The term not-for-profit is sometimes confused with the term nonprofit. A nonprofit corporation is a specific statutory entity organized under California Corporation Code Section 5000, et seq., to carry on a non-commercial activity. Nonprofit corporations include churches, schools, some hospitals, social clubs, and service organizations. The principal differences between a nonprofit corporation and a for-profit business for these purposes are that (1) a nonprofit has no owners or shareholders, only an elected Board of Directors (can be self-electing); and (2) the proceeds of a nonprofit (not including salaries paid) may never inure to the benefit of any private party.

Some nonprofits are exempt from federal and state taxes because they do educational, religious, or charitable work. The Internal Revenue Service will not recognize providing medical cannabis as a tax-exempt activity, and state tax-exemption is contingent on federal approval. Therefore, a medical cannabis collective organized as a nonprofit corporation will report and pay tax like a traditional C-Corporation. It is important to remember, however, that a corporation is still a legitimate nonprofit organization under California law, even without tax-exempt status.

Many collective operators choose to incorporate their collectives as California Nonprofit Mutual Benefit Corporations, as described under California Corporations Code 7110, et seq. Doing so gives the collective a bona fide nonprofit identity, something that resonates with elected officials, law enforcement, media, and neighbors. This is a sensible choice for most operators, and increasingly the norm for new facilities. Creating and operating a nonprofit corporation is more difficult than doing so with a commercial business model, and may present special issues around taxation and transfers in ownership. Operators should seek the advice of a qualified business attorney with experience in nonprofit law.

Business Licenses, Sales Tax, and Seller’s Permits
Medical cannabis collectives and cooperatives should obtain all necessary licenses and permits, and pay all taxes due. Licensing and permitting rules vary from one jurisdiction to another. It is the collective operator’s responsibility to know what local licenses or permits are needed for a storefront facility that provides medicine to members. ASA strongly recommends working with a qualified and experienced land use attorney if there is any uncertainty in a given city or county.

Over the objection of ASA, the California Board of Equalization (BOE) has determined that medical cannabis transactions are subject to sales tax. Every collective or cooperative should complete Form BOE-400-SPA to apply for a California Seller’s Permit, and collect and pay sales tax as required by state law. You can download a copy of Form BOE-400-SPA online at http://www.boe.ca.gov or visit a BOE field office near you. Medical cannabis collectives and cooperatives may obtain a “Waiver for Incomplete Application” from a BOE field office if they do not wish to disclose what product is sold or the identities of the member-cultivators from whom they obtain medication.

The BOE is aggressively enforcing this policy, and the consequences for failing to pay can be severe for patient-operators. ASA strongly advises that operators seek the assistance of a qualified professional if they are unclear on how to comply with sales tax requirements or receive a notice from the BOE.

Membership Application and Verification
A medical cannabis dispensing collective or cooperative is a membership-based organization. Associations can not make a credible claim to be a collective or cooperative if they do not have a process through which patients and caregivers’ legal status is verified and recorded. Best practices dictates that the collective will review an original copy of the doctor’s letter of recommendation, verify the letter with the doctor or staff, and check with the medical board to be sure the doctor is duly licensed to practice medicine in California. Most verification of patients and doctors can be completed on the telephone and online, so there is no reason that a patient can not be verified before joining an association and receiving services. There are a variety of online verification options for collectives and cooperatives, which are particularly useful on weekend or in the evening when doctor’s offices are closed.

The guidelines require collectives and cooperatives to maintain membership records that are reasonably available, but not necessarily on site. Digital records used on site can be secured using a variety of safety options, including encryption. Paper records not needed for daily operation can be stored off-site, perhaps with an attorney, and only made available to law enforcement following due process of law (typically a subpoena or search warrant) or after consultation with the collective’s attorney.

The membership forms used to enroll new members should include a signed statement in which the member agrees not to redistribute medicine to anyone else or use the medicine for any non-medical purpose. The collective must use due-diligence in tracking expiration dates and in enforcing the rules of the facility. For a detailed explanation of best practices in registering new members and keeping records, see “Chapter 10. Registering Members” in the Appendix.

Collectives Should Acquire, Possess, and Distribute Only Lawfully Cultivated Cannabis
Medical cannabis collectives and cooperatives may only acquire medicine from their registered members, and provide it to other registered members for their personal medical use. Additionally, the Attorney General’s guidelines anticipate that medicine destined for a collective will be transported by a registered member of that collective. These restrictions are designed to create a closed circuit of medicine inside the collective’s membership, which is completely isolated from the illicit market. The guidelines do not authorize medical cannabis brokers or middlemen to buy commercial quantities of cannabis on the illicit market and then provide it wholesale to collectives. The guidelines also do not authorize collectives to provide medicine to members for the purpose of reselling it or to distribute it to other collectives.

The guidelines recommend that collectives and cooperatives keep records of transactions when they acquire or provide medicine. This may give some operators pause, as these records could be used as evidence in a federal case. However, a savvy operator can keep detailed operational records, which are necessary for business operation and tax purposes already, without incriminating anyone. Incoming and outgoing transactions can be recorded using a unique transaction or purchase order number that simply specifies that the transaction involved a duly registered member. Virtually every commercial point-of-sale system generates unique transaction and purchase order numbers. Smaller facilities can accomplish the same goal using off-the-shelf business forms available at any office supply store.

It is important to remember that transaction records and other financial documents need not be stored on-site, where they are subject to confiscation in a law enforcement raid. The records should be made available to law enforcement only following due process of law (typically a subpoena or search warrant) or after consultation with the collective’s attorney.

Distribution and Sales to Non-members Prohibited
It should go without saying that collectives must take adequate steps to prevent medication from being diverted to non-medical use. Patient-operators must only provide medicine to registered members whose legal status has been verified, and diligently enforce non-diversion polices at their facilities. There is no gray zone on this issue. Medical cannabis provided at collectives and cooperatives must stay within the registered membership of that association and be used for the member’s personal medical need.

It is the responsibility of the collective or cooperative operator to ensure that staff is trained to spot signs of diversion of medicine and respond to abuses. Signs of diversion might include, but are not limited to, frequent visits to the facility, acquiring relatively large quantities of medicine, comments indicating that medicine is intended for someone else, etc. Operators must take steps to correct suspicious behavior or exclude patients or caregivers from membership if they violate the facility rules.

Permissible Reimbursements and Allocations
The Attorney General’s guidelines authorize collectives and cooperatives to be reimbursed for medication in four ways: (1) medication can be given to members for free, (2) members can trade labor for medication, (3) members can pay the collective a reasonable reimbursement to cover cost of the medicine and overhead, or (4) the member and facility can arrange any combination of the other three options. Which one or what combination of reimbursement options a collective uses is at the discretion of the operator, and no collective is obligated to distribute medicine for free or exchange labor for medicine under these guidelines. Collectives and cooperatives must collect and pay sales tax on any money received in exchange for medicine. ASA advises collective operators to consult with a qualified tax-attorney if you intend to exchange labor for medicine to avoid in unintended tax liabilities.

Possession and Cultivation Guidelines
The Attorney General’s guidelines recognize that collectives and cooperatives can possess an aggregate quantity of medicine or cannabis plants to supply their members, based on the bar-to-arrest thresholds established under California Health and Safety Code Section 11362.77(a). Under that chapter, individual patients can possess up to eight ounces of dried cannabis (or the conversion thereof), and six mature plants or twelve immature plants. Therefore, a collective or cooperative could possess an amount of cannabis equal to the number of registered members multiplied by eight ounces. The same aggregate principal applies to cannabis plants.

Using aggregate possession limits to establish the maximum possession for medicine or plants may mean that a collective or cooperative could possess a substantial amount of either at any one time. Operators should remember that large amounts of medicine and large numbers of plants may be a security risk, or lead state law enforcement to misunderstand the nature of the facility (see “Enforcement Guidelines below). Furthermore, all possession and cultivation of cannabis remains illegal under federal law, and stiff mandatory minimum sentences and sentencing guidelines may apply if you are charged with possession or cultivation under federal law, where a defense under state medical cannabis law is unavailable. To avoid the most severe federal sentencing guidelines, collectives and patient-members should not cultivate more than 100 pants at any one location, or possess more than 100 kilograms of cannabis at one time.

Recent court decisions have called into question the bar-to-arrest thresholds established in Senate Bill 420, because courts and law enforcement have traditionally treated these thresholds as de facto possession and cultivation limits for patients. At this time, it is possible that the thresholds established by California Health and Safety Code Sections 11362.77(a) will be overturned as an unconstitutional amendment to a voter initiative. However, the final disposition of People v. Kelly (2008) and other similar cases in the state Courts of Appeal is far from clear at this time. What this means for aggregate possession limits at collectives is still uncertain.

Collectives, cooperatives, or individual patients who grow or transport medicine should have documentation establishing for how many patients they are doing so. This documentation does not necessarily have to be on-site or in possession of the transporter. The records should be made available to law enforcement only following due process of law (typically a subpoena or search warrant) or after consultation with the collective’s attorney. A member detained or arrested while transporting medicine should refuse consent to a search, and assert his or her right to remain silent and speak with an attorney.

Security
The Attorney General’s guidelines require collectives and cooperatives to maintain adequate security to protect patients and the community. Safety for patients and the community must be a top priority at these facilities, so a compliant association will adopt a security culture to ensure safety. Security culture refers to a set of practices and strategies that work together to maintain safety. Security culture may involve the following elements:

Employing professional, trained security personnel
Staying alert to detect problems before they occur
Educating patients to be sure they know the rules
Implementing policies to prevent diversion
Restricting access to the facility to authorized persons
Using appropriate security technology and equipment to monitor and secure the facility during hours of operation and overnight
Maintaining communication with local law enforcement
Training staff to prevent and respond to emergencies
Educating staff and members as to their rights and responsibilities under the law
Some of the ASA Services for Collectives described in the Appendix may be useful in security culture training for staff at collectives and cooperatives.

Enforcement Guidelines: Storefront Dispensaries
One of the most important aspects of the Attorney General’s guidelines for medical cannabis is that they specifically recognize that patient collectives and cooperatives authorized under state law can maintain storefronts to provide medicine to their members. The guidelines state: “It is the opinion of this Office that a properly organized and operated collective or cooperative that dispenses medical marijuana through a storefront may be lawful under California law” provided that the association substantially complies with the guidelines.

The recognition that storefront collectives and cooperatives can be legal is a watershed moment for California. By adhering to some basic operational guidelines, patients’ associations can demonstrate compliance with the Attorney General’s interpretation of the law, an important cue for local law enforcement and local government. This is a huge victory for patients and providers, but is also a boon for state law enforcement officers, who have been challenged in dealing with the relatively rare instances of abuse surrounding medical cannabis facilities. Giving local law enforcement clarity of what is legal and empowering them to address illegal activity may ultimately serve to reduce instances of local cooperation and instigation of federal raids in California.

The Attorney General specifies that collectives operating outside the guidelines may be subject to arrest and criminal prosecution. Specifically, the guidelines cite the example of an organization that merely has the client designate the business or operator as a primary caregiver before selling cannabis, without abiding by the letter of the law reflected in the guidelines. The Attorney General did not intend that these guidelines be used as a cue for a crackdown on lawful collectives, but those who operate outside the provision of the guidelines risk legal consequences.

Enforcement Guidelines: Indicia of Unlawful Operation
The guidelines spell out certain criteria law enforcement might consider when deciding if a collective or cooperative is legal under state law. Operators should make it a priority to avoid all indicia of unlawful operation, especially those listed in the guidelines:

Possession of excessive amounts of medicine, plants, or cash. What constitutes excessive is unclear under current case law. Operators are advised to keep fewer than 100 plants and an amount of cannabis necessary to serve patients in a single day whenever possible.
Violating local and state laws, including licensing and permitting ordinances and applicable tax laws. Operators should consult with an accountant as to their liabilities under state and federal tax law. Be especially careful to display a valid California Seller’s Permit, and to collect and pay sales tax.
The presence of any weapons or illegal drugs. Operators and staff should never possess weapons or illegal drugs at the facility. Doing so may result in a sentence enhancement or additional charges being filed in a criminal case. Furthermore, weapons and illegal drugs create a significant public relations problem for the collective and the grassroots campaign for medical cannabis rights. The legal issues surround contracted security personnel carrying weapons at a facility have not been explored in court. Operators should follow local ordinances, where applicable. In general, armed guards are undesirable at medical cannabis facilities.
Acquiring or providing medicine to anyone who is not a duly registered member. Operators and staff must not acquire medicine or provide medicine outside of the duly registered membership or the collective or cooperative. Doing so violates state law and makes the association vulnerable to local police raids.
Any inter-state activity acquisition of distribution of medicine. All medicine acquired and provided at a medical cannabis collective or cooperative should be grown by registered members who are legally entitled to do so inside the state of California. No medicine can come from outside California, and it is never legal to distribute medicine outside of the state.
Operators should be aware that other factors can influence a police officer’s evaluation of an association, and subjective interpretation may still lead to inappropriate law enforcement activity. ASA strongly recommends that operators, staff, and patients at collectives and cooperatives know and assert their constitutional rights when dealing with law enforcement. You can read more about your constitutional rights to refuse an unlawful search, to remain silent when questioned, or to have an attorney present during questioning at http://www.AmericansForSafeAccess.org/KnowYourRights There is a list of services ASA offers to medical cannabis patients, collectives, and cooperatives, including “Know Your Rights” and “Raid Training,” in the Appendix.

ASA also asks operators, staff, and collective members to report law enforcement encounters online at http://www.AmericansForSafeAccess.org/LegalSupport or by calling our toll free Patient Hotline at (888) 929-4367.

Thank You,

MMR-Staff

Lyle De Vore