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New CBD Research Leaves One Question In Mind: What CAN’T It Cure?

New CBD Research Leaves One Question In Mind: What CAN’T It Cure?

New CBD Research Leaves One Question In Mind: What CAN’T It Cure? 

cbd cures all

The International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS) culminated its 27th annual gathering, well-attended by over 400 scientists from 25 countries. The symposium, which was held in Montreal, revealed even more groundbreaking research about CBD, which continues to take the medical community by storm. 

Martin Lee of Project CBD shares some interesting scientific developments about CBD from the four-day symposium:

Cardiovascular benefits of CBD: Saoirse O’Sullivan, an associate professor at the University of Nottingham, had a Young Investigator Award Presentation where she discussed how CBD affects the heart. According to her scientific findings, “CBD causes both acute and time dependent vasorelaxation of rat and human arteries… and can improve endothelial function and vasodilator responses in a rat model of type 2 diabetes.” Another interesting finding was that a single CBD dose was shown to reduce “resting blood pressure and the blood pressure response to stress.” O’Sullivan finished her presentation by concluding, “Collectively, these data suggest that CBD is a compound of interest in the cardiovascular system and in cardiovascular disorders, which need to be tested in relevant patient groups.”

Anti-tumor effects: Dr. Paula B. Dall’Stella, a neuro-oncologist who works with the Sirio Libanes Hospital in Brazil, created a poster documenting the antitumor effects of CBD on her two patients who are diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme, a type of brain cancer. Both patients exhibited resistance to conventional therapies. MRI scans conducted before and after CBD treatment revealed “a marked remission… not commonly observed in patients only treated with conventional modalities… that could impact survival.”

Epilepsy: During the ICRS, many doctors and scientists focused on CBD and its impact on treatment-resistant epilepsy. Some of the notable findings included:

Dr. Fabricio A. Pamplona analyzed the effect of pure CBD isolate on epilepsy compared to whole plant CBD-rich oil extract. He found that the whole plant extract was much more effective, had less side effects, and was shown to be more potent as a medicine. “There were more reports of improvements in seizures’ frequency in CBD-enriched extract compared to purified CBD,” which Dr. Pamplona credited to the fact that extracts have more compounds other than CBD in which it was possible synergistically acting with. 

Israeli researchers from the Technion Institute discovered that “not all high CBD extracts have the same anticonvulsant ability.” They also found that the terpene content of cannabis extracts play an important role in keeping convulsions at bay. “Not all cannabis extracts will be useful as a treatment for epilepsy,” the Israeli researchers discovered. They concluded, “The exact cannabinoid and terpenoid profiles are needed to evaluate the potential anticonvulsant properties of a cannabis extract.”

Drug-testing: A poster explaining that using CBD-rich oil extracts daily could lead to a false positive THC finding during a drug test. This is a concern for patients who live in CBD-only states where CBD is legal but other plant compounds are not. 

Alzheimer’s: Tim Karl of Australia’s Western Sydney University School of Medicine discussed the benefits of CBD for Alzheimer’s, pointing to the presence of amyloid beta plaque as well as tau protein tangles which are the primary defining characteristics of Alzheimer’s dementia. According to Karl, “The phytocannabinoid cannabidiol possesses antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective properties and prevents amyloid beta-induced neuroinflammation, and tau hyperphosphorylation in vitro. CBD also reverses cognitive deficits of pharmacological amyloid beta models. Thus, CBD may offer therapeutic value for Alzheimer’s disease.”

GPR3 and GPR6: Researchers from the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Kentucky identified 2 new molecular receptors, GPR3 and GPR6. G refers to G-coupled protein receptor, which is the same family of receptors from which cannabinoid, opioid, and some serotonin receptor subtypes belong to. These 2 new receptors are also known as orphan receptors since the main endogenous compound that binds to these still have to be identified. These findings are crucial because these receptors may hold the key to more therapeutic value for patients suffering from schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. 

Chronic cannabis use: Carrie Cutler, assistant professor in Washington State University, discussed a popular myth that has been surrounding cannabis use in adolescence. Some researchers claim that using cannabis at an early age leads to cognitive decline and impacts IQ. However, Cutler’s studies show that no “significant effects of cannabis use were detected on… measures of memory or executive functioning”. The problems encountered were moderate and had to deal with verbal free recall, and prospective memory. She also presented findings from a second study where she focused on the stress-reducing properties of cannabis. Cutler stated, “Chronic cannabis use is associated with a blunted stress response and a reduced reliance on top-down attentional control that does not cause overall cognitive performance to suffer.”

Sleep: Gwen Wurm from the University of Miami discussed the use of medical cannabis and how it decreases the need for prescription and over-the-counter drugs to treat sleep problems. Her poster stated, “There is a strong relationship between use of medical cannabis for sleep and for pain.”

These were just some of the notable presentations during the ICRS conference, and we’re looking forward to hearing more developments next year. 

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Published at Sat, 07 Oct 2017 05:00:00 +0000

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Race for CBD medication breakthrough: Is pharma firm's boon the hemp industry's doom?

Race for CBD medication breakthrough: Is pharma firm's boon the hemp industry's doom?

Cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive cannabis compound touted for its medicinal promise — but marijuana- and hemp-derived extracts rich in CBD and low in intoxicating THC are facing a future yet to be determined.

The Cannabist’s special report “CBD, TBD” explores the issues with CBD — federal-state conflicts, national drug policy, pioneering research efforts and the paths toward the compound’s full legalization. This is the sixth installment in an ongoing series. Coming soon: A look at CBD’s path forward with hemp products.


This time next year, an investigational drug hailed as a breakthrough in the science of cannabidiol could be prescribed to children suffering from treatment-resistant epilepsy.

The prospect of its success, however, has caused some unease in the American hemp industry.

London-based GW Pharmaceuticals plc is steering its proprietary Epidiolex oral solution through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval pipeline.

Unlike other FDA-approved drugs that emulate the properties of THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis, Epidiolex (eh-pih-DYE-uh-lehx) utilizes another of the plant’s compounds: non-psychoactive cannabidiol. GW’s pharmaceutical formulation of purified CBD is targeted for treating rare, early onset seizure disorders including Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes, as well as Tuberous Sclerosis Complex and Infantile Spasms.

The company is expected to wrap up its New Drug Application to the FDA in the coming weeks; the federal agency could conduct its Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) inspection by June.

If the FDA were to give its blessing to that application, Epidiolex could be readied for commercial sale on the prescription drug market by this time next year, GW officials told The Cannabist.

Cannabis advocates and purveyors of hemp-derived, CBD-rich extracts fear FDA approval of Epidiolex could lead to a pharmaceutical commandeering of promising cannabis compounds.

The company and some prominent members of the medical community, however, trumpet the attempt to harness CBD’s potential and package it into a medicine that conveys the safety, consistency and clarity that FDA approval affords.

“I can’t tell you how happy I was to see those three letters (GMP) in relation to cannabidiol,” Dr. Amy R. Brooks-Kayal, chief of pediatric neurology at Children’s Hospital Colorado, said earlier this year.

She was speaking in Denver at the annual meeting of the Teratology Society, which focuses on birth defects and pediatric health issues. During a symposium on Marijuana and Child Development, Brooks-Kayal spoke to the topic of cannabinoids for the treatment of pediatric epilepsy.

She described how Children’s Hospital Colorado saw an influx of patients whose parents packed up and moved to Colorado for the promise of CBD oil. In some cases, the parents stopped administering the other prescribed medications in favor of solely trying an array of dosings of CBD-rich extracts.

Some of those children would end up in the intensive care unit, Brooks-Kayal said.

Children’s Hospital Colorado does not prescribe or recommend medical cannabis products; however, Brooks-Kayal implores parents to let doctors know if they’ve given their child CBD or another form of medical cannabis — and to not stop the other medications cold-turkey.

GW’s efforts might not be the end-all, be-all solution for these hard-to-treat epilepsy conditions, but to have products put through rigorous testing, trials and regulations are steps in the right direction, Brooks-Kayal said.

GW expressed confidence that CBD is medicine and that the pharmaceutical approval was the appropriate path, despite the fact that extracts rich in the compound are already widely available in dispensaries — and online — in states that have legalized forms of medical cannabis.

“I think physicians, and I think patients, prefer to have a drug that’s been through that very stringent process,” said Steve Schultz, GW’s vice president of investor relations.

Accompanying the first-to-market designation, the hallmarks of the FDA approval process — potential for insurance coverage, directions on dosing, information about drug interactions, quality assurance, and other checks and balances — are important differentiators for GW as the company sets off to carve a niche for itself in cannabinoid drug development, Schultz said.

“You don’t ever get that kind of instruction with a dispensary-based product,” he said.

cannabidiol-cbd-oil-colorado
A dose of Colorado-made cannabidiol oil is measured by a parent preparing to give CBD oil to her child as part of a regimented treatment for seizures in July 2014. (Joe Amon, Denver Post file)

Uncertainty breeds contingency plans

GW Pharmaceuticals’ advancement of Epidiolex is being closely watched by America’s cottage CBD industry.

Some producers are cautiously optimistic, taking the proverbial wait-and-see approach, while others have begun taking precautions such as changing labels and branding to highlight their products as “whole plant hemp extracts” as opposed to “CBD oil.”

Executives at GB Sciences Inc., a Las Vegas firm aiming to develop and patent several pharmaceutical-grade cannabinoid therapies, have extensively evaluated the potential regulatory issues that Epidiolex could raise, said Andrea L. Small-Howard, the company’s chief science officer.

In the event Epidiolex is approved, Small-Howard anticipates the FDA pathway to widen for the creation and testing of novel CBD formulations. At the same time, it would significantly disrupt the market for CBD products sold in dispensaries or online under state-regulated cannabis regimes, she said.

“These (state marijuana) programs are already in violation of federal law, therefore, an Epidiolex approval may push the issue of who has jurisdiction over pharmaceuticals, when CBD becomes an FDA-approved pharmaceutical ingredient,” Small-Howard said.

Others argue that consumers should have access to CBD products outside of the prescription-drug realm.

“All the products out there are special. One will work for one person, one won’t,” said Joel Stanley, chief executive officer of CW Hemp, the Denver-based company that rose to prominence after a CNN special on medical marijuana refugees and “Charlotte’s Web” CBD-rich oil.

Alternatively, siloing off CBD and other cannabinoids as pharmaceutical-only would limit the types of products available and result in them becoming more expensive, Stanley said.

There is still much to be learned about medical applications for CBD and other cannabinoids.

“It’s such a unique plant with unique abilities. I think we’re just scratching the surface on it,” said Gabriel Ettenson, general manager for Broomfield-based Elixinol, a manufacturer of CBD oils and hemp products.

Ettenson isn’t losing any sleep over GW and what may come from Epidiolex coming to market.

“There really isn’t any significant fear that I have about what may happen if GW gets approval,” he said.

Making hemp extract containing compound cannabidiol (CBD) at CW Hemp
Team lead Vanessa Cantu of pours an extract of hemp into a pan before putting it into a vacuum oven, which eliminates the last traces of solvents used in processing plant material into an extract oil form at CW Hemp’s facility in Colorado on April 21, 2016. (AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post)

Heike Newman, a senior regulatory manager at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus, said she is curious as to what ripple effects may come from Epidiolex making it to market.

Such an approval could ultimately trigger a federal down-scheduling of CBD, reducing the barriers to research for Newman’s colleagues, she speculated. Research on cannabis has been hampered by its designation as a Schedule I controlled substance.

“I think they’re showing that CBD has actually a medicinal benefit, and I think that’s huge,” she said.

Epidiolex hurdles include potential expense

For all the excitement and consternation swirling around Epidiolex, the drug’s approval is not a slam dunk, said Ken Trbovich, an analyst for financial services firm Janney Montgomery Scott LLC who follows GW.

Patients in GW’s study already were taking various anti-epileptic drugs, including Onfi (clobazam), an effective treatment for Lennox Gastaut Syndrome, Trbovich said. And there’s a correlation between the plasma levels of clobazam and the effectiveness of the drug, he added.

“In other words, the higher the dose, the higher the response,” Trbovich wrote via email to The Cannabist. “There is a drug-drug interaction such that treating a patient with Epidiolex increases the plasma level of clobazam and its active metabolite.

“Thus, it is unclear how much of the treatment benefit resulted from the increased plasma levels of clobazam as opposed to the independent response to Epidiolex.”

Then, late last week, word came that Zogenix, an Emeryville, Calif.-based pharmaceutical firm’s non-CBD drug showed positive data in late-stage clinical trials of patients with Dravet. The announcement sent GW’s stock tumbling and created additional questions for Trbovich.

“The strength of this data should cause investors to reconsider the relative efficacy of Epidiolex and the implications this has for its commercial success in Dravet, LGS and other epilepsy indications,” he wrote in a Sept. 29 report to investors.

To this point, consensus estimates pegged Epidiolex as a $1 billion drug by 2021, Reuters has reported, citing forecasts from Thomson Reuters Cortellis. 

Outside of the lab, GW is effectively “cooking with gas,” considering the prevalent industry of hemp-derived CBD extracts, he added.

“There is no other orphan drug, or orphan biologic, of which I am aware, that a patient has the option of going down to a vitamin store or local pharmacy and buying an over-the-counter alternative,” he said. “While GW (scientists) have been great pioneers in conducting the scientific research to prove CBD has some effect in well-controlled clinical studies, CBD oils are available in the overwhelming majority of states.”

Trbovich expects GW will charge a hefty price — some analysts have projected in the range of $35,000 to $50,000 per patient per year — for Epidiolex, resulting in insurers restricting the drug to those who have Dravet or Lennox Gastaut.

Even those who receive coverage, depending on the nature of their co-pays/co-insurance, may find the cost of Epidiolex to be too high and opt instead for CBD oil from a dispensary,” he said.

Schultz, in his interviews with The Cannabist, declined to provide an estimated cost for Epidiolex. He reiterated that GW expects the medicine will be covered by insurance — not an option for products sold online, in health stores or dispensaries.

Trbovich, as of his Aug. 8 research report, has a “sell” rating on GW.

A “David and Goliath” battle, or not so much?

Schultz also shakes off the notion that GW’s progress with cannabinoid drug development are a means to keep CBD under lock and key from the masses or to cash in on a plant that should be available to all.

“GW Pharmaceuticals is not Big Pharma,” he said.

GW (Nasdaq: GWPH) employs a staff of about 200, generates $10 million in annual revenue and has a market value of roughly $2.8 billion. Its stock closed at $114.54 on Thursday and has been trading in the range of $92.65 and $137.88 during the past year.

Comparatively, companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Roche each employ more than 90,000 people, bring in north of $50 billion in revenue each year and boast market caps with dollar values of the hundreds of billions.

GW may be a smaller player when sized up against the pharmaceutical giants, but it’s considered a behemoth by cannabis industry advocates who classify the juxtaposition as a “David and Goliath” battle.

“It’s not dissimilar to what the hemp industry has always gone up against,” said Patrick Goggin, an attorney representing hemp businesses in the Hemp Industries Association lawsuits against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Goggin referenced the hemp industry’s other adversaries, the “DuPonts of the world, the Hertzes of the world, the petroleum industry.”

“We are not engaged to fail,” he said.

Cannabis advocates claim officials for GW, which has settled in stateside as Greenwich Biosciences, have lobbied to ensure that state-based CBD laws solely favor FDA-approved products. South Dakota is one such state whose law hinges on FDA oversight.

GW is not trying to monopolize the market but rather aiming to ensure that patients can have access to medicine that is rigorously tested and approved, Schultz countered.

The state law changes are one part of a two-step process, Schultz said. The company would need to have Epidiolex rescheduled by the DEA — the company is hoping for a Schedule IV designation — and state rescheduling to ensure that patients have access for a prescription, he said.

“Where it requires legislative actions, we want to make sure we’re out in front of that and taking action as soon as possible,” he said, noting that the company is in a “mode of understanding” to learn about each state’s requirements and responding to those rules in advance of Epidiolex’s expected launch.

Schultz disputed claims that GW — with the might of the FDA at its side — would run the tables and stamp out sellers of CBD-rich oils. His firm, rather, aims to provide a compelling new addition to the market as a whole.

It’s ultimately up to the patients and the physicians to decide what works best for them, he said.

“Our objective, simply, is to make an FDA-approved medicine, purified CBD medicine available for patients who would be looking at an additional option,” he said. “Whatever is available at dispensaries is really not even an element of our consideration. Our goal is to just add to those options that are available.”

Hemp plants grown for production of cannabis oil containing cannabidiol (CBD)
Caitlin Jimenez waters hemp plants at the cultivation facility for Colorado company CBDRx on June 9, 2015, in Pueblo. The company is focused on developing hemp products such as cannabidiol (CBD) oils. (Denver Post file)

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Published at Fri, 06 Oct 2017 14:16:09 +0000

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Justice Department Names New DEA Acting Administrator

Justice Department Names New DEA Acting Administrator

The Department of Justice has officially designated Robert W. Patterson as the Drug Enforcement Administration acting administrator.

New DEA Acting Administrator Robert W. Patterson.

Patterson’s appointment comes after the resignation of now-former DEA Chief Chuck Rosenberg, who stepped down because he feels President Trump doesn’t respect the law. Patterson was appointed as DEA’s principal deputy administrator in November 2016. In that role, he served as DEA’s chief operating officer, overseeing all of the agency’s enforcement, intelligence, administrative, and regulatory activities worldwide. He is the highest ranking career special agent at DEA.

Patterson came to this position after serving as DEA’s chief inspector beginning in November 2015. As the chief inspector, he had oversight of the Office of Inspections, the Office of Security Programs, and the Office of Professional Responsibility. Collectively, these offices comprise DEA’s internal affairs, compliance, and security programs and provide guidance and support to DEA Headquarters and Field Offices.

Prior to his appointment as the chief inspector, Patterson served in a variety other positions within DEA, including assistant special agent in charge, and later acting special agent in charge of the DEA Special Operations Division, where he oversaw classified programs, and communication exploitation tools, in support of field operations.

Prior to his assignment at SOD, Patterson was a group supervisor in the agency’s Miami Division, where he led the operations of the Orlando District Office Task Force, and later served as acting ASAC.

Patterson began his career with DEA in 1988 in the New York Division, where he worked numerous racketeering influenced and corrupt organizations, known as RICO, investigations. He was also part of a special program established to combat the growing opioid epidemic and associated violence in the greater New York area.

At this point it’s unclear how long Patterson will remain as acting administrator before a permanent DEA Chief is named.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

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Published at Thu, 05 Oct 2017 03:46:20 +0000

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More Summer Events and Dispensary Stops: Walking with Redhat Ralph

More Summer Events and Dispensary Stops: Walking with Redhat Ralph

More summer events and dispensary stops in Week 16 with RedHat Ralph….

This week includes serving Root Beer at the Oregon Brewers Festival, the Canna Closet Oregon launch, and The Summer Fair 2.  Here is how I walked 22.6 miles from Sunday July 23 through Saturday, July 29.

Sunday, 7/23/17, 0.2 miles. Today it will get warm, so I will stay home, stay buzzed, watch pre-season football, and clean part of the house.

Monday, 7/24/17, 0.9 miles.   It is expected to reach 90 or so today, so again I am staying home.  Perhaps I will clean more of the house.

Tuesday, 7/25/17, 3.3 miles.  Third day with expected warm temperatures, so I shall stay home again, right after I walk to my dentist’s office, visit the dental hygienist to receive my quarterly teeth cleaning, and wander back home.  I also finish cleaning the house once Flo is up and out of bed.

Wednesday, 7/26/17, 2.8miles.  Today I take the MAX Blue line train to Tom McCall Waterfront Park to volunteer at the Oregon Brewers Festival.  I have done this every year since we moved to Portland and love serving Root Beer from Crater Lake Soda to folks at the Festival.  The children and designated drivers appreciate that we have this available for them in a shaded tent with tables and (youth) chairs so that the children can color and draw.  All of the proceeds from the sale of the carbonated beverages ($1 or a token per glass for those not a child and not a designated driver) goes to the Community Transitional School, which provides “at-risk children with a stable educational environment that promotes their academic and personal growth.”

Thursday, 7/27/17, 3.4 miles.  Another wonderful day at Tom McCall Park, handing out Root Beer and Apple Ginger Soda to folks at the Oregon Brewers Festival.

Friday, 7/28/17, 7.9 miles.  Today I am heading to the east side of town.  I was too lazy to leave home in time to attend the Canna Closet OR Launch at the Jupiter Hotel on East Burnside.  However, since it is Friday I take the MAX to the Rosa Parks stop and visit Satchel for another episode of 5-gram-Fridays.  Today my nose tells me to pick up 5 grams of Cosmic Treehouse’s Purple Hindu Kush.  From here I slowly wander south down Interstate Ave and visit Jeffery’s, a yet-to-be-opened new dispensary in the old Greensky Collective dispensary building.  Nusheen Ava Bakhtiar is gracious and takes the time to show me around their new space while Sam continues to get the place ready.  A short wander south brings me to The North Warehouse where I try to help folks get ready for tomorrow’s party.  I spend a little time helping Katherine Self assemble a display rack for her farm’s merchandise.  I discover that I am much older and out of shape than I thought when I attempt to help two gentlemen lay some sod in the outdoor consumption area; after laying a dozen or so pieces of sod I must take my leave.  I wander the Eastbank Esplanade, cross the Steel Bridge, and wander south along the Willamette River before heading home.

summer fair

Having fun at the Summer Fair!

Saturday 7/29/17, 4.1 miles.  Today is The Summer Fair 2! I leave home in Beaverton at 7 and finally arrive at the North Warehouse at 9:30, but at least I had the good sense to stop at Coco Doughnuts downtown and arrive with a dozen assorted doughnuts for the crew.  Stephanie Barnhart has graciously included my name in the list of Staff at the event, and has assigned me to perform “General Help” during the event.  Most of my day has me checking names from “The List”.  In other words, if you arrive and tell the ticket taker “my name is on ‘the list’”, the ticket taker sends you to me and I check “The List”.  It is so good to be King (or at least to feel that you could wield King-like power).  Of course, all of us volunteers also take time away from our assigned duties to experience the Fair itself.  During different times of the day I visited with many of the vendors at their booths inside the warehouse before making my way to the outside area and visiting with each and every one of the vendors.  You see, the outside area is the consumption area, and there is a lot of social consumption being achieved here today!  I took the opportunity to try some dabbles, some THC-a isolate, and the REL Goliath vape pen.  The dabbles are wonderful; I want to try them again.  The THC-a isolate vaporized in my mouth tasting like a diet marshmallow puff; I will need to try it a few (hundred) more times before I can properly review it.  The Goliath absolutely wowed me; finally I have found a vape pen that gives me a proper volume of vapor!  Finally!

Man, I hate the Tear-Down time because it indicates that I must wait another year to participate in this; on the other hand I really enjoy it because you would be surprised at all the goodies we find discarded hither thither and yon.  I found a few joints and a few containers of shatter in just one round.  By the time I walked to the MAX station I had collected at least a week’s worth of odds and ends.  This is so the life of a retired pot-head.  I LOVE MY LIFE!

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Published at Fri, 15 Sep 2017 16:55:32 +0000

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You’re Paying $3.6 Billion In Taxes Each Year To Criminalize Cannabis

You’re Paying $3.6 Billion In Taxes Each Year To Criminalize Cannabis

You’re Paying $3.6 Billion In Taxes Each Year To Criminalize Cannabis

taxes on cannabis

Trump is making it difficult to monitor drug-related offenses, but decriminalization is the answer

Despite the fact that 20% of the country has access to legal cannabis, more people were still arrested for cannabis possession than all other violent crimes in 2016, according to the FBI’s latest Uniform Crime Report (UCR).

The UCR has been reporting on the total cases of nationwide drug-related arrests since 1970 and provides a table categorizing them into cannabis, cocaine, heroine, synthetic drugs, and other non-narcotics such as steroids. Cannabis possession arrests increased last year, the same year wherein voters from four states approved recreational cannabis use, while three other states voted to legalize medical cannabis.

The data shows that in 2015, there was a total of 1,488,707 drug arrests and 4.6% of those were due to cannabis sales and 38.6% were due to possession for an equivalent of 643,121 cannabis-related arrests. Now in 2016, there were 1,572,579 drug arrests, but the UCR removed the table that shows the break down of drug arrests. The site has a disclaimer, saying: “UCR staff have strategically trimmed the amount of tables and refined the presentation of data in this year’s publication.”

Tom Angell, a writer at Forbes, got in touch with the FBI to inquire the reasons why the table was removed. The FBI rep responded, saying that 37.36% made up possession arrests while cannabis sales arrests made up 4.18%, for a total of 653,249 cannabis arrests last year. “Criminalizing drug use has devastated families across the US, particularly in communities of color, and for no good reason,” says Maria McFarland Sanchez Moreno, Drug Policy Alliance’s executive director. “Far from helping people who are struggling with addiction, the threat of arrest often keeps them from accessing health services and increases the risk of overdose or other harms.” Furthermore, the Drug Policy cites the case of Portugal, where drug use and possession has been decriminalized since 2001 and today has one of the lowest drug overdose rates in all of western Europe.

JAIL FOR CANNABIS

The High Cost Of Criminalization

Meanwhile, in the United States, AG Jeff Sessions is on a mission to crack down even more on drug use. He’s been vocal and consistent about being against cannabis legalization,  but public health experts think that the country could benefit from decriminalizing all drugs because not doing so will only continue to fuel over-incarceration, disease, crime; all of which are negative impacts of the drug trade. Most importantly because of harsh laws, drug users have nowhere else to go but the black market and this applies particularly to cannabis even it’s been proven safer than alcohol, which is completely legal.

Criminalization comes at a steep price. American citizens are paying a total of $3.6 billion in taxes each year even if a majority of the population already support legalization. “It’s really shocking in this era that these numbers are so high,” adds Sanchez Moreno. “It really makes you question why law enforcement is wasting resources and locking up people for personal use of marijuana.”

The $3.6 billion in wasted taxpayer money doesn’t even take into account how much it costs to lose hours of work time as well as the enduring financial burden that comes with having a criminal record and the inability to find a job.

Accroding to Justin Strekal, NORMAL’s political director, the increase in arrests “only further demonstrates the need for state lawmakers to respect the will of the majority of their constituents and end the practice of marijuana prohibition once and for all.”

Sanchez Moreno also adds that the increase in drug busts which amounts to around 14,000 might not reflect an actual change in the warm on drugs but rather a difference in how the data was collected this time around. In 2010, cannabis-related arrests have reduced dramatically and continues to decrease despite the surge last year.

The figures may be puzzling, but it’s much smaller than the data taken from 10 years ago when no state in America had legalized cannabis just yet. In 2007, 872,720 people were arrested for cannabis-related offenses, which is the all-time high, translating to one arrest in every 20 people.

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Published at Mon, 02 Oct 2017 05:00:00 +0000

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Nevada: Over $27 Million in Marijuana Sold in First Month of Legal Sales

Nevada: Over $27 Million in Marijuana Sold in First Month of Legal Sales

Millions of dollars worth of marijuana was sold in Nevada in July, the month such sales became legal.

In total, there was $27.1 million in marijuana sold in Nevada in July. By comparison, Washington State sold just $3.8 million in legal marijuana during their first full month of legal sales (which was also in July), and Colorado sold roughly $14 million.

According  to the Nevada Department of Taxation, the state garnered $10.2 million in taxes during July; $6.5 million from industry fees and $3.68 million from tax revenue. Governor Brian Sandoval projects the state to bring in around$100 million over the next two fiscal years from such taxes and fees. However, new projections find that the number may end up closer to $120 million, says Stephanie Klapstein, a spokesperson for the Department of Taxation.

According to Klapstein, Nevada made $2.71 million from the 10% tax on marijuana sales, plus $974,060 from the 15% wholesale tax paid by cultivators.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

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Published at Sat, 30 Sep 2017 05:50:37 +0000

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Cannabis Industry Experts Share Advice on Successful Career Transitioning

Cannabis Industry Experts Share Advice on Successful Career Transitioning

Cannabis Industry Experts Share Advice on Successful Career Transitioning

“Can you give me any advice on how to transition to the Cannabis Industry?”

This is the question I get asked most.

Let me start by saying that opportunities in the cannabis Industry are vast and the numbers are enticing. Entrepreneur Magazinesays that 283,000 Cannabis Industry Jobs will be created by 2020 and New Frontier Data expects the Cannabis Industry to be a $24 Billion industry by that same year. Enticing indeed.

Reaching out to the real experts for advice.

I have been living in Denver, Colorado for more than 10 years and have been active in the cannabis space from the beginning. I have had the opportunity and honor to connect with hundreds of men and women and businesses proudly active in the cannabis space both directly and through my cannabis industry networking platform. To get the best answers to the question I contacted the experts I know and respect. This is what I found:

Openly embrace Cannabis Legalization.

You can’t walk between the raindrops of legal cannabis. Fully embrace it to friends, family, Facebook and all your networking platforms. If you want a piece of the multibillion dollar cannabis pie you are going to have to get wet.

Most likely the person standing between you and opportunity is a cannabis industry pioneer or works for one. Keep in mind that she or he risked money, reputation and jail time to get where they are now and their sacrifice and relentless advocacy gave us the opportunities we have now in this new industry. If they even smell a hint of apathy toward cannabis legalization you’re finished.

Don’t be intimidated by the Cannabis Industry.

Cannabis business owners regularly get resumes from people that have never actually seen cannabis let alone tried it. Employers expect you to “know the product”.

I tell these folks to start by going to a local dispensary. 99 times out of 100 they will find the dispensary staff to be nothing short of professional. They will be versed about their products, respect your level of knowledge and have the patience to educate you. Buy something and try it; know the product!

Recognize Cannabis Businesses as “for profit” endeavors.

Cannabis businesses are highly regulated, over taxed, wrought with excessive governmental fees and live under the yoke of constantly increasing compliance rules. Every business pays and every business pays the same. All this is happening as cannabis prices continue to fall.

Now more than ever cannabis business owners need production efficiency, loss prevention, branding, marketing, increased sales volume, cost reduction and more. Do you have the skills to help?

This recruiter uses the word “love”.

I also reached out to Robin Ann Morris who is the owner of Mary Jane Agency, Ohio’s first cannabis employment agency, to get her take on the question. Morris advises her clients to, “Take what you love doing and apply it to the cannabis industry. Everything you are doing now is going to have to be done in the cannabis industry.”

“Take what you love doing and apply it to the cannabis industry?” That’s maybe the best advice of all.

Author Bio: James Kaufman is the founder and editor of the Cannabis Associates Network. James holds a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder and currently resides in Denver, Colorado.

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Published at Mon, 25 Sep 2017 18:13:19 +0000

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BC unveils cannabis legalization options: An in-depth look

BC unveils cannabis legalization options: An in-depth look

BC’s Solicitor General and Public Safety Ministry recently released their discussion paper on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation.

This is part of BC’s public engagement plan on cannabis which also consists of a joint committee with BC municipalities and a public survey, available here. The deadline for the survey is Nov. 1, 2017.

The discussion paper goes over what’s in Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act; Bill C-46, an act to amend the Criminal Code; the recommendations from the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation; and BC’s options.

The big takeaway is that while the federal government is retaining its control over licensing cannabis producers and the medical cannabis system, that still leaves a lot for the provinces and territories to decide.

The BC government is looking for YOUR input on:

  • Minimum Age
  • Personal Possession
  • Public consumption
  • Drug-Impaired Driving
  • Personal cultivation
  • Distribution and retail systems

What it comes down to basically is that Bills C-45 and C-46 set the bare minimum, and the provinces and territories have the power to impose stricter laws if they wish.

For example, when it comes to the Minimum Age, the federal minimum is 18, but BC could set it at 19, 21, or even higher.

Let’s have a look.

Minimum Age

As mentioned above, the federal minimum is 18 years, but BC has the option to increase it to 19, 21, or higher.

We predict that BC will likely set the minimum age at 19, bringing it in line with the minimum age for alcohol and tobacco in BC.

Personal Possession

Bill C-45 set a personal possession limit of 30 g of dried cannabis for adults, and the paper explains that the limit was set in order to distinguish between lawful personal use and trafficking. BC can go lower, but it is recommended to go with the suggested 30 g limit in order to maintain consistency across the country.

Bill C-45 also allows for youths to possess up to 5 g of dried cannabis, even though they are not allowed to buy or grow. This is to avoid unnecessary criminalization of youths for small amounts. BC could decide to prohibit any possession by youths, similar to alcohol.

Public Consumption

Bill C-45 bans cannabis smoking and vaping in federally-regulated spaces such as planes and trains, but other than that, it’s up to BC to decide on whether to allow public consumption or not.

The federal Task Force recommends that cannabis smoking and vaping face the same restrictions as tobacco, and municipalities could further ban cannabis smoking and vaping in public parks and beaches. Cannabis smoking in public could also be banned altogether, with allowances for cannabis vaping because it is less intrusive. The last option is to prohibit both smoking and vaping in public, but allow licensed cannabis lounges for consumption.

The paper also notes how methods of cannabis consumption that don’t involve smoking or vaping (ie. edibles and topicals) are much harder to detect to enforce.

Drug-Impaired Driving

This is where Bill C-46 comes in as an act to amend the Criminal Code. The amendments would give the federal government the authority to set a blood THC limit as they have with alcohol, although “there is not enough scientific evidence to link a particular blood THC level with impairment”.

The proposed changes list penalties that range from a $1000 fine to 10 years in jail.

BC currently allows law enforcement to issue an Immediate Roadside Prohibition or Administrative Driving Prohibition to drivers under the influence of alcohol, and BC could choose to expand that to include cannabis as well. But, as it is harder to prove cannabis impairment than it is with alcohol, other measures would have to be taken such as more officer training for Standard Field Sobriety Tests and Drug Recognition Expert programs.

Personal Cultivation

Bill C-45 allows for personal cultivation of up to four plants per household, with a 1 meter maximum height. It is worth noting that Canadians can grow tobacco and make alcohol at home with few restrictions.

BC could impose tighter restrictions on plant number and size, set restrictions on where and how cannabis can be grown at home, and even require home growers to register.

Distribution Model

When it comes to distribution, BC is looking at 3 models:

  • Government Distribution: this is where licensed producers send cannabis directly to government distributors. This gives government the most control, but it can be costly to implement. This is similar to the system we have with alcohol.
  • Private Distribution: this model allows private business to warehouse and distribute cannabis, but would still require extensive government oversight.
  • Direct Distribution: this model allows licensed producers to send their products directly to retailers, and it would still require extensive government oversight while also making it incredibly difficult for smaller producers to compete in the market.

Retail

Given that the July 2018 date is fast approaching, the federal government has acknowledged that provinces and territories may not be able to establish a retail framework in time, so the federal government will be implementing an online retail system for the time being.

In terms of retail model, BC can choose a public, private, or mix of both systems. BC currently has a mix of both with regards to alcohol. We believe a private system would be best as it would allow some of the dispensaries currently operating to be integrated into the legal system. This stands in stark contrast to Ontario’s planned public system, which will force all existing dispensaries in the province to shut down.

BC could also require stand-alone cannabis storefronts or allow pharmacies and liquor stores to sell cannabis as well.

BC could also implement a direct-to-consumer mail order system, which is similar to the system used by Health Canada for medical cannabis.

Conclusion

BC has a lot of decisions to make before July 2018, and it’s important that everybody, including you, fill out the survey so your voices gets heard! Help shape our province’s policies so it’s inclusive and fair for everybody involved.

The survey is available here.

(Why?)

Published at Thu, 28 Sep 2017 21:16:25 +0000

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Online Headshops vs Local Headshops

Online Headshops vs Local Headshops

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

Headshops

There are more and more online headshops popping up every day. So naturally, the question on a lot of minds is ” Is an online headshop really better than a local headshop?”  To answer this, it’s important to understand what each has to offer. In this blog we are going to find out!

Lets Shop”Local”

Headshop sign

Headshop Sign

Local headshops are places newbies end up when they’re looking to buy a new pipe or dab rig. There’s nothing wrong with that at all. There’s nothing like seeing so much awesome stuff firsthand for the first time, right?

You get to see and touch products and hold them in your hand before you buy them. That alone is a classic experience that can’t be undervalued. It’s how humans have been judging quality of crafts since time immemorial, after all, and there’s a reason we still shop at brick and mortar stores at all in this digital age. We like that experience of touching, feeling, deciding right there in the moment.

Another huge benefit to going to a local headshop is the one-on-one facetime you can get with a local expert. These are people that live in your town. Maybe they even know you. You can explain to them your wants and goals. They can make recommendations based on what you said. You benefit from their knowledge and experience. There’s also a lot of benefits to being a regular patron of an establishment. Most businesses treat regular clientele like royalty. Especially if you are polite! Which is something that is easy to be in person when dealing one on one with folks.

Headshop…… What Headshop?

Of course, there are downsides to local headshops as well. I mean, does your town even have one? Most Americans still live in rural places and small cities. Unless you live in a bigger city or a college town, you may not even have a headshop.  This can definitely make it difficult to get to one.  A lot of small town Americans are used to traveling an hour or so by car to visit stores they want to see, but as gas prices rise and wages do not rise, traveling an hour to a headshop becomes a lot less practical.

Then there’s the inventory issue. Local headshops are limited by the amount of space they have in their store. As well as the how fast products are selling or not selling. They may not have the precise thing you’re looking for. You could probably order it online quicker than they could get it from their wholesaler. Which sort of defeats the instant gratification benefits of a brick and mortar headshop.

Online headshops

Online Headshops

Online Headshops

The biggest benefit to online headshops is that as long as you have access to the internet and a way to pay for the product, you have access to the products you want. Online headshops can stock huge inventory, because they’re not limited to the physical space that a brick and mortar headshop is. For what they lack in friendly salespeople, online headshops definitely make up for it in variety. Whatever you have in mind, an online headshop probably has it currently available.

So Many Options So Little Time

Some people may prefer online shopping as well, simply because you get to visually see loads of options in a relatively short amount of time. While some people may prefer to hold a pipe in their hand, others want to look at all of the pipes, and that’s how they make their decision, which is sort of a preference thing, but it’s a big part of why many prefer online headshops to local ones.

And while you won’t have as many salespeople at online headshops, it’s not like they’re without any human interaction at all. Most have customer service that can be reached by phone, email or online messaging and they’ll be happy to answer questions.

Online headshops also offer discretion. There’s nothing illegal about going to a headshop, but let’s face it: Humans can be judge-y creatures. For those who would prefer their smoking habits not to be known, online headshops obviously offer a level of discretion that local headshops simply can’t.

Going back to the variety thing, online headshops also tend to get a lot of new items in pretty regularly, so if you’re the type of person who likes to see what’s new, an online headshop’s your best bet.

Then there’s money. Online headshops are more likely to give out coupons, discounts and promo codes. Their brick and mortar counterparts, usually can’t afford it.  If you are interested in finding a reputable online head shop I highly recommend then head over to https://skyhighsmokeshop.com they carry a large inventory of products you’ll love at affordable prices!

Rolling Things Up

So, online headshops vs local headshops: Which one is better? That is a question only you can answer for yourself, but now that you’re better informed about the strong points of each, you’ve probably already made the decision.

(Why?)

Published at Wed, 27 Sep 2017 07:03:48 +0000

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